Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No. Fifteen

Mar 6, 2024

It’s been a hectic week — colonoscopy, Sloane’s 18-month Wellness Checkup, another round of winter colds, our 1st(4th) wedding anniversary, Kyle’s birthday tomorrow — and I’m hanging on with hope and prayer. So you know what that means…it’s time to reach into the reader mail bag for an easy, fulfilling post. Just think of Ask the Editor as the 30-minute-meal of blogging. Let’s get to it!

Several readers left comments on another post asking for advice on how to clean white shoes.  So here are some tips that I’ve used and some that others suggested.

For myself, I’ve always used the method recommended by Nike for keeping white leather shoes white: “make a paste by mixing two parts baking soda with one part hydrogen peroxide. Use an old toothbrush to apply the mixture to the soles and uppers of your shoes. Wait 30 minutes before rinsing or leave them to air-dry in the sun and brush away the paste once they’re dry.” This method has never failed me. Though waiting for a sunny day in the Pacific Northwest sometimes slows down the process, but the sun bleaching is a critical step.

For canvas shoes, my Mom used a coarse bristle brush to scrub our Keds (it was the 80s). A good friend does something similar with this product called Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner. She swears that keeps the shoes of her four (!!!) daughters looking white all summer. And if you’re looking for a simpler solution than mixing up hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, the product also works on leather.

Can you remind me what the pens you use are?  I need some new ones and would love to branch out from blue and black.

I like Le Pen.  I buy them in the multi-color pack.

In May I’ll be graduating with a Doctorate and I’d love to use it as an occasion to invest in a graduation outfit I will wear again. The problem is I’ve aged out of the heavy ‘weddings’ part of my life and I work in a fairly casual office. . .so I have no idea what would actually get wear. What would you invest in?

JenB

First off, congratulations.  That is huge!  I hope you plan a fun way to celebrate this milestone.

For the outfit, I think it’s good you’re thinking about what you can wear again so you can get the most out of this gift to yourself.  If this were me, I would buy a truly fantastic DvF wrap dress.  Something that isn’t too formal, but can be worn on date nights and to holiday parties.  But based on your description, that may not be the right choice for you.

May I suggest an incredible pair of shoes.  Think of it like buying a pair of wedding shoes and then wearing them to future formal events, but for a professional graduation.  For example, these marvelous Louboutin black flats, or the Chanel slingbacks every influencer owns, or (for a truly casual option) snap up a pair of Gucci Ace Sneakers with the embroidered bee. The Outnet is the best place to go hunting for cool designer shoes on discount.

Not feeling this idea?  Then, buy the most gorgeous going out top ever.  I am feeling this really beautiful 3d lace tops that are hot right now.  Milly has this incredible button-front top (I am so buying this.).  They also have this crewneck style.  I also love this Self-Portrait top.  For something more relaxed, Zimmerman has a cotton eyelet top that is to die for.

Abra,

My husband and I are taking a 10th Anniversary trip together in May.  I want one piece of incredible lingerie. Budget is $500.  What do you have?  Oh, no black.  He hates black.

Sara

Hates black?  Wow.  That’s going to make this tougher since a lot of the lingerie market is black.

This ballet-pink Belle et Bon Bon piece is more like art than lingerie, but it’s also priced like art.  This Carol Coelho piece is sheer tulle and floral appliqué in black and blue.  I know, I know, black…but just look at it before you reject it.  Fleur de Mal is also a brand worth checking out — this white bustier top is pretty amazing.

Good Afternoon, Abra – 

I am slowly starting to ramp my wardrobe back up after the pandemic and find myself struggling to pick out dress pants suitable for a senior leadership level role. Do you have any recommendations on brands that make a comfortable wide leg pant that’s also easy to clean/wear? Ideally available in a few colors so I can mix/match with various blazers/tops. 

Thanks!! D

So I wear the NYDJ ponte Sculpt Her pants a lot.  If I need something dressier, I own these Ming Wang crepe de chine pull on pants, which sell out every time they come into Nordstrom.  Both pairs are machine washable, lay flat to dry.  Also, Reiss is making most of its luxurious trousers in machine washable fabrics.

On the less expensive side, I can vouch for the greatness of these Ann Taylor fluid crepe pants. I wore the 2021 version of these for the entire legislative session and being able to machine wash them saved my life. For something under-$100, I also own these Nordstrom pants, and I like them a lot.

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  1. Nadine says:

    I graduated with my PhD almost 10 years ago. Shoes are a great idea because whatever outfit you wear to convocation will be covered by the giant robe, anyway! And you’re less likely to grow out of shoes as your body changes over the years. If you can’t find an amazing pair of shoes, spending good money on a blazer that makes you feel powerful is another option. Even in a more casual office/profession, I wear a blazer pretty frequently to dress up jeans and a comfy shirt.

  2. BN says:

    Thank you for the shoe cleaning recs! Pink Miracle purchased 🙂

  3. Leigh says:

    I have white leather Nike Jordans (recommended by Abra!) and I clean them in about 30 seconds with a Magic Eraser. No sign of abrasion on the leather and I’ve done this probably 15 times.

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