Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I hate pantyhose, but my bare legs just do NOT look fabulous. I’d like to find some that are sheer, but do not squeeze me like a sausage and cut off my circulation. Can you recommend any particular brands? I can afford to pay more for them, but want quality, not just a fancy brand name. – Kristine
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I can no longer manage pantyhose. Is it appropriate to go bare-legged in a skirt or dress? Are there other options? – J.E.S.
Dear Kristine and J.E.S: First of all, I totally agree. Pantyhose are right up there with “body shapers” (formerly known as girdles) on the misery scale. If you’re like me, you’ve ripped off your pantyhose in the car on the way home just to be able to take a deep breath. Ahhhh.
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But, hooray, you don’t have to wear them. The fashion gods have dictated that stockings are optional. If your bare legs aren’t quite what you’d like them to be, self-tanner can work wonders. I mix Jergens Natural Glow (drugstores everywhere) with body lotion to get a gradual color change. And there are pantyhose alternatives if you feel uncomfortable going bare-legged. Since I got your emails, I’ve been testing a product I never thought I’d buy: Thigh-high hosiery. Miraculously, they stay put! Most have a lacy band at the top lined with silicone that really does the job. Find them at giant retailers and department stores and L'eggs makes them for under $6 a pair. Finally, to minimize your pain if you still are committed to pantyhose, stay far away from “control top” styles and don’t trust the size charts on the packaging. You’re usually better off going up a size.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I do not like mascara. And my eyelashes are blond at the ends. Twenty years ago I dyed them black. I know we can’t do that anymore. Is there nontoxic dye out there to dye our eye lashes yet? I would much rather do that than use mascara. – Marie G.
Dear Marie: There isn’t anything really safe for darkening those eyelashes except mascara. I hate the stuff too (hello, raccoon eyes) but my best source on this, beauty expert Paula Begoun, who studies the composition of cosmetics, says all the dye out there – no matter how “organic” it claims to be – can risk your vision. I know we can agree that it is NOT worth it.
Dear Answer Angel: What is “athleisure” clothing and do I need it? – Jamie S.
Dear Jamie: Wander through Lululemon or Athleta. That’s athleisure wear: Comfortable clothes more stylish than sweats that you wear for your workout but also just wear wherever. If you see people pushing really expensive strollers in your neighborhood, my bet is they’re wearing athleisure clothing. No, you don’t need it. And at Lululemon prices, you probably can’t afford it. But it does look better than sweats and discounters like Marshalls and T. J. Maxx often have a nice and well-priced selection. One caution: Buy looser bottoms if you’re planning to wear them for the leisure on-the-street part of athleisure. Skintight leggings aren’t pants and they look good on almost no one.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My work has set up an appointment for a headshot for the website and I don’t know what to wear. Can you bail me out of this dilemma? – Polly S.
Dear Polly: Look like your best self. Wear what makes you happy. Your favorite color, your favorite earrings, a necklace you love. Don’t forget lipstick, mascara and foundation to even out your skin tone (if you are comfortable wearing it). You can’t go wrong in a crisp white shirt. If you’ve got the cash, book an appointment with a hair stylist you trust or make a special effort to do the best you can. This isn’t the time to experiment with a new look. And remember to smile.