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Q. Is it still ok to wear my black leather hobo bag, or is it too heavy for summer? Can you recommend some more summery styles to wear every day? I don’t want to spend a lot on a summer bag. Thanks!

A. While not necessarily a faux pas, a black leather bag tends to look a bit heavy next to lightweight summery clothes. There’s no rule that says you should replace it, but if you’re in the mood to lighten up, here are some chic summery bags that are perfect for everyday and under $100:


Q. I really love some of this season’s trendy shorts looks, but I’m not sure which styles look best on me. I’m pretty average in height and weight but my thighs are not as toned as I’d like them to be, so I’m a bit insecure. Can you recommend the right shorts for me?

A. There are so many shorts styles out there this season, there’s bound to be a style that works for you. If you are insecure about your thighs, we always recommend choosing a pair of shorts that hits just below the widest (and flabbiest) part of your upper thigh in order to make legs look their slimmest. Here are some basic guideline about which shorts look best for various body types:

Short/Petite Legs
Short shorts look best on short legs. Look for inseams that are about 5 inches or less. Add a pair of heels to further lengthen your legs.

Plus Size/Curvy Shapes
Long, slim Bermuda shorts that hit just above or in the middle of your knee are the most flattering. Avoid pleats, cargo pockets or anything boxy or oversized as these will make you look heavier.

Slim and Straight Shape
You have many options available to you, including short pleated styles, slouchy shorts, cargos, and rolled or cuffed shorts.

Pear Shape/Full Thighs
Look for straight-cut, not tapered, shorts that hit at the knee to lengthen and slim the thighs. A printed top or romantic blouse with ruffles will help balance your shape.

Look for clean, flat front shorts to help conceal a tummy. Avoid belts or sashes which will draw attention to your middle.

Soft, pleated shorts add curves for straight and slim figures. Can also help camouflage full thighs on an otherwise slim figure.
Cuffed denim shorts look great on slim or tall figures. A short inseam also works well for petite shapes.
Long lean shorts are ideal for concealing full thighs. They’re also a great silhouette for plus size women.
These shorts hit just below the fullest part of the thigh, offering a flattering look for a variety of figures. Soft cuffs with a wide leg opening can help visually slim legs.

Once you’ve chosen the most flattering shorts for your figure, there are a few things you can do to look your best:

1. Wear heels or wedges. Choose a nude color and avoid ankle straps and you’ll have longer, slimmer legs instantly.

2. Get a faux tan. Sunless tanners are your legs’ best friend. Even a hint of a (faux) tan is enough to make thighs look slimmer. Be sure to shave and moisturize also, so legs are smooth and sleek.

3. Divert attention. Choose billowy tops and oversized accessories, like a statement necklace or large handbag, to make the rest of you look small in comparison.

4. Walk tall. Good posture and confidence will always help you look your best.

Q. I have read articles and advice on jean styles for women over 40 that has been stating that women over 40 should not wear jeans that have heavy embellishment or embroidery on them, especially back pockets. I also read that pocket flaps or buttons should be avoided. I am wondering if the style of jean that I wear is considered appropriate. I wear the Levi’s classic relaxed boot cut jeans in a medium dark wash. They do not have any of the above mentioned. The ones I wear also are a mid rise waist since I am a size 16. I have heard that the above mentioned styles should be reserved for 20-somethings. What do you suggest?


A. I don’t believe that women over 40 are relegated to “mom” jeans while younger 20-somethings get to wear the fun trends. There are exceptions of course, like some of the really destroyed or decorated styles which tend to look very young. More important than embellishment or embroidery is that you choose a denim silhouette which flatters your figure. Your shape should determine your jeans more than your age. While pocket flaps and embroidered pockets are perfectly fine for someone over 40, they are not a flattering choice for many women as they tend to enhance your rear.

The medium rise classic boot cut jeans in a medium to dark wash that you currently favor also happen to be one of the most universally flattering styles for a variety of figure types, regardless of age. If you feel good in them, wear them! Don’t worry too much about the trendy jean of the moment, wear what looks good on you. For more tips on finding the right jeans for your figure, check out our denim fit guide.

Q. Is it okay to wear a black suede peep toe 3.5” heel in June? I’m standing in a wedding. We were asked to buy our own floor length black dresses.

A. We love putting old fashion rules to rest: suede is no longer reserved just for fall and winter and can be worn year round. What’s more important than the color or fabric of your shoe is the style. For instance, a knee high black suede boot would be too heavy for warm weather. Since your black suede shoes have a peep toe, they are perfectly appropriate and comfortable for warm weather. If they look great with your black gown, then wear them!

Q. Since it is May, is it too late to wear a short sequined jacket over either dressy pants or a mid-calf little black dress with rhinestones straps to a black-tie affair?

A. Sequins have shed their holiday-only reputation and can now be worn virtually year round. I can’t think of anything more chic than pairing a short sequined jacket with a little black dress or dressy pants for a black tie affair in the spring. Go for it!

You can get even more mileage from your sequin jacket by pairing it with a t-shirt or tank top and a pair of jeans, khakis or even shorts for a more casual affair.

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