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Q. Can velvet be worn for a formal occasion now?

-Velvety

162924A. Other than those rich fitted velvet jackets one can start wearing in October when the temperatures begin to drop, I’m not a big proponent of velvet in October (though it is a HUGE trend this season). It truly depends on the outfit—a red, green or black velvet dress can be a big no-no for October since so many velvet dresses scream “HOLIDAY here I come.” But a cute cocktail dress (like the ABS by Allen Schwartz Chiffon & Velvet Dress shown left from nordstrom.com) or a dress in a contemporary cut or even a fantastic velvet suit in rich shades like eggplant and cappuccino can sneak by at a formal event this time of year and look great. Use temperature and location as your guide - if you live in Colorado where it’s already snowing then wear it, if you live in Florida where it’s still beach weather then skip it until November.

Q. I have been searching everywhere for a good quality hair straightener that dries and straightens hair at the same time. I know that there are a lot out there, but I am looking for one that really works. I was wondering if you could help me find one for under $100.
-Flat Out

B00019Mjq8.01-Aujfgu7Cgs4Fi. Scmzzzzzzz -1A. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a perfect drying straightener on the market. Reason being, the time it takes to get tangled hair or wet hair through them. BaByliss Pro 1½“ Vented Ceramic Straightening Iron is the best one I have seen in this price range, but hair can be at most damp when you begin.

Q. I seem to be doomed with limp locks. No matter what cut, style or length…the gang always plays dead. What simple product can you recommend for an “on the go” gal to help turn up the volume?
- Limp Locks

04385988904A. I asked our beauty contributor, Mickey Williams, for help with your limp locks. She recommends the Kerastase product line. The only issues with this line are price, and that you practically need an expert to tell you which product you should use. Ask your hairstylist to look at the texture and volume of your hair and to write the “prescription”.

Another sure way to make the gang play is to get a bottle of Beach Spray from Bumble and Bumble and use this product exactly as directed. The salt in this product brings curl to even pin-straight hair. Another thing to consider is using a leave-in conditioner rather than one in the shower. Sometimes we can over condition hair, creating a heavier strand that just lies flat. Again, Bumble and Bumble makes a very lightweight leave-in conditioner that is exceptional. It’s a bit more pricey, but the results are worth it.

Check out strawberrynet.com to shop for these products for free shipping and discounts.

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Q. I have just gotten a short haircut and am interested in sporting some chic hats.
-Preparing for a bad hair day

A. I adore that you are interested in wearing hats this Fall. So many women shy away from wearing hats thinking they can’t pull them off. It takes a confident attitude and it helps to have a stylish haircut. For Fall, look for toppers in tweed and corduroy and newsboy driving caps that won’t cover up a short haircut completely. Avoid those wide brim boho chic hats made famous again by Sienna Miler, they’re meant for girls with long hair.70072 Wc3427

David & Young tweed newsboy cap, left, $16 at nordstrom.com; tweed topper, right, $68 at jcrew.com

Florfrplcsrn PQ. I have a non-working fireplace in my apartment and am looking to create a little romance and mood lighting with candles since I can’t light up any logs. And I don’t want to just put a bunch of candles in the area. I’m looking for something like a “chandelier or candelabra” effect for the space. I need help with some suggestions.

-Light Up My Hearth

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A. Not knowing your design style, I wanted to give you several suggestions that may fit into your living room motif. There are several ways to approach the lighting effect for the room. You can fill the fireplace with logs or birch branches to give the look of a fireplace ready to light and then fit a fireplace screen with votive holders in front (like the one shown at left top from illuminations.com).

For inside the fireplace, consider a multi level candleholder to get varying heights of light whether in rustic bronze or modern steel (Malabar 5-cup candleholder, shown above right, from target.com). Pg01-1922198RegOr, you may choose a simpler design by placing several thick candles in varying heights on a wood, glass or metal “plate” and place it in the center of the hearth (metal and glass candle plate, shown left, lnt.com)

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If you want a little more detail but still want to stick with a minimalist touch, buy a few hurricane candleholders and place them next to each other or in various spots of the fireplace and place large thick candles inside. Voila! Instant ambience. (open hurricane, shown right, pier1.com) Quick tip - be sure to measure the space before you buy anything to be sure you don’t start a real fire or leave visible smoke marks.

Also, take a look at your mantle (or put one up if you don’t have one) and add candles, mirrors, artwork, etc. to complete the full effect.

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