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Q. I need more formal business suits – think Washington politico or federal agent.  I’ve been down the J.Crew and Banana Republic roads (I own a basic black Banana suit that I love), but where else should I look/try?
-Suit Search

A. Your suit may have to be conservative, but it doesn’t have to be boring.  Look for well-tailored, well fitting suits that step beyond dull box cuts.

Tahari by ASL Solid Skirt SuitTahari by Arthur S. Levine Plaid Skirt Suit & CamisoleGARFIELDMARKS Pinstripe JacketTheory "Andy Albers" Suit Jacket, Blouse, and Pants

1. Tahari by ASL Solid Skirt Suit, $140 (sale) at macys.com
2. Tahari by Arthur S. Levine Plaid Skirt Suit & Camisole, $320 at macys.com
3. GARFIELDMARKS Pinstripe Jacket, $394 and ‘Lori’ Pants, $194 at nordstrom.com
4. Theory "Andy Albers" Suit Jacket, Blouse, and Pants at bloomingdales.com

Cardigan Options

Q. I’m a 29-year-old attorney who loves cardigans!  I just went on a cardigan buying spree at J. Crew and now I own three more cardigans but they all have a three-quarter length sleeve.  Since it’s winter and I live in New York, I don’t want to wear a cami or a short sleeve blouse with them…  Can I wear a long sleeve button down shirt instead or are long sleeves a no-no?
-Long or Short


A. Long Sleeves are definitely a yes with a 3/4 sleeve cardigan. It can be especially chic with a pop of color like a shiny silk blouse or a patterned top. Generally, you should opt for a thin fabric so you don’t add unnecessary bulk underneath the cardigan.  Some suggestions:

Aqua Ruffle Front Bow BlouseCarte Blanche by Anja Flynt Long Sleeve Button Front Tunic in IvoryRag & Bone Wrap Neck BlouseMunthe Plus Simonsen Rosalina Tunic

1. Aqua Ruffle Front Bow Blouse, $31.20 (sale) at bloomingdales.com
2. Carte Blanche by Anja Flynt Long Sleeve Button Front Tunic in Ivory, $235 at couturecandy.com
3. Rag & Bone Wrap Neck Blouse, $168 (sale) at tobi.com
4. Munthe Plus Simonsen Rosalina Tunic, $175 (sale) at tobi.com

Q. Since LA isn’t very cold, I like to wear a sweater dress so I don’t have to take a jacket with me.   I had a question about how to dress up a gray scoop neck sweater dress or a dark navy blue cowl neck sweater dress.  Can I wear these with boots and tights?  If so, which color scheme would go best with this outfit.
-Cover Cozy

A. For gray, I like the idea of adding color or texture. Try opaque plum, olive green or a cable knit black or navy pattern and add knee high or ankle boots for complete coverage when heading out at night. For navy, go either with a navy hue for a sleek head to toe look and add patent leather heels in a color for a bit of attitude like burgundy or steel grey, or go for the chic contrast of black and navy by wearing opaque tights and adding a wide black belt at the waist.

Q. I’m trying to figure out what to pack for my three week honeymoon in Thailand. We will be on the beach most of the time, but spending a few days in Bangkok & Chiang Mai. We are going mid-February so temp will be in the 80s.
-Bliss Bound

A.  I am hooked on water bound vacations and have learned the ins and outs of packing, whether it’s low key surfing in Costa Rica or a relaxing boat trip in the Caribbean. The great part of a warm weather locale is that you can pack more since the pieces are thinner and take up less room in your bag. One big bag is enough, don’t pack more than 5 pairs of shoes (sandals, flip flops, etc.) and pack more sunscreen than you think you’ll need, or be willing to buy a few items when you travel. And consider using shampoo to wash intimates along the way to cut down on the amount of underwear and bras that you pack.

It gets quite humid during the middle of the day in Thailand so you may have to deal with the sweat factor. Don’t pack anything you may worry about perspiration stains setting in before you can get home to do a wash.

Packing List:

  • Lightweight dresses - I like thin silk blend dresses that can be rolled up and crinkled so no wrinkle worries.
  • Cotton tunics that double as both beach cover up and a chic look with short shorts or long pants.
  • A few solid tanks in white, navy and black.
  • Short sleeve polos - they look nicer than a basic t-shirt.
  • Shorts in varying lengths from Bermuda for shopping and exploring to shorter version for water bound days.
  • Four swimsuits - hey, it’s your honeymoon and you need to rotate the styles and your look. Choose a bandeau for optimum tan line avoidance, a halter style for good cleavage, a one piece for any water activities and one patterned swimsuit for sass.
  • Two pairs of sunglasses - it took me two vacations to learn this lesson when I was stuck buying an expensive replacement pair that I didn’t even like because the cheap ones didn’t give me enough shade or UV protection.
  • Flip-flops for daily beach wear - buy an inexpensive pair from Old Navy or Havianas and if they get dirty, just toss at the end of your honeymoon.
  • Sandals - high heel and flats.
  • Cute sneakers.

Some fun, flirty dress choices for your honeymoon:

Danci DressDsc 0740 Detail-1BB Dakota La Danse Empire DressButter by Nadia Jersey Wrap Dress

1. Danci Dress, $350 at calypso-celle.com
2. Velvet Heather Dress, $185 at tobi.com
3. BB Dakota La Danse Empire Dress, $45 at tobi.com
4. Butter by Nadia Jersey Wrap Dress, $250 at calypso-celle.com

Q. Thank you for your consistent savvy fashion advice.  This is the third time I am asking a question and you have always given me superb tips.  I will come back for more! I am in search of the perfect black pants—if there is such a thing.  Something versatile that I could wear year round, can be dressed up or down, and is wrinkle and lint-resistant, too.  Is that too much to ask?
-Fit Fantastic

A. Unfortunately, due to everyone woman being shaped differently, I can’t guarantee the perfect pair. I’m a big fan of Vince, Alice+Olivia, Chaiken, Jolie Anlo and sometimes Theory. I suggest that once you find the right pair, consider buying two pairs since black pants are truly classics. As for lint resistant pants, this means avoiding wool pants that seem to “catch” everything and avoiding sweaters that shed. Advertised wrinkle resistant pants generally mean that the fabric fibers are treated with a chemical to help resist wrinkles, this also means that the resistance usually lasts only about 30 washings. Polyester and jersey fabric blends usually mean fewer wrinkles.

A few options for you:

Alice + Olivia Wide Waist High Waisted Pant with Belt Chaiken Profile Cuffed Full Leg Trouserspad	Theory Max C Tailor Pant

1. Alice + Olivia Wide Waist High Waisted Pant with Belt, $299 at singer22.com
2. Chaiken Profile Cuffed Full Leg Trousers, $198 at nordstrom.com
3. Theory Max C Tailor Pant, $242 at pinkmascara.com

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