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Q. I need advice on warm weather career wear. I have been traveling to Florida and the Caribbean quite frequently for work lately. Being a young woman in the corporate world (I’m 23), I feel like I need to look extremely polished and professional to be taken seriously, but I don’t want to look and feel like a sweaty mess! Wearing a full suit would look a bit silly when men are usually in Tommy Bahama shirts. Any advice on what to wear in business settings for a full day in a hot and humid location? I’d love to be in tank tops and flat sandals, but that’s not an option.
-Girl Glow

A. You can still pull together a polished look sans the suit. Skip the high heels and wear lower heeled sandals so when you perspire tricky heels will be one less stress. Stylish Bermuda shorts with sandals or wedges and a stylish top that isn’t revealing has become more acceptable at the office during warm months and a skirt is always “airy” and more cooling. And since it is hot and humid, pack a few extra pieces just in case you have dinner with clients and you want to change into something fresh after getting sticky in one outfit all day. Look for short sleeve or sleeveless tops, but not tanks.

Look 1: try these feminine tops with a pleated chino skirt

Lux Ruffled Oxford BlousePrinted Laurel ruffle blouseSilk animal-print topChino A-line skirt

1. Lux Ruffled Oxford Blouse, $38 at
2. Printed Laurel ruffle blouse, $88 at
3. Silk animal-print top, $68 at
4. Chino A-line skirt, $69.50 at

Look 2: ruffle trim tops with a printed skirt

Ruffled oxford shirtLaurel ruffle blouseLiberty Fabric pop-on skirt

1. Ruffled oxford shirt, $39.50 at
2. Laurel ruffle blouse, $78 at
3. Liberty Fabric pop-on skirt, $75 at

Look 3: lightweight tops paired with Bermuda shorts

Circle Applique TopCity Stretch Shirt - Twist FrontClean pinstriped Bermuda shortsCity-fit lightweight wool twill bermuda short

1. Circle Applique Top, $68 at
2. City Stretch Shirt - Twist Front, $9.99 (sale) at
3. Clean pinstriped Bermuda shorts, $29.99 at
4. City-fit lightweight wool twill bermuda short, $98 at

Q. In a few short weeks, I will be moving to Minnesota for veterinary school. I have lived in California all my life, and I was wondering what new basics I will need in my wardrobe (other than coats!) to make it more functional in the changing seasons. I’m on a tight budget, but I’d love to hear what you recommend.
-Cold Weather Wardrobe

A. Cozy, comfortable, warm sweaters, layered over long sleeve tops, button down shirts and thin knit turtlenecks. Corduroy and wool lined pants, wool or knit skirts with opaque tights and at least two good pairs of boots-one with super foot warming powers and the other pair stylish enough for every day wear with a low heel or nearly flat bottom. You’ll need to clean them continually due to the salt used to melt the snow and slush on the streets and sidewalks.

Look for various sweaters to break up the monotony of always bundling up. Choose a long belted sweater, a chunky cable knit and a few basic v-necks and cardigans. Splurge on a few pairs of cashmere or cashmere blends socks if your feet get easily cold like mine.

Here are few under $100 sweater suggestions:

UO Rugby Stripe CardiganLux Reykjavik SweaterFree People 'Colonel' Sweater CoatCalvin Klein Jeans Crochet Cardigan

Esprit  wrap belt sweaterCambridge cable cardiganFeatherweight merino turtleneck sweater

left to right:
1. UO Rugby Stripe Cardigan, $54 at
2. Lux Reykjavik Sweater, $54 at
3. Free People ‘Colonel’ Sweater Coat, $98 at
4. Calvin Klein Jeans Crochet Cardigan, $89 at
5. Esprit wrap belt sweater, $59.50 at
6. Cambridge cable cardigan, $89 at
7. Featherweight merino turtleneck sweater, $76 at

Q. Can you please help me with what to match with a straight black (plain) dress that I am wearing to a friend’s “Second Annual Tea Party.” The dress has a wide black belt, and I would like to know if red shoes would match well or if I should stick to black. Also, I’d like to find a cute hat to match, but am not sure about what colors to include in the hat - I don’t think wearing ALL black is what I want.

As for the gloves, I will probably wear black lace or shear gloves, but have no idea what length would be best. The dress is sleeveless. Do you have any suggestions? It would be much appreciated.

A. Adding color is a must. Red heels or sandals would help give the outfit a little “kick” whereas wearing all black would appear quite somber for a girly tea party. Sandals or pumps in just about any color or pattern will help lift the black. As for a hat, it suddenly is becoming harder to find a cute hat when stores are beginning to fill up with Fall clothes and accessories, but a wide brimmed straw hat with a pretty ribbon will do the trick. Or skip the hat and choose a headband in a pattern that can pick up the color of the shoes and break up the monotony. As for gloves, stick to wrist length styles since it is a day event and opera length or 3/4 are meant for dressier occasions.

Eric Javits Squishee® Straw Cap L Erickson Wrap Link Headband
Cotton-gathered headband 63325 Na6488

left to right:
1. Eric Javits Squishee® Straw Cap, $150 at
2. L Erickson Wrap Link Headband, $45 at
3. Cotton-gathered headband, $19.50 at
4. Classic straw hat, $49.50 at - add a colorful solid or print wide ribbon

Q. I could really use your help, my dear hubby is dragging me to a work event where he will be receiving an honor. Attire is “party elegant or business casual” and there will be cocktails followed by a sit-down dinner and “recognition presentations.” Can you translate? I feel like a sundress won’t quite cut it, but can I get away with a nice heavier knit skirt and a dressy sweater? And more importantly, what should my hubby wear? Help! My work is very casual and I don’t know what to do at a fancy corporate event like this!
-Business Befuddled

A. Well, you’re certainly excited about the night out. The term “party elegant” and “business casual” do mean different clothing suggestions. Since your hubby is being recognized, his best look would be to wear a suit or a sport jacket and pants. And since you’ll be on his arm all evening you need to compliment the look of your man receiving recognition even if you expect to be bored. A sundress sounds too cutesy, but a dress without spaghetti straps or a skirt and dressy top will certainly fit the evening dress code(s). And wear heels or strappy sandals with a heel.

Q. What would be a good choice of bottom for a solid gray slim fitting halter top this season? My lower half is heavier than my top but I don’t want to wear a skirt.
-Balance My Bottom

A. Black, grey, charcoal, navy and white are colors that will work with your new halter top. As for pants or Bermuda style shorts, avoid bottoms with embellishments, patch pockets or tapered legs. Wide banded pants will give the illusion of a smaller waist and hips and a smooth trouser style will balance your proportions especially ones with a slight flare. Plus, fewer pockets will lead to less bulk. Here are some options for you:

Alice + Olivia Wide Waistband Pant Parameter Pleated Denim Pant in MidnightWardrobe Stretch Denim Trousers

Karen Kane Cuffed PantsNanette Lepore 'Tantalizing' TrousersBilly Blues Stretch Herringbone Pants

left to right:
1. Alice + Olivia Wide Waistband Pant, $253 at shopbop,com
2. Parameter Pleated Denim Pant in Midnight, $215 at
3. Wardrobe Stretch Denim Trousers, $68 at
4. Karen Kane Cuffed Pants, $108 at
5. Nanette Lepore ‘Tantalizing’ Trousers, $215 at
6. Billy Blues Stretch Herringbone Pants, $88 at

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