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63705 Red FrtQ. I stumbled across your site recently, and I think it’s great! I purchased this dress to wear to a summer wedding and I was wondering what shoes and bag you recommend wearing with it. Do you think accessories will be too much? 
-Color Please Me
 

A. Keep the accessories simple. I recommend gold jewelry as a good warm color for dresses with many colors.  As for sandals, you have options: for sophistication, choose a nude or natural color; for sass, choose a red strappy; for simple but nice, a pale chocolate; and for drama, go for pale gold. Your clutch or handbag should be gold, natural, white or pale chocolate.

Q. I am invited to a black tie event. The invitation reads: Black Tie - Denim - and Sparkle. There will be prizes given out for the best attire that combines all the aspects.  It is formal so I was wondering, do you have any ideas of how to wear a long gown with denim & sparkle and still look formal? I wear a size 4 and I am up for anything!
-Sparkle & Sass   

A. Have a Bedazzler?  This is the time you get to truly mix sophistication and whimsy.  One of my favorite photos from an old issue of Vogue is of a model wearing a long black ball gown skirt with a white tank top and a dark denim fitted jacket.  You could take this look and add the sparkle.  Look for a top that already has its own jewels, gems or sparkle or buy a black or white top or even a tank and add your own fabric paint that has sparkle, or pick up a Bedazzler and add your own “jewels.”  You can also wear a fitted denim button front shirt over a ball gown and tie the bottom of the shirt at your waist since you can’t tuck it in. It would be preferable to find a strapless or thin strap dress for this look which can also be worn with a denim jacket.  If there is no sparkle to be had, then add diamonds (real or faux) or other bright jewels for the sparkle effect.

Try wearing this dark denim fitted jacket ($98 at jcrew.com):

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Paired with a simple white tank or shimmering top and ball gown skirt:

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left to right: white tank, $14.50 at jcrew.com; BCBG Max Azria Drape Neck Sequin Top, $298 at nordstrom.com; JS Collections A-Line Taffeta Skirt, $98 at nordstrom.com

Or choose a black tie dress instead to pair with your denim jacket:

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left to right, all at edressme.com: Strapless Polka Dot Prom Dresses by Jovani, $440; Short Bubble Prom Dresses by Betsey Johnson, $390; Strapless Little Black Dresses with White Embrodiery, $110

Q. I have a black tie bat mitzvah to attend and I’m stumped.  I have a knee length black velvet dress.  It is covered in tiny sparkles.  I have dressy black sling backs with a closed toe to wear.  My question is, what hose would go?  What’s in style?  Do I wear sheer or opaque?  Textured or plain?  Black or nude?  It will be cold too. 
-Cover Me 
 

I have three suggestions that would work: 

1. Choose a black lace patterned hosiery that is still thin, not a thicker tight texture, like Jonathan Aston’s Fleur tights. This works if you feel the outfit needs a little more oomph.

2. Choose a nude hose—the best, best version I have found is the Hanes Silk Reflections Transparent hosiery - truly invisible.

3. Black sheer hosiery, perhaps a pair with a back seam, like Falke’s High Heel back seam pantyhose

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 5162668-1-2Q. I have a dance coming up for my college dorm and I have my eye on a dress very similar to the one you featured in your July 15th answer (the Nicole Miller border print tie front gown).  However, my chest is medium-large, any recommendation for what to wear underneath? It’s pretty low in the back and front.  Or should ample chests avoid such dresses? I love the print and think the rest of the dress is flattering.

-In Love with a Dress But Not Sure if it Loves Me Back   

 

A. For a dress similar to this one, you definitely need a specific, supportive strapless bra.  I’m hoping that perhaps the straps on the dress you’ve chosen have slightly wider shoulder coverage.  You need a strapless bra that is plunge style and either adheres to your skin or has a dipped band in the back. Here are two styles that fit small, medium and large busts:

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The Clearly Natural strapless underwire bra from The Natural offers a practical solution to your backless dilemmas. The supportive cups clip to a transparent strap at the back and a clear, adjustable halter strap is included for additional support. Available up to size 36DD and 38D. $46 at figleaves.com.

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The Jezebel Caress Strapless Bra features contour cups for shaping and support, a plunge front and a low back. Available up to size 38D. $27 at barenecessities.com

Also, check out our newest style recipe, Underneath It All, for a complete guide on what to wear underneath your sexiest clothes. You’ll find several of our favorite bras for low cut dresses.

Q. I have my own engagement party to attend at the end of this month and have no idea what to wear.  The theme is basically an Après Ski Party, but I really cannot wear just a turtleneck or be all bundled up.  I will be switching between inside and outside and it probably will be below freezing.  Any ideas for a cute, somewhat sexy, outfit without looking too much like that Pillsbury doughboy?
-Pretty Not Puffy

A. You want “Ski Bunny” with warmth.  Start with a pair of boots that can translate from sitting by the fire to walking outside in chilly temps. If you have warm feet and good gloves or mittens, you can pop outside for quick moments without sacrificing your look.  And instead of a coat, why not have a down vest that’s not too puffy nearby.  Choose a stylish cashmere sweater, layer a knit or silk camisole underneath and wear a skinny cord pant or a skirt with tights and nubby socks to peek out the top of your knee high boots. Here are some sweater options:

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left to right: BCBG Max Azria Chunky Cardigan, $118.80 (sale); Max Studio Metallic Striped Tunic and Chunky Rib Sweater, $98.99 (sale) + $218; Aqua Cashmere Car Coat Sweater, $178; Alice + Olivia Long Wrap Sweater, $149.99 (sale) - all at bloomingdales.com

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