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Q. I love your answers to all the quandaries that people write and do peruse them for helpful hints for me for the future! My dilemma is this: we are going on a Mediterranean cruise in early June. It’s a work related cruise my husband has earned. I will know some of the people but need advice/ ideas as to the formal nights. I have plenty of black, but don’t really want to be taking black. I love color and wear it well. I am 4 ‘11 and about 118 lbs and 48. I don’t want to look to matronly or too prom-ish! I am having dilemma as I haven’t shopped for formalwear in a long time and need to always leave alteration time as well. Any ideas? I am eagerly awaiting your formal flair opinions! Thanks for your help.
- Formal cruise wear challenged

A. Skip the black dresses and embrace color while enjoying the view of intense blue waters. I’ve found several options both long and short that should make a sophisticated and stylish impression - far from prom styles. You will, however, have to visit your beloved tailor.

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1. Phoebe Couture for Kay Unger V-Neck Stretch Satin Dress - Petites’, $280 at bloomingdales.com
2. Pencey Sonnies Dress, $417 at shopbop.com
3. Green and Gold Ruched Gowns by BCBG MAXAZRIA, $440 at edressme.com
4. Maggy London Chiffon Gown with Charmeuse Waist, $158 at nordstrom.com

Q. I am a HUGE fan of your website and would love to get your advice. I will be vacationing with my fiancé’s family in St. Maarten in mid-June. I have never been outside the states or to such a nice vacation spot. I do not have a clue what to wear that would be comfortable and beach-worthy. I know we will be going around sightseeing, since I am a very adventurous gal. I am in my early-twenties, petite, and looking for some great versatile pieces to wear. Any help would be greatly appreciated! And, could you find some great footwear as well?
-Beach Bummed

A. It’s very simple to pack for the Caribbean. By day you’ll be wearing a swimsuit, shorts, tanks and short skirts, and by night, sundresses. For shoes you’ll need a good pair of flip-flops. I’m a fan of inexpensive Havianas, sandals/flats and one pair of higher heeled sandals or espadrilles. For sandals, consider a metallic pair that will match with all the dresses. And just bring along one small clutch for evening and an oversized bag for shopping and the beach. I shopped for several pieces that should fulfill many items on your packing list and they are all incredibly affordable.

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1. Havaianas Flip Flops (7 colors), $16 at saks.com
2. Boutique Nordstrom ‘Tabby’ Sandal (5 colors), $69.95 at nordstrom.com
3. Xhilaration® Tally Strappy Wedge, $19.99 at target.com
4. Calvin Klein ‘Coral’ Sandal (2 colors), $89.95 at nordstrom.com
5. Steven by Steve Madden ‘Casting’ Thong Sandal (4 colors), $78.95 at nordstrom.com

6. Women’s Mix-Print Henley Tanks, $14.50 at oldnavy.com
7. Women’s Low-Rise Cuffed Twill Shorts (4 colors), $15 (sale) at oldnavy.com
8. Holly Striped Hobo (2 colors), $26.50 at delias.com
9. Women’s Embroidered Keyhole Halter Dresses (2 colors), $39.50 at oldnavy.com
10. Lux Lightning Strikes Dress, $68 at urbanoutfitters.com

Q. I just discovered your site today and thought perhaps you could help me. Every time I have to go to a wedding, I end up getting a long, floor length dress because I feel the need to conceal a very noticeable, three-inch-long scar right below my knee. One of my best friends is having her wedding reception outdoors at the botanical gardens in Dallas in June, however, and a dress this long would be inappropriate due to the warm weather. Could you please suggest some calf-length dresses that would be appropriate for an outdoor reception? Also, you should know that I am pear shaped, 5’3”, size 4/6 on top and 8/10 on bottom. Also because of the scar, I only wear slacks to work. Now that summer is coming, I would love a couple of suggestions on skirts and dresses that would be appropriate for work as well. Thank you in advance for all of your help!
- Just So Sick of Slacks

A. I wish I could help you unlock some confidence to bare your scar without feeling self-conscious, but until you’re ready, here are a few dress options that are fresh, fun and appropriate for an outdoor garden wedding setting. They should lay fluidly over your bottom half, but you may have to get a little tailoring to have a snugger fit up top. Pair any of these with strappy, high-heeled sandals.

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1. Diane von Furstenberg Naro Printed Silk Jersey Wrap Dress, $385 at bloomingdales.com
2. Alice + Olivia Belted One Shoulder Dress, $330 at shopbop.com
3. Lauren Ralph Lauren Petite Linen Sleeveless Wrap Ruffle Dress, $179 at macys.com
4. Diane von Furstenberg Tolara Dress, $365 at shopbop.com
5. Calvin Klein Petite Graphic-Print V-Neck Dress, $148 at macys.com
6. G Wheels Drapeneck Top and Sandy Starkman Printed Skirt, $79 at bloomingdales.com

Q. I have a pair of chocolate brown One True Fit pants by Lee and need to find something to wear on top for work. I was looking for something not too revealing on top. Help!
- Challenged by brown

A. I’m assuming you don’t need a conservative top, just one that isn’t too revealing for work. I’ve found several colorful options to create a richer stylish look when paired with your chocolate pants. Plus they’re affordable.

Spotty TopStyle&co. Scoop-Neck Top with Bishop SleevesO Oscar Printed Boat-Neck Tie-Waist Blouse

Python-print cardiganWorthington® Pintuck Blouse


1. Spotty Top, $74 at boden.com
2. Style&co. Scoop-Neck Top with Bishop Sleeves, $40 at macys.com
3. O Oscar Printed Boat-Neck Tie-Waist Blouse, $89 at macys.com

4. Python-print cardigan, $95 at jcrew.com
5. Worthington® Pintuck Blouse, $30 at jcpenney.com

Q. Forty and fabulous, or at least that’s what I’m feeling. My 40th birthday is coming up and I need help finding a dress that will wow them at my party. It will be a mix of family and friends and I don’t want boring or brown. I am petite; a bit apple shaped and am large breasted. I have been uninspired by my recent shopping expeditions so I need some suggestions.
- Fab for 40

A. Girl, there’s plenty of gorgeous dresses out there that will flatter your figure and make a grand entrance. And these picks are offered in petite styles.

 Maggy London Chiffon Dress JS Boutique Embellished Matte Jersey Halter DressPhoebe Couture for Kay Unger V-Neck Stretch Satin Dress - Petites'

 Maggy London Silk Chiffon Halter DressACETATE INTERLOCK DRESS


1. Maggy London Chiffon Dress, $150 at nordstrom.com
2. JS Boutique Embellished Matte Jersey Halter Dress, $158 at nordstrom.com
3. Phoebe Couture for Kay Unger V-Neck Stretch Satin Dress - Petites’, $280 at bloomingdales

4. Maggy London Silk Chiffon Halter Dress, $148 at nordstrom.com
5. Acetate Interlock Dress, $180 at bcbg.com

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