Answer Angel: Backbreaking fashion trends

Tribune Content Agency

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I carry a lot of stuff around in my purse so I’ve been bummed by a style trend to small — even super tiny — purses. Am I hopelessly out of fashion?

— Tiffany T.

Dear Tiffany: Those ridiculously impractical micro-mini purses are already on their way out. The obvious reason: Cute as they are, they can hold virtually nothing.

So, naturally, the latest runway trend is the opposite: huge purses sized more like carry-on luggage. They certainly aren’t “handbags.” They’re more like massive totes. Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Prada, Marni, Tom Ford, Max Mara, Proenza Schouler, Telfar, Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, the Olsen twins’ fashion line (The Row), the list goes on, are showing giant bags.

I once did a story where I weighed random women’s purses and it was an eye-opener. One woman was carrying a back-busting 20.4 pounds. The average purse weight of the 48 women I stopped on the street was 6 pounds. That’s a lot. We’d all be well advised to ruthlessly reexamine what we really need to carry with us! My recommendation is stick with the smallest, lightest purse that will work for you.

And another purse curse question…

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Is there a solution to slipping purse straps? Mine refuse to stay put and slip down my shoulder. All of my purses do this eventually so maybe I just have drooping shoulders but surely I’m not the only one!

— Adrienne B.

Dear Adrienne: You are definitely not alone. The simplest solution is to buy purses with a shoulder strap, preferably adjustable, but long enough that the purse can be worn crossbody. If the purses you own have compatible hardware, you can buy straps online ( has loads of choices) you can attach to your old purses.

Depending on your purse styles, a shoe repair shop might be able to attach the appropriate hardware. If that’s not an option, you can try a Purse Gummy (, 6 for $13.95). This is a silicon strip that attaches to the underside of the strap (purse, tote, diaper bag, etc.) designed for straps at least 1 inch wide. It’s rated four (out of five) stars on with 1,747 ratings. One complaint is the strip becomes unsticky too quickly.

Another option, which has significant downsides, is Velcro with a sticky side, which you can buy online or in fabric stores. Attach the sticky side to the underside of the purse strap with the rough side of the Velcro showing. However, the tiny hooks on the rough side of Velcro are likely to feel terrible on bare shoulder skin and destructive on the shoulder fabric of your clothing. I wouldn’t go there.

Angelic Readers

Thanks to all of you who came to the rescue of Renee M., who needed help finding crisp sheets that come out of the dryer feeling like they were dried on a clothesline on a sunny day. Jo M. writes, “I am a nutball about crisp, cotton sheets and I feel like I have found them!! I love my sheets and I am happy to share. The company is Brooklinen. I buy the Classic Core set (, $139 and up). They are just wonderful!” Mary R. is a Brooklinen fan too. Nancy S. says, “I love Kohl’s Big One sheet set! 275-thread count, white only because I love to bleach my sheets and always hang them on the clothesline. They smell so great and feel so refreshing!” (, $24.99 and up on sale). (From Ellen: These aren’t available in 100% cotton so I’m worried they won’t be super crisp.) Joni B. says Parachute percale sheets are “Perfection!!” (, $129 and up). Annmarie, Alice T., Mary Louise P., Robyn B. and Barry S. recommend Clothesline Crisp Cotton sheets from The Vermont Country Store (, $34.95 and up). Deborah F. buys Target Threshold Percale (, $30 and up). Kerrie prefers Red Land Cotton sheets (, $215 and up).