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Lanvin-knee-boot.gifQ. First, I love your site, especially the Ask Us feature. So naturally, I thought I’d send this question to StyleBakery! I would love a pair of the Lanvin Flat Knee-High Boots, but at a more affordable price. I’d still like something quality that will last, but not priced at $1000! Any idea where I can find the same look?

A. Great boots, but scary price tag! The good news is, we found some amazing flat boots in a range of prices, all for less than the Lanvins. Scroll through these options:

Q. Bare legs or hosiery at a black tie optional wedding? I’m wearing a simple black dress with a lovely shawl. Also, I have a beautiful pair of patent leather pumps with a peep toe but think maybe I should wear a closed toe shoe? Thanks for your advice.

hosieryorno.gifA. Feel free to skip the hosiery for your black tie optional affair if you feel more comfortable. As for shoes, peep toes are also acceptable, just be sure to have an immaculate pedicure.
Q. I recently bought a navy business skirt suit. The jacket is a hidden button front closure from the neckline down. It looks so plain! I’m thinking of adding a colorful belt to the waist. Will that look odd? How else can I liven up a very plain suit?

A. I applaud your desire to add some personal style to a basic navy suit. Adding a belt, colorful or not, adds a chic touch to a fitted jacket. Try also wearing a colorful or printed underpinning and a bright handbag. Depending on how conservative your office is, you can add patterned tights or a colorful shoe. Jewelry, like this season’s statement necklace, or a scarf can also add interest.

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1. a patent belt in black or a brighter color adds interest to your suit (Anne Klein New York Crossover Collar Jacket, $450 at
2. colorful jewelry and underpinning will brighten up a dark suit (look shown here is from
3. a colored shoe with dark tights (or a bright opaque tight with dark shoes)
Q. I’ve got a bit of a style conundrum. Every style “guru” I’ve read recommends adding a belt to make a waist appear thinner or more shapely. How do I do that if I’m built like Jennifer Lopez? Without a full skirt, the belt just highlights the prominence of my bum, which is not something that I’ve ever wanted to do. I’m tired of always wearing a full top (babydolls, men’s oxfords, tunics) with wide leg jeans or capris. I’d like to be cute once in a while. Any ideas?

A. Belts may be a huge trend this season, but that doesn’t mean they are for everyone. Cinching your waist tends to accentuate your bust, hips and rear - something not all of us are interested in. Women that are thick in the middle or short-waisted may also have trouble finding a flattering way to wear a belt. There are a few tricks, however, to wear a belt without drawing too much attention to your JLo-esque assets:

  • A thick belt draws more attention to your waist and anything above or below it (your bust and hips/rear); try wearing a skinny belt worn at your natural waist instead. (#4 below)
  • Look for a belt that is a similar color to your clothing (#2 below)
  • Look for a top that provides balance to your bum: a blousy shirt with a wide open collar, a boat neck top, etc. Try belting the top and letting it drape over your hips instead of tucking in the top and belting your pants. (#1 and #2 below)
  • Wear a slim-fitting top with a belted full skirt to camouflage your rear (#6 below)
  • Look for drapey dresses belted slightly higher than your natural waist (#3 below)
  • Try wearing your belt hip-slung (#5 below)

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1. Lafayette 148 New York Stretch Cotton Geri Blouse, $328 at
2. Madison Marcus Silk Lunar Top, $245 at
3. Sleeveless silk ruched dress, $148 at
4. Ribbed shawl cardigan, $89 at
5. Ribbed cardigan & wide-leg jean at
6. Belted high-waist skirt, $48 at
Q. I’m still confused whether it’s OK to wear white after Labor Day. Fashion myth or fashion rule?

whiteafterlaborday.jpgA. We thought we put this issue to rest last year, but many of you still aren’t sure if it is acceptable to wear white after Labor Day. There are those who strictly adhere to this antiquated rule, but we promise, you won’t be arrested by the fashion police for wearing white in October (or November or December…)

Essential to pulling this look off is to ensure that your fabrics are weather appropriate - in other words, no linen, eyelet or gauzy white fabrics.

Willing to wear white? Start simple with a white blouse as a layering piece like the look shown right from Collette Dinnigan’s Fall 2008 collection. Feeling more daring? Try white jeans or winter white wool pants with a black chunky knit sweater. Generally, white sweaters, coats and jackets are also a “do”.  White bags and shoes are harder to pull off, so put them away until next spring just to be safe.

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