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Q. What is appropriate for a funeral, must we wear black?

A. It is no longer necessary to wear all black. But certainly, dress in a conservative and respectful manner. You can wear a top and skirt, a dress or pants and top. I wouldn’t wear bright colors from head to toe. One part of your wardrobe should be a darker hue and avoid bright busy patterns.

Q. Today, I got sent home for unprofessional attire. I had on a suit jacket with capris. They were dress capris. Please, what is the exact difference between gauchos, capris and cropped pants?
-Feel Unfair

A. Before you worry about being sent home or have it happen again, find out your company’s wardrobe policy from human resources and sit down with your boss and discuss his/her expectations for your appearance. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.Any miscalculation in your wardrobe or appearance can affect your advancement in the company. With a few minor adjustments and little money spent, you can create an appearance that clearly shows your dedication to your job and where you want to go with your next position. There is truth behind the statement “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” - meaning, always dress better. If you don’t like the wardrobe policy at your job, which is obviously conservative, and don’t wish to adhere to the changes, then it’s probably time to look for a new gig with fewer restrictions.

As for the difference between gauchos, capris and cropped pants: Gauchos are wide calf-length pants that were copied in the late ’60s from Andalusian riding suits a la South American cowboys; Capris are slim fitting pants that end above the ankle, popular since the 1950s and named for the Italian resort island of Capri; and Cropped Pants fill the rest of the category of straight cut pants that end at various lengths from mid calf to ankle. And just to add a few other terms: Pedal Pushers are below-the-knee straight-cut pants that often have a cuff while Bermuda Shorts are just-above-the-knee shorts that fit close to the leg.

Q. Can you wear black shoes if you are wearing a dark blue shirt?
-Color Confusion

A. Yes, you can wear black shoes with a dark blue shirt - in fact, navy and black is a hot color combination this season and for fall. Navy, midnight and any dark blue shades are generally the most navy and black is a hot color combination this seasondifficult to try finding an exact match to your blue clothing, but an exact match can be boring. A safe bet is black, but don’t hesitate to try other color combinations like olive, burgundy, eggplant.

Q. Do you think pantyhose is a must with a knee length skirt in the office? I just started my first professional job and I’m 22. I am not really sure. Also I don’t know really how to ask because I work with all men which also makes me believe bare legs might be inappropriate. I really want to wear skirts but without looking slutty. I just feel I am too young for pantyhose.
-Leg Look

A. I understand your uncertainty and gold star to you for wanting to make the appropriate professional impression. Depending on what kind of job you have could determine if pantyhose are expected or not.I believe if your skirt is long enough, knee length and not a mini, then it should be acceptable to go sans hose during the warm weather months. Instead of asking a male coworker, stop by or call human resources and ask them if there are any written or expected wardrobe guidelines for both men and women. I’m not a fan of companies expecting women to wear pantyhose all year long especially during summer months when it’s hot and uncomfortable. I believe if your skirt is long enough, knee length and not a mini, then it should be acceptable to go sans hose during the warm weather months. I’m sure you won’t look slutty, just don’t wear a stiletto heel at the office.

Q. I think your website is so great at giving advice. I’ve consulted it many times in times of stress and you’ve come through with answers each time! But I do have one question that I’ve been wondering about: how do you know if your jeans are too tight? I’m not talking about muffin tops—let’s say they fit perfectly at the waist, but how do you know you’ve gone beyond chic to trashy from the tightness at the thigh area (and these are boot cut jeans with a bit of stretch in the material)? I’ve seen women (mostly the younger generation) wear jeans that seem like sausage casings, and I don’t want to fall victim to that.
-Sausage Links

Quote TightjeansA. Generally, jean experts say you can buy jeans a size smaller since they will stretch over time and those with Lycra and Spandex will stretch even more. I’m not sure I always agree. Always skip the dryer - you’ll preserve the color longer and avoid a bit of the tightness when you first put them on after washing. And wear your jeans multiple times before washing - like 3-7 times. I, too, have found great jeans that fit everywhere, yet seem a little snug in the thighs. I figure one crease is fine and with a few deep knee bends or squats in my jeans (don’t laugh-plenty of us try multiple ways to get a little “give” in our jeans!) then I’m fine. When you start counting the rings or lines that crease across the back of your thighs, then it’s time to skip those jeans and try on another pair.

When you go jean shopping, you need patience, the right underwear and a good attitude. Be willing to laugh at yourself and be willing to try on up to 20 pairs without getting hung up on the size. Consult a salesperson for help and try on multiple brands.

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