Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have a Gucci cross-body bag, which I purchased some years ago. I no longer have the receipt, but I know I purchased it at a reputable department store. I would like to sell the purse but do not know how to authenticate it. I have emailed Gucci but have not gotten a response. Any suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated. – W.J.B.
Dear W. J. B.: I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a response from Gucci. Fortunately, there is more info out there on authenticating designer bags than you could possibly wade through. YouTube (youtube.com) has dozens of videos. There are bag blogs galore – like bagvanity.com and bagaholic101.com – that have extensive guides on the subject.
But, if you're planning to sell or consign it at a high-end shop (like therealreal.com), they know how to tell fakes and will save you the trouble of all that research. They have eagle-eye experts on hand to authenticate Gucci, Hermes and many other often-knocked-off luxury brands. You'd get more for your Gucci bag if you had the sales receipt, the controllato (authenticity card) and the dust bag that came with it. But don't cry over that spilled milk. Hope that your bag is one that is rare and in demand. If so and if yours is in great shape, you could well get plenty more than you paid for it.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I am fit but not thin, and all my extra weight is in my rear, hips and thighs. One of my regular workouts is a 4-mile walk around my neighborhood, but I can't find shorts to wear for the trek. I am not comfortable in tight yoga-pant-style shorts and the 5-inch inseam of nylon running shorts is way too skimpy for me. I don't want Bermuda shorts.
I would pay dearly for a pair of shorts made out of material that would be good for a long walk on a hot summer day, has about an 8-inch inseam and will fit my hips without being too big in the waist. I've looked everywhere I can think of. Fitness wear seems to be made for tall, thin, young people. Is there any hope? – Anne H.
Dear Anne: Yes, indeed, there's hope. Think about a skort. It looks like a skirt but has shorts attached. Women golfers swear by them. Often, they even have pockets! Some also feature internal drawstring waists or elastic waists. An online search for "golf skort" turns up many options (for instance, Lands' End, landsend.com, $25.95 to size 16). One more suggestion, shop in the men's department where "ample" shorts are the norm.
Tom D. had this suggestion for the reader who had high-quality professional clothes to donate: "Cara is always looking for women's and men's business attire for its clients who are climbing out of poverty and attaining a job in the workplace. Go to carachicago.org to learn more about this fabulous Chicago organization." I contacted the president and CEO of Cara and learned that Cara's only branch is in Chicago right now, but if that's not convenient, contact the organization through the website to arrange donations by mail.
Another option: Cele C. says, "Check out local theater groups or costume shops, which often need 'period' clothes."
Readers wrote in droves to sing agreement and say "Amen" to the letter from Joan B. struggling to understand why female television weathercasters wear tight, short, sexy clothes. A small sample:
Marge C.: "I have even switched channels because of this issue. It is not just weathercasters; it is anchors as well."
Mary W.: "It seems to be a dress code on all the stations. They look like they are posing for the camera as if modeling, and I think the sleeveless dresses look foolish in the winter months. It's not supposed to be a fashion show."
Dolores M.: "One cannot even pay attention to the weather report for the distraction. Some of the reporters also should never be seen in some of the things they wear on TV. More recently, some of the male weathercasters also have been wearing too tight/too short jackets and the awful skinny pants, which look terrible on most all men. It may be the going trend, but it remains a poor choice, regardless."
Cathy S.: "I agree with Joan B. that the female weathercasters (and some of the anchors, as well) wear clothes that are too tight and too short. They look more like cheerleaders than educated, competent professionals, and I find it distracting. I often wish that the women wore a 'uniform,' as the men do, so that we could focus on their reports, rather than on their fashion choices."
MaryAnn G.: "I was glad to read that someone else has wondered why some female weathercasters dress so inappropriately on TV. If they want to be respected for their profession, they should think about what they are portraying."
Pat K.: "I find it so demeaning and disturbing that the apparel of females cannot be as professional as that of males. If women want to be considered as professional as men, then they should dress as such. We cannot be taken seriously if we do not take ourselves and our positions seriously."
Bud has a different opinion, which make's Pat's point, above, though I don't think he meant to: "Ellen, Ellen, Ellen – I am part of the target demographic of men (and many women) between 14 and 94 who appreciate cute, fit and perky female weathercasters. If we did not want to see attractive weathercasters, we would look at the weather app or turn on the radio."
SHOP, DROP, GET HELP
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