Miracle handbag can carry the day and much more


December 23, 1993|By Marylou Luther | Marylou Luther,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: If I carry a big handbag, I fill it. And then my shoulder sags. And I get tired from lugging all that weight around. So please help me find a small but efficient bag that will hold my billfold, lipstick, car keys and Kleenex -- a high-quality, low-maintenance leather bag that will go with everything I wear, no matter what color.

This may take a miracle, but if it could cost about $100 (no more), function both for work and then go right on out to dinner, that would be ideal.

A: Expect a miracle. That's the promise in a $100 nappa leather bag that comes with its own Expect a Miracle gold pendant dangling from the strap.

It's the brainchild of Etienne Aigner's accessories president, Liz Conover, who designed the bag to function day and night and hold even more than the promise of miracles. (It will definitely accommodate your list, and Ms. Conover says it's both the size and shape to go with today's softer clothes.)

Available in black or ivory, it has matte gold hardware and a gold cotton lining.

For retail outlets, write to Real Life Communications & Marketing, 123 E. 54th St., Suite 8G, New York, N.Y. 10022.

Q: The gold ring my husband gave me for our anniversary is now causing black smudges on my finger.

The jeweler says there is definitely nothing wrong with my 14K gold ring, and he cannot explain the black smudges. Can you?

A: I took your question to the experts at Jewelers of America, a national trade association of retail jewelers. They say your smudging is probably caused by cosmetics. Blackdermographism, which literally means black writing on the skin, occurs when cosmetics contain chemical compounds harder than the jewelry metals they contact. The most common of these compounds are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, ferric oxide and calamine.

The experts explain that zinc oxide is a major white pigment used in face powder, creams and lipstick. It has recently been replaced, they say, by titanium dioxide, which can be equally hard on jewelry. Rouge and face powders often contain ferric oxide pigments. And calamine, a tinted oxide, is found in some medicated cosmetics and lotions. When left on the skin, particles from these cosmetics act like fine sandpaper. They abrade the softer jewelry metals such as gold, silver, platinum and nickel and leave deposits -- smudges -- on the skin. The good news is the smudges can be removed with soap and water.

For more information, including the effect of salt and sulphur on certain rings and what to do if you have a nickel allergy, write for free brochures to Jewelers of America, 1185 Avenue of the Americas, 30th floor, New York, N.Y. 10036.

Q: I am an old-fashioned senior citizen who likes the gentle support of an old-fashioned girdle -- the kind with supporters to hold up hose. My last source no longer offers them. I do not want a corset. And I need more strength (cotton fabric) than stretch elastic alone. Can you help?

A: The people at the Vermont Country Store, Box 3000, Manchester Center, Vt. 05255-3000, have been making what they call Perfect Pucker girdles for more than 50 years.

These knitted girdles of 83 percent acetate, 17 percent rubber, have nylon tummy control panels.

The panty girdle has a nylon crotch.

Both it and the open girdle at 12.95 each, plus postage and handling, have removable garters.

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