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Q. I love to wear dresses or skirts all year round. What can I wear under them so that I stay warm when I get a chill or when the temps drop?
-Cool Gams

A. Skip tights and hosiery in summer and choose lightweight leggings only if you feel a chill. And don’t assume customary black will work with everything. There are a variety of colors to choose from to pair up with mini dresses that will give a stylish look from head to toe.

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Jonathan Aston footless tights and gingham leggings at alexblake.com

Q. I am the mother of the bride. The wedding is in July at 3 in the afternoon. The 5 bridesmaids are wearing Cherry Red dresses with black trim. I do not want to wear a floor length dress since it is afternoon and the bridesmaids are wearing tea length. However, the groom’s mother and her stepmother have already purchased their full length gowns. One is pink and the other is midnight blue. I am 53 years young, 5”2” and 130 lbs. I cannot find what I like. The mother of the bride dresses look old and matronly…and the other dresses look too young. Would it be appropriate for me to wear palazzo pants? Can I wear a tea length dress? What color should I go with?
-Stressed About Dress

A. Just because you’re the mother of the bride doesn’t mean you have to look like the mother of the bride. There are plenty of dowdy dresses out there. I’m all for you wearing a cocktail or tea length dress. And I’d much prefer you wear a dress to palazzo pants. Don’t fall under the pressure to wear a gown if you don’t want to. You’ll certainly feel more free to move around in a dress that doesn’t hit the floor. There are also plenty of dresses that are ankle length that don’t look like a gown. As for color, don’t feel hemmed in by the colors of the wedding, choose a color that best suits your skin color. Look for something sophisticated rather than “old” and don’t assume a dress is too young until you try it on. A dress as important as this requires a try-on to determine what looks best for your coloring as well as your body shape. Here are some suggestions:

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all dresses above are from nordstrom.com
left to right: JS Collections Off Shoulder Shirred Taffeta Gown, $218; Cachet Mock Two Piece Lace Dress, $188; Cachet Stretch Faux Wrap Dress, $148; achet Knit Foil Dress with Brooch, $148; Nicole Miller Silk Dupioni Halter Dress, $310; Bari Jay Iridescent Taffeta Dress, $148

Q. My fiance and I are having a civil ceremony this June in Philadelphia before he goes back to Iraq, on the same day as my college graduation. I want to wear a short white dress, but have not been able to find one that doesn’t seem too beachy. I want it to be special, but I will also be having a larger ceremony next year, so it doesn’t need to be too elaborate. What sort of dress will work for the two most important events in my life?
-Dress Duty

A. It will be a BIG day-wedding, civil ceremony or not, it’s your wedding, the day you exchange vows and then your college graduation as well. So choose a dress you’ll adore. You want your soon to be husband to gush when he sees you. You want him to remember the day and you in a beautiful white dress until he returns home safely to you.

Shift embossed beach dressWhite Cotton Sleeveless Dresses by Jill StuartSwiss-dot Sylvan dressLilly Pulitzer
Billie Eyelet Dress

Shift embossed beach dress, $125 at jcrew.com; White Cotton Sleeveless Dresses by Jill Stuart, $398 at edressme.com; Swiss-dot Sylvan dress, $148 at jcrew.com; Lilly Pulitzer Billie Eyelet Dress, $298 at saks.com

Q. I am going to a cowboy wedding! I need some helpful hints/tips?
-Cowboy Couture

A. It’s time to get out your cowboy boots for a rip roaring good time. Better learn a little line dancing as well!  Depending on the invite, it’s best to wear a dressy skirt and top or a dress with cowboy boots and perhaps a hat as well. Skip jeans unless you find out that half the attendees plan to wear them, and then please choose a dark wash. It’s always better to err on the fancier side. Why not wear a fancy A-line skirt, crisp white blouse and a fitted denim jacket? You can always add a big buckled belt as well. Or look for gingham or plaid light cotton shirts to pair with a full skirt. Pow wow with others attending the wedding and find out what they intend to wear and it will help you decode the invitation. There can be a big difference between a wedding in a barn and a fancy hotel or country club.

Try replacing the belts that come with these dresses with a big buckled belt. Then add a cowboy hat and perhaps cowboy boots.

Carmen Marc Valvo Battenburg Halter ShirtdressPlenty by Tracy Reese Surplice Silk Blend DressLux Plaid Ruffle Top Dress

Panama Cowboy With Sequin Trim Bt2835231

left to right: Carmen Marc Valvo Battenburg Halter Shirtdress, $310 at nordstrom.com;  Plenty by Tracy Reese Surplice Silk Blend Dress, $320 at nordstrom.com; Lux Plaid Ruffle Top Dress, $34.99 at urbanoutfitters.com; Panama Cowboy With Sequin Trim, $88 at hatattack.com; Etched Plaque belt, $28 at fossil.com

Q. My senior prom is coming up in the first week of June and I cannot find anything to wear! The theme is a night in Paris, and every girl is shopping at BCBG, so that is out of the question. I live in Canada and we have most of the same stores as America. I want the dress to be short and maybe dark blue, red, or black. Do you have any suggestions as to where to shop and some of the dresses that would fit this occasion?
-French fashion wannabe

A.  I skipped BCBG and sought out dresses that were classy, chic, young and sophisticated to help give off a French flair:

Polka Dot Cocktail Dresses by KittyEliza J Strapless Satin Party DressBetsy & Adam Lace-Up Back Dress

Red Silk Taffeta Cocktail Dress
by eDressMe new yorkLaundry by Shelli Segal Strapless Taffeta DressKay Unger Stretch Satin Sheath with Bow


left to right: Polka Dot Cocktail Dresses by Kitty, $119 at
edressme.com; Eliza J Strapless Satin Party Dress, $138 at nordstrom.com;  Betsy & Adam Lace-Up Back Dress, $128 at nordstrom.com; Red Silk Taffeta Cocktail Dress by eDressMe new york, $275 at edressme.com; Laundry by Shelli Segal Strapless Taffeta Dress, $420 at nordstrom.com; Kay Unger Stretch Satin Sheath with Bow, $348 at nordstrom.com

(PS get 15% off at edressme.com with code STYLEBAKERY through 6/1/07)

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