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Q. I am attending a military ball. I have no idea what I should wear. I don’t want to be underdressed, but I also don’t want to look over dressed either. Also, I am a modest dresser. I like my dresses to have sleeves, basically. I am only 22, and the majority of modest dresses that I find look like they’re made for 50 year olds. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

A. You’re in luck! There are plenty of modest, yet stylish, dresses available this season, whether you are attending a military ball or a holiday soiree. Depending on your comfort level, the key to looking youthful is to show a little skin, whether it’s a scoop neck, some leg in the form of a shorter dress or even a sheer fabric that shows skin while still covering up. Also look for touches of metallic or sparkle that add stylish flair.

There’s no need to worry about being too overdressed or underdressed with these picks:

Q. I bought my first pair of black leggings and I’ve been looking for months for a short dress or a tunic that would look cute with a large belt and leggings. I’d like to spend less than $30-$40…Do you have any suggestions?

A. Belting a sweater dress or tunic and pairing it with leggings creates a look that feels relaxed and comfortable but looks neat and pulled together (not sloppy). The key is to look for tops that are slim fitting and long enough to cover the bumpy areas on your thighs. Wear knee high boots or ankle boots to complete the look. Here are a few options for you:

Q. I was wondering what kind of jacket or cape I could wear over a sleeveless satin dress for a holiday party? I was also thinking of wearing one of those large shawls that hang low to drape around it. I would like something to cover my arms and keep me warm for the evening. I thought the short jackets I own might make the dress look funny.

A. Skip the shawl this season and opt for one of these options instead:

1. Add a skinny belt over your dress to enhance your waist and layer a cashmere cardigan over it. Alternatively, you can wear the belt over the cardigan. This look also works with a long cardigan that ends just above the hem of the skirt, worn open with a cinched belt to complete the look. Dress up the outfit with a statement necklace, tights and party pumps.

2. A fitted tuxedo jacket is a modern option to layer over your dress this season.

3. A cropped faux fur jacket is chic and party perfect.

Q. As the days get colder and colder here, I have been strongly considering purchasing a jacket/coat to wear for the rest of fall, before hardcore snow-weather sets in. My two issues are style and price range. I am on the short side (5’3”-ish) and the top half of my body is heavier than the bottom half. I’ve tried pea coats and other double-breasted styles in the past and they made me look heavier. I’ve considered trench coats, but they seem to make me look even shorter and pudgier. Given my grad student budget and the failing economy, I would like to stay within a price range of $50 or under, though $40 and under would be ideal. Any suggestions?

A. You should definitely avoid double breasted style, as they will not only make you look wider, but shorter as well. Other styles to avoid include long coats and belted coats that would accentuate a thick middle. Now that we’ve gotten what you shouldn’t wear out of the way, let’s focus on what styles will flatter you most. Your best bet is to look for coats that hit just above your knee with an empire waist to create the illusion of height. Choose a semi-fitted single breasted style to create a slim silhouette while avoiding adding unnecessary bulk.

Now that you know what kind of coat to look for, let’s address your price. A fall coat that looks great can be tough to find for under $50. In fact, we found only two in your price range and style (see below). Consider spending just a bit more - a coat that fits great in a classic style will be worn for many years and is a great investment.

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Annabelle Linley 3Q Coat, $7.99 at; Wool Coat, $39.80 at; Wool-Blend Duffle Coats, $69.50 at
Q. Would a black pencil skirt be appropriate to be incorporated into a holiday party outfit? Any ideas for completing the outfit?

A. You can absolutely dress up your black pencil skirt for a holiday party or evening out, it’s a great way to get mileage out of this classic work piece. Add a dressy top, sparkly accessories and glam shoes and you’re ready to go. Here are two ideas to get you started (click on each item for purchasing info):

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