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Q. I have always wondered and had a problem when looking for blouses in Plus size stores - instead of having mostly vertical stripes or stripes that are diagonal and meet in the middle to minimize a large bust, they all mostly have loads of horizontal stripes! I am surprised that designers for these stores seem oblivious to this. A few of the horizontal stripes may look okay under a nice fitting blazer or sweater but not alone. Where are all the vertical and diagonal stripes?
-Stress for right stripes 

A. Yes, I wonder as well why plus size collections inevitably include horizontal stripes.  But there are some designers that get it. Lane Bryant is one of those companies that always offers a wide selection of contemporary looks and plenty of vertical, diagonal and chevron stripe styles.  I’ve picked out looks from several brands that I hope will help minimize and add style to your wardrobe.

L9500228

striped kimono-style tunic,
$44.50 at lanebryant.com

L9200110-1

mitered-stripe shirt,
$44.50 at
lanebryant.com

562873 Hi


grey lurex stripe twist
front 3/4 sleeve tunic,
$42 at
torrid.com

Q. What are some good websites to find plus-sizes for a woman in her 40s?
-Plus Size Style

0454650782074 Astl 300X400A. Shopping for a curvy girl is a delight these days with so many chic options available. Check out sites like lanebryant.com, kiyonna.com, alight.com, ullapopkin.com, avenue.com, and the plus size departments at lizclaiborne.com and fashionbug.com. As for department stores, I’ve always liked the styles offered at nordstrom.com and Salon Z at saks.com. Many designers like Ellen Tracy, Dana Buchman, Lafayette 148, Eileen Fisher and Sigrid Olsen select various styles from each collection and offer them in plus sizes.

shown left, Lafayette 148 Tweed Jacket and Stretch Wool Pants from Salon Z at saks.com

Q. I’m under 5ft, a size 14/16 and over 50.  What length of skirt do I wear since I now only wear flatish type shoes.  Do I wear a short skirt, knee length or a skirt to my ankles.
-Skirt Concerned 

A. For your age and petite height, avoid long skirts that hit around the ankles, they will only stunt your height and make you appear even shorter. Obviously avoid the mini since you’re not in your 20’s or 30’s. Look for skirts that are not too voluminous that hit just below the knee.  The length will balance your proportions better and just because you’re wearing “flatish” shoes, don’t give up on choosing stylish shoes whether they’re flats or kitten heels.

Here are 3 skirt options we found at nordstrom.com in your size:

 5182201
Mac & Jac Abstract
Watermelon Print Skirt, $72

 5186291

Jones New York Signature
Knot Print Skirt, $74


 5185992

Softwear Soft Touch
Print Skirt, $64

Q. Where can I find a one-piece or tankini with underwire?  I am a size 16 and with D breasts, so I just can’t go without the wire.  I am only 28, so I don’t want a “grandma” suit, but I can’t wear a string bikini either.  Please help!
-A Southern Sunbather

A. Some of the best styles that give lift and support with no “grandma” concerns are halter-top swimsuits.  Look for ones with built in cups for the best lift and there are many swimsuits with discreet features like extra Lycra to flatten tummies and slim hips.  I love Miraclesuit, and they offer specific styles for D and double D cups. Below are a few of my suggestions and be sure to check out our latest Swim Style style recipe for more options.

Eb05Iu 0120212 216A1Solid-Color Wrap Miraclesuit
$102 at eddiebauer.com

167208 Af05 M1 Mia MD-cup Solid V-neck Halter Tank Swimsuit
$68 at landsend.com

L1009098-1Venezia Sport rhinestone-accent halter tank
$89.50 at lanebryant.com

Q. I can’t tell you how many great tips I’ve gleaned from your column.  Now I’m needing a bit of your expertise on a problem I’m facing!  My company’s annual meeting is coming up and I’m stumped on ideas for an awards dinner outfit.  I just found a short sequin skirt that is a blue mist color that I thought would be fun to wear, but I’m not sure what to pair with it.  Is black too harsh with a pale blue?  Also, this certainly isn’t a very formal affair (they suggest cocktail attire) so I don’t want to go too fancy but I thought I might be able to pull the sequins off with something more understated on the top.  I’m a size 20 and have a large breast size and want to make sure that it is flattering to me. Help!  You’re so great with everyone else I’m praying you can help me too!
-Lost in Boston 

A. This kind of event is infinitely more important than a cocktail party with friends.  You’ll be making an impression on many important people company wide and showing off a more glamorous version of yourself.  This is a chance to be fun and friendly and still be professional. Any fashion faux pas will be remembered. As for a short sequin skirt, I worry about the length.  This is not an event appropriate for anything closely resembling a mini. And sequins can be bright, so if you stick with the skirt, the top must be subtle.

V0454632187019 V1 M56577569831177699My first choice would be a white top (similar to the look shown at left), but black would be fine if your wear black sandals. It’s hard for me to really say yes to the black combination without seeing the skirt. If you opt for another outfit, then go for a dress—it’s a no-fuss solution that just requires the addition of accessories and the right bra underneath. I chose a few tops and some affordable dress options as well. Good luck at the annual meeting.

left: Lafayette 148, Salon Z Stretch Cotton Shirt, $248 at saks.com

V0454637053555 V1 M56577569831205738
Lafayette 148,
Salon Z Sophie Jersey Top
$288 at
saks.com



2419
JS Boutique Shirred
Two Layer Dress
$190 at
nordstrom.com


150578
Lily Three Quarter
Sleeve Surplice Dress
$92 at
nordstrom.com

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