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Q. Next semester for school I will be required to do my student teaching. This is set for 10 weeks in a row. I will start in about February and end in May. I am a college student and am on a budget, but still want to buy pieces I can wear into my first few years of teaching. I also want to be able to wear some of these pieces when I go out to meet up with friends. I want to fit into the professional environment with my clothing, but at the same time still look young and fresh. My question is what stores should I look into? And what pieces do you suggest I buy considering I’ll be teaching through almost 3 seasons (winter, spring, and possibly summer weather)?

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A. You can’t go wrong by collecting a wardrobe of cute dresses. This is by far the most versatile piece you can own, and can easily move from work to play depending on what you pair with it. You can also wear the same dress for several seasons by adding tights or layering pieces.

Below are four 3-season dresses paired with several mix and match accessories including a thin turtleneck to layer under a sleeveless dress or short sleeve sweater dress and a blazer and cardigan to layer over the dresses. Add or remove these layers, depending on the weather. Comfortable knee high boots, ballet flats and pumps round out your shoe wardrobe. Add a chic tote, trendy belt and layered necklace and you’ve got the beginnings of a well-rounded wardrobe. All of the pieces are under $100 and perfect for a young professional. Good luck!

Q. What is the best way to wear booties?

A. Not only are ankle boots a huge trend, but they’re also extremely versatile. You can wear them with jeans or leggings or in place of a pump with dresses and skirts. Since booties range from super low (sometimes called shooties) to heights that are well above your ankle bone, how you wear your boots depends on the style of boot.

Shooties or shoe booties look best with skirts, dresses and long skinny jeans or leggings. These are the most flattering style to wear since they come down low on the leg, making them look longer than with other styles of boots. Booties that come up a bit higher on the ankle can also be worn with skirts and dresses but look best on women with slim calves. Another option for ankle boots is to wear them with skinny or boot cut jeans or leggings. Here are some celebrity photos for inspiration:


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Katy Perry, Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Stewart and Rihanna all wear booties with bare legs and dresses or skirts, though tights would also be a great addition to any of these looks. Note that all of the hemlines hit well above the knee for a flattering leg look.


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Rihanna, Nicky Hilton and Leighton Meester wear booties of various heights with skinny jeans and leggings, while Keri Russell shows how to wear them with boyfriend jeans.

photos via InStyle.com

Q. Can short girls wear riding boots? I’m 5’1” and 140lbs. Will wearing flat boots make me look shorter or wider? I like the look and love the comfort but I want to look stylish and not stocky.

A. Flat boots can be tricky for petite women to wear. The most important tip is to choose a shaft height that works with your proportions (the shaft is the part of the boot that covers the leg, measured along the inside seam of the boot). Anything too tall will make you look shorter. The most flattering boot would hit 1” or more below your knee.

Wearing your boots with similar colored tights, leggings or jeans will also help create a flattering look for your legs. A short dress or skirt will also help to lengthen your legs. For more tips, read:

Advice for short, curvy girls about knee high boots

Frye Harness boots for a petite figure?

In search of riding boots that aren’t too tall

Q. Would patterned tights be too much with a dress like this? The one I have has a studded belt too.

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A. We are huge fans of patterned tights this season, especially when stylishly paired with contrasting prints. You can absolutely wear patterned tights with your chic dress (a great purchase, by the way!). Here’s how we’d style it:

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When Hanes asked us to share an uncomfortable holiday moment, it was hard to pick just one! Somehow the holidays are rife with awkward and embarrassing moments. To us, though, there is none more embarrassing than when a friend, coworker or acquaintance gives you an unexpected gift. Sure, it’s the thought that counts, but the uncomfortable feeling of not having a gift to give in return takes all the fun out of the moment.

What to do? We’ve gotten smart over the past few years and now keep a stash of generic, unisex gifts in our house, desk drawer and car. So the next time an unexpected gift is handed to us, we can joyously say, “Oh, I’ve got a little something for you too!” as we hand over a wrapped scented candle or bottle of wine. Whew, uncomfortable moment avoided!

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