Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Why is it so hard to find a decent bathing suit for plus-size gals? Men’s swim trunks are mostly to the knee and look very comfortable. It would be nice to find a ladies two-piece suit that has swim shorts that are modest and comfortable. I’m tired of tugging to keep the bottoms out of you know where, and I do not have nice legs to be showing off. Please help me find a modest suit before summer comes and I avoid the pool once again out of embarrassment.
Dear Modest One: We both know the answer to why-oh-why we can’t find decent swimwear in plus sizes. Because designers and retailers continue to ignore us! I recently went swimsuit shopping with a plus-size friend, and it was an exercise in humiliation and defeat.
Here’s what I learned: You probably will be happier with swim separates, a swim skirt or swim shorts, paired with a top (some come in cup sizes) that fits properly and provides ample coverage in the midriff area, so that when you bend over, you’re not showing off body parts you would prefer to keep covered.
I keep coming back to Lands’ End (landsend.com), which even has “conceal thighs” and “swim dress” options in plus sizes. And there’s great customer service. You’re going to need to spend a fair amount if you want a suit with decent fabric that won’t stretch out of shape after a single season. I just bought a second $120 swimsuit during a 50 percent-off sale there, and I’m a friend for life. I know it’s iffy to shop for swimwear online but Lands End has a generous free-shipping return policy.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: We’re not that far from the end of the school year, and once again, I am troubled by the question of what to give my kids’ hardworking teachers as a thank-you gift. I’m not talking about anything extravagant, but something in the $15 or $20 range that isn’t a coffee cup, apple-for-the-teacher-themed tchotchke and all that. What can you recommend?
— Bethy B.
Dear Bethy: Many teachers spend big chunks of their own money on class supplies when confronted with the cuts in school funding across the country. A gift card for any big box store is always welcome. But let’s hear from a teacher in the trenches.
Becky L. recently wrote me to report, “The best teacher gift I ever got was a chance to make a donation to a charity of my choice. This has happened twice in the 21 years I’ve been teaching. The first time the family asked me to pick a charity, and they sent a donation in my name. The second time, the family gave me a TisBest Charity Gift Card. You use this by going online to tisbest.org and picking from among hundr of organizations. I am grateful for every gift I get and the thought and appreciation that prompted it, but I really don’t need any more chocolates, candles or doodads. I love being able to make the world a little better through this kind of gift.”
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: We have an acquaintance who says it’s never acceptable for men to wear white socks (unless for workouts, sports, etc.). But I have some white pants and white shoes (Polo leather shoes, very nice), and it seems that white socks are the way to go. What say you? Sock it to me.
— Jay J.
Dear Jay: Go for something more colorful. Be bold. Head-to-toe white is a little ice cream man, don’t you think? I do. I’m picturing you in nice white-linen pants, some classic white bucks shoes and bright blue, citron yellow or fuchsia socks. Believe me, you’ll get compliments. Try it. P.S. I agree with your friend who says men shouldn’t wear white socks except for athletics. Sound advice!
Polly P. writes, “I have pets and kids who aren’t careful with fruit drinks. I needed a really good spot remover for my carpets and have been let down time after time. Then I found Folex. I got it after a sales clerk at Home Depot recommended it.
You don’t have to rinse — just spray. It is very good on red wine, pet accidents and food, and works on upholstery too. It’s been made for the last 40 years by the Folex Co. in Spring Valley, Calif. (amazon.com, $10.99). Originally for industrial uses, its plain white spray bottle looks extremely basic, even now that consumers have discovered it. It’s safe on colorfast carpets and doesn’t have a chemical smell. It’s also petroleum-free. Just wanted to share this treasure.”
From Sigrid R.: “I don’t agree with your anti-capri campaign. For me, a big no-no is the shoes with ankle straps that totally cut off the leg and make it appear shorter and less attractive. That is a far worse looking than any length of pants. The straps shrink the length of the leg. Maybe you will be generous and address that problem. We all have different tastes. You mentioned the capris so often I think your readers got the message.”
Dear Sigrid: I completely support your anti-ankle strap stance. Even women with the shapeliest legs and ankles do themselves no favor with ankle strap shoes, which are instant leg shorteners. They’re popular on the red carpet, but I think they’re a mistake.
SHOP, DROP, GET HELP
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