Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’m traveling cross-country for a wedding. But, sadly, I now learn that a funeral service for a dear friend is also scheduled in the same city for that weekend. So now I’m going to a joyful event and a very sad one. And many of the same people will be attending both events. I had planned to wear a simple black sheath with a new shawl I bought to the (outdoor) wedding. Now that seems like it would be the right combo for the funeral. I don’t want to wear the dress/shawl to both events because of guest overlap.
But wait, there’s more … I need something to wear to an upcoming outdoor casual wedding in a chillier climate. I think I want a pantsuit because I think it will be cool. Any ideas on where to shop online since I don’t have access to good shopping where I live?
— Kerry F.
Dear Kerry: Like many of us attending events again after a long pandemic confinement, could you be overthinking all this? It’s not easy to dress up after months of sweatpants. As long as whatever you choose to wear to the wedding(s) won’t overshadow the bride, you’ll be fine.
Let’s take the wedding/funeral issue first. You can wear the black sheath to both the funeral and the wedding and look totally appropriate for both and nobody will notice your dress did double duty. Trust me. I’ve done it myself. The dress is your blank canvas. Accessories — low-key for the funeral (the shawl?) and bright and cheerful for the wedding — will make each look unique. Stop worrying. You’ve got this.
Moving on to “the casual wedding in a chillier climate,” I wouldn’t buy a pantsuit online unless you’ve got the time to have it altered. You’d be awfully lucky if it fit perfectly unless you’re a very standard size. Even then, sizing has gone crazily inconsistent. A skirt or dress (how about that black sheath you mentioned?) with tights for warmth, topped with a jacket or blazer in a different color/pattern/texture would be a better bet for a decent fit without a tailor. A jacket with three-quarter-length sleeves would assure that sleeve length won’t be a problem. Department store websites — nordstrom.com and macys.com, for example — have a nice selection of jackets and blazers with ruched or three-quarter-length sleeves at reasonable prices. Store brands like Halogen (Nordstrom) and Charter Club (Macy’s) are well-priced. Whatever you decide to order online, be sure it is returnable in case the fit doesn’t work.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have a 14-year-old granddaughter who is 6-foot-1 and is probably still growing. Her problem is not her height as she is very comfortable with herself. Her problem is her feet have also grown and she is wearing size 12 wide gym shoes. We are hoping you can help us find someone who sells or makes shoes in size 13 or 14 for women. She is a beautiful, happy, fun young girl (I am prejudiced but I am her grandmother).
— Carol H.
Dear Carol: How wonderful that your tall granddaughter is “comfortable with herself” and a “happy, fun young girl.” Tall is beautiful as Judy, my best high school friend who is 6-feet-plus, will attest. Like your granddaughter, Judy has had trouble all her life finding shoes in larger sizes. The internet shoe selection isn’t huge in larger sizes but I found women’s athletic shoes by name brands like Brooks, Asics, New Balance and Reebok in your granddaughter’s size at Zappos (zappos.com), Dick’s Sporting Goods (dickssportinggoods.com) and Nordstrom (Nordstrom.com). DSW (dsw.com) and Long Tall Sally (longtallsally.com) also carry larger sizes, though not much for athletes.
Experienced stadium-goers came through with frugal suggestions for clear purses that meet security requirements for football games and concerts. W.M. proudly sent a photo of her find for $1 at the Dollar Store. Others suggest the heavy-duty clear plastic zip packaging on sheets, which is more durable and easier to handle than flimsy food storage baggies from the grocery store. Jacki N. laments, “Women’s slacks have such skimpy pockets. I volunteer at local theaters and find men’s slacks perfect.”
A black dress is your blank canvas. Accessories will make each look for different events unique.
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