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Q. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for a birthday gift for my boyfriend of a month. He is eighteen and I want to get him something that he’ll really appreciate but nothing too over the top. 

A. A month is such a short time to consider anything over the top and you are still a teenager, so money is probably tight.  How about dinner at a place that he’ll enjoy and an activity like bowling or billiards and darts?  Remember, most guys don’t want to feel stiff in a fancy restaurant when they’d rather wear their jeans. Or, if you have a little extra cash, then get him the Ipod shuffle for $79 and skip the activity and order in pizza, his favorite DVDs (those action flicks) and bake him a cake.

Q. I love going to clubs and parties because I enjoy dancing. I carry the bare minimum (leave the cell phone in the car) because I like to club uncluttered so that I can dance up a storm. However, I do want to take my car keys, cash and credit card and not all my outfits have pockets. Strap purses often slide off my shoulder when the dancing gets fun and up tempo. Are there any small purses that can be attached to a belt or dangle safely from my wrist? Please suggest some hands free purse styles.
-Dancing Queen

A. It’s definitely a girl dilemma and annoyance to want to dance freely, but have to handle a small bag. It’s bad enough we have to deal with crowds and sweaty guys sidling up to us, and have to worry about losing our bags if left in a pile.  You need a tiny bag that you can hang on your wrist or attach elsewhere, but still look stylish. I’ve found a few items that will help you hit the dance floor without a worry.

Julie K Lula BagMoe Bags Tiffany in Pale Gold Rouged SilkMarc Jacobs Quilted WristletMadiedeluxe-Goodies-3-16-07-3

Coach Hamptons Pebbled SwingpackAvery Griffin Croc Belt BagMichael Kors Pouch BeltCloe's Clutch in Black

left to right: Julie K Lula Bag, $165 at couturecandy.com; Moe Bags Tiffany in Pale Gold Rouged Silk, $187 at couturecandy.com; Marc Jacobs Quilted Wristlet, $350 at bloomingdales.com; Madie Deluxe Ring Wristlet, $28 at madiedeluxe.com; Coach Hamptons Pebbled Swingpack, $138 at macys.com; Avery Griffin Croc Belt Bag, $187 at ravinstyle.com; Michael Kors Pouch Belt, $85 at nordstrom.com; Cloe’s Clutch in Black, $23 at frostedbrownie.com

Q. I am getting married in June of this year and I have no idea  what color dress to wear to the rehearsal dinner.  Should I wear white since I’m the bride or should I match my dress to the colors of the wedding and bridesmaid dresses?  Is there any color you are not supposed to wear?? 
-Bride to be Best Dressed 

A. Don’t fret over matching your dress colors to the colors chosen for the tablecloths and flowers. And skip the idea that you need to wear white two days in a row, unless you find a darling white eyelet dress that you will adore wearing throughout the summer, since I would expect you to wear the rehearsal dress many times in the future. Shop for a spring dress that you adore, fits your body well and don’t worry if it’s a bit dressy, since you are the bride.  Here are a few suggestions, that I would wear myself:

Catherine Malandrino
Square Neck Dress with Tulip SkirtBeth Bowley Eyelet DressDallin Chase
Silk Lurex Joe DressCoral Eyelet Strapless Dresses from Tibi

Donna Morgan Empire Waist SundressEliza J Dot Jersey Dressj crew Solid Felice garden dressCalvin Klein Cowl Neck Knit Dress

left to right: Catherine Malandrino Square Neck Dress with Tulip Skirt, $425 at shopbop.com; Beth Bowley Eyelet Dress, $220 at nordstrom.com; Dallin Chase Silk Lurex Joe Dress, $320 at  shopbop.com; Coral Eyelet Strapless Dresses from Tibi, $378 at edressme.com; Donna Morgan Empire Waist Sundress, $98 at nordstrom.com; Eliza J Dot Jersey Dress, $98 at nordstrom.com; Solid Felice garden dress, $125 at jcrew.com; Calvin Klein Cowl Neck Knit Dress, $138 at nordstrom.com

Q. I am going to Nashville for a wedding in mid-May.  Can I wear a white skirt to the rehearsal dinner even though it is before Memorial Day? 
-White Wonder

A. It will all depend on the temperature in Nashville at that time and the material of the skirt. No linen, and no too-thin cotton. If it’s warm and the rest of your outfit isn’t too “light” then you can probably pull it off.

Q. I’m so sick of carrying two bags to work.  Usually, it’s my purse and another tote bag for mail, magazines, lunch or whatever.  And when I bring my laptop into work, that’s three bags total!  It’s just too much! Every bag I find big enough seems too athletic or “LL Bean” looking which is just not my style.  Any ideas on one classy, stylish bag I can use for work? 
-Need to Subtract 

A.  You need the perfect carryall for just about everything.  We call that the BIG bag.  You should stick to one large bag that holds the items that were originally in your purse, plus the mags, mail and lunch. Then for the few times you carry your laptop, get yourself a stylish laptop bag or padded sleeve.

When filling your new BIG bag, be aware that we women tend to fill all that extra space with everything we own, making the bag too cumbersome and heavy to carry comfortably. Pare down to just the basics you need for every day. You don’t need to carry all your cosmetics, just powder, lip color, gloss and hand cream.  Keep any other additions or nonessential items in your desk drawer, even if it means buying duplicates to keep at home and at work.

I’ve chosen a few bags that I believe will help you carry your daily needs:

Hype Handbags Cheyenne SatchelMarc by Marc Jacobs King Pin Forbidden ShopperMichael Kors 'Yacht Club Large' Shopper

L.A.M.B. Devon ToteMichael Kors Big Valley North/SouthB17159 A-1

left to right: Hype Handbags Cheyenne Satchel, $173 at zappos.com; Marc by Marc Jacobs King Pin Forbidden Shopper, $388 at eluxury.com; Michael Kors ‘Yacht Club Large’ Shopper, $348 at nordstrom.com; L.A.M.B. Devon Tote, $650 at  eluxury.com;  Michael Kors Big Valley North/South, $368 at nordstrom.com; Cole Haan Paige Collection Large Convertible Tote, $425 at colehaan.com

Laptop sleeves and cases, keep your choice simple and sleek:

Talene Reilly Reese Laptop ToteCase Closed Bob w/Fashion Girl LiningKara B Laptop Bags The Euro Briefcase,

Timbuk2 Quilted Laptop Sleeve-LargeMango Tango Faux Croc Laptop BagAcme Made Designer Slim

left to right: Talene Reilly Reese Laptop Tote, $230 (sale) at lunaboston;  Case Closed Bob w/Fashion Girl Lining, $50 (sale) at ebags.com; Kara B Laptop Bags The Euro Briefcase, $86.95 at zappos.com; Timbuk2 Quilted Laptop Sleeve-Large, $35.95 at zappos.com; Mango Tango Faux Croc Laptop Bag, $49.99 (sale) at ebags.com; Acme Made Designer Slim, $149.99 at acmemade.com

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