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Penchant for Plaid

Q. It is about that time again, for the office holiday party season.  I was hoping you could point me in the direction of something that would be suitable for such an occasion.  I know red/green plaids were big as a last year fashion but I was hoping to find something this year.  My ideal dress would be full length plaid/tartan dress and thought you would be the perfect person to ask. 
—Seeking in Portland

A. I would have thought it would have been one stop shopping from Ralph Lauren, but this year he skipped much of his tartans and plaids for chic black. So I searched elsewhere and came up with a few options from a strapless wonder to long length glam and a few day to evening options that can be dazzled with a pair of sparkly shoes.

Wool Jacquard Black Watch Dress0479484072337 Astl 300X400-1Ralph Lauren Toby Taffeta Tartan SkirtJ Crew Kerin dress Donna Ricco Plaid Taffeta Shirtdress

1. Wool Jacquard Black Watch Dress, $498 at brooksbrothers.com
2. L.A.M.B. Plaid Dolly Dress, $385 at saks.com
3. Ralph Lauren Toby Taffeta Tartan Skirt, $398 at ralphlauren.com
4. J Crew Kerin dress, $450 at jcrew.com
5.  Donna Ricco Plaid Taffeta Shirtdress, $158 at nordstrom.com

Q. A business associate had a colleague comment on the fact that she was wearing a navy suit which is only appropriate in summer.  The suit was modern, tailored with belt and year round weight.  She was wearing a soft blue shell under. Your thoughts on navy in fall and winter?

A. When did navy become appropriate only for summer months? If it were navy linen, then heck yes, put it away until next year, but clearly the business colleague doesn’t have much fashion knowledge.  Navy is an all year round color. It if weren’t, what would men do since they seem to live in navy suits all year long?  For women, we’re lucky we can wear navy in winter as wool dresses, slim cashmere sweaters, navy plaid pants, navy pinstriped pencil skirts…  You can pair navy with plum, burgundy, olive, ruby, purple and more to give the color richness in winter.

Marc by Marc Jacobs
Sabrina Sateen ShirtdressQ. One of my favorite summer dresses is a denim shirtdress.  I would love to be able to wear it in the fall.  Can I wear tights or stockings of some kind with it or do I have to relegate it to summer storage?
- Shirtdress Stretch

A. Keep that denim shirtdress in your closet all year long. For colder temps, wear opaque tights and suede pumps or knee high boots. And consider changing the look of the dress by wearing different belts at the waist from brown and black to a suede or pony skin in a bright color. And you can also layer a camisole or sweater underneath the dress to add warmth or add a cardigan over the dress and belt it.

Take a cue from this Marc by Marc Jacobs Sabrina Sateen Shirtdress ($328 at shopbop.com) styled with leggings and ankle boots.  To warm up the short sleeves, layer a thin black turtleneck underneath.

 Echo Long Side Button GlovesQ. I have a fabulous antique swing coat that is a subtle grey/black tweed pattern.  The sleeves are 3/4 length and I am looking for some long leather gloves to wear with it.  Do you have any suggestions?  I have been having trouble finding a nice pair I like.

-Arm’s Length

A. I’m quite fond of vintage clothes and giving them a stylish second life. If the coat is warm enough to get you through two months’ worth of wear during Fall and Winter, then perhaps buy two pairs of gloves - one long to cover the arms fully and another pair in a bright color that will pop when you wear a sweater with sleeves that reach past the length of the coat arms and to meet the gloves.  Below are a few options from tres chic grey and embellished plum (warning: they’re all a bit pricey):

 Nordstrom Chain Leather Gloves Nordstrom Ruched Leather GlovesGiorgio Armani Long Ruched GlovesLong Black Leather GlovesSaks Fifth Avenue Patent Leather Gloves


1. Nordstrom Chain Leather Gloves, $88 at nordstrom.com
2. Nordstrom Ruched Leather Gloves, $135 at nordstrom.com
3. Giorgio Armani Long Ruched Gloves, $285 at saks.com
4. Long Black Leather Gloves, $116 at shop.com
5. Saks Fifth Avenue Patent Leather Gloves, $198 at saks.com

Top photo:
6. Echo Long Side Button Gloves, $195 at nordstrom.com

Q. Hello! I need help! I’ve selected bridesmaids dresses for my very formal daytime wedding (10am ceremony, 1pm reception). The dresses are a portrait-neckline, tea-length dupioni silk in Navy blue. I’ll be wearing opera-length gloves, and the groom/groomsmen will be wearing morning coats with white gloves. My mom says the ladies’ gloves should be white, but I am afraid white gloves will look too stark against the Navy blue dresses. Should we do ivory or another off-white color instead? Also what color shoes - I was thinking of telling them to stick to either champagne or muted pewter or silver, but I can’t decide if that is the right choice (I convinced my mom that they don’t need navy blue shoes but I don’t know where to take it from there). Last question - what length should their gloves be? 
-Worried in White

A. Since the dress is sleeveless, you should have them wear opera length gloves as well. I agree that off white would be less jarring than bright white long gloves. And kudos to you for convincing your mom that the bridesmaids do not have to wear matching navy shoes. I loathe the whole dye-the-shoes-to-match-the-dress thing.  I think any of the colors you’re considering like pewter or silver will be quite elegant.

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