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Q. I have a wedding to go to in 2 weeks and I bought 2 dresses. One is white with black roses on it with a big black band under the bust. It’s a halter style. While it’s not all white, people are telling me that I shouldn’t wear it. The other is black (strapless) with small white flowers on it, I prefer the white one but I don’t want to upset the bride in any way.
-Dress Confusion

A. Don’t let your friends swoop down and eat away at your confident style. The dress you’ve described clearly is not a white dress, so feel free to wear the white and black patterned dress and dance the night away.

Q. I have purchased a dress for my son’s wedding. I vowed I wouldn’t wear beige, because it washes me out. I basically did though. The color is called light cafe and is strapless. What color jewelry would you recommend?
-Beige Begone

A. Here’s a few questions to answer before I can help. Why did you succumb to a color that you clearly know washes you out? Are you trying to blend into the background rather than shine with the rest of the party? Were you shopping alone or did you have “help” from a friend? Can you return it? IF you fell in love with the dress and had to have it, then we have options. Realize that this is your son’s wedding, so you should adore the dress and feel confident in it all day. Look for jewels that have shine, sparkle or color. Dangly earrings with a bracelet and cocktail ring or stunning earrings with a necklace that hits around the collarbone are the best fits for a strapless. Gold tones with diamonds, real or faux, will give off shine. If you need color, then think amber and soft tones of pink, blue or green. Here are some suggestions:

50 Carat Green Garnet Briolette 14K Gold NecklaceAriella Collection Oversize Cushion Cut Ring301-E95-Y-1Mother of Pearl Necklace

left to right: 50 Carat Green Garnet Briolette 14K Gold Necklace, $250 at; Ariella Collection Oversize Cushion Cut Ring, $78 at; Yellow Sapphire Diamond Earrings, $182 at; Mother of Pearl Necklace, $190 at

Q. My friend and I are having a disagreement about tights. She loves wearing dark opaque tights with dresses and skirts and is insecure about showing bare legs. She wants to continue wearing them in the spring and summer. I say tights are too heavy when the temps hit 80. What do you say?
-Heat Squeeze

Laundry by Shelli Segal 'Rachel' Slim ShortsA. Ding, ding, ding-you are correct! While your friend may have seen some photos in a magazine that encouraged her to continue wearing tights all year, she should know that many of those magazine editors don’t follow the style they show in the pages. Tights in the summer heat are just too, too hot. And talk about the sweat and uncomfortable factor. Knee length skirts and shorts will surely be more comfortable and still cover most of her legs when it gets hot. For an office gig or special event, if she still feels uncomfortable, she can pull on sheer hosiery.

Laundry by Shelli Segal ‘Rachel’ Slim Shorts
$148 at

Q. I am getting married in November (Australia) so it will be coming into summer there. I have 3 bridesmaids and want them to look and feel beautiful on the day, but I am unsure what style dress I can get to suit all of them. Bridesmaid #1 is 5’2, medium-large bust, curvy, with a defined waist and a big bum. Bridesmaid #2 is 5’2, small busted, slim athletic build with a bit of a bum. And my 3rd bridesmaid is average height (5’ 7), large busted, defined waist and a big bum. They all have nice shapely calves and I was wondering if a tea length dress would suit them, or would it cut them off? Am I better off with a full-length dress for them? I am in a full-length gown, which is quite formal and elegant. Will tea length dresses clash with me?
-Bridesmaid Dress Dilemma

A. I hope to help you and other brides-to-be with dress shopping, as well as help the girls you choose to be in your bridal party.  I can’t make this clear enough to brides-to-be: your bridesmaids don’t have to wear the same exact dress to look good on your wedding day. Choosing the same color, fabric and length with just slight variations in the dress style can be the right combination to make everyone happy and allow them to look their best.

