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Q. I have been seeing these gorgeous color block style dresses with black paneling on the side like this Stella McCartney one on Liv Tyler. Is there anywhere I can find a similar style? Any color with the black would do. And I’m tall (5’8) so nothing too short please.

A. Dresses with colorblocked side panels are not only gorgeous, but they’re masters of camouflage that visually slim and sculpt your figure instantly. We found a variety of similar styles to choose from:


Q. I recently purchased a few crew neck sweaters from J.Crew. I got theTippi sweater in Dark Grape and Dahlia. I also the purchased the Betsy sweater in Heather Aqua. While I want these sweaters for a casual daytime look (with jeans), I’m finding they look boring! What kind of necklaces or scarves would work with these?

A. Great purchases! The classic crew neck sweater is making a huge comeback this season and I love that you’re experimenting with color in your choices. You’re right, though, when worn on its own, especially with jeans, an unadorned crew neck can look a bit boring. The good news is, there are endless ways to style it.

The easiest way to accessorize your crew neck is by pairing a fitted collared shirt underneath. Let the collar, cuffs and shirt tail peek out like the look shown here. Don’t feel limited to plain white shirts, you can wear patterned shirts or colors underneath too.

A really fun accessory that’s been popping up is the detachable collar. Available in a variety of prints, colors and textures like leather, sequin and faux fur, the detachable collar dresses up your crew neck sweater without the bulk of wearing a shirt underneath. Scarves are also an option in every available form, from a classic silk scarf to a chunky knit snood.

Another option is to wear one of this season’s collar or choker necklaces to add interest around the neckline of your crew neck sweater. We’re especially loving chunky links and elaborate bib necklaces. Or, try pushing up your sleeves to 3/4 length and pile on the bracelets.

Finally, there’s always the option to wear your crew neck underneath a blazer or faux fur vest.

Q. Skinny cargo pants were really in last year, especially in military green by J Brand. Are they still in this fall/winter, and if so how can I update the style for 2011?

A. True, skinny cargo pants were a huge trend last year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them again this season. Rather than treating them as the central part of your look, think of your skinny cargos as a basic and pair them with cozy sweaters and ankle boots. This season, a Southwest-inspired sweater, faux fur vest, or poncho/cape will give your skinny cargos a fresh update.

Tell us, are you still wearing your skinny cargo pants? If so, what do you wear them with?

Q. I have a charcoal knit sweater dress and I’m not sure what to wear for leg wear and shoes. Is it okay to wear tights (I’m in my forties)? For shoes, I have grey or red closed toe wedges, would that work? I would like booties, but I’m petite (5”2 size 4/6) and I’m afraid the boots would make my legs look shorter. Any ideas? I want to wear this dress for a baby shower I’m hosting and also to a night out to dinner and a play with friends.

A. A sweater dress can be worn several ways; depending on the weather, you can opt for bare legs or of course tights (no matter what your age), but you can also opt for leggings or skinny jeans for a more casual look.

On your feet, your black closed toe wedges will look great with tights. Don’t completely rule out booties, though — a low bootie that is the same color as your tights can be worn even by petite women. Another option is to choose a taller boot that hits an inch or two below your knee, worn with tights or even bare legs.

To change up the look of a sweater dress, try adding a belt, or even a pretty scarf or vest. Here are some options to consider:


Q. I’m thinking of purchasing these pants from Banana Republic for fall but I’m stuck on what to wear with them. Can you give me some ideas for tops and shoes? Thanks!

A. Classic tailored wool pants are timeless, and a great addition to your wardrobe. The best part about these camel pants is that you can update them each year with trendier tops and shoes. This fall, I’d pair them with a tie-front blouse and platform loafers or a faux fur vest and leopard print booties. A blazer, cardigan, or leather jacket would also work well.

For me, animal prints are the perfectl pairing for camel, but it also pairs well with brown, black, red, mustard, plum, and other typically autumn colors. You can also have fun with camel and pair it with brights and even neon colors.

The bottom line? A great-fitting pair of camel trousers is well worth the $110 price tag.


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