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Q. What in the world do I wear to a company picnic that I’m attending with my husband July 30?  He works for a rather large corporation.  There will be sports and swimming (which I’m not about to do…swimsuit, yuck!)  Here is my major concerns:  I want to look conservative but stylish.  Also, my biggest physical liability is my arms, so nothing sleeveless!  If you can answer this email I would be eternally grateful!  
-Corporate Dressing Coward   

WhattoweartocompanypicnicA. This is meant to be a fun occasion that boosts employee moral and builds company relationships. You’re there to support your husband and simply enjoy the festivities.  You’ll probably see a sea of men wearing shorts and golf shirts while the women will vary from skirts to shorts to sundresses depending on the activities they wish to participate in.  It only reflects well on your husband to look good, but comfortable, be friendly and join in some of the sporty activities. 

Shorts are such a huge trend this season, we just did a segment on “The View” with tips on finding the best style for different body shapes and have a new style recipe, Shorts Story, with plenty more options.  I think shorts with a short-sleeved top or a fitted button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up will allow you the flexibility to join in activities, fit in with the crowd and sit on a blanket without worrying about what you may be exposing. 

Skechers-Shoes-Sightsee-(White-Black)-010404
Wear stylish espadrilles that give you some height and bring along cute kicks (not your gym sneakers) to slip into for a few of the competitions. And carry a pretty tote or straw bag to hold your essentials for the day like sunscreen and sunglasses. Add in deodorant and a travel pack of baby wipes so you can clean up a bit and appear fresh if the day is really hot.

summer weight Bermuda shorts, $49.50 at jcrew.com; sport shirt, $35 at espritshop.com; Yellow Box Bolton woven leather wedge, $39.95 at solestruck.com; Skechers Sightsee sporty flats, $49.95 at solestruck.com

Q. I am the matron of honor for my best friend’s up and coming wedding.  I would like to know if it is appropriate or inappropriate for me to wear a cream color dress with silver/blue trim for the rehearsal dinner.  Please help…I have been struggling with this decision. Thank you for any help or advice that you can give me.
-Dress Stress

A. Why are you fretting?  It sounds like you’ve taken careful consideration by choosing an elegant dress for the rehearsal dinner.  Slip on the dress, accessories and a gorgeous smile and enjoy the dinner.

Q. I can’t tell you how many great tips I’ve gleaned from your column.  Now I’m needing a bit of your expertise on a problem I’m facing!  My company’s annual meeting is coming up and I’m stumped on ideas for an awards dinner outfit.  I just found a short sequin skirt that is a blue mist color that I thought would be fun to wear, but I’m not sure what to pair with it.  Is black too harsh with a pale blue?  Also, this certainly isn’t a very formal affair (they suggest cocktail attire) so I don’t want to go too fancy but I thought I might be able to pull the sequins off with something more understated on the top.  I’m a size 20 and have a large breast size and want to make sure that it is flattering to me. Help!  You’re so great with everyone else I’m praying you can help me too!
-Lost in Boston 

A. This kind of event is infinitely more important than a cocktail party with friends.  You’ll be making an impression on many important people company wide and showing off a more glamorous version of yourself.  This is a chance to be fun and friendly and still be professional. Any fashion faux pas will be remembered. As for a short sequin skirt, I worry about the length.  This is not an event appropriate for anything closely resembling a mini. And sequins can be bright, so if you stick with the skirt, the top must be subtle.

V0454632187019 V1 M56577569831177699My first choice would be a white top (similar to the look shown at left), but black would be fine if your wear black sandals. It’s hard for me to really say yes to the black combination without seeing the skirt. If you opt for another outfit, then go for a dress—it’s a no-fuss solution that just requires the addition of accessories and the right bra underneath. I chose a few tops and some affordable dress options as well. Good luck at the annual meeting.

left: Lafayette 148, Salon Z Stretch Cotton Shirt, $248 at saks.com

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Lafayette 148,
Salon Z Sophie Jersey Top
$288 at
saks.com



2419
JS Boutique Shirred
Two Layer Dress
$190 at
nordstrom.com


150578
Lily Three Quarter
Sleeve Surplice Dress
$92 at
nordstrom.com

Q:  My fiancee and I have been invited to a Bat Mitzvah reception, and she is planning on wearing a red/burgundy MaxMara dress, kind of a low cut wrap around design.  The discussion with her has been around what type of jewelry or accessories does she need to complete this outfit.  A single strand of pearls was the initial thought, though she has recently been given advice to shun any type of necklace and just go with stunning earrings.  What are your thoughts on this, as it is important that she look absolutely incredible in front of my family and ex-wife.
- Proud Beau


 A. I own many wrap dresses with low v-neck styling - I’m a big Diane Von Furstenberg fan.  Generally, dresses that have a wrap/v-neck style look best with a necklace that drops down, meaning a necklace that follows the shape of the V.  A necklace that wraps around the neck like a single strand of pearls or other kind of single strand ends up cutting off the lengthening effect of the dress. Don’t get me wrong, I love pearl necklaces — multi-strand for drama and single strand for the feminine sophistication. But you’ve got to be savvy with the message of your pearls, you’re aim for your fiancee to be a sophisticated lady in her appearance to your family can flop and end up looking dowdy or too conservative.  As a girl (all fab women are girls to me) in her 30’s, I like that I can wear a single strand of pearls with a straight-across-the-chest strapless black cocktail dress and I’d give Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” a run for her money, but if I put those same pearls with one of my DVF wrap dresses, I’d fall flat.  My readers would wonder where my pinache went! 

My suggestion for your fiancee’s wrap dress is a dangly pair of gold and beaded earrings or a more modern version of traditional gold hoops and skip a necklace altogether.  If there’s any arm exposed, then maybe add a wide gold cuff on the wrist.  If it’s a necklace you’re set on, then look for something gold that drops down towards the cleavage with some shape and beading.  Here are my suggestions:


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Leaf Branch Charm Necklace
$65 at mrejewelry.com
301-E29-Gf

Triple Hoops
$112 at tiffinidooris.com
301-E82-R

Ruby Pebble Earrings
$234 at tiffinidooris.com

Q. I am going to St. Thomas this February for vacation and would like some advice on what to bring as far as eveningwear. I have a lot of cute long skirts from last summer which I usually pair with a tank. I do not, however, want to always wear a tank out at night. Do you have any suggestions of what kind of tops I can wear besides a cute tank with longer skirts?
-Tankless

A. There are plenty of options beyond a tank to wear with skirts in the Caribbean.  Try a short sleeve fitted button down shirt, a sleeveless or short sleeve wrap top, a camisole, or a pretty ruffled cotton top. And don’t assume that your tanks are not an option. Add a long beaded necklace or a multi strand necklace and the tank can suddenly look incredibly chic.  And when it comes to the Caribbean, casual usually is the clothing theme.  Even at a five star resort, many still wear flip-flops to dinner, albeit they’re silver or gold, but flip flops nonetheless.  Here are some options to consider with your long skirts:

9m7421_main
That 70s Shirt
$28 at alloy.com

167541

Sweet Pea by Stacy Frati
Split Neck Victorian Top
$78 at nordstrom.com

V0414035973411_v1_m56577569

Nanette Lepore
Beach Safari Top
$110 at saks.com

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