For busty girls,  look for halter styles or wider straps to hold up and cover a bra better. For “big bum” girls, look for the skirt portion of the dress to be an A-line cut which will help define the waist and hide the bum and thighs. Cocktail or tea length gives girls the best chance of possibly wearing the dress again and makes it easier to hit the dance floor.

Other tips:

• Please, no shades of color (each girl wearing a different color dress-I’ve never seen it work).

• If you choose a black cocktail length dress that is simple and chic, your bridesmaids will have a better chance of wearing it again rather than tossing it in the “I can’t believe she made me wear this” donation pile.

• Choose a dress style that works best for most body shapes. Don’t make a curvy girl wear a column style. A-line dress styles are most flattering. Empire dresses are sweet on slender or proportioned girls, but can make petite girls look too young and other girls look pregnant.

• No dyeable shoes. Consider giving a shoe color choice to your bridesmaids and let them buy their own. Some girls can’t wear a really high heel while others wouldn’t attend a party without them. They may already have that color in their wardrobe and it will lessen the burden on their bank account.

• You can make suggestions of jewelry, but unless you’re giving the girls a gift of jewelry to wear with their dresses, don’t expect them to buy accessories as well. If you do give your bridesmaids gifts, please try to mix it up by choosing various colors or slightly different gifts so they all don’t feel or look like clones.

• Don’t make your bridesmaids spend a fortune on the dress. Every girl doesn’t have a bundle to pay for a dress, heels, gifts galore, bridal shower, bachelorette party and perhaps travel costs. Be kind to their cash flow.

• Don’t ask every girl you think is your good friend to be a bridesmaid.  Many hope to just come to your wedding and have a good time in their own dress choice without additional responsibilities.

Q. I am 21 years old and have been often told that I look like I’m 15! I want to look my age and dress up a bit with heels but I always end up wearing t-shirts, jeans and sneakers because I can never put together a girly, comfortable outfit. How can I achieve a look to show off the older girly side of me while being comfortable at the same time?
-21 going on 15

A. When you get to be in your thirties, you’ll be thankful that you look younger, so take care of your skin to prolong the 6-years-younger look.  I can’t make this suggestion stronger: make sure there is sunscreen in your daily moisturizer.

On to clothes…you seem to know what is appropriate for your age, but you keep grabbing what feels safe. Dark jeans are stylish for every age, but add a strappy heel or patent wedge with a cute top for a Saturday night out. For day, make gradual changes by wearing a skirt and a dress at least once a week.  They can be casual, flirty pieces, but guaranteed you’ll feel more like a girl then a young tomboy.  As for sneakers, each time you go to tie them on, make a switch and slip on a cute flat instead.  And be sure you sport colorful or stylish “trainers” with your jeans rather than your sneakers meant for running or to the gym. Stylish New Yorkers would be lost without two pairs of run-around fun sneakers in our closet that are just meant for pairing with weekend wear.

Start with causal dresses or skirts that you can wear with sandals or espadrilles and you’ll be well on your way to dressing your age:

Lacoste Colortip Crossback DressFree People Diagonal Floral Print DressRuby Rox Ruched Poplin Tube Dress

Necessary Objects™ Seersucker SkirtKira Skirt  $34.50 Lux Knit Deep V Tie Back Dress

dresses and skirts, left to right: Lacoste Colortip Crossback Dress, $145 at; Free People Diagonal Floral Print Dress, $128 at; Ruby Rox Ruched Poplin Tube Dress, $48 at; Necessary Objects Seersucker Skirt, $48 at; Kira Skirt,  $34.50 at; Lux Knit Deep V Tie Back Dress, $29.99 at at

Candy Sandal  $36 Miss Sixty Strappy Ankle Wrap SandalBP. 'Congo' SandalLibby Flat  $36

shoes, left to right: Candy Sandal, $36 at;  Miss Sixty Strappy Ankle Wrap Sandal, $85 at  at; BP. ‘Congo’ Sandal, $59.95 at;  Libby Flat, $36 at

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