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Q. Could you give me some ideas for an everyday fall/winter jacket (for Minnesota)? I want something stylish, but casual. I have a short, navy J.Crew pea coat (and other longer coats), but I’m having trouble finding a cute, flattering jacket. I’m 5’2, size 4 and in my forties.

A. For a casual everyday coat with a heavy dose of style (and warmth), look no further than faux fur coats, or coats with faux fur trim and lining. Though nothing but a super heavy down parka will brave the bitter Minnesota winters, these coats will take you through fall — or perhaps even further with some strategic layering underneath.

Since you’re petite, look for belted styles or lengths no longer than mid-thigh for the most flattering look.


Q. I just purchased this great Parker dress to wear in fall and winter. Since the background is navy, I can’t default to my usual black tights and shoes, somewhat the reason I avoid colors. What would you suggest for colors/styling in the way of hose, shoes, or boots to wear with this dress. I live in a cold climate so warmth is desirable.

A. Actually, black tights and black shoes is exactly what I would recommend to wear with this dress! The notion that black and navy can’t be paired together no longer holds true, in fact, black and navy is an extremely chic combination, and one of my favorites. Look no further than the Fall 2011 runways where designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Zac Posen sent several black and navy combinations down the catwalk. And it’s not just this season, black and navy have been an acceptable (and cool!) combination for years.

When you no longer need to wear tights, this dress would look great with tan or red shoes as well, but until then, it’s safest to match your shoes to your tights, which in this case should be BLACK.


Q. My belt was lost to a trench coat. What do I use instead?

A. I love this question! There’s no rule that you need to use the matching belt that comes with your trench coat. Take a cue from these designers and use a stylish belt instead. Anything from a thick or skinny leather belt to fabric or rope tied around your waist works. You can even experiment with a scarf in a pretty print. Whether you match the color of your trench or go for a contrast, think of it as an opportunity to express your individual style and put your own spin on a classic trench. Here are some belts that can easily be swapped in with a basic trench:

Q. I have several solid cardigans (from J.Crew) in bright purples, blues and yellows. Because they are bright I don’t want to pair a bright, printed top with them, but I want something more that just a plain tank or tee. Do you have any ides for a solid tee or casual shirt that has some detail to it?

A. Your bright cardigans are a great way to add color to your fall/winter look. Even better, there are many options for what to wear underneath that are an upgrade from a basic tank or tee. Some ideas to try: a soft chambray button down, a printed blouse, a sequin tank, a tie-front blouse (this season’s must-have), a Peter Pan collar, or a soft drapey top. Look for neutral colors or brights that match well with your cardigan color, or opt for one of fall’s top trends and choose a contrasting bright color for a color-blocked look.

Here are some options for you:


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