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Q. I’m looking for a stylish summer dress than i can wear to work (business casual) and wear to weekend events. I like to dress up but have trouble finding dresses that are flattering to my petite (5’2”) curvy (size 4-6) frame. Dresses either have too much fabric and make me look bundled up or are too revealing. Please help me find something in between that is stylish too!!

A. You are on the right track by choosing a dress to wear to your business casual office and on weekends. Not only are dresses versatile, they are also the easiest thing to throw on in the morning - no worrying about matching up tops and bottoms - just one piece and you’re good to go!

Since you are petite, it is important that you shop stores that carry petite lines. This will ensure that dresses are cut to fit your shape, without all the extra fabric you’re complaining about. You’ll also save a bundle on trips to the tailor! We especially like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and J Crew for their selection of petite sizes. Take note, though, you’ll often have to shop online for the largest selection since many stores only carry limited petite (and tall) sizes.

Here are some dresses we found for you to wear to work and on weekends. If you’re concerned about a dress being too revealing for work, try layering a cami underneath to cut down on cleavage, or wearing a cardigan over the dress to cover up arms if necessary.

Q. I have tried to wear the new style of blazer, the short blazer. However, I am plus sized (size 16) and find that they don’t flatter me. If I wear a longer blazer, will I be committing a fashion faux pas?

A. Quite the contrary! You’re in luck, this season’s newest silhouette is the longer boyfriend style blazer. To properly wear this look without looking sloppy, the rest of your outfit should be slim: skinny or slim jeans or pants work best (and yes, even on a plus size figure). As for a shorter blazer, try layering it over a longer top for a more flattering look. Here are two long blazer looks and two short blazer over long top looks for inspiration:

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left to right: Alfani Plus Size Three-Button Suit Jacket, $149 at macys.com; Rag & Bone Elongated Blazer, shopbop.com (not available in plus size); Sweater with silvertone studs, $64.50 at lanebryant.com; Eyeshadow Plus Size Cropped Jacket with Peter Pan Collar, $40 at macys.com
Q. My husband will be graduating this month from ASU, I have no idea what to wear I don’t even own a pair of jeans at the time. I’m 5ft tall and weigh about 106 pounds. Please give some ideas, the ceremony will be at 4:30pm. Thanks!

A. Skip the jeans and go for a chic day dress for your husband’s graduation. Not only will you be dressed appropriately, but you won’t have to worry about matching a top to a bottom - one-piece dressing is the ultimate in ease. Below are some selections that will flatter your petite figure, will be suitable for the Arizona weather, and will carry you from the 4:30 ceremony out to an evening of celebration. Finish off the look with a pair of chic pumps and you’re ready to go!

Q. As the days get colder and colder here, I have been strongly considering purchasing a jacket/coat to wear for the rest of fall, before hardcore snow-weather sets in. My two issues are style and price range. I am on the short side (5’3”-ish) and the top half of my body is heavier than the bottom half. I’ve tried pea coats and other double-breasted styles in the past and they made me look heavier. I’ve considered trench coats, but they seem to make me look even shorter and pudgier. Given my grad student budget and the failing economy, I would like to stay within a price range of $50 or under, though $40 and under would be ideal. Any suggestions?

A. You should definitely avoid double breasted style, as they will not only make you look wider, but shorter as well. Other styles to avoid include long coats and belted coats that would accentuate a thick middle. Now that we’ve gotten what you shouldn’t wear out of the way, let’s focus on what styles will flatter you most. Your best bet is to look for coats that hit just above your knee with an empire waist to create the illusion of height. Choose a semi-fitted single breasted style to create a slim silhouette while avoiding adding unnecessary bulk.

Now that you know what kind of coat to look for, let’s address your price. A fall coat that looks great can be tough to find for under $50. In fact, we found only two in your price range and style (see below). Consider spending just a bit more - a coat that fits great in a classic style will be worn for many years and is a great investment.

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Annabelle Linley 3Q Coat, $7.99 at forever21.com; Wool Coat, $39.80 at forever21.com; Wool-Blend Duffle Coats, $69.50 at oldnavy.com
Q. I have a dilemma. I’ve been searching for riding boots for months! I just can’t seem to find a pair that hits below my knees. They’re all too tall. Are there any options for petite women with normal-sized calves?

A. Several of us here share your plight - many riding boots are simply too tall for women who are 5’4” and under. Boots that hit at or above the knee can ruin the proportion of your legs, making them look even shorter. Your best bet is to seek out boots that have a 14” shaft or smaller (the shaft is the part of the boot that covers the leg, measured along the inside seam of the boot). Or better yet, measure your leg so you know exactly what shaft height you need before you begin your search. To measure: measure the height of the inside of your leg, starting at your instep to below your knee.

We sought out some chic options for you that are 14” or shorter, good luck!


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