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Q. Thanks so much for all the advice you give. I personally have really appreciated the various style challenges you’ve stepped in to mediate.

My question is maybe not so new, but still relevant I think. I want to feel like a princess! Ball gowns can be overrated I think, and definitely not so versatile. So I’d like to have some type of a blouse that would really make me feel elegant and feminine, and well, like a princess. I’m thinking ruffles, puffed sleeves, silk or taffeta or lace, you know…the whole nine yards! It’d be fabulous too if the blouse was well-fitting and not very revealing. Would you help me find a shirt that would really fit the bill?
-Every Girl’s a Princess

A. Well, glass slipper, Prince Charming or not, there’s no reason a girl can’t look the part of a modern day princess. So I skipped the gowns and found tops that you can put on either day or evening while waiting for your carriage or hailing a cab.

With your glass slippers:

 Robert Rodriguez Ruffle TopCynthia Steffe Ribbon Neck Silk Charmeuse Top Gibson Ruffled Washed Silk BlouseKaren Kane Lace Top with BowChiffon Ruffle BlouseSolid silk taffeta Phoebe blousePleated Tunic

1. Robert Rodriguez Ruffle Top, $264 at
2. Cynthia Steffe Ribbon Neck Silk Charmeuse Top, $220 at
3. Gibson Ruffled Washed Silk Blouse, $78 at
4. Karen Kane Lace Top with Bow, $158 at
5. Chiffon Ruffle Blouse, $40.80 at
6. Solid silk taffeta Phoebe blouse, $110 at
7. Pleated Tunic, $58 at

Q. I LOVE your column and how you offer such nice advice at a variety of prices.  I’m writing to you for help for my friend, who’s on the hunt for the perfect sweater dress. She tried on some of my sweater dresses (two that are currently sold at the Gap), but, since I’m not even 5’2" and she’s about 5’7", they were too short on her.  Do you know of any nice sweater dresses that: 1) wouldn’t be too short on her, 2) are simple enough that could be mixed into a few different outfits (she likes the color brown), and 3) are relatively cheap (since we’re both graduate students)? 
-Cozy Cover

A. I found several sweater dresses that should be long enough for your 5’7” friend to wear with tights and heels or boots, pair with slim jeans or belt at the waist for a different vibe. And only one is over $100. Stay cozy!

 Lux Funnel Neck Sweater Dress Paul Frank Vanessa Sweater DressThe Kingston Sweater Dress By Triple 5 Soul

Aqua Cashmere Turtleneck DressMaria Sweater Dress

1.  Lux Funnel Neck Sweater Dress, $68 at
2.  Paul Frank Vanessa Sweater Dress, $86 at
3. The Kingston Sweater Dress By Triple 5 Soul, $88 at
4. Aqua Cashmere Turtleneck Dress, $168 at
5. Maria Sweater Dress, $44.50 at

Boden Wideleg Washed Velvet TrousersQ. I bought a pair of velvet trousers in gray (Boden Wideleg Washed Velvet Trousers from  Note: the coloring on the model is truer to the gray in real life than the color on the image of the pants.  They are a lighter gray, with a slight very light purple hue.  They’re super comfortable, and work appropriate.  But I’m having a hard time finding colors that coordinate well with them, other than brown and black. What other color tops I could wear with them?
-Soft and Comfy 

A. First off -YUM. Love these pants! Take a cue from what the models is wearing and choose some colors to add to the richness of the gray velvet. Look for jewel tone or brighter sweaters like ruby, plum, deep purple, olive and teal. Beyond sweaters, search for tops with shine to give the pants a kick towards dressy.

 Double Breasted Bell Sleeve CardiganMerino wool turtleneck sweaterLong-sleeve scoopneck sweater

1.  Double Breasted Bell Sleeve Cardigan, $118 at
2. Merino wool turtleneck sweater, $78 at
3. Long-sleeve scoopneck sweater, $68 at

Shoe Smell

Q. Thank you for all the help you’ve given me in the past! I LOVE your website. I have noticed that my shoes, especially my leather ballet flats, have started to have a less than pleasant odor.  How do I clean them and prevent the smell without ruining the leather?
-Smelly Situation

A. Simply head to your local pharmacy and pick up a shoe deodorizer spray or powder. If that doesn’t help then ask your neighborhood shoe repair guy for a suggestion (perhaps a deordorizing insole you can put inside the shoe) or make an appointment with a podiatrist if perhaps you have a continuing foot smell.  Constant wear of shoes with bare feet will inevitably mean you’re transferring foot sweat into the fabric of the shoe. Be sure to give the shoes a day of rest in between wearings.

I am stuck on what shoes to wear with this is winter!  Is this white/ivory dress okay to wear in December?Q. I am stuck on what shoes to wear with this is winter!  Is this white/ivory dress okay to wear in December?
-Dress Distress

A. I do think the dress is a bit light in fabric for December and probably best kept for spring through summer unless you’re headed to a location that is warm. But if you really love it, then pair with sassy, embellished evening shoes like the ones I picked and just dash from the car to the party in a warm coat.

 J. Reneé 'Stardust' Sandal A. Marinelli 'Rella' Sandal Martinez Valero 'Desiree' Sandal

1.  J. Reneé ‘Stardust’ Sandal, $89.95 at
2.  A. Marinelli ‘Rella’ Sandal, $94.95 at
3.  Martinez Valero ‘Desiree’ Sandal, $139.95 at

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