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Q. I am attending a Business Holiday party.  I do not want to wear a dress. The party is at a very nice house with about 80 people and the dress code is holiday casual.  I have a black velvet sport coat, black velvet trouser pants and black open toed patent leather heals and a red patent leather clutch to carry but I am not sure what blouse to wear, I somewhat like to look sexy but not sleazy any suggestions.
-Festive Fun

A. Sounds like you have a festive holiday outfit to wear to the party. So all you need is a slightly sexy top that works with your velvet ensemble and red clutch.  I’ve found multiple tops that have shine, sheen, sex appeal and are attractive all on their own if you choose to take your velvet jacket off and get jiggy with it.

Ruffle Front Empire BlousePlaid TubeSilk braided halter topSolid silk Elizabeth halterAlice & Olivia Beaded V Neck Top

1. Ruffle Front Empire Blouse, $58 at
2. Plaid Tube, $39 at
3. Silk braided halter top, $78 at
4. Solid silk Elizabeth halter, $88 at
5. Alice & Olivia Beaded V Neck Top, $297 at

Diana Long Strapless DressQ. I just discovered your website and love it… My question is: I’m attending a black tie affair with my husband in January. I have purchased a long, strapless, satin black dress from Ann Taylor that I love for this evening event. We live in a very cold area- what kind of coat should I wear? I have several long, wool coats (one is a pea coat, another is plain) but they seem too casual. I won’t wear fur. Also, what length should the coat be?

-Coat Cover

A. I admit sometimes I have sacrificed warmth in order to wear the shoes or dress that’s best for the occasion. I figure, I’m going from the car or cab straight to the event. And I walk quite fast so even if I had to park a car, I can be quick to get into the destination.  That said, it doesn’t mean I enter looking like a schlub. I choose the best jacket or coat that works with my outfit. So say something nice to your husband and perhaps he’ll drop you at the door of the party while he parks the car and say thank you a few extra times. It’s hard to find a long enough coat to work with a formal gown and even if you bought one, I don’t know if you’d wear it enough to be worth the investment. So look for a dressier style coat whether long or short to pair with your gown and pretty gloves and scarf if needed.

 Tulle Funnel Neck Coat Kristen Blake Fluted Sleeve CoatMackage Cape
INC International Concepts® Double-Breasted Empire-Waist CoatJuicy Couture Faux Fur Swing Coat

1. Tulle Funnel Neck Coat, $78 at
2. Kristen Blake Fluted Sleeve Coat, $248 at
3. Mackage Cape, $369.99 at
4. INC International Concepts® Double-Breasted Empire-Waist Coat, $74.81 at
5. Juicy Couture Faux Fur Swing Coat, $448 at

Miss Dior Patent Peep Toe PumpQ. I love Ask Alison!  I have a question for you.  I recently saw a photo montage of Jessica Simpson wearing Miss Dior nude pumps ($515 at  They’re completely out of my budget.  Some additional options were offered, such as the Laboutin pumps, but they’re in the same price range.  Additionally, the Laboutin heels are almost 5".  Not something most of us can wear!  Do you have suggestions for some reasonably priced nude pumps with a 3" heel? 
-In the Nude

A. No need to fret! I found plenty of more affordable options that won’t put you in credit card debt. So slip into a pair of these sophisticated nude peep toes:

Bronx Cynthia PumpModa Spana UnaLifeStride AllieEnzo Angiolini Women's Jalene Platform Peep Toe PumpStuart Weitzman Sashay

1. Bronx Cynthia Pump, $54.99 at
2. Moda Spana Una, $88.95 at
3. LifeStride Allie, $48.95 at
4. Enzo Angiolini Women’s Jalene Platform Peep Toe Pump, $88.95 at
5. Stuart Weitzman Sashay, $280 at

Q. I really like the look of tucking my jeans into my boots.  However, whenever I try to do this I think it just looks wrong.  I feel like I always end up with a bulge from the jeans (even with my skinny jeans). Is there a correct way to get the look?  Also what boot do you recommend to achieve this look?
-Baggy Knees

 Images 200 3711A. We all have that same issue. Usually it’s easier with skinny jeans, but the moment we sit down and get comfortable the jeans start rising in our boots and suddenly it’s baggy jean syndrome when we stand. An old school trick that comes from the horsey set is to attach stretch clips under you foot to either side of your jeans to hold them down when you sit down or move around. It’s a way to get the look that comes from breeches without looking like a throwback from the ’80s. Check out for pant clips.

Q. Can I carry a black patent leather handbag in the winter?  My mother said only in the Spring.

A. Where have you and your mother been hangin’? Have you not had access to magazines, TV or walked in a department store lately?  I’m not trying to be harsh, but patent leather has saturated the runways, magazines and is available in some form or fashion in just about every store. So let your mom know what the old rules no longer apply and you can sport your black patent leather bag all year long.

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