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Q. I have been very frustrated by my inability to find fashionable jeans that fit those of use who wear bigger — but not “plus” — sizes. I am generally an 8 or a 10 but I find that I can’t fit into the biggest size made by most premium denim brands, generally a 32. If I can even get them over my admittedly large hips and thighs, the waist inevitably gaps by many inches, far too much to fix through alteration. No one who looks at me would say I’m obese, but I certainly felt that way after spending a good 2 hours in an upscale department store recently. Must I resign myself to Gap or Lee jeans from here on in? I’d really like to have a pair of sharp jeans that I can wear in a professional situation, and Wranglers just don’t cut it.
- Jeans Disjointed 

A. I feel your pain - jeans and swimsuits are THE HARDEST items to shop for and the most disappointing when you can’t find your dream purchase.  I have left many dressing rooms feeling like a reject when I couldn’t find a pair that fit me. 

First, make sure you are trying on the most flattering fit for your figure. Look for jeans with a slight flare to balance out your hips and thighs and avoid tapering or skinny jeans at all costs.  Be sure the jeans have pockets. Also, think about denim with stretch— or Lycra—one of the greatest inventions put into women’s clothes. Don’t bring a girlfriend with you unless she is super stylishly savvy and honest. And don’t assume that expensive jeans are more worthy - I have jeans in my drawer from Old Navy for $20 to Citizens of Humanity for nearly $200 and plenty of price points in between. I love them all for different reasons, whether it’s the fit, the length or the wash. It’s more important to find the right fit that looks good on your body than spending the big bucks for the latest “hot” jean. 

As for designers to look for, there are so many brands out there, it’s hard to keep up with the claims. Before you become hardened towards jeans, go shopping at these stores:  Lucky Brand Dungarees (they have claimed they can find you a great fitting pair in four try-ons) and Levi’s, where you’ll find a wealth of sizes and fits with knowledgeable salespeople. Or, head to a store that has a designated area just for the jeans with pros on staff that know all the styles. In New York we have Barneys with their Jeans Bar - I adore the guys at Barneys co-op, they are honest and can remember the difference between my first pair and my fifteenth.

Most importantly, be patient. Even if you have to try on 50 pairs to find the perfect one, it will be worth it!

Q. I have a micro mini that I bought in Vegas years ago and I love it, but now that I just turned 30 I’m thinking I should get another one that isn’t so micro but still has sequins. There is one that I like that is gold and bronze colored and I know a crisp white dress shirt would look good but are there any other options? I’m used to wearing the black micro one with a fitted black blazer so my effort to move up to a slightly more conservative look is leaving me a bit confused. As a former ballerina I have the legs to wear daring looks so no worries there. Thank you in advance!
-Leggy Issues 

A. First off, 30 is not 50.  I’m jealous—I’d love to have fab legs to be able to wear a micro mini with my only concern being my age.  It sounds like you’re wearing the micro mini stylishly with a blazer rather than trashy with a tight revealing top.  You obviously have a thing for sequins, so I’m going to say buy the new slightly longer skirt so you get 10 more years of sequins and perhaps wear your micro mini at least one more time at a party for a proper send off.

A. I have a question about ponchos.  I bought a light pink crochet poncho during the end of last winter and have only worn it once. I’d like to wear it again this spring but I noticed that nobody seems to wear ponchos anymore. I’m wondering, are they completely “out” this year?  Thanks for creating a venue where we fashion wobbly girls can get the low down without seeming dumb.
-Poncho Perplexed

A. As with everything in fashion from clothes to shoes to accessories, there are items that are “in” and items that are “out” each season.  Your poncho is, unfortunately, considered by many fashion editors and designers to be “out” this season.  It joins the multiple variations of the shrug that have also been such a hit for the last year. But, and this is a big BUT, if you absolutely love it and it looks great on you, then go ahead and wear it a few times.  But then put it in the back of your closet or pack it with your winter sweaters and realize that fashion is cyclical, so inevitably the poncho trend will return within a few years.

Q. I love, love, love the dress you wore on the Tyra Banks show.  Can you tell me who makes it?
-Dress Impressed 

Detail1 1426-1A. Thanks for the compliment about the dress I wore on Tyra Banks.  These days, I am dress-buying obsessed and someone probably needs to restrain me! This nifty dress is by Conspiracy 8 and comes in two color ways: black with blue trim or chocolate with orange trim (currently on sale for $123 at mightyflirt.com). It is fairly low cut so be prepared to show a little cleavage, my fave right now is to pair it with the new Wonderbra Light Lift bra.
7260Won

Wonderbra Light Gel
Push-Up Underwire Bra
$21.99 at
onehanesplace.com

Q. I bought this gorgeous Chaiken black lace jacket (grosgrain ribbon belt, bell sleeves, hits just at the waist). While I think it looks super cool with a simple white cotton tank, jeans and fabulous shoes, I’d like to wear it to an engagement party and can’t think of what would look best. Any ideas? The party’s not super dressy, more sophisticated cocktail attire (guys will be in suits for sure).
-Black Lace Conundrum

A.  You can easily dress up your black lace jacket from good looking with jeans to bravo with a fitted camisole and a black pencil or slight a-line skirt on bottom and your fabulous shoes to finish the look.  The camisole doesn’t have to be black, but should be a fairly simple designed top so it doesn’t detract from the lace jacket. Use the link below to view some options.

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