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Q. My boyfriend is about to be back from Iraq and we have a very special vacation planned.  I want to wear a cute little black cocktail dress, but I don’t know if I should wear hose, and if so, what color to wear.  I am extremely pale  and our vacation will be in December.  I don’t want to look like a fashion disaster! 
-Pale Writer 

A. Assuming you are going somewhere warm, skip the hose and be sure to wear some knockout intimates under your dress.  If you’re pale, consider a spray on tan.  I’m a big fan of Model Co. transparent spray on tan.  Just be sure to continually wash your hands and be light on the ankles, feet and elbows to avoid staining.  Or start applying a gradual skin glowing lotion now like the “tanning” or body shimmer lotions from Jergens.

P96122 Hero       200-21

ModelCo Tan Airbrush In A Can, $7 and up at sephora.com

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, $5.99 at drugstore.com

Earrings In or Out

Q. I know that chandelier earrings are out, but what should I be wearing for a fun going-out earring now? And are large necklaces still in? I have a few that are the big chain style from last season. Can I still wear them? What earrings do I pair with them? 
- Ear Wear

A. Yes, go ahead and wear your chain style necklace, I still wear mine.  Just go simple on the earrings, like little drop earrings in gold or silver or a thin hoop. As for your chandelier earrings, keep them since fashion is cyclical and everything always comes back in style. If you want more “pop” on your ears, check these out:

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left to right: Julie Sandlau Amethyst Cluster Oblong Hoop Earrings ($194) at blueluxe.com, Calico Juno Bohemian Earring #7 ($84.99) at blueluxe.com, Kipepeo Jewelry Frangipani Earrings ($64) at girlshop.com

Q. Can I wear white panty hose or stockings in winter?
-Winter White

A. We’re not fans of white hosiery any time of the year unless you’re under the age of 11. White is rarely flattering on anyone and can often make legs look larger than they are.  There are so many options of sheer colors, “invisible” sheers and fun opaque tights available, so try to find an alternative to white. 

Q. I’m so glad your website turned up in my Google search! I took your advice (archive) over the weekend for Date #2 to a football game. Date #3 is dinner at my date’s house. He is cooking and I’ll be bringing the wine and myself. This is a great opportunity to see what he is like - his style, his apartment, etc. It’s time for me to show him my casual, cute, funky side.  What should I wear? I am 31 and I like to dress classically with something funky mixed in - like jewelry or fun shoes. I usually can pick out outfits but with this date, I am nervous and can’t think straight!
-Great Date

A. Since it‘s about being cute and casual, go for items in your wardrobe that you can get comfortable in.  For example, clothes that you can be cozy on the couch while you’re spending hours talking and enjoying wine.  Wear dark jeans and a great camisole and wrap sweater or a great v-neck fitted cashmere sweater with velvet pants and ballet flats.  Perhaps the flats are patent leather or animal print. And don’t wear too many layers since you don’t want to get overheated and give the wrong impression if you need to take something off. And since your signature seems to be the jewelry, wear one of your favorite necklaces or pair of earrings, but nothing too chunky or oversized.  Keep your look pretty and feminine. And bring along a great bottle of wine and perhaps a mini pie or fresh baked cookies for dessert.

Little Black Dress

Q. I have a good friend’s wedding to go to in March, and I’ve decided to use this as an opportunity to invest in a perfect little black dress. I’d like some ideas for dresses that are under $250 (I know I said “invest,” but I’m a girl on a budget!)  I’m interested in a dress that is classic and stylish and will be wearable for years to come to all sorts of events. I am also looking for a dress that will be flattering and slimming, as I’ve recently put on a little weight and am self-conscious of it (I’m 5’9“ and about a size 6-8). I’d really appreciate your help! You always seem to know the perfect thing to wear.
-LBD Classic

A. I recently shot a little black dress story and fell for many styles.  Here’s a few that fit your budget and will still be stylish five years from now.

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left to right, all available at nordstrom.com: Maggy London Beaded Matte Jersey Halter Dress ($138), Anne Klein Dress V-Neck Chiffon Dress ($192), Bianca Nero Bead Chiffon Dress ($272), Velvet Torch Shantung Tube Dress ($62). Also, check out bluefly.com for a huge variety of little black dresses.

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