Tribune senior correspondent
August 24, 2012
This is definitely the only time you'll see the Answer Angel linked in any way to Bette Midler.
But I couldn't help thinking about Midler's popular recording of "Wind Beneath My Wings" when your emails started piling up. Readers were the wind beneath this angel's wings after my recent rant about clothing manufacturers and retailers who don't understand that women want clothes with sleeves that cover their arms.
You stepped up with suggestions — almost two dozen — on where to find dresses and tops with sleeves that come at least to the elbow.
And I especially loved that you agree with me that it's time for store buyers to pay attention to us and start stocking clothes that women with imperfect bodies (virtually everyone) actually want to wear.
You came up with online options and even actual stores that do stock clothes with sleeves. Some of the sites were pricey, others a little cheesy, several (Woman Within and Jessica London) for larger sizes only. But take a look if you're on the hunt for clothes that cover the wobbly arm issue. For those of you who took the time to write, you've done us all a service. Thank you. You're my angels … and, like I said, the wind beneath my wings.
Here's a small sampling of the emails (and U.S. mail letters too) that you sent me on the issue of my sleeves rant followed by a comprehensive list of your suggestions on where to shop for clothes that cover your upper arms.
Dear Answer Angel: Just wanted to let you know that I am completely on board with the need for stores and designers to consider dresses with sleeves.
I'm getting pretty sick of stores and designers catering almost exclusively to the under 35 age group. I've had enough. Is there something we women can do to get some badly needed respect for those of us over 40, 50 and 60 — the group that has the most money to spend?
Dear Nadia: Amen, sister!
Dear Answer Angel: Why have you never mentioned Chico's as a solution for some problems mature women have in finding clothing?
Dear Sandra: I feel like every "mature" woman I know shops there and they all look alike. But you're right, they do stock clothes that let you cover your troubling parts without looking old-lady.
Dear Answer Angel: Although this isn't a replacement for the holy grail of clothing with flattering sleeves, halftees have come to the rescue for me many times for arm issues, bra strap issues, as well as from clothing that is too low cut. Check out halftee.com. They come in many colors and sleeve lengths, they're inexpensive and run true to size.
Dear Linda: These are especially useful for pregnant women. Layering with a thin T-shirt also can get the job done in some cases.
Dear Answer Angel: Do you know about eshakti.com? You can pick out a dress or top and add any sleeve you want.
Dear Danielle: No, I never heard of it. I went to the site and was amazed. Beyond the sleeve choices, they also offer custom sizing to your measurements, your choice of dress or skirt length and various necklines too. All this for a maximum of $7.50 per garment. I haven't tried it but it sounds great and the answer to a lot of women's complaints. However, the site is hard to figure out. Click on the item you want. Only then can you scroll down for the customize options.
Regular readers know that I'm a big fan of Foxcroft no-iron blouses and the company just launched its own website where you can order their full array of great, though not cheap, shirts: foxcroftcollection.com.
And here are all the websites (some have stores too) that readers have used to find tops and dresses that cover the parts they don't want to show to the world:
Appleseeds.com; http://www.bonworth.com; brooksbrothers.com; http://www.coldwatercreek.com; chicos.com; eshakti.com; foxcroftcollection.com; haband.com; halftee.com; jcpenney.com; http://www.jessicalondon.com; jmclaughlin.com; kmart.com; landsend.com; llbean.com; magellans.com; northstyle.com; orvis.com; talbots.com; togshop.com; travelsmith.com; vermontcountrystore.com; womanwithin.com.
Readers also have stepped up to offer their answers to a couple of other recent Answer Angel questions.
The issue: How to tell people that they're showing too much cleavage at work and school.
Dear Answer Angel: My granddaughter just participated in a youth program that involved a trip to Canada. Her clothing guidelines went something like this. The 4 B's: No breasts, no backs, no bellies, no butts.
Dear Barb: That's a good-natured way to tell people of all ages to dress appropriately. Thank you for the public service.
The issue: A reader asked what to do about those little ribbon loops that keep clothing from slipping off the hangars. I said cut them off because they always wind up slipping out of a sleeve or neckline and look terrible. But you had some other suggestions:
Dear Answer Angel: Don't cut those ribbon loops off! Tuck them under your bra strap to keep your neckline in place and prevent the neckline from falling off your shoulder or exposing your bra strap.
Dear Answer Angel: After cutting off the hanging straps in clothing such as blouses, dresses, etc., place a rubber band on either side of the hangar and your particular item will NOT slip off the hangar.
Dear Pat and J.T.: I've tried the bra strap thing and it isn't always a success. Those ribbon loops, often slippery, seem to work their way out and flap in plain view. I also tried the rubber band suggestion and it works! But you need to make sure the bands are wrapped around the "points" of the hangar tightly, winding them a couple times so they don't fall off.
And a question from a thoughtful friend:
Dear Answer Angel: An early-twenties young woman came to me to help her solve the problem of excessive underarm perspiration. I gave her some dress shields and she uses an antiperspirant, but do you have any other suggestions?
—Trying to Help
Dear Trying: Botox! The injections that help reduce frown lines can also be used in the underarm area to limit perspiration. This stuff is expensive and I'd recommend that your friend ask a dermatologist's opinion on whether it's worth it.
Shop, drop, get help: Send your questions — on style, shopping, beauty and makeup — to firstname.lastname@example.org.