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63705 Red FrtQ. I stumbled across your site recently, and I think it’s great! I purchased this dress to wear to a summer wedding and I was wondering what shoes and bag you recommend wearing with it. Do you think accessories will be too much? 
-Color Please Me

A. Keep the accessories simple. I recommend gold jewelry as a good warm color for dresses with many colors.  As for sandals, you have options: for sophistication, choose a nude or natural color; for sass, choose a red strappy; for simple but nice, a pale chocolate; and for drama, go for pale gold. Your clutch or handbag should be gold, natural, white or pale chocolate.

Q. My son will be getting married in a few months.  The bride’s attendants are wearing black dresses as is the Mother of the bride.  The bride’s and attendants’ flowers will be a mix of fuchsia, orange and yellow, and the colors at the reception will be chocolate brown and fuchsia, with accents of orange and yellow.  I have been told I can wear any color, but not a pastel.  I don’t want to wear black, but am wondering what colors I might consider.  I was originally thinking some shade of brown, but I don’t know how that will look with the black and the floral accent colors. 
-Dress Decision 

A. Stop wondering about the colors of the flowers, the tablecloths and the bridesmaid dresses and start immediately thinking about you and what will make you happy and look good. Skip the pastels and start picking out dresses with colors that make you smile and add a warm color to your skin. Head to your favorite stores with formal dress departments and enlist the help of a personal shopper (they’re free at most department stores and they’re there to help). Bring along a savvy, stylish friend or two to help you make a decision. Shop online to get a sense of what you’re interested in. If you find a dress you love, buy it online and you can bring it to a tailor if you need some adjustments.  We’re fans of,, and For store shopping, make it a fun day with a plan of action, list your stores to visit, bring along pics from magazines and online sites and be sure to stop for lunch with your girlfriends to destress.

S07 8355.Psd-1Q. My bridesmaids will be wearing this dress to my wedding, any suggestions for shoes?

-Shoe Help 

A. Choose silver strappy or peep toe shoes for your bridesmaids (they’ll be happy that they can wear the shoes again!)  Another suggestion—let your bridesmaids choose their own silver heels so they can be happy with the fit, heel height and not be complete clones of each other.

Here are a few pairs they may like:

Calvin Klein EmmalineHouse of Dereon 'Hot Rocks' SandalKenneth Cole Reaction 'Rags to Riches' PumpTyler by Richard Tyler 'Witness' Pump

left to right: Calvin Klein Emmaline, $130 at; House of Dereon ‘Hot Rocks’ Sandal, $159.95 at; Kenneth Cole Reaction ‘Rags to Riches’ Pump, $78.95 at; Tyler by Richard Tyler ‘Witness’ Pump, $98.95 at

Q. Thanks for this great site!  We are hosting a wedding at our ranch this summer. Although it will be an elegant catered  event, it is still on a ranch.  We are planning to mow a wonderful path to the ceremony site at the top of a pasture.  Seating will be on hay bales. I am concerned that people might not dress appropriately for the walk to the ceremony site or to sit on hay.  What wording could you suggest for an invitation that would alert the guests? The wedding couple does not seem to think this will be a problem, but will take advice.
-Ranch Hands

A. Best laid plans can sometimes go awry when suddenly a guest sinks their Jimmy Choos into the dirt or a piece of hay gets stuck in a sheer bit of dress fabric. Always better to prepare guests ahead of time rather than surprise them. My suggestion is to add something about the ranch wedding with hay bales and outdoor grounds on the invitation itself.  A good spot would be on the directions to the ranch included with the invite.  A simple line can be added that while the wedding will be “black tie” or “festive”, guests will enjoy an authentic ranch environment with seating on hay bales for the ceremony.  I would suggest that the hay bales have blankets or thin cushion coverings - unless the guests wear jeans (which I’m assuming is not what you have in mind), sitting directly on the hay may pose a problem for anyone wearing silk, chiffon or delicate fabrics.

If the wedding couple has set up a website, which seems to be the norm these days, they could include a description of the upcoming wedding day along with tips for guests like, “you may wish to bring along a low heeled shoe for a walk on the grounds” or “guests will enjoy a genuine ranch environment for the ceremony with seating on hay bales.” If the couple does not wish to consider these suggestions then they should certainly ask the groomsmen and bridesmaids to spread the word.

Q. You always have wonderful advice.  I am attending a wedding in MI.  I am planning to wear a black satin dress with a black lace overlay.  The dress is knee length and has cap sleeves.  I can always do black hose and black shoes but I like to be a little more fun.  What do you think about red or an animal print?  And what kind of hose or bare legs?   Could I do silver?  I am not as young and thin as I used to be, I am also fair skinned.  I just did not know if bare legs would still be ok for me.
- Seeking Fun and Festive

A. I always opt for bare legs when I can get away with it.  Why not moisturize your legs with a lotion that has a bit of shimmer or glow to add a bit of color to a pale leg?  If you feel more comfortable with hosiery, then wear black sheer hosiery.   There are some new styles with a black back seam that are better than your average sheer hosiery, or choose a subtle black pattern on sheer.

As for shoes, you seem to have the right idea—skip animal print with the lace—a bit much.  Look for black patent (a huge trend this season and so festive and fun), or metallic in either silver or gold.  You may also find a black heel in velvet or satin that has lace or crystal embellishments.

P20355 Hero   5287885  6F2683A

left to right: Michael Kors Leg Shine, $32 at; Steven by Steve Madden ‘Giddie’ Pump, $98.95 at; Velvet Bow Pump, $34 at

(for more party shoes, check out our new Holiday Hot List style recipe)

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