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Q. I love all of your helpful advice! I am writing because lately I have been longing for a sweater dress, in a slightly shorter length (above the knee, but not obscenely so). The problem is most that I find are too thin/sheer, or simply cost an arm and a leg. I love the ones from Vince with the pockets, but they are too pricey. I don’t mind paying more for a wardrobe staple but not for something as trendy as this. I am looking for something in the $50-150 range, any ideas?
-Bare Knit

A. We’re past the season for all the sweater dress best picks. I found very few at this time of year that fell within your price range since this time of year is really about sundresses. Go with the warm weather looks instead and come Fall you’ll have multiple knobby knit picks.

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left to right: Kersh Kimono Sleeve Tunic, $78 at nordstrom.com; James Perse Long Short Sleeve Cardigan, $188 at shopbop.com; Ya-Ya Swahili Beach Marine Dress, $184.80 at shopbop.com

Q. My fiance and I are having a civil ceremony this June in Philadelphia before he goes back to Iraq, on the same day as my college graduation. I want to wear a short white dress, but have not been able to find one that doesn’t seem too beachy. I want it to be special, but I will also be having a larger ceremony next year, so it doesn’t need to be too elaborate. What sort of dress will work for the two most important events in my life?
-Dress Duty

A. It will be a BIG day-wedding, civil ceremony or not, it’s your wedding, the day you exchange vows and then your college graduation as well. So choose a dress you’ll adore. You want your soon to be husband to gush when he sees you. You want him to remember the day and you in a beautiful white dress until he returns home safely to you.

Shift embossed beach dressWhite Cotton Sleeveless Dresses by Jill StuartSwiss-dot Sylvan dressLilly Pulitzer
Billie Eyelet Dress

Shift embossed beach dress, $125 at jcrew.com; White Cotton Sleeveless Dresses by Jill Stuart, $398 at edressme.com; Swiss-dot Sylvan dress, $148 at jcrew.com; Lilly Pulitzer Billie Eyelet Dress, $298 at saks.com

Q. My older sister is a new mom who is turning 35 next month around the same time her son is turning 1- she just moved into a new house and stopped working at the end of last year. She used to be a true fashionista but has since fallen off the wagon being a new mom. She needs a pick me up and I would like do to something fun for her for her birthday— any suggestions on some fun mom trends to give her a little pick me up?
-Gift seeker

A. Time to take your sister out without the baby so she can relax and just be herself. Take her out for a girl date, whether it’s lunch or afternoon tea, or a night out for dinner and a performance like dance , music or comedy - get the girl laughing! You can also suggest dinner at someone’s house with just women and no kids, boyfriends or husbands.

As for gifts, I suggest a department store gift card and you take her shopping to use it, and maybe even set up an appointment with a personal shopper - they don’t cost a thing at department stores and will make her feel pampered and special. If you want to give her something more tangible, then I suggest mom-friendly wedges or ballet flats in a pattern or patent leather, a big bag that doesn’t scream “Mom” or a pretty necklace.

Here’s a few picks:

Cayman braided espadrillesBoutique 58 MelodyLisette printed-fabric ballet flatsStraw Tote with Beading

Cayman braided espadrilles, $160 at jcrew.com; Boutique 58 Melody, $110 at piperlime.com; Lisette printed-fabric ballet flats, $118 at jcrew.com; Straw Tote with Beading, $128 at bloomingdales.com

haleym.comhaleym.comhelenficalora

Choose a necklace with a yoga symbol or one with a meaningful word that reminds her to breathe, believe or know what comes around goes around. These from Haley Mindes and Helen Ficalora are incredibly stylish and addictive. Beth (a fellow StyleBakery.com style chef and also a mom) and I live in ours.

