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Q. I’m trying to think of a Halloween costume that is still a costume, yet chic and stylish. Any ideas?

A. If batgirl, the sexy secretary or naughty nurse aren’t your style, we’ve put together some stylish Halloween costume ideas using many of the items already in your closet. Have fun!


Beyonce’s Single Ladies - Go with a couple of friends and dress like Beyonce and her dancers in the “Single Ladies” video. Wear a swimsuit or leotard, stockings and heels; tease your hair into a half up/half down style and wear a gigantic oversized cocktail ring.


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1950s Housewife - Wear a ’50s style dress with an apron and classic pumps. Carry an oven mitt and pie or a feather duster. Bonus points for retro hair.


Marilyn Monroe or ’40s Pin Up Girl - If you’re blonde, go for the Marilyn Monroe look; brunettes can be a pin up girl. Wear a retro-styled halter dress and pumps, add retro curls to your hair, and follow these makeup tips courtesy of celebrity makeup artist Brett Freedman:

For bombshell makeup, start with a foundation that’s a shade lighter than you usually use (try Revlon’s Custom Creations foundation). This sets the stage for the crisp, retro look. Shade the crease of your eye with a soft beige-y taupe shadow. With a sponge-tipped applicator, apply a matte, bone colored shadow (or pale face powder) all over lids and add a silvery shimmer along the brow bone to highlight. The black liquid liner is very important. Run from tear duct to outer corner very close to the lash line. Extend liner up and out. Corner false lashes finish this alluring eye look. Fill out lips with a true blue-red lip liner and fill in with a deep red lipstick. Use very minimal blush in a soft pink. Ice the cake with Marilyn’s iconic mole aka your black liquid liner!


Prom Queen / Bridesmaid / Pageant Girl - Find a new use for that old prom dress or bridesmaid dress (the tackier the better!) with one of these costumes. Add a tiara and perhaps a date in a powder blue tux for Prom Queen; a tiara, a bouquet of flowers and a sash with your town or state on it for Pageant Girl (don’t forget your pageant wave!); for the always-a-Bridesmaid costume, carry a beat-up wedding bouquet and mess up your hair a bit so it looks like you knocked a few girls down to catch the bouquet.


Hippie - Put all those boho-chic clothes to good use and put together an outfit from the age of Aquarius (find pictures of the musical Hair for inspiration). Pull out the flared jeans, hippie tops and vests and frizz out your hair.


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Robert Palmer girl - Here’s a costume that’s Simply Irresistible: grab some girlfriends, a little black dress and a guitar, slick your hair back and wear pale foundation, smokey eyes and red lips.


Lady Gaga - If you’re adept with a makeup brush and willing to go pants-less, adopt one of GaGa’s many looks for your Halloween pleasure. Get the makeup how-to here.

Q. I’m on the hunt for a stylish wool coat that is actually warm. Wool blends aren’t warm enough for Midwestern winters. I’d love to see some suggestions for 100% wool coats and if you know of any with Thinsulate or similar layer for extra warmth, that’s even better.

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A. There are a few brands that offer wool coats lined with Thinsulate (or a similar insulation) which provide an added layer of warmth without the bulk or puffiness of down or quilted linings: jcrew.com, delias.com, alloy.com and landsend.com. Lands’ End even goes the extra mile with temperature ratings for all of their coats. The insulated wool styles tend to be pretty basic and classic, in general, so if you’re looking for one of this season’s hottest coat trends, you might have to layer up for warmth.

Here are a few insulated styles we’re liking, most are available in several colors:


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top, left to right: Insulated Wool Pea Coat, $149.50 at landsend.com; Logan Solid Peacoat w/Thinsulate, $87.50 (sale) at delias.com; Wool-cashmere plaza coat, $345 at jcrew.com

bottom, left to right: plaid short hooded coat with thinsulate, $95.92 (sale) at alloy.com; Leighton Skirted Coat w/Thinsulate, $95.50 (sale) at delias.com

Q. What type of shirt would you suggest I wear with a rattlesnake skin pencil skirt? Also what type of shoes should I wear? Please give me several options.

A. A snakeskin skirt can be a really chic fashion forward look - or it can look really cheap and tacky. It’s all in how you wear your skirt that keeps you looking classy. Refrain from showing a lot of skin, plunging necklines or from wearing a really tight top. Try pairing your skirt with simple, classic and ladylike pieces like a tailored white button down, a fitted (but not tight) simple top or sweater, or a classic cardigan or blazer. On your feet, stick with classic pumps or heels. Here are a few ladylike looks incorporating a python skirt:


Q. I want to wear this black sequin skirt during the December holidays, but I’m not necessarily going to be going out to formal occasions. I love this skirt, but I’d like it to be more versatile. Are there any tops and/or accessories you could recommend that are more casual but still go well with the it?

A. There’s nothing we love more than pairing traditionally fancy clothing like a sequin skirt with more casual pieces to wear day or night. Here are a few ideas followed by some inspiration pictures for dressing down your skirt:

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clockwise from top: Sequin Pencil Skirt $58, freepeople.com; Cascading Sequin Mini Skirt, $98 at freepeople.com; 3.1 Phillip Lim Cashmere Pullover & Sequined Skirt, $495 at nordstrom.com; Alice + Olivia Sequined Mini Skirt, $396 at bergdorfgoodman.com

Q. All the inspiration photos I can find show model thin girls in leggings. How can curvy girls make the most of the legging trend?

A. Believe it or not, this season’s legging style is more flattering than you think - and yes, even for curvy girls. The key is to treat them the same way you would an opaque tight or skinny jean, which is to layer them with longer length tops. At the very minimum, your top should cover your rear end and hit just below the widest part of your thigh.

Look for heavier weight leggings with a fair amount of stretch, rather than hosiery weight or lightweight leggings. Skip this season’s patterned, shredded or shiny leggings and stick with a more forgiving basic dark color. Add a pair of leg lengthening heels or boots (preferably in a similar color to the leggings for a monochromatic look) and you’re all set. Need some inspiration? Check out these looks below:

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top row: knit legging, $39.50 at lanebryant.com; Alfani Plus Size leggings, $34 at macys.com; Pink Rose Plus Size Snap-Cuff Legging, $22.50 at macys.com
bottom row: Textured slim leg pant, $32.70 at lanebryant.com; knit legging, $39.50 at lanebryant.com

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