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Fashion Q&A

By Lindsay Feeney

Q: What are the best staple pieces of clothing/accessories to purchase for a new corporate/office job?

A: If your career path has led you into the corporate world, you must remember that not every piece of your wardrobe will be considered office appropriate. Therefore, as a fashionista, this is your time to show off your chameleonic abilities.

Less will ultimately be more when you are planning your workday outfit. This is because as a woman in the workforce, you will want to make sure that the first thing colleagues and bosses see is your face. Flashy accessories, low-cut necklines, and too-high hemlines only take away from the respect that you deserve. That said, the best approach to office attire could be summed up in two words: uncluttered and tailored.

A great office piece that helps to accomplish this look is the blazer. Sold in a variety of sizes and colors, the blazer is a sophisticated touch that polishes your look. A fitted, neutral blazer is a great starting point. If you have a slimmer body type, accompany the blazer with cigarette trousers, and if you have a curvier figure, pair the longer blazer with trousers that flare a bit. Both add contemporary trends to your professional outfit.

An oversized pastel or white blazer is not only appropriate for this spring’s palette but also looks great when worn over an office dress: a dress no more than two inches above the knee.

Another corporate staple is the blouse. This broad category is the working girl’s best friend; a plethora of blouse styles equals more options. Since most of your outfit should be neutral in tone, your blouse can add an accent color, texture, or pattern to your ensemble. Spring is in the air, so opt for cotton or linen fabrics to lighten up your outfit.

Q: How can I wear red carpet trends in my everyday clothes?

A: Though I’m sure we would all love the opportunity to wear a new designer gown every day, we know it’s not practical. What is practical is to extract trends that we see on the red carpet and incorporate them into our daily wardrobe.

Rihanna, Mila Kunis, and Mandy Moore have all dabbled in translucent materials during this year’s awards shows. This trend is one to take on with caution, as you don’t want to end up overexposed. Lace has become the material most frequently used for a fashionable game of peek-a-boo, whether in black or white. Some tops have an all-lace back, while others are only lace, inviting a cute camisole to be worn beneath them.

Melissa Leo and Gwenyth Paltrow showed up to separate award shows looking incredibly chic in gowns that appeared to be dripping metallic. Since the red carpet is the only place suitable for that kind of head-to-toe shimmer, try to incorporate metallic into your outfit in more subtle ways. Bring attention to your neck and face with a scarf that has metallic strands woven into the fiber, or try a statement silver necklace. To spread the shimmer out a bit, loop a skinny metallic belt into your pant loops or even purchase flats with that touch of shine.

Q: I’ve seen in a lot of magazines that biker boots are “in” this spring, but I have no idea what to wear them with. Help?

A: Every spring season seems have an edgy trend that offsets the season’s typical floral patterns and pastel colors. Spring 2009 gave us hardware and suggestive zippers, spring 2010 offered warrior-inspired sandals, and spring 2011 has arrived bearing biker boots. Biker boots, originally practical footwear for motorcycle enthusiasts, have slowly crept their way across the world of fashion, first taking on the punk scene and then bleeding their way into the closets of fashion-forward women everywhere.

How you choose to wear biker boots completely depends on your personal style. A common way women with more feminine styles are adapting this trend is by pairing the boots with light, floral spring dresses. Together, the two styles create an eye-catching contrast and appear effortlessly put together. If your style is edgier to begin with, don’t be afraid to top off your look with the leather jacket you bought last fall. Keep in mind that two leather items usually look best in the same outfit if they are the same color.

As spring becomes summer and the weather gets hot, try the boots on with destroyed shorts or a bandage mini. The shorts and mini can be topped off with a tasteful trapeze top or oversized sweater to balance out the ensemble. Patterned tights or socks that poke out of the top of your boots are great leg accessories that will draw well-deserved attention to your fashionable feet.

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