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Q. I want to get some ideas about semi formal jackets to wear over jeans. I am 5’ 2" and am plump - with typical hourglass figure…small waist, big bust/thighs and hips.
-Jackets with Jeans

A. Best options are ones that belt at the waist or help define a waist. Look for jackets that cover just the tops of your hips and are not boxy. Avoid long jackets that will only make you look shorter or that resemble more of an outdoor coat.  Since you plan to pair the jacket with jeans, be sure your top underneath isn’t bulky - keep it feminine with a v-neck or scoop neck top that is more flattering for busty girls.

INC International Concepts® Petites Cropped Double-Breasted Leather JacketPetite velvet Bella jacket Semantiks Flecked Wool Jacket Classiques Entier® Funnel Neck Belted Jacket (Petite)


1. INC International Concepts® Petites Cropped Double-Breasted Leather Jacket, $99.50 at macys.com
2. Petite velvet Bella jacket, $158 at jcrew.com
3.  Semantiks Flecked Wool Jacket, $88 at nordstrom.com
4.  Classiques Entier® Funnel Neck Belted Jacket (Petite), $198 at nordstrom.com

Q. For two seasons I’ve been looking for a dark hued denim A-line skirt.  I’m not finding one anywhere!  Lots of dark denim pencil skirts, or long, long Mormon looking skirts out there, but no A-line.   Am I just out of the loop and crazy to think it’s out there— or still fashionable?  I got one three years ago and it became a staple in my wardrobe.  Great for summer, great for winter with boots and tights.  I’m afraid I’ll never find another one—- or even worse, that I’m out of fashion!
-Denim Desperate

A. You’re not going cuckoo. There are options for a flattering fit in an A-line denim skirt. And clearly with the right top and accessories you can wear any of these all year long with everything from sandals to tights and boots.

Esprit Pleated Denim SkirtPaper Denim & Cloth Denim Skirt Citizens of Humanity 'Cadet' Stretch Denim SkirtLauren Jeans Co. Stretch Denim Five-Pocket Skirt


1. Esprit Pleated Denim Skirt, $59.50 at espritshop.com
2. Paper Denim & Cloth Denim Skirt, $51.99 at macys.com
3. Citizens of Humanity ‘Cadet’ Stretch Denim Skirt, $196 at nordstrom.com
4. Lauren Jeans Co. Stretch Denim Five-Pocket Skirt, $79.50 at macys.com

Q. I’m very excited to celebrate not only a first anniversary, but also Christmas this year with my husband. We got married a few days after Christmas last year.  I’ve got an idea for both a gift  (new snowboard and boots) and a getaway trip (snowbound for three days to snowboard and sit by a fire and snuggle), but I’m nervous he’ll find out. He’s quite the snoop when he thinks there’s a gift coming his way.  It’s adorable, but I really want to surprise him. Any ideas?
-No Show No Tell

A. I’m assuming you probably have both joint and separate bank accounts. So first, pay for the gift with cash if you can so there’s no credit card bill that screams "Bob’s Ski Chalet" on the list of payments. Wrap the gift and securely hide it at a nearby friend’s or parents’ house until the day before Christmas. And be sure to figure out where you want to hide it once you pick it up from the off-site locale. Perhaps keep it in your car trunk under a blanket the night before and then pull it out when it’s time to actually give him the gift. As for the trip, if you can just put the reservations on hold with a credit card, then it shouldn’t show up on your bill. Ask the place where you are spending your anniversary to not send anything in the mail and instead email you. Print out email confirmations and then delete.  You can give the gift of the trip in a nice big stocking or basket filled with a few things you’ll need for your trip such as sunscreen, cashmere or wool sport socks, new gloves, a bottle of good wine and decadent hot chocolate (I love Vosges - vosgeschocolate.com) plus details of the trip written in a nice card.  After he knows about the great trip, then go get the snowboard and boots as the extra terrific gift. 

Since we’re on the topic of shopping and helpful ways of hiding purchases, you may want to detail your confession for ShopandConfess.com. They are holding a contest where you can submit a short, self-produced YouTube video telling your shopping story and you’ll have a chance to win $1,000 or possibly $20,000. Just do it by November 26th. (And by the way, I’m one of the judges!)

Q. I’m looking for a great denim skirt - A-line or pencil, not too short, not too long-for a thirty-something.
-Denim Dash

A. Your question has perfect timing.  I’ve been on the search myself for a new denim skirt, one that fits my waist, my slight curves and is appropriate for my age. I’m excited by these shopping choices and have already ordered the one from Adec from shop.com and the Adriano Goldschmied from shopbop.com.  I need to try them on before I make my final choice. I do believe they’ll fit the waist without shifting around and have a little give to walk comfortably, plus they’re just the right length for work or weekend.

 Citizens of Humanity 'Novak' Stretch Denim SkirtEarnest Sewn Maya High Waist Stretch Pencil SkirtAG Adriano Goldschmied Precise Pencil SkirtADEC 2 Black Wool Denim Pencil Skirt


1. Citizens of Humanity ‘Novak’ Stretch Denim Skirt, $150 at nordstrom.com
2. Earnest Sewn Maya High Waist Stretch Pencil Skirt, $230 at shopbop.com
3. AG Adriano Goldschmied Precise Pencil Skirt, $136 at shopbop.com
4. ADEC 2 Black Wool Denim Pencil Skirt, $79.99 at shop.com

Q. I live in the Boston Area and I found a cute pair of peep toe shoes. I was wondering if it’s still ok to wear peep toe in the Fall?
-Hide and Seek Feet

A.  This seems to be a very popular question lately, so let’s settle it once and for all: yes, you can wear your peep toes well into Fall and colder weather. Wear your legs bare until the temperatures drop and you get goose bumps and then slide on opaque tights and wear your peep toes into November and even December if the peep toes are a full pump and cover your foot everywhere else. Just be sure to wear opaque tights and not sheer hosiery and tuck the seams of the tights under your toes so they don’t show through the “hole.”

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