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Jeannine Stein FASHION POLICE

The Bag Looks Gorgeous, but the Smell ...

September 13, 2002|Jeannine Stein

Dear Fashion Police: A couple of months ago I purchased a beautiful Tod's bag. The bag is wonderful, but it has a heavy leathery smell that is quite unpleasant. Is there a way to kill the odor with some kind of treatment such as a polish or a perfume that won't ruin my bag? I can't give up the bag!

--IT'S IN THE BAG

Dear It's: Relax, we understand. Good bags are hard to find. We called Tod's in New York and the company suggests you send it back to them so they can have a whiff and try to correct the problem. Send the bag to Tod's, 41 E. 57th St., New York, NY 10022, attention Customer Service. We suggest you include a letter stating what is wrong with the bag along with a copy of your receipt, if you have it, and where and when you purchased it.

For others of you who have a similar problem, we got some tips from Roger Smith, owner of Brownie's, a leather and suede cleaner in Huntington Beach. Strong odors from a new handbag may be due, he said, to materials used in the tanning process that can accentuate an otherwise tolerable leather smell.

He suggests putting the bag in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight until the odor dissipates. You can also crumple up some white tissue paper or blank newsprint and put it inside the bag; that may also help get rid of the smell.

Trying to mask it with deodorizing sprays or perfumes might not only damage the purse, he added, but also exacerbate the odor problem.

Dear Fashion Police: I have a problem finding suitable workout wear. Surely I'm not the only 60-plus (OK, I'm 63) woman who wants to go to the studio or gym and be able to make a stop or two on the way without feeling foolish. Though I'm in decent shape, I don't want to expose my midriff and upper arms. Doesn't someone make a good stretchy bottom, tights or pants, and a top with some coverage and maybe a jacket to match? Both summer and winter weights are needed at moderate prices.

--GYM BOUND

Dear Gym: Trust us, you're not alone in trying to cover up some of your least favorite body parts. Wanting to hide a less than flat stomach, a pair of substantial love handles or big old booty isn't limited to age or gender, for that matter.

Luckily for you, appropriate workout wear is at your fingertips. The trend in gyms these days is to dress way, way down. Leggings, sweats, capris and shorts in basic shades of black, navy, olive, red and gray are most often worn with unadorned T-shirts and tank tops (maybe a small logo at most). Shiny, ultra-skimpy and matching outfits are out, out, out.

The most important thing to keep in mind when looking for workout wear is choosing pieces that are right for the type of exercise you do.

If you're in aerobics classes most of the time, you'll need stretchy pieces that lend some support, since you're moving around a great deal. Choose the bottom you find most comfortable--leggings, capris or shorts. Some hug the leg, others are more loose-fitting. Add a good, firm sports bra and a T-shirt that covers as much as you want it to. Make sure the T-shirt isn't too oversized, though, since it can restrict your movements when the extra fabric catches on your body as you move.

If you're strictly a low-impact gal, hanging out on the elliptical trainer, walking on the treadmill or doing weight work, select a pant or short that you find comfy. Your sports bra should offer some support, but you may not need an industrial-strength model--you make the call on this one.

Again, opt for a T-shirt that's roomy, as long as you're not swimming in it.

The fabric you choose will depend on how much you sweat and if you have allergies or are sensitive to specific fibers. Many people find some blend of cotton and Lycra best; others prefer synthetics such as micro-fiber, which wicks moisture away from the body--helpful if you perspire a lot when you exercise.

As for cover-ups, there are any number of sweat pants and jackets out there in everything from cotton to nylon. For cooler months we suggest a heavyweight cotton or fleece, and for warmer months lightweight cotton, micro-fiber or nylon. We strongly suggest changing out of your workout clothes before you exit the gym. Not only will you look more presentable, but it's really unpleasant to walk around in wet, sweaty clothes.

We're happy to provide some online resources for workout wear, but we also recommend shopping at your local sporting goods or athletic wear stores as well. At these kinds of stores we've found leggings and sweats for under $25 and T-shirts for under $15. Remember that designer labels and well-known athletic brands can mean higher prices.

Here are some resources to check out: SanDiegoFit.com (www. sandiegofit.com, [888] 257-3348), Title Nine Sports (www.title9sports .com, [800] 342-4448), Speedo (www.speedo.com, [888] 477-3336), Sportmart (www.sportmart.com, [877] 740-6324), and Sport Chalet (www.sportchalet.com, [888] 801-9162).

*Write to Fashion Police, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles CA 90012, fax to (213) 237-4888, or send e-mail to jeannine.stein@latimes.com.

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