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Q. What basic color shoes should be in a woman’s wardrobe? Someone told me white, black and red but this seems out there.
-No Clue Shoes 

A. White as a requisite in your shoe wardrobe is definitely “out there.”  Very few people wear white shoes, and when they do, it’s usually a sandal or flip flop.  Word of advice: don’t ask that same person about clothing choices!   

It’s hard to determine what’s best for your wardrobe since your lifestyle and career can influence your needs and choices, but if you were to keep the colors and styles to a bare minimum, black and chocolate brown should cover you for most occasions and seasons. For the past few years, metallics have become essential neutrals, adding spark to everything from a cocktail dress to jeans and helping to alleviate the desire for “matching colors” from head to toe.  A bronze heel can replace your brown pump when the shade is wrong with your outfit, while silver and gold work well with a multitude of colors.  Finally, adding color to your shoe wardrobe, whether it’s a navy espadrille, a pink ballet flat or a green pointy-toe slingback can give new life to any wardrobe or polish even the most basic jeans and t-shirt look.

Q. Where can I find a one-piece or tankini with underwire?  I am a size 16 and with D breasts, so I just can’t go without the wire.  I am only 28, so I don’t want a “grandma” suit, but I can’t wear a string bikini either.  Please help!
-A Southern Sunbather

A. Some of the best styles that give lift and support with no “grandma” concerns are halter-top swimsuits.  Look for ones with built in cups for the best lift and there are many swimsuits with discreet features like extra Lycra to flatten tummies and slim hips.  I love Miraclesuit, and they offer specific styles for D and double D cups. Below are a few of my suggestions and be sure to check out our latest Swim Style style recipe for more options.

Eb05Iu 0120212 216A1Solid-Color Wrap Miraclesuit
$102 at

167208 Af05 M1 Mia MD-cup Solid V-neck Halter Tank Swimsuit
$68 at

L1009098-1Venezia Sport rhinestone-accent halter tank
$89.50 at

Q. I’m in a wedding in June.  The bride chose a dress that has three layers of ruffles at the bottom, a cowl neck with a low drape in back, and flutter sleeves.  The dress is lavender.  I would feel naked without any jewelry, but don’t want to overdo it.  What accessories would you put with this dress?
-Accessory Uncertainty 

A. Go for gorgeous earrings and either a pretty cocktail ring or simple bracelet.  The earrings are the focal point. Here are a few suggestions from lavender colors to pearl hues:

Kalb Lulea1Ingrid Kristina
Lulea Earrings,
$220 at

Eb18 LLaurice Curran
Amethyst Earrings,
$60 at

Jilli Cascade Amethyst1Jill Italiano
Cascade Earrings,
$84 at

Grapes-MediumRachel Leigh, NY
Grapes ring,
$180 at

Amybracelet-320X240Claudette Jewelry
Purple Diamond Bracelet,
$70 at

Renatom Mop2Rena Tom
White Shell Fan Bracelet,
$170 at

Q.  I’m traveling to London at the end of the month and I’m looking for a pair of flats that are cute, comfy, can be dressed up and down, and can be worn rain or shine. The problem is that I’m not looking to spend a lot of money. Can you help?
-Flat Appeal 

000006416A. I adore these flats from Aerosoles called the Frillie Pepper—they’re super cute, comfy with a cushioned insole and the gold can be paired with walking shorts by day and dresses at night.

$69 at

Q. I have been very frustrated by my inability to find fashionable jeans that fit those of use who wear bigger — but not “plus” — sizes. I am generally an 8 or a 10 but I find that I can’t fit into the biggest size made by most premium denim brands, generally a 32. If I can even get them over my admittedly large hips and thighs, the waist inevitably gaps by many inches, far too much to fix through alteration. No one who looks at me would say I’m obese, but I certainly felt that way after spending a good 2 hours in an upscale department store recently. Must I resign myself to Gap or Lee jeans from here on in? I’d really like to have a pair of sharp jeans that I can wear in a professional situation, and Wranglers just don’t cut it.
- Jeans Disjointed 

A. I feel your pain - jeans and swimsuits are THE HARDEST items to shop for and the most disappointing when you can’t find your dream purchase.  I have left many dressing rooms feeling like a reject when I couldn’t find a pair that fit me. 

First, make sure you are trying on the most flattering fit for your figure. Look for jeans with a slight flare to balance out your hips and thighs and avoid tapering or skinny jeans at all costs.  Be sure the jeans have pockets. Also, think about denim with stretch— or Lycra—one of the greatest inventions put into women’s clothes. Don’t bring a girlfriend with you unless she is super stylishly savvy and honest. And don’t assume that expensive jeans are more worthy - I have jeans in my drawer from Old Navy for $20 to Citizens of Humanity for nearly $200 and plenty of price points in between. I love them all for different reasons, whether it’s the fit, the length or the wash. It’s more important to find the right fit that looks good on your body than spending the big bucks for the latest “hot” jean. 

As for designers to look for, there are so many brands out there, it’s hard to keep up with the claims. Before you become hardened towards jeans, go shopping at these stores:  Lucky Brand Dungarees (they have claimed they can find you a great fitting pair in four try-ons) and Levi’s, where you’ll find a wealth of sizes and fits with knowledgeable salespeople. Or, head to a store that has a designated area just for the jeans with pros on staff that know all the styles. In New York we have Barneys with their Jeans Bar - I adore the guys at Barneys co-op, they are honest and can remember the difference between my first pair and my fifteenth.

Most importantly, be patient. Even if you have to try on 50 pairs to find the perfect one, it will be worth it!

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