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Q. Thanks so much for all the advice you give. I personally have really appreciated the various style challenges you’ve stepped in to mediate.

My question is maybe not so new, but still relevant I think. I want to feel like a princess! Ball gowns can be overrated I think, and definitely not so versatile. So I’d like to have some type of a blouse that would really make me feel elegant and feminine, and well, like a princess. I’m thinking ruffles, puffed sleeves, silk or taffeta or lace, you know…the whole nine yards! It’d be fabulous too if the blouse was well-fitting and not very revealing. Would you help me find a shirt that would really fit the bill?
-Every Girl’s a Princess

A. Well, glass slipper, Prince Charming or not, there’s no reason a girl can’t look the part of a modern day princess. So I skipped the gowns and found tops that you can put on either day or evening while waiting for your carriage or hailing a cab.

With your glass slippers:

 Robert Rodriguez Ruffle TopCynthia Steffe Ribbon Neck Silk Charmeuse Top Gibson Ruffled Washed Silk BlouseKaren Kane Lace Top with BowChiffon Ruffle BlouseSolid silk taffeta Phoebe blousePleated Tunic

1. Robert Rodriguez Ruffle Top, $264 at
2. Cynthia Steffe Ribbon Neck Silk Charmeuse Top, $220 at
3. Gibson Ruffled Washed Silk Blouse, $78 at
4. Karen Kane Lace Top with Bow, $158 at
5. Chiffon Ruffle Blouse, $40.80 at
6. Solid silk taffeta Phoebe blouse, $110 at
7. Pleated Tunic, $58 at

Q. I LOVE your column and how you offer such nice advice at a variety of prices.  I’m writing to you for help for my friend, who’s on the hunt for the perfect sweater dress. She tried on some of my sweater dresses (two that are currently sold at the Gap), but, since I’m not even 5’2" and she’s about 5’7", they were too short on her.  Do you know of any nice sweater dresses that: 1) wouldn’t be too short on her, 2) are simple enough that could be mixed into a few different outfits (she likes the color brown), and 3) are relatively cheap (since we’re both graduate students)? 
-Cozy Cover

A. I found several sweater dresses that should be long enough for your 5’7” friend to wear with tights and heels or boots, pair with slim jeans or belt at the waist for a different vibe. And only one is over $100. Stay cozy!

 Lux Funnel Neck Sweater Dress Paul Frank Vanessa Sweater DressThe Kingston Sweater Dress By Triple 5 Soul

Aqua Cashmere Turtleneck DressMaria Sweater Dress

1.  Lux Funnel Neck Sweater Dress, $68 at
2.  Paul Frank Vanessa Sweater Dress, $86 at
3. The Kingston Sweater Dress By Triple 5 Soul, $88 at
4. Aqua Cashmere Turtleneck Dress, $168 at
5. Maria Sweater Dress, $44.50 at

Boden Wideleg Washed Velvet TrousersQ. I bought a pair of velvet trousers in gray (Boden Wideleg Washed Velvet Trousers from  Note: the coloring on the model is truer to the gray in real life than the color on the image of the pants.  They are a lighter gray, with a slight very light purple hue.  They’re super comfortable, and work appropriate.  But I’m having a hard time finding colors that coordinate well with them, other than brown and black. What other color tops I could wear with them?
-Soft and Comfy 

A. First off -YUM. Love these pants! Take a cue from what the models is wearing and choose some colors to add to the richness of the gray velvet. Look for jewel tone or brighter sweaters like ruby, plum, deep purple, olive and teal. Beyond sweaters, search for tops with shine to give the pants a kick towards dressy.

 Double Breasted Bell Sleeve CardiganMerino wool turtleneck sweaterLong-sleeve scoopneck sweater

1.  Double Breasted Bell Sleeve Cardigan, $118 at
2. Merino wool turtleneck sweater, $78 at
3. Long-sleeve scoopneck sweater, $68 at

Penchant for Plaid

Q. It is about that time again, for the office holiday party season.  I was hoping you could point me in the direction of something that would be suitable for such an occasion.  I know red/green plaids were big as a last year fashion but I was hoping to find something this year.  My ideal dress would be full length plaid/tartan dress and thought you would be the perfect person to ask. 
—Seeking in Portland

A. I would have thought it would have been one stop shopping from Ralph Lauren, but this year he skipped much of his tartans and plaids for chic black. So I searched elsewhere and came up with a few options from a strapless wonder to long length glam and a few day to evening options that can be dazzled with a pair of sparkly shoes.

Wool Jacquard Black Watch Dress0479484072337 Astl 300X400-1Ralph Lauren Toby Taffeta Tartan SkirtJ Crew Kerin dress Donna Ricco Plaid Taffeta Shirtdress

1. Wool Jacquard Black Watch Dress, $498 at
2. L.A.M.B. Plaid Dolly Dress, $385 at
3. Ralph Lauren Toby Taffeta Tartan Skirt, $398 at
4. J Crew Kerin dress, $450 at
5.  Donna Ricco Plaid Taffeta Shirtdress, $158 at

Marc by Marc Jacobs
Sabrina Sateen ShirtdressQ. One of my favorite summer dresses is a denim shirtdress.  I would love to be able to wear it in the fall.  Can I wear tights or stockings of some kind with it or do I have to relegate it to summer storage?
- Shirtdress Stretch

A. Keep that denim shirtdress in your closet all year long. For colder temps, wear opaque tights and suede pumps or knee high boots. And consider changing the look of the dress by wearing different belts at the waist from brown and black to a suede or pony skin in a bright color. And you can also layer a camisole or sweater underneath the dress to add warmth or add a cardigan over the dress and belt it.

Take a cue from this Marc by Marc Jacobs Sabrina Sateen Shirtdress ($328 at styled with leggings and ankle boots.  To warm up the short sleeves, layer a thin black turtleneck underneath.

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