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Q. My husband is currently deployed to Iraq and he will be coming home in February. I am looking for a cute new outfit to wear for when I meet him again after 7 months. If you have any ideas or advice I would appreciate your help. I am 23 going on 24 and I want something that would fit my age and that my husband would love.
-Love Reunion

A. Let’s just say it: you’re a sure thing when he gets home. You certainly need a great dress, heels and something sexy for underneath it all since by the time you get home, I suspect those clothes won’t stay on for very long. Or set something seductive aside to change into when you get home for a special welcome home memory. This dress can be non-winter material since we are marking a momentous reunion, just wear a long coat to keep you warm. You need the VA VA factor without looking trashy.

Scarlet V-neck Charmeuse Dresses
by Betsey JohnsonLydia cotton cady dress Juicy Couture Scoop Neck Jersey Dress JS Collections Printed Charmeuse Dress

1. Scarlet V-neck Charmeuse Dresses by Betsey Johnson, $310 at
2.  JS Collections Printed Charmeuse Dress, $206 at
3. Juicy Couture Scoop Neck Jersey Dress, $198 at
4. Lydia cotton cady dress, $250 at

And for underneath:

 Chantelle Intimates 'Fete Starlette' Set  Betsey Johnson Stretch Mesh Camisole

5.  Chantelle Intimates ‘Fete Starlette’ Set, $115 at
6.  Betsey Johnson Stretch Mesh Camisole, $88 at

Diana Long Strapless DressQ. I just discovered your website and love it… My question is: I’m attending a black tie affair with my husband in January. I have purchased a long, strapless, satin black dress from Ann Taylor that I love for this evening event. We live in a very cold area- what kind of coat should I wear? I have several long, wool coats (one is a pea coat, another is plain) but they seem too casual. I won’t wear fur. Also, what length should the coat be?

-Coat Cover

A. I admit sometimes I have sacrificed warmth in order to wear the shoes or dress that’s best for the occasion. I figure, I’m going from the car or cab straight to the event. And I walk quite fast so even if I had to park a car, I can be quick to get into the destination.  That said, it doesn’t mean I enter looking like a schlub. I choose the best jacket or coat that works with my outfit. So say something nice to your husband and perhaps he’ll drop you at the door of the party while he parks the car and say thank you a few extra times. It’s hard to find a long enough coat to work with a formal gown and even if you bought one, I don’t know if you’d wear it enough to be worth the investment. So look for a dressier style coat whether long or short to pair with your gown and pretty gloves and scarf if needed.

 Tulle Funnel Neck Coat Kristen Blake Fluted Sleeve CoatMackage Cape
INC International Concepts® Double-Breasted Empire-Waist CoatJuicy Couture Faux Fur Swing Coat

1. Tulle Funnel Neck Coat, $78 at
2. Kristen Blake Fluted Sleeve Coat, $248 at
3. Mackage Cape, $369.99 at
4. INC International Concepts® Double-Breasted Empire-Waist Coat, $74.81 at
5. Juicy Couture Faux Fur Swing Coat, $448 at

Untitled2-1Q. I’m attending a formal fundraising gala this winter in Cincinnati with clients and colleagues and want to make sure my attire is appropriate. I haven’t been able to find a flattering long dress for my size 14 figure so I’m thinking about opting for a shorter black spaghetti strap dress with a metallic floral print. The dress has a fuller skirt and hits just below the knee.  Does that seem OK or should I keep looking?  If I go with this dress do I need to wear hose? What type—black sheer? What about shoes? Thanks in advance for helping a young staffer look appropriate in a sea of philanthropists.

-Formal Search

A. Stop looking and go with the black and metallic A-line dress. Put on a strapless bra for support and choose either black sheer hosiery or go bare legged. If you choose hosiery, then opt for a black satin, black patent or silver metallic pump. If you go bare legged, then you can choose a strappy heel or peep toe.

 Via Spiga 'Dama' Pump Kenneth Cole Reaction Rags to RichesSteven Fanci Façonnable 'Josie' Pump

1. Via Spiga ‘Dama’ Pump, $225 at
2. Kenneth Cole Reaction Rags to Riches, $82.95 at
3. Steven Fanci, $113.95 at
4. Façonnable ‘Josie’ Pump, $195 at

Untitled1-2Q. I really enjoy your column - I get such useful advice, and now I have a question of my own…  I just bought this orange felted wool skirt. It seemed so fresh and fun with its mod styling, but I would really like to be able to wear it to work in my business casual office.  I tried it on with a cream sweater and brown boots and felt like a Thanksgiving centerpiece!  Help. What can I wear with this without being over-the-top?
-Color Me Happy 

A. I bought the same skirt in the bright blue color, so while you may be looking for ways to tone down the look, I am embracing the color and happy vibe I’m sure it will give off. I’m surprised you felt like a turkey centerpiece when you chose such neutral pieces to wear with the skirt. Perhaps you need to just grin and bear it when you walk out the door until a few steps later when you’ll feel the confidence kick in for making a bold color choice. Brights will always get more attention, that’s why I adore orange at times for the fun mood it puts me in.  How can anyone be sour in orange?  I’ve pulled together options for toning down the look to pair with your brown boots, plus a brighter color (that may just be the one you receive the most compliments wearing!) Walk tall. 

Wool-blend dolman-sleeve sweaterStriped cashmere antler sweaterCosy WrapCircle Applique Top

1. Wool-blend dolman-sleeve sweater, $128 at
2. Striped cashmere antler sweater, $99.99 at
3. Boden Cosy Wrap, $104 at
4. Circle Applique Top, $68 at

Q. I’m in my early twenties and I was wondering what accessories and what kind of shoes would go well with a black cap sleeve turtleneck sweater dress for casual wear as well as dressing up for Winter?
- Accessory Uncertain

A. The shoe part is simple: knee high boots, ankle boots, heeled oxfords and even embellished flats with opaque tights. As for jewelry, go with longer length necklaces with big charms or bolder pieces in color. I loathe the thin necklace dangling out of the top of a turtleneck so please don’t even consider it. Wear smaller earrings while adding a chunkier bracelet on your wrist or a contemporary twist to the cocktail ring for evening.

To dress it up:

Pave cabochon cocktail ringPave-stripe enamel bangleSilk pendant necklacePave cabochon teardrop necklace

1. Pave cabochon cocktail ring, $55 at
2. Pave-stripe enamel bangle, $49.99 at
3. Silk pendant necklace, $38 at
4. Pave cabochon teardrop necklace, $85 at

Casual chic:

Inlaid square bracelet Argento Vivo Multi Circle Silver Necklace Betsey Johnson Charm Pendant Bracelet Juicy Couture Ladybug Pendant Lip Gloss Necklace

5. Inlaid square bracelet. $34 at
6. Argento Vivo Multi Circle Silver Necklace, $98 at
7. Betsey Johnson Charm Pendant Bracelet, $50 at
8.  Juicy Couture Ladybug Pendant Lip Gloss Necklace, $72 at

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