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Q.  What color shoe should I wear with solid white Bermuda  shorts when paired with a black or brown top? Also, I am only 5’4…what style Bermuda is best for a shorter person…are cuffs OK?
-Shorty Pants 

A. Cuffs on your shorts are fine, but keep the leg of the short cut straight and slim, you do not want a wide leg short on a petite frame - it will make you look shorter and wider.  As for length, choose ones that are at or above the knee.  For shoes, a wedge heel will keep the look stylish and give you a little height. You can look for a pattern, stripe or solid.  If you choose a pattern, you will have a better likelihood of wearing several solid colored tops with your shorts while upping the style quotient of your look.

Q. I am 16 years old and love the classic style. Ever since I was little I always wanted to be a ballerina, however am not. Ballerinas always have a laid back look but still look polished and cute, and I would love to have their style but don’t know what to wear and how to put it all together and not look like a poser or looking like a ballerina.  If you could help me put together some outfits without looking too matchy-matchy it would be greatly appreciated.
-Ballerina Butterfly 

A. You’re in luck - ballet-inspired styles are a big trend for Spring. Simple ways to add a bit of “prima ballerina” to your wardrobe include wearing leggings with mini skirts and dresses, adding ballet flats to your shoe wardrobe and shopping for thin knit wrap sweaters to wear with tanks, camis and tissue tees. And the young ballet dancers in NYC always seem to have their hair in a bun when they’re headed to class. I picked some inexpensive options to add to your wardrobe:

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left to right: Danskin Wrap Sweater, $28 at danskin.com; Frenchi Wrap Sweater, $44 at nordstrom.com; Steve Madden Tipie, $77.95 at zappos.com; Gabriella Rocha Elodie, $49.95 at zappos.com

Q. I am invited to a black tie event. The invitation reads: Black Tie - Denim - and Sparkle. There will be prizes given out for the best attire that combines all the aspects.  It is formal so I was wondering, do you have any ideas of how to wear a long gown with denim & sparkle and still look formal? I wear a size 4 and I am up for anything!
-Sparkle & Sass   

A. Have a Bedazzler?  This is the time you get to truly mix sophistication and whimsy.  One of my favorite photos from an old issue of Vogue is of a model wearing a long black ball gown skirt with a white tank top and a dark denim fitted jacket.  You could take this look and add the sparkle.  Look for a top that already has its own jewels, gems or sparkle or buy a black or white top or even a tank and add your own fabric paint that has sparkle, or pick up a Bedazzler and add your own “jewels.”  You can also wear a fitted denim button front shirt over a ball gown and tie the bottom of the shirt at your waist since you can’t tuck it in. It would be preferable to find a strapless or thin strap dress for this look which can also be worn with a denim jacket.  If there is no sparkle to be had, then add diamonds (real or faux) or other bright jewels for the sparkle effect.

Try wearing this dark denim fitted jacket ($98 at jcrew.com):

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Paired with a simple white tank or shimmering top and ball gown skirt:

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left to right: white tank, $14.50 at jcrew.com; BCBG Max Azria Drape Neck Sequin Top, $298 at nordstrom.com; JS Collections A-Line Taffeta Skirt, $98 at nordstrom.com

Or choose a black tie dress instead to pair with your denim jacket:

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left to right, all at edressme.com: Strapless Polka Dot Prom Dresses by Jovani, $440; Short Bubble Prom Dresses by Betsey Johnson, $390; Strapless Little Black Dresses with White Embrodiery, $110

 5162668-1-2Q. I have a dance coming up for my college dorm and I have my eye on a dress very similar to the one you featured in your July 15th answer (the Nicole Miller border print tie front gown).  However, my chest is medium-large, any recommendation for what to wear underneath? It’s pretty low in the back and front.  Or should ample chests avoid such dresses? I love the print and think the rest of the dress is flattering.

-In Love with a Dress But Not Sure if it Loves Me Back   

 

A. For a dress similar to this one, you definitely need a specific, supportive strapless bra.  I’m hoping that perhaps the straps on the dress you’ve chosen have slightly wider shoulder coverage.  You need a strapless bra that is plunge style and either adheres to your skin or has a dipped band in the back. Here are two styles that fit small, medium and large busts:

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The Clearly Natural strapless underwire bra from The Natural offers a practical solution to your backless dilemmas. The supportive cups clip to a transparent strap at the back and a clear, adjustable halter strap is included for additional support. Available up to size 36DD and 38D. $46 at figleaves.com.

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The Jezebel Caress Strapless Bra features contour cups for shaping and support, a plunge front and a low back. Available up to size 38D. $27 at barenecessities.com

Also, check out our newest style recipe, Underneath It All, for a complete guide on what to wear underneath your sexiest clothes. You’ll find several of our favorite bras for low cut dresses.

Q. I have just discovered your site and it is now marked as a “Favorite.”  Wow!  I will be attending my best friend’s engagement party in mid-February.  It is an evening party, thrown by a very wealthy family at their home, which only begins my troubles.  The guests will be a mix of old friends and people with whom I would like to network.  I am an attorney, but I would like to wear something fun that makes a good impression.  HELP!  Also, a little help on what the husband should wear… the invite does not indicate a dress code.
- Party Wear Perfection


A. Since the party is for your best friend, you should make a good impression and dress up for the fete.  Even though you hope to network, this is a festive occasion, so you want to avoid anything resembling workwear. Ask your girlfriend what she intends to wear and use that as a guide while shopping at the store or sifting through your closet.  A little black dress or a patterned wrap dress will surely do the trick, or wear a pretty top and skirt. Be sure nothing is too revealing and wear some great heels and knockout jewelry.

Your husband should wear a sports jacket, button down shirt, tie and nice pants.  He can always remove the tie if the guests are dressed more casually.  Have fun!

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