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Q. I’m going to be attending a funeral soon, but I have no idea what to wear. I’ve never been to a funeral before, but I know that attire should be conservative. I don’t want to look like too mature, since I am young. Do you have any suggestions?

A. I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Dressing for a funeral doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. The idea is to dress respectfully and somewhat conservatively - this obviously means no bright colors or sexy silhouettes. While you don’t need to wear black, it is safer to stick with dark colors like black, brown or navy. A dress, suit or skirt and top is the most appropriate. A dress is probably the most age appropriate choice for you, and you won’t have to worry about coordinating separate pieces, making it much easier to put together your outfit. We recommend a dress with a hemline that hits around your knee; sleeves are preferred, but if your dress is sleeveless, plan to wear a cardigan or wrap. It’s a good idea to have a simple conservative dress in your wardrobe anyway, not only for funerals, but for potential job interviews, etc.

As for shoes, a closed toe or peep toe pump is most appropriate. Avoid any sexy or really strappy sandals. You can most likely skip wearing hosiery, unless you feel more comfortable wearing tights or stockings.

Here are a few ideas for you that cost less than $150 and are age-appropriate:

Q. I have a ring dilemma. I wear a family heirloom diamond engagement ring on my right hand ring finger so it isn’t assumed to be an engagement ring. I always wear it, but have some cute “fashion” rings - obviously not engagement or wedding rings - that I would like to wear at the same time. Is there any reason why I can’t wear them on the left hand ring finger? Thanks for your advice.

A. Nope, there’s no reason at all that you can’t wear your fun rings on your left hand ring finger. If that’s where they fit best, then that’s where you should wear them. Just for fun, here are some of our favorite cocktail rings for spring:

Q. My niece is getting married in 7 weeks and my sister, mother of the bride wants to wear a more casual dress for the church at 1:30 and then her mother of the bride dress for the reception at 6:00 pm. I believe she should wear the mother of the bride dress to the church and reception because of pictures at the church (mother walking down the aisle, lighting the candles etc.). I have never been to a wedding where the mother of the bride did not have her dress on all day. What do you think?

_5817048.jpg.jpegA. Even though the evening reception is the “fun” part of the wedding, it’s important to remember that the ceremony is the focal point of the day. Since the bride and bridesmaids will be dressed in their beautiful gowns, and the groom and ushers will likely be wearing tuxedos or suits, the mother of the bride should wear her special dress to walk down the aisle as well. You are correct that there will be plenty of pictures of this very special and memorable occasion and the ceremony is where everyone “gets dressed”.

For the reception, many times a bride will change from her wedding gown into a less formal party dress so she can dance and mingle in more comfortable attire. Of course, the mother of the bride is welcome to change also.

So, if your sister plans to wear two dresses, she should reserve the formal dress for the ceremony and the more casual dress to the reception.

(dress shown here: Calvin Klein Stretch Satin Dress with Jacket, $198 at nordstrom.com)

Q. Where can I find a cheap version of the shorts in this picture?

A. In our recent post offering tips on how to wear short shorts, we featured a picture of a pair of cuffed short shorts from Express. Lucky for you, they are not too expensive, costing $49.50 at express.com. Here are some more cuffed, pleated short shorts that you might like, all for under $60:

Q. My mother in law would like to give me some pearls for my first Mother’s Day (lucky me!), but I need help finding some that don’t look so matronly. Any advice?

Q. I have an 18” string of pearls that I received for my wedding. I used to wear them to dressier events and functions, but my style has changed and evolved over the years. I am mostly in casual, daytime situations with children and other moms and work part time from home in a creative profession. I would love to wear my pearls again, but no longer just for special occasions. How can I make them more of an everyday, hip accessory?

A. When we think of pearls, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Coco Chanel and Jackie O usually come to mind, as all are icons when it comes to wearing pearls. While classic and often traditional, pearls are also a mainstay of a modern wardrobe - it’s all about how you wear them.

In the images below, Michelle Obama wears her short double strands in classic, ladylike fashion with a pencil skirt and beaded cardigan; Rihanna makes hers look young and fresh with a button down and short flirty skirt; Jessica Biel opts for slightly longer strands to accessorize her little black dress.

shortpearls.jpg

The celebrities below opt for longer, layered strands: Ashlee Simpson’s have a rock-and-roll vibe worn with skinny jeans and a casual striped top; Sarah Jessica Parker wears hers with a chic black minidress; Blake Lively wears hers long, loose and messy with her retro-inspired look.

longpearls.jpg

The point is, pearls can be worn in so many ways, from casual to dressy, or ladylike to rocker, depending on your style. They are a must-have for any woman’s wardrobe.

If you’re going to invest in a pearl necklace, a long strand of pearls is the most versatile. You can create multiple looks from the same necklace: wear it long and loose, layered with other necklaces, or you can double or triple the strand to create a shorter necklace. You can even wrap it several times around your wrist or pin a brooch on your necklace.

Here are some pearls in longer lengths for every budget (as you can see, you don’t have to spend a lot!):


photos via instyle.com and people.com

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