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Q. I’m wondering if you can help me find a pair of cute, comfortable and flattering flat sandals. I have thick ankles and somewhat wide feet, and I tend to wear heels because I think they’re more flattering, but I need a pair of cute flats to wear all summer with shorts and dresses. I want a pair that can go with everything, something that’s comfy enough to walk around in all day, and hopefully something that won’t make my legs and feet look huge. Can you help? Thanks!!!

A. You’re on the right track by typically leaning towards heels, as this can help make ankles look slimmer and legs more shapely. But of course, we can’t live in heels every day, so owning a flat or two is essential. When looking for flats that flatter your thick ankle and wide foot, you should look for sandals that expose as much of your foot and ankle as possible as this is much more slimming than a shoe with straps that come close to your ankle. You may also want to “cheat” a little with a sliver of a heel - you’ll still be comfortable while adding just the tiniest bit of a rise. Here are some more tips on what to look for, followed by some sandal suggestions:

Avoid:

  • Ankle straps
  • Thick straps
  • High vamps
  • Anything chunky

Look for:

  • Slingback or thong sandals and wedges that don’t have ankle straps or ties
  • Nude or light colors will visually slim your foot and ankle
  • Low-cut vamps that show as much of the top of your foot as possible
  • Very small heels or sliver wedges

Here are some styles worth trying (Note: 2 exceptions to the “no ankle straps” rule are the uniquely designed cuffed heel styles from Pierre Dumas and Crso Como (below) which may actually help camouflage a thick ankle by covering up only the sides and back of your ankle):

Q. Help! I graduate from College in May. I am not really sure what to wear, I do live in Texas so It will probably be quite warm. Is a floral skirt and colored top appropriate? Are Maxis okay, considering they will be seen under the gown? What is the usual college graduation attire?

A. Congratulations on your upcoming college graduation. True, the traditional graduation gown does make it hard to look good, but it can be done! 

Since you’ll likely be celebrating after the ceremony with friends or family, you should wear something appropriate. We recommend a knee length dress or skirt or long pants to wear under your gown. A maxi dress can get tricky, so it’s best to avoid this look. One thing to note, it can get hot under that gown, so your clothes should be cool and breathable. Also, you may be walking on grass, so stick with wedge shoes or chunky heels.

Here are a few suggestions to help inspire your look:

Q. I have a pair of Coach tie-up ribbon espadrilles from quite a few seasons ago. Can I still wear them?

A. Absolutely! Tie-up espadrilles are a classic that never go out of style, so have fun wearing them with dresses, skirts, cropped pants and more. To prove our point, here are variations on the classic from $25 to over $800!

251663_MAIN_LB_1.jpg.gifQ. I am looking for a spring jacket that I can wear everyday. I have seen a ton of cute trench coats, but I still need something even more casual. I love this jacket from Built by Wendy but cannot afford it. I found a somewhat similar jacket at J Crew but it won’t be available for another two months! By then, it will no longer be needed! Can you please help me find similar affordable jackets?  



A. Based on the two jackets you mentioned, you’re looking for a super casual anorak or cargo/safari/military style spring jacket. We found several affordable options for you:


Q. In shopping for summerwear, I have yet to buy into the maxi dress phenomenon. I see stars (Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes) in them all the time, and they are all over my favorite stores but I worry about purchasing one for myself because of my large chest and plus size shape. I feel like a maxi dress is a nice way of calling something a muumuu! Is there anyway to avoid looking preggers in one of these?

A. The maxi dress continues to be a big trend this season. Maxi dresses are meant to fit loosely, so they’re a great option for curvy women, and there are many plus size options available. Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect maxi for your plus size/chesty shape:

surplicemaxi.png

  • Make sure that the fabric flows loosely over your body - you don’t want any pulling or gathering over your hips or tummy - but make sure there isn’t too much fabric so it looks like you’re wearing a muumuu.

  • Look for styles that fit your chest well and allow you to wear a supportive bra underneath. You probably want to avoid spaghetti strap styles which tend to fit smaller chests.

  • Bold patterns are ideal for camouflaging lumps and bumps, so don’t be afraid of prints and color.

  • If you’re on the shorter side, wear wedge heels, espadrilles or the new chunky heeled gladiator to add some height and elongate your figure.

The surplice front maxi dress shown here ($89.50 at lanebryant.com) is a great style for you to try. It has ample room up top for a large bust, a flattering empire waist style and a gorgeous boho print that’s right on trend. It’s loose without having too much extra fabric.

Here are some more plus size maxis for you to try:

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