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Q. I know that black patent shoes are big for fall.  What type of hosiery should be paired with black patent shoes?  It used to be considered a fashion faux pas to pair black tights or black hose with black patent leather shoes.  Is this still the case?
-B&B

A. Where did you hear that fashion faux pas? I must have been too young to dress myself when that faux pas was discussed.  Now that patent is such a huge trend for Fall and opaque tights are blazing a trail and finding space in everyone’s drawer, it’s time to enjoy your black patent with just about any color tight depending on what you’re wearing on the rest of your body.

When you want smooth, wear solid opaque tights; when you want edgy, choose a pattern or textured tight with your patent heels.

Navy & Red Together?

Q. I have had this argument with my boyfriend for months! Once and for all, can you confirm or dismiss that it is stylish to wear red pumps/flats/wedges with navy clothing? Thank you, you settling this may have saved a relationship!!
-Ending Argument

A. Your relationship must be a breeze if you only bicker about style.  But deary, a debate like this one lasting for months? Tsk, tsk. Once and for all, feel free to wear navy and red together. Navy is one of the hardest hues to match so it gives stylish gals the license to wear navy with red, green, burgundy, brown and more.  Color always adds sass to an outfit.

Q. I’ve always been confused about the "unofficial" end of Summer, Labor Day, and the "official" end of Summer, Sept. 22nd. Do I put away all my lightweight summer whites and tropical prints and straw accessories at the beginning of the month, or can I wear them for a few more weeks? Also, what about my big white leather handbag and short off-white trench? Have these things run their course? I live in San Francisco where the warmest months of the year are generally September and October.
-Warmed Up

A. For every stylish girl, it really depends on where in the country they live.  We New Yorkers have still been sporting white cotton skirts and dresses since the temperatures are hovering in the 80s.  If you live in a city that’s succumbing to serious heat and humidity, you get a free pass to continue wearing cotton whites. And by the official end of summer, you can then pack away your tropical prints, espadrilles and straw accessories. As a San Fran resident, you can carry your handbag a little longer and as for your trench, pair it with darker colors like black and navy to give it a sophisticated look and extend the length of wearing it into Fall when afternoons and evenings turn chilly.

Q. Is it still not fashionable to wear white after Labor Day?
-Wear White

A. Take notes, ladies. Once and for all, you can wear white all year long. Wear your cotton whites until the official end of summer in late September, and in very warm locales you can stretch it even further past that date.  When the weather turns chilly, pair your white jeans with dark hued tops and turtlenecks. White jeans, a black cashmere sweater and boots worn with a trench looks super chic. Designer Michael Kors has been telling women for years to keep their white jeans accessible all year long. And once it’s cold enough that you need a jacket everyday, then turn to your “Winter” whites of wool, wool blends, cords or cashmere jackets, pants and sweaters.

Here are some winter-appropriate whites:

Scooter Brown Babydoll JacketPleated Back Funnel Neck CoatCashmere turtleneck sweater


1. Scooter Brown Babydoll Jacket, $110 at nordstrom.com
2. Pleated Back Funnel Neck Coat, $248 at bloomingdales.com
3. Cashmere turtleneck sweater, $148 at jcrew.com

Design History Bobble Stitch CardiganBeth Bowley Long Wool CardiganFavorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords

4. Design History Bobble Stitch Cardigan, $158 at nordstrom.com
5. Beth Bowley Long Wool Cardigan, $242 at nordstrom.com
6. Favorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords, $79.50 at jcrew.com

Q. I am sure the answer is probably somewhere in your column but I can’t find it.  I bought some really cute ballet flats.  My dilemma is, what to do when it gets colder? I live in Colorado.  Can I wear light socks with them? I wear jeans most of the time.  And should I match the shoes or wear a contrasting color?  I don’t want to look like a fashion disaster.
-Happy Feet

A. You can wear your ballet flats all year long when you add a little coverage to keep your feet warm.  Avoid bulky knit socks and opt for opaque tights or knee high trouser socks that are thinner and in the same color hue as your flats.  If you wear your ballet flats with a skirt or dress, you can go for the monochromatic look and match tights to flats for a long, lean look or go for a spunky, young look and choose a color to offset the skirt and flats.

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