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Q. Do you have any suggestions as to where I might find colorful, cute luggage?  I am traveling to France in the spring, and I would really like to find something that is not black or dark brown.  It needs to be large, as I will need to stuff three weeks worth of clothing and souvenirs into it.  I had a fuchsia DVF suitcase however, it broke and I need to find a replacement.

A. I traveled on 20 flights from Thanksgiving to New Years and that meant learning to travel light and finding the right carry-on bag for my book, magazines and pocket video recorder and a suitcase that’s easy to find on the carousel.   Black is a big NO NO for suitcase colors - unless of course you want to waste time at the airport or worry that someone with the same style walks away with your precious cargo. I watched a guy chase after a woman who mistakenly had done just that in O’Hare airport!
I’m a big fan of finding the big names and a big range of luggage for less at stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  There’s a fabulous new line of printed luggage pieces from gap.com. Also, check out styles from macys.com, overstock.com, ebags.com and tumi.com.

Here are a few suggestions:

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Delsey Helium Lite
100 Luggage Collection
$30 to $130 at
macys.com

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Polo Ralph Lauren
2000 Rugged Collection
$151 to $459 at
macys.com

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Atlantic Altitude 24"
Expandable Upright
$64.99 at ebags.com

Q. I just bought a pair of platform-wedge espadrilles that lace up the ankle with grosgrain ribbons. They’re lovely, I just can’t figure out how to tie them! I have small ankles and tying the ribbon into a bow looks hilariously floppy. Is it OK to just tie a knot? In front or back? Is there some other clever way to fasten them? Help! You’re the best!
-Tie it Up

A. I bought some wedge espadrilles last summer and waited two months after their purchase to finally put them on due to the tie-up issue.  Every time I put them on, I felt a little silly.  Ultimately, I wrapped them criss cross style around my leg and tied them in a bow in the back of my calf and skipped (sort of) out the door to receive many compliments.  Try tying them as expected and end with a bow, which you can double knot, so the bow appears smaller on the back of your calf (and so you don’t feel like a 5 year old with a bow in the front.) You can knot the ribbons if you wish, but you may end up with long dangling ribbons, risking the chance of stepping on them and tripping.

Q. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE wearing gauchos with sleek, fitted high heel knee high boots, but I wonder are there any other shoes I can pair them with? Specifically, can I wear them with heels, and if so, what stockings/tights should I wear, if any?
-Gaucho Giddy

P202766bA. Depending on the width of your gaucho legs, you can sometimes think of them like a skirt. You can wear pumps, peep toes, wedges and, depending on the fabric of your gauchos, even sandals, cute flats and espadrilles in the Spring and Summer.  It depends on the length of your guachos to know what looks best with them. Wear them and head to the shoe department of your favorite store and have some fun trying on a variety of looks.

Since it’s still cold out there, wearing gauchos with tights can extend the season and the amount of times you get to wear them.  Skip stockings and go for textured tights or opaque tights with winter wedges, patterned pumps and maybe even a peep toe (with a tiny opening) style.

lux plaid sailor gaucho (above), $39.99 (sale) at urbanoutfitters.com

Q. I am going to St. Thomas this February for vacation and would like some advice on what to bring as far as eveningwear. I have a lot of cute long skirts from last summer which I usually pair with a tank. I do not, however, want to always wear a tank out at night. Do you have any suggestions of what kind of tops I can wear besides a cute tank with longer skirts?
-Tankless

A. There are plenty of options beyond a tank to wear with skirts in the Caribbean.  Try a short sleeve fitted button down shirt, a sleeveless or short sleeve wrap top, a camisole, or a pretty ruffled cotton top. And don’t assume that your tanks are not an option. Add a long beaded necklace or a multi strand necklace and the tank can suddenly look incredibly chic.  And when it comes to the Caribbean, casual usually is the clothing theme.  Even at a five star resort, many still wear flip-flops to dinner, albeit they’re silver or gold, but flip flops nonetheless.  Here are some options to consider with your long skirts:

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That 70s Shirt
$28 at alloy.com

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Sweet Pea by Stacy Frati
Split Neck Victorian Top
$78 at nordstrom.com

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Nanette Lepore
Beach Safari Top
$110 at saks.com

Q. I am wearing a knee length black dress to a wedding and party at night.  Can I wear nylons that are nude instead of black?
-Leg Cover

A. You can wear nude stockings instead of black, but you may need to spend a little extra time in the hosiery department matching up your skin color to make sure the nude stockings really do look like you are wearing nothing at all - since that’s the point. Or, if your can swing it in the cooler temps, go bare legged and perhaps use a sunless tanner on your legs.

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