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FASHION Q&A

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Like the referee look? Then you’re in luck

By Ellen Warren
Chicago Tribune

Q. Can you explain to me why dressing like a referee is currently in fashion right now? Almost every 15th person I pass on the street has some form of the black and white vertical stripes on. What is the attraction to this fad?! I am flabbergasted people are wearing it.

Dear Red: Just like skirt lengths and jeans styles, colors and patterns of women’s clothes are cyclical. One year it’s neons, pastels or tiny florals. This year, black and white stripes in every direction have really taken off. Why so popular? In part because that’s what’s available in stores at every price, making them affordable even if you’re on a budget. Some color and pattern trends are more enduring than others, and the black and white stripes never really go out of style. The same is true of animal prints and boot-leg jeans.

And isn’t it a relief that the fashion gods have dictated that low heels and flats are “in” and that back-breaking stilettos aren’t? In a word: phew!

In search of a tiny wallet

Q. I’ve downsized to a small cross-body bag. The ease and comfort is a welcome change from the large bag I used to think I needed. (I think those large bags ought to have a set of wheels and an interior light.) But now I need a very small wallet to fit in my delightful small purse. I’ve looked everywhere including the Internet. Can you help?

You might have to improvise like I did when I ran into the same problem. From Coach, I bought a credit-card holder with several wide accordion pockets. I fold paper money in half and put it in one pocket and use other pockets for my (many) credit cards and forms of identification. The card holder is meant to be folded in half, but I leave it flat so it’s thinner and fits in my small purse. The downside: no place for change. If you need a change compartment too, check out Big Skinny ( www.bigskinny.net). Three models with change options that might work for you are the Thin Card Holder with Zippered Pocket, Taxicat Bi-Fold and Trixie Tri-Fold. I like their product and prices. The three I recommend come in light-weight microfiber for under $26.

Man wants a manly bag

Q. I am a 61-year-old male and have been somewhat envious of women. I wish there were a manufacturer who has come up with a suitable men’s bag. Plain and simple. There is not enough room or comfort in carrying keys, wallet and cell phone in a pair of jeans. I have searched online in stores and have yet to find a bag that doesn’t look like a purse.

A male friend showed me his water-resistant bag from www.tausche.de (a German website) that looks great. You can customize it to be plain and simple (as you requested) or colorful and crazy. First choose the size, then base color, then two interchangeable zip-on flaps. And be sure to immediately click “EN” in the upper left corner of the site if you don’t speak German. Closer to home, I’m a fan of Tumi ( www.tumi.com ), where there are a lot of men’s options. They’re a little pricey but made to last and take a beating.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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