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VELVET SWING JACKETQ. I really liked this velvet swing jacket I found on sale at and the price was so great I clicked! After the fact, I wondered how I’m going to pull this look off considering I’m only 5’2" tall. Another factor is age. The jacket is obviously "youthful" which I do like, but I’m in my 40s, so I want to keep the look age appropriate.
-Grown Up

A. Give it a sophisticated kick by pairing it with a pencil skirt and opaque tights that perhaps have a slight pattern. Or pair with high-waisted or mid-rise trouser jeans and a soft, thin turtleneck sweater. For cooler days, wear a button down shirt with a v-neck sweater layered over it and add a narrow scarf that wraps around your neck several times. Since it’s velvet, you can dress it up with a beaded top and dress pants and finish it with dressy brocade heels. See, there are plenty of options for a 40ish gal to pull off this major sale item, now just go raid your closet or pull out your credit card and select a few of my picks:

Aqua Sweater with Bow BlouseCashmere mini-argyle cardiganYoana Baraschi Jewel Silk TopGibson Ruffled Washed Silk BlouseFire 'Hillary' Wide Leg Pants

1. Add a skinny belt across the waist and wear with a pencil skirt or trousers. Aqua Sweater with Bow Blouse, $78 at
2. Go preppy. Cashmere mini-argyle cardigan, $178 at
3. Dressy and hip when worn with the jacket.   Yoana Baraschi Jewel Silk Top, $278 at
4. Paired with the velvet jacket you get a color injection.  Gibson Ruffled Washed Silk Blouse, $78 at
5. Wear with a boot or pump that has a heel. Fire ‘Hillary’ Wide Leg Pants, $42 at

Formal Dress Code

Q. I have a black tie wedding in Chicago.  Do I have to wear a long dress?
-Formal Fear

A. Black tie does not require wearing a long gown anymore, but the invite does expect you to wear a sophisticated, elegant and feminine dress. Think upscale cocktail dress, with a hem that hits around the knee or just below it. Skip animal prints, white dresses, mini lengths, chunky jewelry and your everyday handbag. Carry a clutch, put on your best jewelry that works with the dress, pull on your heels, walk with good posture and smile often.

Seven For All Mankind
GINGER LIGHT WEIGHT MERCER TROUSER JEANSQ. I love the new high rise jeans.  The majority of those that I have found are trouser cut with wider legs. I live in my Minnetonkas, which look cute with the jeans, but living in Chicago, they aren’t going to cut it in the winter.  What type of shoes do you suggest I wear with them? 
-High Rise Wonder

A. The key is to keep the illusion of a long tall body even if you’re not model height.  Make sure your wide leg, high-waisted trousers are hemmed at a length that doesn’t drag on the ground or cover your foot completely, even when wearing boots or shoes. Keep your tops fitted, wear thinner layering pieces or belt cardigans at your waist.  Pair your new jeans with everything from heels and flats to boots. Of course, when you hem them, you’ll have to make a decision of which shoe you’ll wear most—flats or boots with a heel —since that will make the difference on the final length.

Seven for All Mankind Ginger Lightweight Mercer Trouser Jeans shown here with heels at the perfect length. $143 at

Q. I am looking for a thin, fitted black turtleneck that I can purchase online. Can you help me find one?
-Slim Thin

A. The black turtleneck is one of those classic items you always want to refresh in your closet with a new one each year. With constant wear and perhaps fading, you can find plenty of options online to replace your old one. Look for thin silk or cashmere, merino wool or Lycra blends. You want to look for one that can be layered under sweaters and jackets without adding bulk and is stylish and chic enough to wear alone with dress pants or your favorite dark jeans.

Diane von Furstenberg Carlos TurtleneckAdam + Eve Ribbed TurtleneckLauren by Ralph Lauren Zoe Jersey Turtleneck Sweater
Cullen Ruched Turtleneck Sweater - Merino BlendTheory "Leola Stay" Novelty Turtleneck

1. Diane von Furstenberg Carlos Turtleneck, $100 at
2. Adam + Eve Ribbed Turtleneck, $72 at
3. Lauren by Ralph Lauren Zoe Jersey Turtleneck Sweater, $89.50 at
4. Cullen Ruched Turtleneck Sweater - Merino Blend, $59.50 at
5. Theory "Leola Stay" Novelty Turtleneck, $110 at

Q. My husband’s Christmas party is a Hawaiian theme.  What can I wear that doesn’t make me look like a tourist?  The idea of a boxy Hawaiian shirt is making me cringe.  I’d like something that has a nice fit and style, as well as an outfit I could wear after the fact.  I’m 5’ 5" and a size 8, so I’m too heavy for spaghetti strap anything.  It’s the fall, I’m in the Midwest, and I’m having a hard time finding anything floral.
-Lucky Luau

A. It’s a tough time of year when you want flora and fauna to give the illusion of “I’m happy in Hawaii” and don’t want spaghetti straps on a dress. I say "dress" because it will be simplest to find a dress that has an ode to summer feel than a skirt or top with a summery design.  And believe me, I tried. I found some dress solutions that will fit your size 8 frame and all you have to do is wear them with a halter style bra which is easy to find or buy one of those convertible multi-bras. Then add heels and have your husband buy you some flowers so you can put a blooming flower behind your ear or in your hair if you pin it up.

 Adrianna Papell Floral Silk Halter Dress Donna Ricco Sleeveless Double V-Neck DressTiered Floral Halter Dresses Lux Silk Embroidered Dress

1.  Adrianna Papell Floral Silk Halter Dress, $178 at
2.  Donna Ricco Sleeveless Double V-Neck Dress, $138 at
3. Tiered Floral Halter Dresses, $85 at
4.  Lux Silk Embroidered Dress, $58 at


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