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Q. I am the mother of the groom at an August wedding. I am wearing a light pink dress with 1 or 2 strands of pearls, pearl earrings, pearl bracelet. My question is, can I wear shiny silver strappy sandals that have a rhinestone on top? If not, what color shoe would be best? I was thinking bone but aren’t shoes supposed to be the same color or darker than the dress?
-Accessory Uncertain

A. That’s a lot of pearls to be sporting. Shoes no longer have to be the same color or darker than the dress. There are many variables these days to mix up and add sass to an outfit. Wearing silver sandals with rhinestones will help give your outfit a dressier appeal. Cream can also be worn and many times can give a sophisticated look, but the silver will be more youthful.

Solid Halter with Tucked PleatesQ. I fell in love with this dress from Cache in red, but the store only had my size in leopard print which isn’t my style. They could special order it in red, but I saw they offer it in the chocolate brown on the website and now I am second guessing whether to buy the bright red. Is it too much for anything other than Vegas or could I wear it to weddings and fancy dinners? 

I love the red but I’m afraid it might be too showy and I might be better off with the espresso color, but I already own a few black dresses and feel that brown might now be different enough. I look great in both browns and reds and have medium dark brown hair and eyes. Should I take the plunge for a red satin dress or should I keep it conservative with the espresso color? Help, I’m confusing myself!
- Vegas Glam or Sophisticated Dull?

A. This is truly a personal decision. You should choose the one that gives you confidence. I love red for its eye-catching appeal and its ability to stand out in a sea of little black dresses. It is certainly siren red, but the chocolate carries some seductive, definitely not dull, sophistication. With the chocolate you could wear bronze, beige, animal print pumps and even plum, burgundy and olive green. With the red you could pair gold, red, black and silver. My suggestion is to make a list of upcoming events where you plan to wear the dress and compare the accessories you have to work with both color choices to switch it up for each occasion. If you want to get the most “life” out of the dress, go with the longer list.

Q. I am performing a civil ceremony for my friends and their 50 guests on the beach in North Seattle. The ceremony will be outside and the reception inside. I have many dresses but none of them seem appropriate. I own a strapless embossed J.Crew beach dress in sundried tomato, a pink 3-ply J.Crew silk empire waist dress (very classy) and a brown embossed J.Crew beach halter dress that may be too revealing in the cleavage.

I feel like one of my dresses should work but I seem to find reasons why none of them will. I worry about looking too fancy for a beach wedding. I like the idea of wearing either the strapless or the pink J.Crew dress, but I don’t know what shoes to wear. One idea I have is to find some dressy flip-flops to wear for the ceremony and then change into heels for the reception.
-Closet Confusion

A. There is no reason to buy a new dress when you clearly have several good options. Instead, buy new sandals and pull together great accessories to give a dress you’ve worn already a boost. For an outdoor ceremony with sand, grass and water involved, wear pretty flat sandals and switch to heels when you head to the party inside. Skip the word “flip-flop” whenever mentioning “wedding” in them same sentence, instead think thong sandal.

Nine West
ZapitDolce Vita
Aegean-17Stuart Weitzman Chaingang
Matisse 'Escape' O-Ring SandalMatisse 'Naive' Thong

left to right:
1. Nine West Zapit, $82.95 at zappos.com
2. Dolce Vita Aegean-17, $87.95 at zappos.com
3. Stuart Weitzman Chaingang, $174 at zappos.com
4. Matisse ‘Escape’ O-Ring Sandal, $74.95 at nordstrom.com
5. Matisse ‘Naive’ Thong, $99.95 at nordstrom.com

Q. I have been a faithful Spanx consumer from the get go. In the summer I wear the footless or the power panties and I have tried all of their camisoles. But recent purchases reveal that the new boy pant shorts roll up as do the high waist ones. The camisoles are the worst. Have they changed designers? I have been wearing Flexees camisoles and they are great. I love the Flexees boy shorts but they do not come in small. Any suggestions?
-Intimate Changes

A. I find boy shorts (or as many designers refer to them now: ”girl” shorts) to roll up my butt as well. I like the one from Hanes, but for hip and thigh shaping, the bike short styles usually work best. I’ve had great results on real women makeovers with Donna Karan The Body Perfect collection and Flexees as well. I found two boy short styles in small from Flexees so perhaps the store you’ve been buying from hasn’t purchased them in smaller sizes. Two of our favorite intimate internet shops are barenecessities.com and figleaves.com, so check out the multiple options online. My partners, Jen and Beth, at StyleBakery also like Sassybax camisoles for the breast support and torso slimming effects, plus they’re virtually invisible under your clothes. The camisoles come with and without underwire.

 Flexees: One Fabulous Body Boyshort Flexees: One Fabulous Body Sew Free Moderate Control Boyshort Sassybax: Torso Trim Underwire Trim Camisole Donna Karan Hosiery: The Body Perfect Collection Level 1 High Waist Embrace Brief

left to right:
1. Flexees: One Fabulous Body Boyshort, $25
2. Flexees: One Fabulous Body Sew Free Moderate Control Boyshort, $16
3. Sassybax: Torso Trim Underwire Trim Camisole, $75
4. Donna Karan Hosiery: The Body Perfect Collection Level 1 High Waist Embrace Brief, $40

Q. In a few short weeks, I will be moving to Minnesota for veterinary school. I have lived in California all my life, and I was wondering what new basics I will need in my wardrobe (other than coats!) to make it more functional in the changing seasons. I’m on a tight budget, but I’d love to hear what you recommend.
-Cold Weather Wardrobe

A. Cozy, comfortable, warm sweaters, layered over long sleeve tops, button down shirts and thin knit turtlenecks. Corduroy and wool lined pants, wool or knit skirts with opaque tights and at least two good pairs of boots-one with super foot warming powers and the other pair stylish enough for every day wear with a low heel or nearly flat bottom. You’ll need to clean them continually due to the salt used to melt the snow and slush on the streets and sidewalks.

Look for various sweaters to break up the monotony of always bundling up. Choose a long belted sweater, a chunky cable knit and a few basic v-necks and cardigans. Splurge on a few pairs of cashmere or cashmere blends socks if your feet get easily cold like mine.

Here are few under $100 sweater suggestions:

UO Rugby Stripe CardiganLux Reykjavik SweaterFree People 'Colonel' Sweater CoatCalvin Klein Jeans Crochet Cardigan

Esprit  wrap belt sweaterCambridge cable cardiganFeatherweight merino turtleneck sweater

left to right:
1. UO Rugby Stripe Cardigan, $54 at urbanoutfitters.com
2. Lux Reykjavik Sweater, $54 at urbanoutfitters.com
3. Free People ‘Colonel’ Sweater Coat, $98 at nordstrom.com
4. Calvin Klein Jeans Crochet Cardigan, $89 at nordstrom.com
5. Esprit wrap belt sweater, $59.50 at espritshop.com
6. Cambridge cable cardigan, $89 at jcrew.com
7. Featherweight merino turtleneck sweater, $76 at jcrew.com

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