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Q. I am attending a black tie evening event in NYC at the end of March. Average high and low temperatures around that time are 52 and 36 degrees, respectively. So, I think there’s a good chance that it’ll be quite chilly (for a Southerner). But, it IS late March. Can I wear a long sleeve velvet burnout dress to this event? My alternative is a black sleeveless cocktail dress with asymmetrical hem (of polyester). I’m not sure what sort of wrap would complement it AND provide some warmth.
-Burned Out
Sutton Studio Exclusive Long Burnout Dress

A. You are stretching it with the event at the end of March. It is a lovely dress. Perhaps if you wear open toed heels like in the photo and pray for cold you can get a way with it. Best bet is to pack both and check the temperatures that night. Since you’ll be indoors for the event, a little black jacket, beaded cardigan or soft wrap will do for keeping the chill off with the sleeveless dress when you’re seated.

dress: Sutton Studio Exclusive Long Burnout Dress, $119 (sale) at

Q. This Spring, I will be attending a large gathering of writers and book industry professionals. Each author will be given exactly two minutes to get up before the crowd of over a hundred and pitch their book in order to secure invitations to book fairs across the country—and I’m one of the authors. This is hugely important for my career as a novelist, and I want to give the right impression. I’m 34 and petite. I’d love to look professional but stylish, the kind of author you’d love to have speak at your book fair. Please help! 
 -Writer In the Spotlight

A. Best bet is to smile and stand with good posture. Wear an outfit that is feminine, has flair and avoids all chances of being considered stodgy, dull or conservative. I’ve found petite options from chic pants paired with a knit v-neck top to a skirt with a hem that hits around the knee. If you choose a dress with heels, then choose one in a great color that will be remembered - black at an event like this could get lost in the crowd, but a bright blue will draw attention to you. Once you snag the attention, it’s up to you to keep them wrangled with your stimulating conversation.

AK Anne Klein Petites Printed Pleated Skirt
$89.00Petite Super 120s sleeveless dressINC International Concepts® Petites Belted Sheath DressPetite wool gabardine three-button mini-hacking jacket

1. AK Anne Klein Petites Printed Pleated Skirt, $89 at
2. Petite Super 120s sleeveless dress, $180 at
3. INC International Concepts® Petites Belted Sheath Dress, $119 at
4. Petite wool gabardine three-button mini-hacking jacket (and matching pants), - Add a bright whimsical top or thin knit underneath to break the suit code. Make the suit a comfort stylish outfit rather than a conservative look.

Q. What are your suggestions for a stay at home mom (40) with 4 kids, 7 years old and under who works part time? I am looking for a polished casual look that suits my very active lifestyle (I walk everywhere).
-Walkin’ Workin’ mom

A. To move flawlessly from errands to playtime to work, you need footwear that is comfortable and ranges from cute kicks to flats and low heels with padded insoles. I’m a big fan of Cole Haan’s collection with Nike Air technology. For a look that can go from work to running after the kids, trouser jeans are a must have. Take a look at our Classics Rock style recipe for tips on choosing button down shirts, a sporty blazer and other key pieces that can be paired with jeans or pants. Additionally, you’ll need shirts and skirts with stretch, fitted cotton jersey tops, and jackets that can pull double duty for play and work.

Jackets that can work and play and clearly don’t define themselves by a stuffy office:

 Semantiks Mandarin Collar Sharkskin Jacket  Stem Organic Cotton Jacket  Norma Kamali Oversized Turtleneck Jacket
1. Semantiks Mandarin Collar Sharkskin Jacket , $138 at
2. Stem Organic Cotton Jacket, $68 at
3. Norma Kamali Oversized Turtleneck Jacket, $375 at

Pair them with:

Slim stretch shirtSoft knit long-sleeve scoopneck tee TOMMY HILFIGER Montauk Paisley Shirt
Diane von Furstenberg Gilligan Pant  David Kahn Jeans Stretch Trouser Jeans Cole Haan Fiona Mid Air Pump Cole Haan Air Bria Woven Ballet
4. Slim stretch shirt, $59.50 at
5. Soft knit long-sleeve scoopneck tee, $38 at
6. TOMMY HILFIGER Montauk Paisley Shirt, $69.50 at
7. Diane von Furstenberg Gilligan Pant, $275 at
8. David Kahn Jeans Stretch Trouser Jeans, $168 at
9. Cole Haan Fiona Mid Air Pump, $278.95 at
10. Cole Haan Air Bria Woven Ballet, $178.95 at

Q. I’m invited to a formal Saturday night affair at the end of March in New York. I’m stumped regarding what season to dress for. It will probably be too cold for summer fabrics and styles, but too late in the season (after Easter) for wintry velvets and taffetas. Please offer some help both for my 7-year-old daughter and myself!

A. While March is considered the beginning of Spring, in reality there could be a fluke snow storm. But when it comes to a formal affair, many of the rules of seasonal dressing don’t apply since many dressy looks don’t cover us from head to toe. Best scenario is to choose a dress that is cocktail length and wear with tights or sheer hosiery and a high heel that is closed toe, d’Orsay or peep toe. If you wear a full-length dress feel free to skip the hosiery and wear a heel of your choice. Think silk, jersey, and even taffeta still.

Silk taffeta Felice dress Maggy London Ruched Crinkle Chiffon Dress Kay Unger Ruched GownSophia long silk dress

1. Silk taffeta Felice dress, $235 at
2. Maggy London Ruched Crinkle Chiffon Dress, $158 at
3. Kay Unger Ruched Gown, $388 at
4. Sophia long silk dress, $225 at

And for the little one:

Alexis silk faille dress Us Angels Tulle & Satin Dress

5. Alexis silk faille dress, $168 at
6. Us Angels Tulle & Satin Dress, $98 at

Apres Ski Style

Q. I am about to go on my first ski trip (to Meribel in France) and have no idea what to wear for apres ski. I am really impressed with your advice on the website but could not see anything relating to skiing. Are you able to help? There are 14 of us going and we are all in our early to mid-twenties. The expectation is that the apres-ski will form a major part of the trip! I am particularly confused about footwear. I have read mixed things about the need to take extra-grippy footwear for getting around the resort. If I am to buy moon boots or some other alternative how can I make them look stylish (tucked in jeans are a complete no-no as I am hefty of thigh)?

A. You need to keep your feet warm and toasty, avoid tumbling on icy streets and still look cute and cozy for those drinks by the fire chatting with handsome European guys. I’ve made some simple picks of sweaters for the cozy look that you can layer with tops underneath and boots that your jeans or corduroys will easily fall over without a need to tuck in, but you could cuff if you wanted to.

Braided Neck Hoodie Triple Five Soul Upland Mock Sweater DKNY Jeans Cabled Turtleneck Sweater DKNY Jeans Half Zip Sweater

1. Braided Neck Hoodie, $118 at
2. Triple Five Soul Upland Mock Sweater, $69.99 at
3. DKNY Jeans Cabled Turtleneck Sweater, $69 at
4. DKNY Jeans Half Zip Sweater, $69 at

La Canadienne FayeLa Canadienne Alexa

5. La Canadienne Faye, $190 at
6. La Canadienne Alexa, $260 at

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