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Q. Is it acceptable to wear socks with low-heeled mules?  The shoes are Rockports, black, and they look like loafers (without the back half, of course).
-Cozy Cover

A. It’s kind of like how we all own a few pairs of “granny panties” - comfortable underwear that we hope no one will ever see.  The key to wearing socks with mules is that your shoes need to be casual and your pants should be long enough to cover the back of your pants so only the front part of your loafers are seen.  What others can’t see (your socks) doesn’t matter and you’ll have warm feet this winter. 

Q. I was just wondering if nail polish color and purse color should be in contrast to one another? Also can multi-colored purses be carried everyday? And should light colors or dark colors be worn during fall/winter?
- Purse-onal Questions

A. To answer your multiple questions:

1. Don’t bother with questions about nail color matching your bag unless it’s a specific event that you’re dressing up for. We’ve headed into Fall so give your toe color a break and keep to light colors since few people will see your tootsies. To avoid garish looks with your fingernails, choose colors that aren’t too dark and no funky colors like blue or green.

2. Your everyday bag can be multi-colored, but if the colors are pastel you should hold off and carry in the Spring.

3. When it comes to colors for Fall and Winter, it’s most important to find colors that look best with your skin tone.

Q. My husband and I are also traveling to NYC in mid November. My favorite color is pink so most of my wardrobe - boots, etc. - are pink. Is this color okay for New York during this time of year?
-Pinky

A. Hey, pink is one of my favorite colors too.  If it looks good and you love it, then obviously it lifts your mood.  And a smile is sometimes your best accessory.  Whether it’s flirty and fun or sassy and sophisticated just be sure you’re not head to toe in various tones of pink which can clash.

Q. I have always been afraid of color.  After my mom passed away, I am feeling the need to incorporate some brighter colors into my life, as part of my ongoing personal makeover.   Almost all of my clothes are black.  My friends say that I would look nice in colors, but I’m not sure how and whether I should build a new wardrobe up from scratch.  How do I start building up from the basics again?
-Color Wary

A. There’s no need to start from scratch when all you need is to begin adding a few new pieces of bight color until you find the colors that work with your skin tone and elicit the most compliments.  And believe me, you always receive more compliments when you wear color.  Black might be safe and it can be classy and sophisticated, but rarely does someone say, “wow, you look like you’ve got a tan in that shade of black.” Or, ”you look so fresh and young in that black top.”

Begin by mixing a few colors in with your black pieces. You may need to try on many colors to find the right hues that work for you. I used to think yellow would wash me out and make my skin appear sallow, but I found a sunny color in two tops this past summer that were a hit.  I couldn’t wear them enough before the cooler temps hit. So don’t be shy, grab some sweaters and head to the dressing room.  Start with a v-neck sweater that can be worn alone or under a fitted jacket and a bold colored jacket in a classic cut.

72258_bl8181This cashmere cable
v-neck comes in
many wearable colors
$148 at jcrew.com

165325

A red coat looks
great with the
black pieces
already in your
wardrobe

Stand Collar Jacket
$148 at nordstrom.com

Q. I bought a black pantsuit at the end of the season last winter which consists of a longer, three-quarter length jacket and matching boot-cut pants.  I have never owned a suit with a three-quarter length jacket before, so I was curious as to (1) whether or not it is a stylish option for fall, and if so (2) is there a "right" way to wear the jacket?  I am not sure if I should leave it open, or button any of the four buttons, etc.  Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
—Right Way or Wrong Way

11310A. There will always be a long list of standard options in suits from short jackets to long jackets, dress suits with matching jackets, double or single-breasted jackets and then choices of pants and skirts. What makes a suit stylish is the fit on your body and how you complete the look from the top to the accessories.  The jacket needs to fit you well and not be oversized or boxy, especially if you are petite since a longer jacket could make you seem even shorter. As for the buttons, it depends—if you’re trying to achieve a more fitted or conservative look then button 2-3 and leave the bottom one undone. Try to avoid the easy choice of a white shirt, choose a color or a patterned shirt or wear a knit top that isn’t bulky.  And you could jazz it up with bigger style jewelry or an Hermes or Hermes-like scarf at the neck. It’s always better to keep the attention towards your top half to create the illusion of height with a longer jacket.

shown right: a classic and more conservative way to wear it, from nordstrom.com

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