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Untitled2-1Q. I’m attending a formal fundraising gala this winter in Cincinnati with clients and colleagues and want to make sure my attire is appropriate. I haven’t been able to find a flattering long dress for my size 14 figure so I’m thinking about opting for a shorter black spaghetti strap dress with a metallic floral print. The dress has a fuller skirt and hits just below the knee.  Does that seem OK or should I keep looking?  If I go with this dress do I need to wear hose? What type—black sheer? What about shoes? Thanks in advance for helping a young staffer look appropriate in a sea of philanthropists.

-Formal Search

A. Stop looking and go with the black and metallic A-line dress. Put on a strapless bra for support and choose either black sheer hosiery or go bare legged. If you choose hosiery, then opt for a black satin, black patent or silver metallic pump. If you go bare legged, then you can choose a strappy heel or peep toe.

 Via Spiga 'Dama' Pump Kenneth Cole Reaction Rags to RichesSteven Fanci Façonnable 'Josie' Pump

1. Via Spiga ‘Dama’ Pump, $225 at
2. Kenneth Cole Reaction Rags to Riches, $82.95 at
3. Steven Fanci, $113.95 at
4. Façonnable ‘Josie’ Pump, $195 at

Untitled1-2Q. I really enjoy your column - I get such useful advice, and now I have a question of my own…  I just bought this orange felted wool skirt. It seemed so fresh and fun with its mod styling, but I would really like to be able to wear it to work in my business casual office.  I tried it on with a cream sweater and brown boots and felt like a Thanksgiving centerpiece!  Help. What can I wear with this without being over-the-top?
-Color Me Happy 

A. I bought the same skirt in the bright blue color, so while you may be looking for ways to tone down the look, I am embracing the color and happy vibe I’m sure it will give off. I’m surprised you felt like a turkey centerpiece when you chose such neutral pieces to wear with the skirt. Perhaps you need to just grin and bear it when you walk out the door until a few steps later when you’ll feel the confidence kick in for making a bold color choice. Brights will always get more attention, that’s why I adore orange at times for the fun mood it puts me in.  How can anyone be sour in orange?  I’ve pulled together options for toning down the look to pair with your brown boots, plus a brighter color (that may just be the one you receive the most compliments wearing!) Walk tall. 

Wool-blend dolman-sleeve sweaterStriped cashmere antler sweaterCosy WrapCircle Applique Top

1. Wool-blend dolman-sleeve sweater, $128 at
2. Striped cashmere antler sweater, $99.99 at
3. Boden Cosy Wrap, $104 at
4. Circle Applique Top, $68 at

Q. I’m in my early twenties and I was wondering what accessories and what kind of shoes would go well with a black cap sleeve turtleneck sweater dress for casual wear as well as dressing up for Winter?
- Accessory Uncertain

A. The shoe part is simple: knee high boots, ankle boots, heeled oxfords and even embellished flats with opaque tights. As for jewelry, go with longer length necklaces with big charms or bolder pieces in color. I loathe the thin necklace dangling out of the top of a turtleneck so please don’t even consider it. Wear smaller earrings while adding a chunkier bracelet on your wrist or a contemporary twist to the cocktail ring for evening.

To dress it up:

Pave cabochon cocktail ringPave-stripe enamel bangleSilk pendant necklacePave cabochon teardrop necklace

1. Pave cabochon cocktail ring, $55 at
2. Pave-stripe enamel bangle, $49.99 at
3. Silk pendant necklace, $38 at
4. Pave cabochon teardrop necklace, $85 at

Casual chic:

Inlaid square bracelet Argento Vivo Multi Circle Silver Necklace Betsey Johnson Charm Pendant Bracelet Juicy Couture Ladybug Pendant Lip Gloss Necklace

5. Inlaid square bracelet. $34 at
6. Argento Vivo Multi Circle Silver Necklace, $98 at
7. Betsey Johnson Charm Pendant Bracelet, $50 at
8.  Juicy Couture Ladybug Pendant Lip Gloss Necklace, $72 at

Q. I LOVE your column and read it all the time.  I am 26 years old and finishing my Master’s in Iowa City, IA.  I am going on an internship to Mesa, AZ from January until May. I am extremely excited but I have no idea what to wear once I get there!  I am working in a counseling setting so I want to be professional but I am thinking that my favorite chunky sweaters won’t do anymore.  Suggestions?
-Temperature Rising

A. Your favorite chunky sweaters will come in handy in the winter months during the early morning hours as the desert does get cold. But for daytime, you’ll want to look to your Fall wardrobe as your dressing guide. Lighter jackets, dark denim, light sweaters, button down shirts, long sleeve t-shirts and cute tops that can be worn under a thin cardigan. You’ll be enjoying sun and temperatures in the 60’s and low 70’s. Skip your summery spaghetti strapped dresses and definitely no linen this time of year, keep those for May in Mesa when the temperatures reach above 80 degrees. Good luck!

Q. My husband and I were invited to a work-related "Christmas and New Year’s Celebration" in mid-December at a nice restaurant.  The hosts are the worldwide presidents and only senior employees will be there.  Cocktails at 7:00 PM and dinner at 8:00 PM.  Jackets are required for men.  What do you suggest that we wear?  We are in our mid 30’s.
-Dinner at 8

A. You’re eating with the bigwigs so you want to look stylish, appropriate for a big holiday party and still fit your age. Whether you go with a safe choice like the little black dress or something bold in color, just be sure you don’t expose too much cleavage and bring along a little jacket or wrap if it’s chilly indoors. While most readers know by now that I always turn to a dress for instant glamour, I have fallen for many of the taffeta skirts that designers like Diane Von Furstenberg, Nanette Lepore and J.Crew are showing this Holiday season so I may plunk down my credit card for one of those this month.

Sophia short silk dressKay Unger Cap Sleeve Stretch Satin DressSilk taffeta Amelia short dressSteve Madden Silk Pleated Dress With TieEliza J Sleeveless Ruffle Wrap Dress with BowNanette Lepore Festive Silk Paillette DressL.A.M.B. Tiered Ruffle Top and Bubble Plaid Taffeta SkirtNanette Lepore Coweled Sweater & Radiant Satin Skirt

1. Sophia short silk dress, $139.99 at
2. Kay Unger Cap Sleeve Stretch Satin Dress, $330 at
3. Silk taffeta Amelia short dress, $195 at
4. Steve Madden Silk Pleated Dress With Tie, $190 at
5. Eliza J Sleeveless Ruffle Wrap Dress with Bow, $134.25 at
6. Nanette Lepore Festive Silk Paillette Dress, $295 at
7. L.A.M.B. Tiered Ruffle Top and Bubble Plaid Taffeta Skirt, $165 each at
8. Nanette Lepore Coweled Sweater & Radiant Satin Skirt, $305 and $135 at

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