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Q. I am seeing a lot of patent shoes for the Fall. I always thought patent shoes were only for Spring and Summer. What’s the best way to wear them? And, can I wear my red patent peep toes into September?
-Patent Potential

A. Patent leather shoes, accessories and even clothing with patent embellishments are a huge trend that continues into Fall. It escaped the “only wear” in Spring and Summer several years ago and now there are countless stylish options to wear all year long. So wear your peep toes this Fall and pair them with opaque tights when the temperature dips. And check out these shoes to shine in this Fall:

Stuart Weitzman
ChatupVince Camuto Heaven

Jessica Simpson 'Thalia' Bootie AK Anne Klein Willa

left to right:
1. Stuart Weitzman Chatup, $280 at
2. Vince Camuto Heaven, $125 at
3. Jessica Simpson ‘Thalia’ Bootie, $118.95 at
4. AK Anne Klein Willa, $79 at

Q. I am getting ready to go to college next month and I need to buy a backpack. I haven’t used a backpack for a very long time and I want it to be unique and stylish, but am having a hard time finding just that. Can you help me find a cute backpack? And preferably for under $200.
-Soured Search

A. There are plenty of backpack choices under $200 as long as you don’t need a top designer name or all leather. In fact, Jansport offers endless prints and patterns for the same style backpack at Kudos to you for looking for a way to keep the weight of your books distributed on your shoulders. There are basic flap or multi zip styles and some even come with pockets and attachments for an iPod plus drawstring top packs. If you’re still not satisfied, look for a large messenger bag.

Perlina Handbags
Duplex BackpackJansport
Big StudentBillabong Audry Backpack

Urboe 07High Sierra MiaBellino Luciano Backpack

left to right:
1. Perlina Handbags Duplex Backpack, $217.95 at
2. Jansport Big Student, $43.95 at
3. Billabong Audry Backpack, $39.50 at
4. OGIO Urboe 07, $63.95 at
5. High Sierra Mia, $26.99 at
6. Bellino Luciano Backpack, $66.60 at

 Images Colorized 72037202 0051Q. I have many questions as the mother of the bride. October 20th wedding in New England - 3:00 pm - bridesmaids will wear cocktail length sage green dresses with chocolate sashes. Groomsmen will be in navy blazers and khaki colored dress slacks, white shirts with green Vineyard Vines ties. My daughter will be in a beautiful non-embellished ivory satin gown. Reception will be at a lodge-like venue. Not black tie but certainly not informal. I’ve posted the dress that I have ordered through Talbots. It also comes in midnight blue (which I’ve also purchased). I won’t decide between the 2 colors until I see what mink brown actually looks like. First, do you think the dress is dressy enough - the fabric is silk dupioni - the fit is great for me and I do not want to wear full-length. If so, what would you suggest for the color of the shoes and clutch for the brown dress? For the midnight blue dress? And what would you suggest for jewelry for that neckline? Wrap or should I have a jacket made while in the church?

-Color Quandry

A. As mother of the bride, you are clearly making good choices for your dress even with your multiple questions. It’s smart to have purchased both dress colors so you can try them on and determine which color is most flattering. For the brown, consider a bronze or coppery gold heel. And for the midnight navy you can probably get away with black, but a muted grey silver, gold heel or deep blue would give it more sass. As for coverage at the church, I’d suggest taking your final dress choice with you to department stores to see if you can find a jacket that works, but otherwise a lightweight wrap will surely work since it’s not a black tie affair. We love the lightweight ones from Love Quotes.

For jewelry, keep the pieces light, not chunky. For a necklace wear something pendant-like for the v-neck of the dress and choose earrings that are slightly larger with a possible drop effect. And consider thin bangle bracelets on one wrist. If you’re concerned about skipping hose to wear a peep toe, then I’d suggest indulging in a spray tan on your legs a day or two prior to the event. I’ve picked out several suggestions for shoes and jewelry as a guide.

Stick with golds, bronze and copper for the brown dress and silver and pewter hues for the navy dress:

BCBGirls LymaNine West HaelliReport Dione

1. BCBGirls Lyma, $92.95 at (also available in pewter)
2. Nine West Haelli, $82.95 at (also available in silver)
3. Report Dione, $178.95 at

Anna Beck Floating Circle NecklaceJulie Sandlau Smokey Quartz and Cubic Zirconia Drop Necklace Julie Sandlau Clear Cubic Zirconia and Champagne Zirconia Flower Drop Earrings

4. Anna Beck Floating Circle Necklace, $238 at
5. Julie Sandlau Smokey Quartz and Cubic Zirconia Drop Necklace, $127.99 at
6. Julie Sandlau Clear Cubic Zirconia and Champagne Zirconia Flower Drop Earrings, $198 at

Dress CopyQ. I recently purchased a Navy Satin Pinstripe dress by Betsy Johnson for a formal evening wedding this July 2007 in downtown New York (which I hope is OK to begin with!) However, I want to add a little spice to the dress and not just buy a black/navy satin shoe since the dress itself is different as far as style. Any advice on how to spice things up a bit!

- Frazzled and Dazzled

A. Metallic or color is the best way to add sass to a navy dress. Here are several options for your feet and to carry.

Franchi Handbags
Pagoda Leather ClutchWhiting & Davis Handbags
Shirred Mesh Long ClutchNina 'Oriana' SandalStuart Weitzman

opt for silver or white accessories, left to right: Franchi Handbags Pagoda Leather Clutch, $158.95 at; Whiting & Davis Handbags Shirred Mesh Long Clutch, $183.95 at; Nina ‘Oriana’ Sandal, $68.95 at; Stuart Weitzman Hotdish, $285 at

MAXSTUDIO 'Savannah' SandalCharles David
CarouseHand-painted laurel garland ring
Patent Bean Clutch

or add red, black and gold, left to right: Maxstudio ‘Savannah’ Sandal, $128.95 at; Charles David Carouse, $170 at; Hand-painted laurel garland ring, $45 at; Jalda Patent Bean Clutch, $265 at

Q. I love going to clubs and parties because I enjoy dancing. I carry the bare minimum (leave the cell phone in the car) because I like to club uncluttered so that I can dance up a storm. However, I do want to take my car keys, cash and credit card and not all my outfits have pockets. Strap purses often slide off my shoulder when the dancing gets fun and up tempo. Are there any small purses that can be attached to a belt or dangle safely from my wrist? Please suggest some hands free purse styles.
-Dancing Queen

A. It’s definitely a girl dilemma and annoyance to want to dance freely, but have to handle a small bag. It’s bad enough we have to deal with crowds and sweaty guys sidling up to us, and have to worry about losing our bags if left in a pile.  You need a tiny bag that you can hang on your wrist or attach elsewhere, but still look stylish. I’ve found a few items that will help you hit the dance floor without a worry.

Julie K Lula BagMoe Bags Tiffany in Pale Gold Rouged SilkMarc Jacobs Quilted WristletMadiedeluxe-Goodies-3-16-07-3

Coach Hamptons Pebbled SwingpackAvery Griffin Croc Belt BagMichael Kors Pouch BeltCloe's Clutch in Black

left to right: Julie K Lula Bag, $165 at; Moe Bags Tiffany in Pale Gold Rouged Silk, $187 at; Marc Jacobs Quilted Wristlet, $350 at; Madie Deluxe Ring Wristlet, $28 at; Coach Hamptons Pebbled Swingpack, $138 at; Avery Griffin Croc Belt Bag, $187 at; Michael Kors Pouch Belt, $85 at; Cloe’s Clutch in Black, $23 at

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