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Ms118Q. My bridesmaids are going to be wearing this dress, but in the Sangria color at my wedding.  The color looks just like a ripe raspberry in person.  I want to let the girls buy/wear their own shoes, but I have NO idea what color to pick!  Any suggestions?  I thought about a bronze heel, but I’m a bit clueless when it comes to this kind of thing.

-Clueless about Color

A. Pretty dress choice. If you choose an optional bow or ribbon, you can have the bridesmaids wear shoes that match the accessory. Otherwise, a metallic bronze, silver or gold would look lovely. Choose the color, but let them buy a heel that works for them, not everyone can walk in towering heels. Plus, every girl has a different cash flow so while one may find a fab heel from Jimmy Choo another may be happy with a find at Payless.

Q. Hello! I need help! I’ve selected bridesmaids dresses for my very formal daytime wedding (10am ceremony, 1pm reception). The dresses are a portrait-neckline, tea-length dupioni silk in Navy blue. I’ll be wearing opera-length gloves, and the groom/groomsmen will be wearing morning coats with white gloves. My mom says the ladies’ gloves should be white, but I am afraid white gloves will look too stark against the Navy blue dresses. Should we do ivory or another off-white color instead? Also what color shoes - I was thinking of telling them to stick to either champagne or muted pewter or silver, but I can’t decide if that is the right choice (I convinced my mom that they don’t need navy blue shoes but I don’t know where to take it from there). Last question - what length should their gloves be? 
-Worried in White

A. Since the dress is sleeveless, you should have them wear opera length gloves as well. I agree that off white would be less jarring than bright white long gloves. And kudos to you for convincing your mom that the bridesmaids do not have to wear matching navy shoes. I loathe the whole dye-the-shoes-to-match-the-dress thing.  I think any of the colors you’re considering like pewter or silver will be quite elegant.

Q. I’m having a dilemma with my mother. I want to know if wearing a gold dress with black leggings would look nice for a beach wedding in Mexico.
-Shine On

A. NO black leggings at a beach wedding in Mexico. And what kind of gold dress?  What kind of material?  Go for a fun, flowy colorful dress. It’s going to be hot and you’ll want to wear something light and adorable.

Q. I’m attending my best friend’s wedding next year.  There is no dress code but my friend asked everyone to wear what they feel comfortable in. I’ve already started looking for dresses. I would love to wear something like a cocktail dress but I know that not everyone will be wearing dressy clothes. So I’m looking for a great dress, that isn’t too overdressed but still quite sophisticated and worthy for a best friend’s wedding. I would love a green one, I never had one but I always wanted one, my skin is quite pale but green matches so great with my green eyes. Do you have any recommendations for a great green not too overdressed but still sophisticated dress?
-Green Girl

A.  I’ve got plenty of options for green dresses that are sophisticated, but not over the top. You didn’t mention the time of year for the wedding, but when it comes to weddings you can generally get away with bare shoulders, strapless or halter styles all year long no matter if it’s cold or warm outside. While you mention that not all the guests will be dapper and dazzling I am positively adamant that for a best friend’s wedding, you should dress up. Quite frankly, unless someone gets married in the woods, guests should dress well for the occasion.

Kay Unger A-Line Satin DressCaroline short dress Maggy London Silk Chiffon Halter Dress A Common Thread V-Neck Empire DressSilk puff-sleeve dress

1. Kay Unger A-Line Satin Dress, $350 at saks.com
2. Caroline short dress, $129.99 at jcrew.com
3.  Maggy London Silk Chiffon Halter Dress, $98 at nordstrom.com
4.  A Common Thread V-Neck Empire Dress, $294 at nordstrom.com
5. Silk puff-sleeve dress, $148 at bananarepublic.com

Formal Dress Code

Q. I have a black tie wedding in Chicago.  Do I have to wear a long dress?
-Formal Fear

A. Black tie does not require wearing a long gown anymore, but the invite does expect you to wear a sophisticated, elegant and feminine dress. Think upscale cocktail dress, with a hem that hits around the knee or just below it. Skip animal prints, white dresses, mini lengths, chunky jewelry and your everyday handbag. Carry a clutch, put on your best jewelry that works with the dress, pull on your heels, walk with good posture and smile often.

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