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Q. Where can I find a trenchcoat? I am a petite size, 5’2”, 85 pounds. I want a color that is ivory, black, white, houndstooth; but preferably ivory or black. I want something that is cut above the knee, preferably mid-thigh. I want something under $100 that is preferable available in the stores. Something under $40 would be even better, since the economy is so bad right now! I want a single-breasted, belted, with buttons (not gold buttons), something very fitted, hugs my curves, I want one with a collar that can be popped up/flipped up (to cover my neck), I want something with the detail of “fold-over tabs with button” on the front shoulder/chest and wrist. I want something that is fully lined, with pockets. It would also be nice to have big pockets inside.

A. A girl who knows what she wants! It sounds like what you’re looking for is a classic 3 season single breasted trench coat in a neutral color, petite size. Something that should be in every stylish girl’s closet. The below styles meet most, if not all, of your requirements:

This classic coat features a button-out lining for added versatility and three-season wear and comes in petite sizes.
Available in a variety of fresh colors and comes in petite, regular and tall sizes.
This classic coat features a removable lining, comes in petite sizes and several colors, including black.
Button details, available in red, white and black.

Q. My wife has a gold charm bracelet, but no charms. I would like to buy her some charms for her birthday but have no idea where to begin. Any suggestions?

shoecharm.pngA. What a lovely and special gift idea. Charm bracelets are a great way to create a customized ever-evolving piece of jewelry, a sort of wearable personal scrapbook. When searching for charms, it’s best to choose designs that have meaning to the wearer. Juicy Couture offers a huge selection of affordable charms (like the shoe charm shown here, $48). We found these as well as offerings from Links of London and Jay Strongwater at saks.com. If you’d like to go the luxe route, Tiffany&Co. offers a large variety of charms.

Vintage charms are another option, and a great way to create a one-of-a-kind instant heirloom. You can hunt through antique stores or comb through ebay, but I’m guessing you don’t have the time or desire to uncover a vintage treasure. Instead, head to mandbvintage.com or charmco.com for a great selection of vintage charms. You can even send M&B a wish list and they’ll help you create a custom piece or hand-engrave a vintage charm.

Q. I am attending a military ball. I have no idea what I should wear. I don’t want to be underdressed, but I also don’t want to look over dressed either. Also, I am a modest dresser. I like my dresses to have sleeves, basically. I am only 22, and the majority of modest dresses that I find look like they’re made for 50 year olds. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

A. You’re in luck! There are plenty of modest, yet stylish, dresses available this season, whether you are attending a military ball or a holiday soiree. Depending on your comfort level, the key to looking youthful is to show a little skin, whether it’s a scoop neck, some leg in the form of a shorter dress or even a sheer fabric that shows skin while still covering up. Also look for touches of metallic or sparkle that add stylish flair.

There’s no need to worry about being too overdressed or underdressed with these picks:

Q. I bought my first pair of black leggings and I’ve been looking for months for a short dress or a tunic that would look cute with a large belt and leggings. I’d like to spend less than $30-$40…Do you have any suggestions?

A. Belting a sweater dress or tunic and pairing it with leggings creates a look that feels relaxed and comfortable but looks neat and pulled together (not sloppy). The key is to look for tops that are slim fitting and long enough to cover the bumpy areas on your thighs. Wear knee high boots or ankle boots to complete the look. Here are a few options for you:

Q. I am writing on behalf of the women of Northern Climes who want a winter boot that really is warm and weatherproof and also stylish. No tall heels or flat slick soles because we walk on icy sidewalks and no thin leather because it isn’t warm enough when you also have to wade through the snow that hasn’t been shoveled or plowed. There are great winter clothes and beautiful coats, but where are the functional boots that aren’t ugly? I hate carrying office shoes while I wear Sorrell’s to commute—it’s the winter equivalent of tennis shoes with business attire. I’ve considered some interesting quilted boots from Norway, but surely someone here must have a solution.

A. You’re right, finding a pair of stylish snow boots can be a challenge. Aquatalia makes some beautiful weatherproof shoes, many of them with warm linings. Below are some options that fit the bill: chic, warm and waterproof. Several of the styles can be worn with your work attire, though we still suggest you switch to a pair of indoor shoes when you get to the office instead of wearing your slushy winter boots all day.


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