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Q. What would be a good choice of bottom for a solid gray slim fitting halter top this season? My lower half is heavier than my top but I don’t want to wear a skirt.
-Balance My Bottom

A. Black, grey, charcoal, navy and white are colors that will work with your new halter top. As for pants or Bermuda style shorts, avoid bottoms with embellishments, patch pockets or tapered legs. Wide banded pants will give the illusion of a smaller waist and hips and a smooth trouser style will balance your proportions especially ones with a slight flare. Plus, fewer pockets will lead to less bulk. Here are some options for you:

Alice + Olivia Wide Waistband Pant Parameter Pleated Denim Pant in MidnightWardrobe Stretch Denim Trousers

Karen Kane Cuffed PantsNanette Lepore 'Tantalizing' TrousersBilly Blues Stretch Herringbone Pants

left to right:
1. Alice + Olivia Wide Waistband Pant, $253 at shopbop,com
2. Parameter Pleated Denim Pant in Midnight, $215 at couturecandy.com
3. Wardrobe Stretch Denim Trousers, $68 at nordstrom.com
4. Karen Kane Cuffed Pants, $108 at nordstrom.com
5. Nanette Lepore ‘Tantalizing’ Trousers, $215 at nordstrom.com
6. Billy Blues Stretch Herringbone Pants, $88 at nordstrom.com

Q. Today, I got sent home for unprofessional attire. I had on a suit jacket with capris. They were dress capris. Please, what is the exact difference between gauchos, capris and cropped pants?
-Feel Unfair

A. Before you worry about being sent home or have it happen again, find out your company’s wardrobe policy from human resources and sit down with your boss and discuss his/her expectations for your appearance. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.Any miscalculation in your wardrobe or appearance can affect your advancement in the company. With a few minor adjustments and little money spent, you can create an appearance that clearly shows your dedication to your job and where you want to go with your next position. There is truth behind the statement “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” - meaning, always dress better. If you don’t like the wardrobe policy at your job, which is obviously conservative, and don’t wish to adhere to the changes, then it’s probably time to look for a new gig with fewer restrictions.

As for the difference between gauchos, capris and cropped pants: Gauchos are wide calf-length pants that were copied in the late ’60s from Andalusian riding suits a la South American cowboys; Capris are slim fitting pants that end above the ankle, popular since the 1950s and named for the Italian resort island of Capri; and Cropped Pants fill the rest of the category of straight cut pants that end at various lengths from mid calf to ankle. And just to add a few other terms: Pedal Pushers are below-the-knee straight-cut pants that often have a cuff while Bermuda Shorts are just-above-the-knee shorts that fit close to the leg.

Q. Do you think pantyhose is a must with a knee length skirt in the office? I just started my first professional job and I’m 22. I am not really sure. Also I don’t know really how to ask because I work with all men which also makes me believe bare legs might be inappropriate. I really want to wear skirts but without looking slutty. I just feel I am too young for pantyhose.
-Leg Look

A. I understand your uncertainty and gold star to you for wanting to make the appropriate professional impression. Depending on what kind of job you have could determine if pantyhose are expected or not.I believe if your skirt is long enough, knee length and not a mini, then it should be acceptable to go sans hose during the warm weather months. Instead of asking a male coworker, stop by or call human resources and ask them if there are any written or expected wardrobe guidelines for both men and women. I’m not a fan of companies expecting women to wear pantyhose all year long especially during summer months when it’s hot and uncomfortable. I believe if your skirt is long enough, knee length and not a mini, then it should be acceptable to go sans hose during the warm weather months. I’m sure you won’t look slutty, just don’t wear a stiletto heel at the office.

Q. I am turning 35 next month and consider myself to be fairly hot (for my age - ha!). I would like to find a backless dress. It seems like since I’ve been looking for a backless dress, I cannot find one - of course. Any ideas on where I can get one without spending a fortune?
-Bare Back

A. Adore a girl that has great self-confidence. One tip when choosing a backless dress: avoid anything too short or too tight - showing TOO much skin is never chic.

Bare that back at your birthday in one of these hot dresses:

Holly Toya Dress with Twist Rope BackLaROK Joyce Dress in CreamAlice + Olivia Paris DressRag & Bone Silk Mini Dress

1. Holly Toya Dress with Twist Rope Back, $185 at couturecandy.com
2. LaROK Joyce Dress in Cream, $187 at couturecandy.com
3. Alice + Olivia Paris Dress, $231 at shopbop.com
4. Rag & Bone Silk Mini Dress, $231 at shopbop.com

Q. I’m in a real tangle here- I’ve been scouring the web for advice on the type of jeans I should be buying for my figure, with no luck! I have pretty skinny thighs (not skinny, skinny though) and I’m smallish on the hips. When I tend to buy jeans my butt always looks so flat. What type of jeans should I be buying to make my end look a little bigger? I know jeans with pockets on the back help, but what else?
-Flat Booty

A. You are among the majority of women who don’t like their butts, but you’ve got the right start. Look for jeans with patch pockets, meaning pockets put on top of the jeans, or seek out jeans with angled pockets and seams like James Jeans that are meant to give a curve to the rear. Pockets should be centered on your rear since pockets spaced farther apart will make your bottom look wider, and lower placed pockets (the ones that are longer than your butt) will make it look flatter. Some trouser jeans with no pockets at all can make your rear view instantly rounder. Also, skinny jeans will give the illusion of a slightly larger hip area and are a great option for someone with slim thighs.

Another tip: if you intend to buy jeans with Lycra or spandex, then be sure you don’t buy ones with too much stretch as it may lead to the unflattering condition known as “saggy diaper.”

Be ready to try on up to 20 pairs until you find a pair that satisfies your butt enhancing needs. Here are a few flattering styles to start with:

James Jeans Decker Darted Trouser in BisazzaJames Jeans Hector 5 Pocket Highrise in VenomTaverniti So Sergeant Pepper Skinny in RinseHudson Tucker Pin Ankle Jean in EternalTrue Religion Billy in Urban Cowboy


left to right, from couturecandy.com: James Jeans Decker Darted Trouser in Bisazza; James Jeans Hector 5 Pocket Highrise in Venom; Taverniti So Sergeant Pepper Skinny in Rinse, Hudson Tucker Pin Ankle Jean in Eternal; True Religion Billy in Urban Cowboy

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