Answer Angel: Polka dots for all

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am a grown woman — inching toward 40 — who just loves polka dots. My question is: Am I too old to wear polka dots? I don’t want to look like a cartoon character.

— Olivia J.

Dear Olivia: You’re never too old for polka dots! Just last week I added a pair of white-on-black polka dot wide-leg Zara pants from a thrift store ($8!) to my already dot-heavy wardrobe.

After I saw your question, I thought I remembered seeing a photo of Kate Middleton wearing polka dots at a tennis match. When I Googled “who wears polka dots” I discovered she’s a huge fan. Besides the white-on-navy polka dot dress at Wimbledon, I found five other photos of her in different dotted dresses.

The key to grown-up dots dressing, if you fear looking “trying too hard,” is to stick with one polka dot item per outfit. Celebrities like Iman, the statuesque model/actress (and widow of David Bowie), Harry Styles, Sarah Jessica Parker and drag queen Miss Fame all have been photo’d in high dots style. Still not convinced? Start with polka dot socks peeking out from your pants leg and I bet you’ll get compliments.

And another style question…

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am really drawn to jumpsuits. A jumpsuit would help me get dressed for the office if I could just put it on, one and done, without having to think about what top to wear with my skirt or pants. But is a jumpsuit too casual for business wear?

— Melody L.

Dear Melody: Nothing makes it easier to get dressed than a jumpsuit. You will see styles at every price point at stores from Evereve to Nordstrom to high-end boutiques and fast fashion like H&M. Whether the jumpsuit is suitable for the office depends on the cut (no cleavage!), style (no shorts aka rompers), and fabric (frayed denim can look too casual in some settings).

My big caution on choosing this style is you have to practically undress to use the restroom. So make sure the buttons, zipper, belt or snaps are in good working order before you jump into the look.

Angelic Readers 1

On the issue of trying to find replacement bulbs for the overwhelming number of styles of lamps and appliances, Laurie G. M. says, “Whenever I purchase anything with a battery or a bulb I always save the enclosed instructions, the part of the package with the manufacturer information or a photo of that information. In many cases, the instruction or assembly instructions will tell you what bulb or battery to use. If not, you have the information to contact them or to use while looking for a replacement. I have a file box with all the care books and proof-of-purchase receipts. Works!”

Angelic Readers 2

A household tip from Alice S.: “When I tried to remove a label from a container I managed to get some of the adhesive backing on my hands. Soap and water didn’t remove it. I then used an apricot facial scrub and that did the trick.”

Angelic Readers 2

Responding to the question about buying and maintaining knives, Allison E. writes, “I am a big fan of Cutco knives: Made in America, high quality, and you can mail them back to be professionally sharpened (for a nominal fee) for as long as you own the knives. The company’s kitchen shears are the best, and are my go-to wedding present. The knives aren’t inexpensive, but outlast ‘gourmet’ knives that I have foolishly purchased (” From Margaret E.: “Automation has arrived for knife sharpening. No more hunting down a human with skill. Many hardware stores now have machines in Plexiglass boxes that do all knives, except serrated ones like bread knives, for about $12 each — and often there are discounts for multiples. Get your best knife (8-inch chef variety) done at least.”

Reader Rant

Denny B. fumes: “What is it with men and hats? Men wear hats when they don’t need to, but when they need to, they don’t. Like the one who wears a hat while eating in a restaurant. Others don’t when it’s cold or blazing hot. How did this happen?”