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Q. I bought a new pair of gray pants to wear this winter, but I’m not sure what color tops I can wear with them. I tend to look better in warmer colors, but is it okay to pair yellow undertones with the cool of gray? What will look best with the pants without washing me out?
-Gray Lady

A. Get your gray on with a multitude of colors. I find that gray and brown bottoms lead to a richer mix of styles and colors than your basic black. Gray and brown can be a canvas while black can sometimes just be a backdrop; a color you settle for when you don’t want to take a chance. Gray can look lovely and feminine with pink, lavender, yellow and baby blue and rich with burgundy, olive and hunter green. Paired with teal it can add a bit of color to your face, while a navy pairing looks sophisticated. Since the gray is on your bottom half, you really needn’t concern yourself with looking washed out. Choose top colors that enhance your skin tone and have a flattering fit.

Here are some pretty tops to pair with your gray bottoms:

Emma Ruffle Top  Lux Daydream Blouse Deity Satin Blouse

1. Emma Ruffle Top , $34.50 at delias.com
2.  Lux Daydream Blouse, $29.95 at urbanoutfitters.com
3.  Deity Satin Blouse, $48 at urbanoutfitters.com

Laundry by Shelli Segal Washed Silk Wrap BlouseWalter Leopard Chiffon BlouseSemantiks Printed Silk Blouse

4. Laundry by Shelli Segal Washed Silk Wrap Blouse, $195 at nordstrom.com
5. Walter Leopard Chiffon Blouse, $143 at nordstrom.com
6. Semantiks Printed Silk Blouse, $78 at nordstrom.com

Q. There is a question in a magazine that asks:  what do you always wear underneath a body-skimming dress?  They list four choices, from which one should be selected.  They all make sense to me depending upon the dress.  Which is the one that should always be worn? The answers to choose from are: thigh-shrinking hosiery; curve-accentuating bra; derriere-lifting underwear; tummy-flattening shape wear. If you have an opinion, I would love to hear it. 
-Baffled by Choices

A. I don’t know what the magazine answer was, but nobody has the same body so there is no one correct answer.  One or several can apply depending on the fit, and of course how you want to look in the dress.  While some of us may seek cleavage, others will want to look as slim and smooth as possible. Don’t  let a Q & A intimidate you, just aspire to look and feel good in your clothes.

For specific tips on what to wear under your clothes, check out our style recipe Underneath It All.

Q. I’m a preschool teacher and 40 something mom.  But I like to be hip and trendy.  I need ideas to wear to work while it is still warm.  I can’t bear wearing tennis shoes and capris like all the other teachers. We can’t wear jeans or shorts, and most of my heels won’t work on the wood chipped playground.  Any ideas?  I’ve got fall covered with tights, boots, flats, and dresses, but it’s this in-between hot and cold season that has me stumped.
-Still Warm in Kansas

A. Well, you certainly already own the flats that can be worn now, so slip into them. As for bottoms, you can wear cotton pants instead of jeans or shorts and how about some knee length skirts with lightweight cotton tops. And when it gets a little chillier just add a thin jacket or cardigan for recess.

Here are a few layered looks to take you through the fall:

Solid deep V-neck vestSophie peacoat sweater Favorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords

1. Lilah shirt in satin-stripe floral, $98 at jcrew.com
2. Solid deep V-neck vest, $39.99 at jcrew.com
3. Sophie peacoat sweater, $148 at jcrew.com
4. Favorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords, $79.50 at jcrew.com

Striped scoopneck waffle hoodieFleece trapeze coat,Khaki striped wide leg pants

Layer a button down top under this striped hoodie and add the fleece peacoat for chillier days on the playground .

1. Striped scoopneck waffle hoodie, $26.50 at gap.com
2. Fleece trapeze coat, $59.50 at gap.com
3. Khaki striped wide leg pants, $59.50 at gap.com

BCBGMAXAZRIA Empire Poplin Shirt Womyn 'Olivia' Stretch Twill Pants

1. BCBGMAXAZRIA Empire Poplin Shirt, $138 at nordstrom.com
2. Womyn ‘Olivia’ Stretch Twill Pants, $154 at nordstrom.com

Navy & Red Together?

Q. I have had this argument with my boyfriend for months! Once and for all, can you confirm or dismiss that it is stylish to wear red pumps/flats/wedges with navy clothing? Thank you, you settling this may have saved a relationship!!
-Ending Argument

A. Your relationship must be a breeze if you only bicker about style.  But deary, a debate like this one lasting for months? Tsk, tsk. Once and for all, feel free to wear navy and red together. Navy is one of the hardest hues to match so it gives stylish gals the license to wear navy with red, green, burgundy, brown and more.  Color always adds sass to an outfit.

Q. I have an 18” string of pearls that I received for my wedding.  I used to wear them to dressier events and functions, but my style has changed and evolved over the years. I am mostly in casual, daytime situations with children and other moms and work part time from home in a creative profession. I would love to wear my pearls again, but no longer just for special occasions. How can I make them more of an everyday, hip accessory?
-Pearlized

A.  Unfortunately, an 18” string of pearls is never going to be considered hip.  It will forever be in the sophisticated, classic category - and there’s nothing wrong with that. Multiple strands piled on are tres chic a la Coco Chanel, and one strand worn with your button down shirt is the ultimate in country club prep style. Simply put, pull out your pearls and put them on with your cute tops, button downs and your favorite jeans whether you’re running after the kids, working or headed to a movie. Make the pearls “your thing” to wear, and if you want hip, add a patent leather bag to your wardrobe.

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