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Style 911: Update your weary winter wardrobe

With a social calendar stuffed full of demands, the last thing you want to worry about is what to wear. This season is full of places to go and people to see, and it’s bound to be stressful on both your wallet and your watch! And with a mission in mind to relieve a little style stress, I’ve spent time reading through your e-mail questions. After noticing some key themes, I wanted to pass forward the following few suggestions.

Re-dress your dressSpecial-occasion dresses are often an investment, and it’s important to get as much use out of them as possible. However, something too trendy can often feel time-stamped, and even a classic style can end up being boring after the first few wears.

Before you make a mad dash for a frock, stop to consider a temporary transformation. Appliqués are inexpensive, easy to apply, and can reinvent a simple style. In fact, a lot of the ready-to-wear you’ll see this season has a little something extra. Try using tulle or other semisheer fabrics and gather and pleat your way to a whole new look. This demure detail will also help you conceal without conservatively covering. An interesting way to work this overlay is to wrap it around one arm to give the illusion of a one-shoulder dress. Or, if you’re bold and a little creative, you can twist and tuck a tulle strip and baste-stitch it directly onto the dress. You may also be able to layer a lace bodysuit or long-sleeved mesh top. (Remember, the opposite can work too — try removing embellishments to reveal the clean sheath beneath.)

Crop a coat
Outerwear can be an obstacle come party season — it’s a challenge to keep warm without suffocating your style. After all, when you spend so much time and effort putting together a fabulous outfit, the last thing you want to do is ruin it with a frumpy final layer. Coats can be costly, but chances are you have an old item that will look fresh again with a few adjustments to the fit. Altering the length or changing the silhouette of something already in your closet can truly make all the difference. 

Or stop into a local resale store, where you’re bound to find a plentiful supply of pleather, suede and on-trend jackets from decades past. Many of these items will have been discarded due to fit, not function, but a little tailoring can go a long way. For example, consider cropping an oversize long leather coat. This minor alteration will feel fashion forward and offer more versatility. And once the tailor has taken off the bottom portion, don’t just discard the leftover material. Consider using the fabric for an accent pillow, a small clutch or even a miniskirt.

Just add accents
I’ve said it time and time again: Work your warm-weather favorites into winter rather than letting them hibernate. Summer skirts and dresses can be the canvas for exciting new accessories. Casual fabrics like cotton instantly go glam with a little sparkle sprinkled on.  Consider a sequin scarf, statement necklace, bejeweled bangles or an embellished bag to give your garments some glitz. Or, add texture with soft cardigans and sharp blazers to help shift your look into different directions. And hosiery is a hot trend right now, so take advantage of the instant update by pulling on a pair of patterned stockings or tights. Just be sure to let your extra layers and accents steal the spotlight!

Fancy-free footwear
’Tis the time of year to not only celebrate, but also to be comfortable with family and friends. And there is no reason to teeter about on stilts while chasing after children or to be relegated to running shoes. Casual chic is a balancing act, but it is possible.

From work to weekend, playground to PTA parties, a classic riding boot will be your best friend (Nicole riding boot, $99.95, Dsw.com). Modern and versatile, you’ll be able to wear this basic boot with dresses, tunics and leggings, or slim-leg jeans. Trendsetters can also find flat versions of the oh-so-hot in Hollywood over-the-knee trend (Bezzo boots, $100, Aldoshoes.com). 

And for those petite ladies looking for a little lift, work a wedge to get a grounded boost with effortless appeal (Lela Rose suede wedge, $29.99, Payless.com; Zoey, $59.99, and Jurra, $99, Ninewest.com). Finally, for your most casual soirees, don’t be afraid of an old-school high-top sneaker — think of them as instant ankle warmers. Chuck Taylor All Stars are a classic, while a pair of silver-sequin Jack Purcell low-tops are fun way to add a little flash ($45-$90, Converse.com).

  

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