Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What is your rule on sneakers/trainers/athletic shoes at work? I like to wear Converse-type sneakers with my knee-length skirts. Is it too youthful and try-too-hard?
— Suze C.
Dear Suze: There are no rules on this. Sneakers can look great with skirts no matter what your age and the only question you have to ask yourself is what is everyone else wearing? Workplaces are getting more casual by the day — shorts, flip-flops, T-shirts and sundresses show up in offices across the country. But in some places there are dress codes. Or, common sense. There’s merit to the idea that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. But in some workplaces, if you showed up in a dress, heels and hose or a suit and tie you’d be laughed out of the place. Look around at your co-workers. They’re probably the best indication of what works where you work.
And another question about dressing informally…
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have noticed more people dressing quite casually at memorial services. Is there a distinction in terms of attire for funerals versus memorial services that are held weeks and even months after the person has passed away?
— Karen K.
Dear Karen: If a funeral is held in a place of worship, you should dress respectfully and not in something scanty or suitable for a day at the ballpark. For memorial services, it depends. I once went to a memorial service at a baseball park on a hot day where dress was very informal. Dress for a memorial in the woods or a picnic setting would be more casual than for one in the library of a fancy club or at an elegant restaurant. Consider your surroundings and dress in keeping with the event site.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I enjoy wearing straight leg pants in summer when I can wear sandals and not wear hosiery. However, in cold weather with other shoe styles I need to wear knee-highs with pants. This creates a problem with the pants not being able to slide down the leg when going from a seated to standing position. Is there any hosiery I can wear to solve this problem?
— Sherry H.
Dear Sherry: Static cling is irritating, especially in dry weather and the colder months but there are some easy fixes. A bit of hair spray on the socks and on the inside of the pants leg will eliminate the cling. Rubbing those areas with a dryer sheet also works as does adding fabric softener to your wash or a dryer sheet when drying your clothes. Lotion or moisturizer on your skin also is a solution. There are also anti-static products like Static Guard spray available at drugstores.
So many of you had strong opinions and suggestions on the issue of whether visitors should be asked to remove their shoes at the front door.
From Sharon S.: “Someone who doesn’t want shoes worn in the house shouldn’t allow bare feet, either. Oils from the skin can soil carpets. House slippers or socks are a better option. There are many cute, comfy options.” Cynthia H. writes, “We have been a shoeless household ever since we found our toddler eating something black and nasty off the floor over 30 years ago. Since then, I have spent far less time and money cleaning our floors and rugs. Plus, I feel good about going barefoot at home. We have clean hotel-type slippers, shoe covers and various socks for our guests and visitors available near a bench at the front door. We also advise them ahead of time when possible so they can bring slippers or ‘indoor shoes’ if they wish.”
Kaye A. says, “I think asking people to remove their shoes, without offering an alternative, is rude. The people who have the ‘no shoes’ policy should offer cheap flip-flops or the kinds of washable slippers hospitals provide, so their guests can have something on their feet.” Many readers — Regina M., Char B., Sue B. and Marcia S. — agreed that if shoes are not allowed, guests should be offered something, like those paper booties popular among service people who work inside homes (available on amazon.com). Cathy W., Cindi C., Valerie S., Kathleen K., Fran, Rich L., Cathy W., Katharine S. and Sharon P. have shoes/slippers/no-slip socks in their purse, backpack or car just in case. Kathleen N. says, “I feel that telling guests that they have to take off their shoes is rude. … If someone is adamant, they should provide slippers for guests or tell them in advance that they may not wear their shoes and then they can decide to attend or not.” Rita W. writes, “My sister had the best answer for not removing her shoes. She says, ‘I have athlete’s feet and that is contagious.’”
From Therese N.: “Getting new clothes from retailers that have without a doubt been previously worn. I am so tired of stinky clothes! Please someone develop a fail-safe way that makes clothes non-returnable after being worn. A major discount chain even has a category called ‘previously worn — reconditioned.’ Ewww. Worst offenders are dresses and formal gowns. Sure, that stupid tag that says ‘do not remove’ will not work — it is easily reattached with an $8 tagging gun. Also, fitting rooms should have wet wipes available for persons to wipe their armpit areas prior to trying on clothing.”
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