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Q. I am invited to a yacht party that is also a first date. What do I wear? Do I wear wedge heels or flip-flops? Cargo capris?
-Boat Wear

skip the super casual garb and put on something a little dressierA. The word yacht brings up images of wealth, status, and certainly better clothes than flip flips and cargo capris. So skip the super casual garb and put on something a little dressier like a skirt and cute top with wedge sandals or white pants and a striped top and metallic flats or even a lightweight summer dress and sandals. And remember, a first date is the only time you get to make a good first impression so it is always best to dress up a bit rather than go schlumpy. Leave the cargo carpris for a sporty active date.

Q. Your style advice is great, and I hope you can help me! I have a strapless dress in a solid berry/dark pink color. I have two weddings coming up that I’d like to wear it for but I’m not sure how to accessorize. Both weddings are traditional so I feel like I’d need a cover-up for the ceremony. One is in the evening in August and the reception will be nice, but not super-fancy. The next is in the afternoon in September and the reception is at one of the nicest and fanciest hotels in Dallas. I’ve thought about chocolate brown but is that too “fall” for August for a cover up and shoes? Do I choose a muted metallic? I’m 30 and want to look stylish but not too flashy!
-Accessory-Challenged

A. Don’t knock yourself, you’ve come up with some great ideas. My first choice would be chocolate for a wrap and even chocolaty bronze for heels. There’s also muted golds or silvery grays that would work. Just don’t wear black—it’s too boring and too much of a contrast unless it’s in a satin fabric with some kind of detail like crystals. Some options for coverups:

Nordstrom Tissue-Weight Cashmere WrapElie Tahari 'Sirena' Jacket 5376193ECI Cropped Jacket

left to right, all from nordstrom.com: Nordstrom Tissue-Weight Cashmere Wrap (available in virtually any color), $99; Elie Tahari ‘Sirena’ Jacket, $448; Robert Rodriguez Crop Jacket, $429; ECI Cropped Jacket, $78

Q. I am looking for a suggestion on what to wear that is “dressy white and blue” yacht party.
-Boat Bliss

A. Aaahh nautical fancy. I assume you’ll be on a yacht or at a yacht club. I can help with that since I’ve been to several yacht clubs this summer with my beau who sails quite a bit. I love the idea of a white and blue party and definitely believe a dress is the best option. I am clearly obsessed with dresses this summer and they just “work” so well for every occasion. While this is obviously a nautical party in nature, there is no reason you have to succumb to that theme. You will look fresh and stylish in any of the dresses I’ve suggested below or take them as a guide when you shop online or look in your closet.

Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique Dot Halter DressElie Tahari 'Brielle' DressShoshanna Strapless Eyelet DressStrapless Guest of Wedding Dresses by BCBGKay Unger Multi Stripe Dress

left to right: Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique Dot Halter Dress, $148 at nordstrom.com; Elie Tahari ‘Brielle’ Dress, $468 at nordstrom.com; Shoshanna Strapless Eyelet Dress (replace the white belt with a navy or navy and white ribbon), $360 at nordstrom.com; Strapless Guest of Wedding Dresses by BCBG, $280 at edressme.com; Kay Unger Multi Stripe Dress, $310 at saks.com

Add one of these fun nautical-chic pieces from jcrew.com:

Hand-painted wide enamel cuffOcean blue anchor pendant necklaceMaritime charm bracelet

Dress CopyQ. I recently purchased a Navy Satin Pinstripe dress by Betsy Johnson for a formal evening wedding this July 2007 in downtown New York (which I hope is OK to begin with!) However, I want to add a little spice to the dress and not just buy a black/navy satin shoe since the dress itself is different as far as style. Any advice on how to spice things up a bit!

- Frazzled and Dazzled

A. Metallic or color is the best way to add sass to a navy dress. Here are several options for your feet and to carry.

Franchi Handbags
Pagoda Leather ClutchWhiting & Davis Handbags
Shirred Mesh Long ClutchNina 'Oriana' SandalStuart Weitzman
Hotdish


opt for silver or white accessories, left to right: Franchi Handbags Pagoda Leather Clutch, $158.95 at zappos.com; Whiting & Davis Handbags Shirred Mesh Long Clutch, $183.95 at zappos.com; Nina ‘Oriana’ Sandal, $68.95 at nordstrom.com; Stuart Weitzman Hotdish, $285 at zappos.com

MAXSTUDIO 'Savannah' SandalCharles David
CarouseHand-painted laurel garland ring
JALDA
Patent Bean Clutch

or add red, black and gold, left to right: Maxstudio ‘Savannah’ Sandal, $128.95 at nordstrom.com; Charles David Carouse, $170 at zappos.com; Hand-painted laurel garland ring, $45 at jcrew.com; Jalda Patent Bean Clutch, $265 at saks.com

Q. I will be going through sorority recruitment this summer and need help finding some appropriate clothes. Clothing is among the many ways a person is judged and I need some help of what to wear that is appropriate and stands out in a good way. Can you suggest any fun yet classy outfits? Thanks very much.
-Girl in a Rush

A. It will be summer so you’ll be dealing with hot temps and you want to look cool. First step is to make a list of the types of activities you’ll be involved in, including meet and greets, interviews and parties. Look for stylish tops to pair with chic shorts and espadrilles, sundresses with great earrings, big cuff or a beaded necklace, and skirts with a top and wide belt. And incorporate espadrilles, strappy sandals and cute ballet flats with your outfits.

Try pairing colorful accessories with a simple dress that can be dressed up or down:

V-neck jersey knit dressGlass-bead necklaceFrosted Palmetto bangle

left to right from jcrew.com: V-neck jersey knit dress, $88; Glass-bead necklace, $25; Frosted Palmetto bangle, $65

You can’t go wrong with a flirty floral dress. Or pair a white patent belt with this simple eyelet dress:

Velvet Torch Scoop Neck Empire DressRuby Rox Eyelet Shirtdress Patent Leather Skinny Belt

left to right: Velvet Torch Scoop Neck Empire Dress, $52 at nordstrom.com; Ruby Rox Eyelet Shirtdress, $52 at nordstrom.com; Patent Leather Skinny Belt, $29 at ardenb.com

Mix and match feminine tops with skirts:

Free People Coarse Cotton Tie TopGabby TunicGina Top

Pindot skirtAnchor mini

left to right: Free People Coarse Cotton Tie Top, $68 at urbanoutfitters.com; Gabby Tunic, $32.50 at delias.com; Gina Top, $26.50 at delias.com; Pindot skirt, $118 at jcrew.com; Anchor mini, $69.50 at jcrew.com

Finally, add some cute top & shorts combinations for casual days:

Coco Halter  $26.50 7" chino shortFree People Pool Side Blossom7" chino shortFree People Scarf Cami5" chino short,

left to right: Coco Halter, $26.50 at delias.com; 7” chino short, $39.50 at jcrew.com; Free People Pool Side Blossom, $59.99 at urbanoutfitters.com; 7” chino short, $39.50 at jcrew.com;; Free People Scarf Cami, $58 at urbanoutfitters.com; 5” chino short, $39.50 at jcrew.com

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