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Penchant for Plaid

Q. It is about that time again, for the office holiday party season.  I was hoping you could point me in the direction of something that would be suitable for such an occasion.  I know red/green plaids were big as a last year fashion but I was hoping to find something this year.  My ideal dress would be full length plaid/tartan dress and thought you would be the perfect person to ask. 
—Seeking in Portland

A. I would have thought it would have been one stop shopping from Ralph Lauren, but this year he skipped much of his tartans and plaids for chic black. So I searched elsewhere and came up with a few options from a strapless wonder to long length glam and a few day to evening options that can be dazzled with a pair of sparkly shoes.

Wool Jacquard Black Watch Dress0479484072337 Astl 300X400-1Ralph Lauren Toby Taffeta Tartan SkirtJ Crew Kerin dress Donna Ricco Plaid Taffeta Shirtdress

1. Wool Jacquard Black Watch Dress, $498 at brooksbrothers.com
2. L.A.M.B. Plaid Dolly Dress, $385 at saks.com
3. Ralph Lauren Toby Taffeta Tartan Skirt, $398 at ralphlauren.com
4. J Crew Kerin dress, $450 at jcrew.com
5.  Donna Ricco Plaid Taffeta Shirtdress, $158 at nordstrom.com

 Echo Long Side Button GlovesQ. I have a fabulous antique swing coat that is a subtle grey/black tweed pattern.  The sleeves are 3/4 length and I am looking for some long leather gloves to wear with it.  Do you have any suggestions?  I have been having trouble finding a nice pair I like.

-Arm’s Length

A. I’m quite fond of vintage clothes and giving them a stylish second life. If the coat is warm enough to get you through two months’ worth of wear during Fall and Winter, then perhaps buy two pairs of gloves - one long to cover the arms fully and another pair in a bright color that will pop when you wear a sweater with sleeves that reach past the length of the coat arms and to meet the gloves.  Below are a few options from tres chic grey and embellished plum (warning: they’re all a bit pricey):

 Nordstrom Chain Leather Gloves Nordstrom Ruched Leather GlovesGiorgio Armani Long Ruched GlovesLong Black Leather GlovesSaks Fifth Avenue Patent Leather Gloves


1. Nordstrom Chain Leather Gloves, $88 at nordstrom.com
2. Nordstrom Ruched Leather Gloves, $135 at nordstrom.com
3. Giorgio Armani Long Ruched Gloves, $285 at saks.com
4. Long Black Leather Gloves, $116 at shop.com
5. Saks Fifth Avenue Patent Leather Gloves, $198 at saks.com

Top photo:
6. Echo Long Side Button Gloves, $195 at nordstrom.com

Q. Why can’t I buy Prada’s footless knee highs anymore, and are there any imitations out there?
-Footloose

A. I’ll admit I didn’t fall for these. While fanciful and truly trendy I don’t think I personally could pull them off, but I applaud the stylish gal that can strut down the street in her pair. I also would rather buy a pair of over the knee Falke cashmere socks for the price tag than pay $50 for the Prada footless knee highs. However, in my quest to help you strut your stuff, I did multiple online searches and even on Ebay they were sold out. I visited the Prada store on Fifth Avenue in New York City and they informed me that they have been completely sold out and impossible to find.

The Prada Version:

Prada’s footless knee highs

For some less than exact imitations you could get crafty and cut out the foot of a pair of knee highs and create your own pair. Or try these Trasparenze Esmerelda Footless Over The Knee Leggings at alexblake.com - just fold down the top to get the look of a sock.

Trasparenze Esmerelda Footless Over The Knee Leggings

Q. I want to get some ideas about semi formal jackets to wear over jeans. I am 5’ 2" and am plump - with typical hourglass figure…small waist, big bust/thighs and hips.
-Jackets with Jeans

A. Best options are ones that belt at the waist or help define a waist. Look for jackets that cover just the tops of your hips and are not boxy. Avoid long jackets that will only make you look shorter or that resemble more of an outdoor coat.  Since you plan to pair the jacket with jeans, be sure your top underneath isn’t bulky - keep it feminine with a v-neck or scoop neck top that is more flattering for busty girls.

INC International Concepts® Petites Cropped Double-Breasted Leather JacketPetite velvet Bella jacket Semantiks Flecked Wool Jacket Classiques Entier® Funnel Neck Belted Jacket (Petite)


1. INC International Concepts® Petites Cropped Double-Breasted Leather Jacket, $99.50 at macys.com
2. Petite velvet Bella jacket, $158 at jcrew.com
3.  Semantiks Flecked Wool Jacket, $88 at nordstrom.com
4.  Classiques Entier® Funnel Neck Belted Jacket (Petite), $198 at nordstrom.com

Q. For two seasons I’ve been looking for a dark hued denim A-line skirt.  I’m not finding one anywhere!  Lots of dark denim pencil skirts, or long, long Mormon looking skirts out there, but no A-line.   Am I just out of the loop and crazy to think it’s out there— or still fashionable?  I got one three years ago and it became a staple in my wardrobe.  Great for summer, great for winter with boots and tights.  I’m afraid I’ll never find another one—- or even worse, that I’m out of fashion!
-Denim Desperate

A. You’re not going cuckoo. There are options for a flattering fit in an A-line denim skirt. And clearly with the right top and accessories you can wear any of these all year long with everything from sandals to tights and boots.

Esprit Pleated Denim SkirtPaper Denim & Cloth Denim Skirt Citizens of Humanity 'Cadet' Stretch Denim SkirtLauren Jeans Co. Stretch Denim Five-Pocket Skirt


1. Esprit Pleated Denim Skirt, $59.50 at espritshop.com
2. Paper Denim & Cloth Denim Skirt, $51.99 at macys.com
3. Citizens of Humanity ‘Cadet’ Stretch Denim Skirt, $196 at nordstrom.com
4. Lauren Jeans Co. Stretch Denim Five-Pocket Skirt, $79.50 at macys.com

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