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Q. I’m a preschool teacher and 40 something mom.  But I like to be hip and trendy.  I need ideas to wear to work while it is still warm.  I can’t bear wearing tennis shoes and capris like all the other teachers. We can’t wear jeans or shorts, and most of my heels won’t work on the wood chipped playground.  Any ideas?  I’ve got fall covered with tights, boots, flats, and dresses, but it’s this in-between hot and cold season that has me stumped.
-Still Warm in Kansas

A. Well, you certainly already own the flats that can be worn now, so slip into them. As for bottoms, you can wear cotton pants instead of jeans or shorts and how about some knee length skirts with lightweight cotton tops. And when it gets a little chillier just add a thin jacket or cardigan for recess.

Here are a few layered looks to take you through the fall:

Solid deep V-neck vestSophie peacoat sweater Favorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords

1. Lilah shirt in satin-stripe floral, $98 at jcrew.com
2. Solid deep V-neck vest, $39.99 at jcrew.com
3. Sophie peacoat sweater, $148 at jcrew.com
4. Favorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords, $79.50 at jcrew.com

Striped scoopneck waffle hoodieFleece trapeze coat,Khaki striped wide leg pants

Layer a button down top under this striped hoodie and add the fleece peacoat for chillier days on the playground .

1. Striped scoopneck waffle hoodie, $26.50 at gap.com
2. Fleece trapeze coat, $59.50 at gap.com
3. Khaki striped wide leg pants, $59.50 at gap.com

BCBGMAXAZRIA Empire Poplin Shirt Womyn 'Olivia' Stretch Twill Pants

1. BCBGMAXAZRIA Empire Poplin Shirt, $138 at nordstrom.com
2. Womyn ‘Olivia’ Stretch Twill Pants, $154 at nordstrom.com

Q. Is it still not fashionable to wear white after Labor Day?
-Wear White

A. Take notes, ladies. Once and for all, you can wear white all year long. Wear your cotton whites until the official end of summer in late September, and in very warm locales you can stretch it even further past that date.  When the weather turns chilly, pair your white jeans with dark hued tops and turtlenecks. White jeans, a black cashmere sweater and boots worn with a trench looks super chic. Designer Michael Kors has been telling women for years to keep their white jeans accessible all year long. And once it’s cold enough that you need a jacket everyday, then turn to your “Winter” whites of wool, wool blends, cords or cashmere jackets, pants and sweaters.

Here are some winter-appropriate whites:

Scooter Brown Babydoll JacketPleated Back Funnel Neck CoatCashmere turtleneck sweater


1. Scooter Brown Babydoll Jacket, $110 at nordstrom.com
2. Pleated Back Funnel Neck Coat, $248 at bloomingdales.com
3. Cashmere turtleneck sweater, $148 at jcrew.com

Design History Bobble Stitch CardiganBeth Bowley Long Wool CardiganFavorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords

4. Design History Bobble Stitch Cardigan, $158 at nordstrom.com
5. Beth Bowley Long Wool Cardigan, $242 at nordstrom.com
6. Favorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords, $79.50 at jcrew.com

Q. I am quite small on top (just under b-cup) and I’m in a wedding in September. Bridesmaids will be wearing long black strapless satin gowns. I have always had trouble keeping strapless dresses up without puffing out my chest all night, and even when they are tailored just for me they still seem to fall down eventually or keep me pulling and adjusting constantly. I’m wondering if there is some kind of bra or chicken cutlet type insert that will keep my dress up and as a bonus make me look like I have more in that department as well. Many thanks!
-B-cup Bridesmaid

A. I know your annoyance first hand. I still remember raising my hands while dancing at my prom and my dress dropped down for a quick expose. Thankfully, I was speedy with my hands and no one noticed, but what a drag it can be to fidget all night.

Due to many past dress adjustments I went searching for the best strapless bras. I found three styles that work for me:

* One from Victoria’s Secret that doesn t give me any extra in the breast department, but stays in place

* For a little "somethin’ somethin’" I always reach for my Wonderbra strapless that stays in place and gives me sudden cleavage. It has built in side padding to create lift and cleavage and the interior of the bra "sticks" better to your body.

* A third option for coverage is an adhesive bra from Fashion Forms that basically sticks "chicken cutlets" onto your breasts for strapless coverage and adds a little more to your cup sie.

While you say a bra is not necessarily the answer, you may want to ask a tailor to sew a bra into the dress to help keep it up. There are also adhesive bands just like those on strapless bras that can be sewn into the top band of the dress to help stick it to your body. My other suggestion is to get matching fabric to the dress, and with the bride’s blessing, have thin spaghetti straps added to the the dress to avoid your impending concerns. Just be sure the fabric matches and it doesn’t diminish the style of the dress.

Q. I am a 20 year old going to study abroad in Italy next semester, and I will need a super warm and hopefully a very stylish coat.  I like the look of Urban Outfitters and the juniors clothing at Nordstrom.  Is there anywhere I could get a nice coat for around $200? I stumbled across your website a few days ago while doing some Google searches in my pursuit of a coat.  I am completely amazed!
-Coat Pursuit

A. You’ll have to be quite savvy in your choice when you require one coat at an affordable price for a fashion-oriented country. For a semester abroad in one of the most stylish countries on earth, you’ll need a versatile coat that moves fluidly from day to evening, from jeans to skirts. Wool is your best option for warmth and style. If you need more warmth than these coats provide, layer up underneath. You can even add a cool wide belt with some of these coats to change up the look:

GUESS? Sculpted CoatGUESS by Marciano Wool Blend Military Coat

Esprit Snap-Front Coat With Hood Lux Double Breasted Peacoat
$125.00

1. GUESS? Sculpted Coat, $148 at nordstrom.com
2. GUESS by Marciano Wool Blend Military Coat, $168 at nordstrom.com
3. Esprit Snap-Front Coat With Hood, $177.75 (sale) at macys.com
4. Lux Double Breasted Peacoat, $125 at urbanoutfitters.com

Q. I’m 5’1 and curvy at around 125 lbs.  I know that for petite women, wide leg denim is a no-no, but I wanted to know if there are any exceptions to this rule.  I love the way it looks. Is it possible for me to wear wide leg/low rise wide waistband jeans if I get them on the longer side (tailored) and I also wear heels with them? By the way- I do have saddlebags.
-Curvy Frame
Banana Republic Petite classic dark wash wide-leg trouser jean

A. Depending on how wide the jeans are, you may be able to pull off the look. Super wide may be too much for your height to carry, but a little width (like in the pair shown here from bananarepublic.com) can help balance out hips and saddlebags. The key is to choose pants that have the right placement of pockets and the wide waistband will help minimize the butt and tummy area. And definitely keep them on the longish side and wear with heels or heeled boots to help elongate your legs. Be sure to take a good look in the mirror - you’ll know if the style works for you.

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