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PG.NWEASYCOOL.DBRBKSU.PD.jpgQ. I am in need of some assistance with a fabulous pair of shoes that I found (Nine West Easycool Suede Peep Toe Platform Slingbacks)! Following my passion, I ordered first and thought about what to wear with them later! This usually works out just fine, as I LOVE building outfits around shoes. However, this time I am perplexed! They fall into that “this used to be a fashion no-no, but now is totally acceptable” category…they are two tone black and brown!! HELP! Do I wear black…brown…bright colors?? I usually do not have a hard time, but this one has me feeling very unsure of my style credentials!!! Also, I would love ideas for any season! Since they are peep toe I would totally rock them in the winter with some cute tights.

A. No need to fret, my dear, your shoes were not only a chic purchase, but a wise one! Black and brown is indeed an acceptable combination (as is black and navy!), and finding a pair of shoes that combines both colors opens up a wide array of color options to pair with them. Besides the obvious of wearing them with black and shades of brown, these will look great with purple, red, orange, pink, tan and more. They will work with pretty much any color you would typically pair with brown or black shoes.

As for wearing tights with these peep-toes, I would recommend opting for black tights since this is the color that surrounds the toe area. If you’re feeling daring, though, feel free to wear bright tights, too!

Q. I am 5’1” and curvy, can I wear ankle boots or booties?

A. If you choose the right style bootie, you can absolutely incorporate this seemingly-everywhere trend. The key is to look for short styles that dip down in the front, allowing more of your leg to show. Wear these with skinny jeans, leggings or opaque tights in a similar color to the boot and you’ll be able to wear booties in the most flattering way for your petite curvy figure. Avoid styles that come up beyond the ankle bone as these will only make your legs look shorter and calves look wider.

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Here are some great options for you:

Q. I am 55 years old, in good shape and stylish. I have a pair of black leggings but can’t seem to find anything to wear with them that feels appropriate. Long sweaters that totally cover my bottom still make me feel only half dressed. Flowy long tops that look like dresses feel too youthful. Is it possible I’m just too old for this look?

Abr762411-00vliv01.jpg. You’re definitely not too old to wear leggings, however, they may not suit your personal style. Not everyone feels comfortable with every trend - and that’s what personal style is all about. However, if you’re determined to wear leggings, here are some tips on what to wear with your leggings.

If long sweaters paired with leggings make you feel half-dressed, perhaps it is your choice of legging that is the issue. If your leggings are of the hosiery variety, seek out a more substantial pair. My favorite legging this season is this Five-pocket legging from Banana Republic. It is designed more like a skinny jean and is super comfortable and flattering. Since it has pockets and a zipper fly, and is made of a thick, substantial fabric, you might feel more comfortable and “fully dressed” in this type of legging.

Another way to make leggings look work for you is to wear them with your long sweaters and a pair of tall boots. This should cure the feeling you have of being half dressed since only your thighs will be exposed.

And if you’re still not comfortable wearing leggings, then don’t. This trend just might not be for you.

Q. I’m 70 years old, I have long legs and love to wear skinny jeans or pants and love boots. I also have heavy fabric leggings and slim pants. I work at a ladies boutique and like to keep up with the latest trends, but I don’t purchase too many trends, mostly classic items. Is there an age where we can not keep up with fashion? 62b4ed86bc8970e55cb4e092555041b0.jpg

A. Great question! The short answer is, you’re never too old to keep up with the latest fashion trends. That being said, not all trends are created equal - and not all trends work for every woman, depending on age or even body type. It’s important to view the newest trends with a discriminating eye and choose pieces that work for you, without worrying what everyone else is wearing.

For most women, we typically recommend wearing just one or two “trendy” items at a time and balancing out the rest of your wardrobe with classic or timeless pieces. By cultivating a mostly classic wardrobe, you’ll avoid being a slave to fashion and will find that you always have something to wear, regardless of the occasion. Mixing up classic pieces with newer trendy items is a smart - and chic - way for women of any age to dress.

If you love skinny jeans and leggings, wear them! These certainly have a place in a sophisticated wardrobe and look fabulous with riding boots or luxe ballet flats paired with a chunky sweater or longer length blazer. Some more fall trends that are great for women of any age:

1. Leather jackets: Look for sleek, unfussy shapes to wear with pants, jeans and dresses

2. Camel and red hues: Two of this season’s hottest colors also happen to be classics that work for women of any age. Invest in a camel or red coat to make any fall outfit look chic.

3. Animal prints: A well placed accessory like a leopard print bag or ballet flat is a luxe and sophisticated look. A pretty animal print blouse also has a place in a sophisticated wardrobe when worn with a pencil skirt or under a blazer.

4. Military chic: Think you can’t wear this season’s military trend? Think again! A belted military-inspired jacket or blazer works for women of any age.

5. Faux fur: A faux fur scarf, vest or fur trimmed sweater is worth investing in.

6. Menswear-inspired trousers: This season’s must-have pant would make Katharine Hepburn proud. Wear these now and forever.

7. Boots: Riding boots, knee-high boots and ankle booties are a must for women of any age. Whether flat boots or 4-inchers, choose a heel height that works for you.

8. Statement jewelry: Invest in rich-looking statement jewelry to wear day or night.

Q. Cold weather is coming! For northern girls like me (Milwaukee!) the cold weather season presents a difficult challenge for me, as my favorite clothes to wear are flats with trousers, flats with skinny jeans, flats with anything! But I don’t like them with socks, and then my feet get cold! Can you provide some variation on the flats with pants look for winter? Do socks look ok with this style?

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A. I’m a big ballet flat person myself and wear them as long as possible into the cold weather without socks. When I finally can’t stand cold ankles any longer, I typically turn to ankle boots and tall boots. However, I have also been known to wear socks with flats on occasion.

Some flats are easier to pair with socks than others. For instance, an Oxford flat or menswear-inspired shoe looks great with a sock, and mary jane style flats tend to look great with tights. The trickiest kind of flat to wear with a sock is a ballet flat or similar shoe that shows off a lot of the top of your foot (instep), however, it can be done. The key to pulling off this look is to match your sock color to your shoe color. Black is always the easiest, so a black sock with a black shoe looks fine. Choose a smooth sock (or tights) that won’t bunch up.

There is a big trend towards socks this season, however, as designers sent many looks down the runways showing off socks with heels, sandals and ankle boots. Try experimenting with some fun socks with your flats in a “meant to be seen” fashion.

Your other alternative, of course, is to switch to a flat ankle boot or flat tall boot. You’ll get the same comfort you’re used to without worrying about socks and exposed ankles. Here are some styles to try:

photo via: lookbook.nu

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