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Q. I love the all the metallic out there - bags, shoes, belts, even clothes, and have bought a few pieces for Spring & Summer. How much metallic is too much? And what to wear when wearing a metallic accessory? For example if I wear bronze shoes, I would assume that a metallic handbag is too much. Likewise, if I’m carrying a beautiful bronze or silver tote, handbag or clutch, do I go with a neutral shoe?
- Bronzed in Boston

A. You really do love your metallic. The old rules of accessories used to be that one always matched their bag and shoe color, but that doesn’t necessarily apply today. I believe that as long as the bag and shoes are not bright shiny metallic you can get away with pairing a metallic shoe and bag. Err on the side of subtlety. I have no problem wearing strappy metallic sandals and carrying a metallic clutch for evening. Think of metallic as a new form of a classic piece in your wardrobe, but they have to be used conservatively like you would and animal print. More than one or two pieces at a time can be too much.

Q. I’m going to a formal military ball and unless I go buy a dress, I only have 3 long dresses choose from. Unfortunately, they’re all velvet dresses, although very thin material. One is long sleeved, one is short sleeved and the last has no sleeves. I live in Colorado and the evening will be cool to cold in temperature. What do you suggest?
- Long Dress

A. While Colorado still has some snow I hesitate to say go ahead and wear the velvet. Velvet is truly a late fall, winter fabric. And remember the ball will be indoors. Indoor formal events are a chance to wear a great dress with heels and not be expected to wear hosiery or covered toes.

Q. I can see that this issue has been addressed before, but I am wondering if a 55 year old should always wear hose to the office. Our office is pretty relaxed but “at my age” I wear stockings and wear toeless stockings with sandals and a skirt. The younger women are appalled at the site of hosiery.
- Not Care for Bare

A. If you feel more comfortable wearing hosiery then don’t let the younger woman get you feeling down. Let them know their time may come when they’ll want a little coverage. While I try to avoid hosiery unless it’s tights in winter, I know there will come a time when my confidence with bare legs may falter and I’ll want some coverage. We won’t all be blessed with Tina Turner’s legs later in life. Your best bet is to try to match a sheer hosiery color as close your skin tone as possible. You may have to experiment with a few styles. Look for ones that claim to be virtually invisible. And if you wear a skirt or dress that falls below the knee you may want to dare to go bare in the heat of the summer and try using a body lotion that will gradually give your skin a hint of color. Summer months can be brutal if you wear hosiery in the heat.

Q. We’re attending a family wedding in the south in June. My mother has chosen a purple dress. She mentioned she plans to wear white nylons and white pumps (she’s in her 70’s but very active still). I keep thinking there’s something better than white for her. She refuses to go without hose. Any advice?
-White Not?
 

A. I’ve always believed that unless you’re under 10 years old, a ballerina or a quirky rock star, an adult should avoid white stockings. Suggest flesh toned hosiery for your mom and try to match the color perfectly so it looks like she has bare legs. Look for another color of pumps she can wear like a neutral cream or light tan, which can be very sophisticated.

Q. I recently purchased a Velvet (brand, not fabric) deep-V, sleeveless, empire waist, black dress. I live in Minnesota, and would like to wear it out for the evening. Would it be okay to wear a Michael Stars burgundy sparkle turtleneck under it? Is there anything else you could suggest? I don’t have any fitted jackets or cropped sweaters.
-Wear it in Winter

A. Layering is key when it comes to extending our wardrobe from winter to spring and summer. Consider layering with a turtleneck sweater, v-neck top or even a collared button down shirt - think chic preppy. Add a long necklace that dangles as long as the deep v of the dress for extra lengthening effect. In many cases, it all comes down to trial and error. So try on the sparkled turtleneck and if you like it then wear it. Confidence can win most style battles.

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