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Q. I am searching for a pair of control top leggings. I have plenty of regular leggings but have recently gained weight and would like to minimize my newly acquired hips, thighs and stomach. I have searched the internet but am having a hard time finding a pair that is not for maternity and not $100. Do you have any suggestions?

A. There are several control top and shaping leggings available, including denim leggings. Here are some of our top choices, from $29 to $76 at barenecessities.com:

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Lisse Leggings: Shaping Control Top Leggings
$58
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Shape fx: Tummy Control Skinny Leggings
$29
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Miraclebody: Denim Shaping Leggings
$68
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Yummie Tummie: Knitted Shaping Leggings
$76

Q. Are cargo pants in or over for the fall? If they are passe, is there something that has replaced them?

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A. You will be thrilled to know that the military trend is marching right into fall, and that includes cargo pants. Whether you bought a pair of skinny cargo pants or a silky relaxed pair this summer, or are interested in investing in a few new pairs for fall, there are several ways to wear them this season.

Try pairing skinny cargo pants with a draped tank or t-shirt and a strong blazer. Finish the look with ankle booties or a platform pump. If you prefer a looser fitting cargo, look for one in a slinky knit or silky fabric which gives them a dressier appearance. Pair it with a slim fitting top and a this season’s must-have desert boot or lace-up bootie for a modern military look for fall.

Here are a few images for inspiration (click on each image to shop the look):

Q. I really love the full skirt trend for fall but thus far, have been challenged to find affordable renditions of Louis Vuitton’s gorgeous silk and wool skirts. Any suggestions for finding wallet-friendly skirts and for keeping the look a bit more modern than ’50s?

A. Calf-grazing skirts ruled the Louis Vuitton runway for fall, as well as several other designers’ shows. Long and full, there is most definitely a ’50s influence to this skirt style. To give the look a modern spin, pair it with a simple, minimal top, or a sharp fitted jacket. Pumps, kitten heels or even flats are the ladylike shoe of choice to finish the look. Be sure to choose a hem length that flatters your leg, showing off the slimmest part of your calf and ankle.

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Here are some budget friendly long full skirts to try this season:

Q. I love, love, LOVE my Ann Taylor Oasis Dot Print Dress so much that I’m seriously considering having a seamstress make me two more in other colors/patterns. I’ve found a seamstress, and the price seems reasonable, so I’m hoping you can give me some fabric suggestions. I really want to make sure that the finished dresses end up looking very polished and stylish, not like a DIY Home Ec project. I believe the fabric is silk georgette (although I could be wrong about that). I’m looking for fabrics to make two dresses: a fun, funky pattern in vibrant red and some kind of elegant neutral (either pattern or solid). Fabric suggestions (or even just suggestions for a good online source for designer fabric) would be greatly appreciated, as would any tips or suggestions for ensuring that my finished product is high style, not home-style.

make-your-own-dress.jpgA. I have often found myself loving the fit and style of a dress so much that I want to clone it in every imaginable color, print and fabric. However, I’ve never actually taken the plunge. Finding the right seamstress or tailor is essential, so you’re already halfway to the dress of your dreams. The next step is to find the right fabric. You are smart to consider looking for a similar fabric (silk georgette in this case) to ensure that the fit and drape is as close to the original dress is possible. Talk to your seamstress to see if there are any similar fabrics you can consider, such as chiffon or silk, and find out how many yards you will need to order for the finished product. Make sure you discuss whether a lining fabric is necessary as well.

Your next step is to scour local fabric stores or online shops for prints, colors and fabrics you like. Some popular resources for apparel fabric are: fabric.com, maryjos.com, joann.com, onlinefabricstore.net and denverfabrics.com. If you see a fabric you like, be sure to order a swatch so you can see it in person and show it to your tailor to be sure it will work for your garment. For your first experience, it’s best to stick with a solid color or a very small print - any oversized prints will be more difficult to work with and might not give you the finished look you want.

We’d love to hear from any of our readers who have successfully copied a favorite garment - what are your tips and resources?

Q. I really love long double-breasted coats, but I’m worried it’ll make me shorter than I actually am. I’m Asian, short and small at 5’1. Which is the best type of everyday coat for someone of my size? If someone as short as I am were to wear such a coat, what should she wear on the lower half of her body to make her not seem so short? I’m also on a college student budget.

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A. Long double breasted coats can be very difficult for petite women to wear without looking overwhelmed. A better option would be a cropped double breasted jacket or a coat that hits 1 inch above the knee or higher. Tapered, belted and empire waist styles will help define your shape and make you appear taller. The styles below are the best double breasted silhouettes for your figure, however, if you are determined to wear a long style, make sure it is cut slim to your figure (not oversized) and wear heels to elongate your legs for the best look.

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