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Q. What’s the correct way to button a three buttoned jacket? My husband seems to button the middle only and I am constantly telling him it looks very old fashioned. However, I wondered if the same rule applies to women, as some of my colleagues fasten just the top, others all three and I fasten the top two!
-Buttoned Up

A. For both men and women, the best looking way and the most common way to wear a three-button suit is to button the top two buttons. Buttoning all three buttons is a formal way to wear the suit and is acceptable. By just buttoning the top button, I wonder what extra room a man needs in the suit for, perhaps, an expanding waistline.

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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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

Q. After recently investing in an almost totally new work wardrobe, I don’t know what to do now.  First question - how do I put together a cute outfit quickly in the morning from my good components, without just grabbing boring standards?  My office is business casual and I work with a group of very fashion-savvy co-workers that I try to semi-keep up with (I am not fashion-savvy by nature).  And second question - what’s the best way to organize my clothes in my SMALL closet in order to maximize my efficiency and wardrobe hip-ness?  Any suggestions? 
-Trying to finish what she started…

A. How can you have a new wardrobe and still not know what to put on in the morning?  Take an assessment of your new wardrobe: Does it have color? Do you have some great accessories? Do the clothes fit your body well? Do you have a well-balanced mix of classics and a few inexpensive trendy items?  You need to mix color with pattern.  You need to pair classic pants or a skirt with a casual fitted jacket. 

Without knowing what’s in your new wardrobe, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to help you create outfits. Are you good friends with one of these fashion savvy ladies to ask some advice? My best advice is to be a little bolder in your choices and be willing to experiment - not by wearing linen with wool, but by layering on necklaces or putting your hair in a sleek ponytail and wearing a pair of dangly earrings or hoops.

As for your second question, it saves valuable time to organize your closet and keep it neat.  I own too much stuff, I admit it, so I keep two wardrobes: one Fall/Winter and one Spring/Summer.  I store whichever season is not in use and then go through it each season to separate what I want to keep, what goes to Good Will and what heads to consignment.  I keep cashmere sweaters stored in cloth bags and I keep almost all of my shoes, except ones in heavy rotation, in their original boxes clearly marked to remind me what’s in them.  I use under-bed storage in canvas storage bags to hold seldom-worn items like ski/snow stuff.   

As for the closet, I organize it by keeping like items together - shirts stay together and are organized by color (blues with blues, whites with whites, etc.), pants are together, skirts hang with each other and same goes for dresses. I use good wooden hangers to keep the closet looking nice and the clothes hang better, but you can also use plastic - just avoid wire. I never hang t-shirts, tanks or sweaters, they are always folded and stacked in drawers or on a shelf in the closet, usually above the rack.  Look for shoe racks that have 2-3 shelves to use on the floor of the closet or find one that can hang on the back of the door. There are also canvas and metal “closets” that you can find at stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond that can inexpensively give you another closet in about five minutes without any renovation or hammer involved.

Q. I have been a big fan in recent years of the no-hose rule with sandals or pumps. Do you think this trend will continue or do you think the end is in sight?

-Bare It?

DknyA. I’ve always been a fan of the no-hose look as well, although so many designers are making great hosiery styles for Fall that I may have to snap up a few pairs for when the temps really drop. I believe wearing or not wearing hose is a matter of preference, confidence and dress code - not a trend. So if you can get away with no hosiery, I’m on your side, but when winter rears it’s ugly head, consider a pair of herringbone tights for under your tall boots and skirts. And wear opaque lacy knee highs or tights with some open toe pumps to extend their wear time for just an extra month.

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