Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


CP: When an old boyfriend hauled a blond-veneer cedar chest into the house a long time ago, I thought it was ugly and figured maybe it could sit in the basement and store board games and slide carousels. Boy was I wrong, which rarely happens.


RN: I never pictured you as the slide-carousel type.


CP: Turns out that as an older, wiser, sweater-loving adult, I love that chest. It keeps the moth larvae the heck out of my crew necks. A certain editor at work even tipped me off that one can rejuve an old cedar chest by sanding the inside walls. Who knew?


RN: This is veering dangerously close to Hints From Heloise territory. Not that I’m not grateful.


CP: As well you ought to be. I hope you are properly caring for your $5,000 cashmere inventory.


RN: You exaggerate. Sadly, I’ve recently discovered that three of my favorites are favorites no more, thanks to worn-out elbows and other signs of fatigue. Cashmere lasts a long time, but not forever.


CP: Sorta like my typical relationship.


RN: Stop. But I guess that means more shopping, right?


CP: No argument there. For me, style is easy, as I go for a crew neck or a zipper-all-the-way cardigan. Solids. Merino. Sale-priced. Move on.


RN: I’m sticking with the zipper cardigans, too. I was close to snaring a gray cashmere cardigan the other day, but as I buttoned up I took a good look in the mirror and decided that “avuncular” was not an adjective that I wanted to be associated with, you know what I mean?


CP: Yes, Gramps. Musts to avoid: looks made popular by Mister Rogers, and Bill Cosby.


RN: Yeah, style-wise, nothing says “I’ve given up” faster than emulating Mister Rogers. You know who rocks a Jimmy-Carter-during-the-energy-crisis cardie? Daniel Craig. Although, let’s face it, the former Mr. Bond can rock anything. And he can afford the dry cleaning bill. Me? Not so much.


CP: No need to dry clean. Just dump sweaters in the wash machine, add a capful of Woolite and run the delicate cycle. Afterward, lay those suckers flat on a clean stretch of carpet or a towel, and go watch “Wallander.” This avoids the time-consuming old practice, as taught to me by Mom, of hand-washing in icy water followed by rolling a gently wrung sweater up in a towel before laying it flat.


RN: Thanks, Martha. Who knew you were the fine washables Rain Man?


CP: I certainly hope you are not dropping off loads of dry cleaning anymore. Not while world leaders are gathered at the COP21 climate confab in Paris.


RN: I can’t help it, I like storing my cleaned garments in those plastic bags. You know, the ones that will still be decomposing when Melinda Bush, the great-great-great-great granddaughter of George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush, is occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Is that wrong of me?


CP: I think you know the answer to that.


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib