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Q. What color/type of shoes do I wear with brown dress pants?

A. Great colors to wear with brown pants: gold, cream, tan, cognac, deep red, bronze, copper. As for what style shoes to wear, virtually any heel will look great with your pants. Without knowing how dressy your pants are or where you are wearing them, here are some suggestions:


Q. My husband and I will be attending an evening gala that is cocktail chic. What type of clothing is cocktail chic? Any suggestions for both of us?

A. “Cocktail Chic” is similar to “Cocktail Attire” but with a little extra room for interpretation. Typical cocktail attire consists of short party dresses for women and dark suits for men. Cocktail Chic includes these items but can also include more creative combinations like a dressy top and pants for women or sport coats and blazers for men. Listen to the “chic” part of the dress code and wear something stylish and modern, rather than safe and classic.

A few suggestions for you:

Q. I am attending a weeknight charity dinner with my husband in New York in late October. The invitation suggests “festive attire”. Do you have any recommendations? Would a wrap dress or skirt suit in a luxurious fabric be appropriate? I’d love some stylish tips, especially something I could wear again to another event.

A. Typically, festive attire is less dressy than black tie or cocktail attire but more dressy than casual or work attire. Festive attire is meant to evoke a fun, flirty, party atmosphere. Think metallics, sequins, beading, ruffles, bows, etc. If your invitation is for a holiday party, then festive attire can also include velvet and other fabrics, colors and prints evocative of the holidays.

Your wrap dress or skirt suit in a luxe fabric might work, just be sure to add something fun like metallic shoes or dazzling earrings. Here are a few other options for your weeknight charity dinner:

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1. Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent Ruffle Dress, nordstrom.com
2. Abaete Women’s Arthur Top and Ricky Skirt, bloomingdales.com
3. Jill Stuart Gantz Top (pair it with nice black pants), shopbop.com
4. Cynthia Steffe Marla Top (pair it with nice black pants), shopbop.com

Want more mileage out of these looks? Either of the sparkly tops above can be worn out to dinner or on a date with jeans, while the ruffled top makes an ideal layering piece under a v-neck sweater, cardigan or jacket.
Q. I am attending a black tie optional affair and am wondering what to wear? Female/35. Some of the ladies are wearing slacks, but this is an affair where all the bigwigs will be attending and I want to make a statement. What should I wear?

A. At a black tie optional affair, men wear tuxedos or dark suits and women wear everything from gowns to dressy cocktail dresses. Slacks can be difficult to pull off, but if you choose to go this route, make sure that they are dressy evening pants and pair them with a glamorous top, great jewelry and heels.

Since you want to dress to impress, a dress always offers the greatest impact. Look for luxe fabrics and special details. Here are a few black tie optional choices that demonstrate the range of appropriate attire:

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1. Maggy London Chiffon Gown with Charmeuse Waist, $158 at nordstrom.com
2. Adrianna Papell Shutter Pleat Satin Dress, $158 at nordstrom.com
3. JS Boutique Beaded Waist Cutaway Dress, $158 at nordstrom.com
4. Carmen Marc Valvo Satin Pants, $210 at saks.com
Q. I have to attend three weddings in November - one which is an optional black tie. I didn’t know November was such a popular wedding month! I’d like to get a dress that I can wear to all three…without spending a FORTUNE. Something trendy and gorgeous! I like black and bright colors and have auburn hair and fair/medium skin tone. Everything out there seems like it is still summery…also can I still wear sandals in November?

A. How lucky you are that you’ll be getting so much use out of one fantastic dress! You mentioned that one wedding is optional black tie, but we’re not sure if the other two weddings are more or less dressy. Below are some affordable options that can be dressed up or down for a multitude of occasions. Pair them with strappy evening-worthy sandals, some fantastic jewelry and you’re ready to dance the night away.

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