Q: Now that it’s the holiday season, I am feeling very attracted to glitter and sequins and all things shiny. I am considering buying a sheath dress that’s entirely covered in gunmetal sequins. But this is the first time I am thinking of wearing something so shiny. I am wondering how to style this. I feel like going all glitzy but I’m totally unsure how to go about it.


A: If you want to be sparkly but subdued, I’d recommend layering a jacket or wrap on top of the sequined sheath. In fact, regardless of the type of sequined garment you wear — a sparkly skirt, jacket or pants — make that item the sole source of sparkle. That means patent shoes will work, but metallic or highly embellished ones won’t. Keep jewelry relatively small and free of large, faceted stones.

If you want to go all-out glam, skip the layers. I’d still recommend one single sparkly piece per outfit, but your secondary pieces can be more metallic, textural or eye-catching. Embellished or glittery shoes can work here, as can tamer footwear. Jewelry can be bolder, though a single statement piece should do the trick. Earrings might make more sense than a necklace, since layering jewelry over a sequined surface can look awfully busy.

Since I know you’ll ask, hosiery is a tough call. Nude hose has come a long way in recent years, and is likely the best bet for outfits in paler colors. If you’re wearing mainly black or dark gray, black sheer or opaque tights can work. If you’re wearing a bright color like red or cobalt, it’s really your call, but I’d err on the side of nude-to-you tights or hose.

Q: I love that flare jeans are back in style (they’re great for balancing with the hips), but I am having trouble with the silhouette. Fitted on top or not? Long or cropped tops? Also, what shoes?


A: Oh, flares, my old friends. I can’t quite believe you’re back. Already. Although, in my mind, 1990 will always be 10 years ago. …

It’s always wise to have your pants and jeans hemmed for the style and height of footwear you intend to wear with them, but that’s especially important for flares. There’s a lot of fabric down there by your feet, and cultivating a ragged, dirty hem simply won’t do. To avoid the no-feet look, consider having your flares hemmed slightly higher in front.

You certainly can do flats with flares, but a heel makes the silhouette more fluid and graceful. Flares only make your legs look long and your silhouette look hourglass-y if there’s some distance between your hips and the flared hem. Heels can help. Even a small heel, platform or wedge will work — something to give you a little boost of height.

Shortish, fitted tops that show at least half of your hip height reduce the risk of swamping your figure. This is especially true if you want to wear flares either to elongate your leg line (a shorter top will do this) or create balanced curves (a fitted top will do this). If you go for a blouse, consider tucking and belting; tunic-length tops teamed with flares tend to throw off your proportions. But a lot depends on your unique proportions, so don’t be afraid to experiment.


Q: What do you wear to a rehearsal dinner when you are in the wedding party?


A: I’m happy to offer a few suggestions, but first allow me a small amount of buck-passing: Your best bet is to ask the bride or groom, since they’re the ones to whom your attire will matter most. If written invitations were sent, check for dress-code preferences.

If you’re flying blind, remember that rehearsal dinners are a step above office attire and several steps below black tie. Think cocktail party but with grandparents, so nothing too sexy or revealing. A sheath dress with a fitted jacket and statement necklace would be perfect, as would a silk blouse, slim pants and pumps. If you go for a dress worn on its own, something with three-quarter sleeves in a flattering solid or subtle pattern is best. You’re in a supporting role, here, so make sure whatever you wear doesn’t eclipse the bride’s beauty.


Sally McGraw is a Minneapolis-based personal stylist and creator of the Already Pretty (alreadypretty.com) blog. Her fashion advice appears on this page once a month. Send questions to tellus@startribune.com.