Q. I’m about to graduate from college, and have been doing a lot of interviewing at New York City PR firms. I know you’re supposed to dress pretty conservatively for interviews, but wearing a suit to an office where most people are dressed fashion/casual seems a little silly to me. What can I wear that is both fashionable and appropriate for my interviews?
-Currently Unemployed

A. Before you head to the interview, do some research on each PR firm regarding their client list. If their clients are fashion, beauty, media, internet or alcohol related then you can skip the suit. If the firms cover medical, financial arenas or products that you don’t necessarily know much about, then go slightly conservative. I haven’t worn a full suit in years, I don’t even think I own a suit anymore. For most PR firm interviews, I would suggest wearing separates like a stylish top, jacket and flat front pants with heels or wedge. You can also consider a skirt and top and, if not revealing, a dress (meaning: it has sleeves and doesn’t show cleavage). If you choose a suit, then be sure it fits your body well, isn’t boxy, and wear a colorful top or shirt underneath the jacket.

Here are some suggested looks:

French-stripe peacoat sweaterSemantiks 'City' Denim Pantsgyptian-cotton printed Katie cardiganNanushka Pleated Skirt

Try a pretty cropped jacket or cardigan with a skirt or slim trousers.

French-stripe peacoat sweater, $180 at jcrew.com; Semantiks ‘City’ Denim Pants, $68 at nordstrom.com; gyptian-cotton printed Katie cardigan, $95 at jcrew.com; Nanushka Pleated Skirt, $198 at nordstrom.com

 5371330Necessary Objects™ Full SkirtRetro dot cashmere shellMichael Kors Crop Pants

This white cropped jacket can be paired with a full polka dot skirt or cropped pants and patterned underpinning for chic alternatives to a suit.

Semantiks Sateen Pintuck Jacket, $138 at
nordstrom.com; Necessary Objects Full Skirt, $44 at nordstrom.com; Retro dot cashmere shell, $89.99 at jcrew.com; Michael Kors Crop Pants, $69.50 at nordstrom.com

To The Max! Notch Collar JacketTo The Max! Pencil SkirtSilk/cotton pintuck blouseSilk dot-print blouse

If you do opt for a suit, be sure to wear a colorful feminine top underneath to keep the look young and fresh.

To The Max! Notch Collar Jacket, $138 at
nordstrom.com; To The Max! Pencil Skirt, $88 at nordstrom.com; Silk/cotton pintuck blouse, $64 at bananarepublic.com; Silk dot-print blouse, $68 at bananarepublic.com

Q. You site is so helpful!!! I had a baby a few months ago and I am in my friend’s wedding next month. The bridesmaid dress is thin satin, and body skimming, and it is not forgiving to any body issues! My stomach is not big or fat, but not where I’d like it to be for this dress. I have that little pouch under my belly button and it is quite obvious in this style of a dress. I need help on an undergarment that will help me to feel confident in this dress. A bra cannot be worn with this dress, I think it is too low cut in the front for even a strapless bra. So I plan to have bra cups sewn in, and I need something for the stomach area, something that won’t show under the very thin fabric.
-Hide my Pouch

A. I empathize with your dilemma. Many brides choose dresses without trying them on themselves to see how it fits a body. Thin satin is not forgiving. You need an undergarment that rises above your belly and also avoids panty or stomach lines.

These work well to give complete all over coverage to flatten tummy and smooth all over. It should come high enough under the dress to avoid lines going across, but the dress length has to be longer:

 The Body Wrap: Firm Control Strapless Long Leg Body Briefer Spanx: Higher Power High Waisted Power Panty

left to right: The Body Wrap: Firm Control Strapless Long Leg Body Briefer, $78 at barenecessities.com; Spanx: Higher Power High Waisted Power Panty, $34 at barenecessities.com

 The Body Wrap: High Waist Control Thong

This may help avoid panty lines while still going over waist to flatten the tummy.

The Body Wrap: High Waist Control Thong, $34 at barenecessities.com

 Spanx: All The Way Up High-Waist Pantyhose

If you intend to wear black sheer hosiery then this should work.

Spanx: All The Way Up High-Waist Pantyhose, $28 at barenecessities.com

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