Epic Proportions

"I am a size 6/8 but have a larger butt with a small waist. When I try on jeans, I end up with something that's too big in the waist in order for them to fit my butt — or vice versa. I buy most of my pants larger than my size and let them be baggy around my hips — terrible fashion for a grown-up. Help me find some feminine jeans! Any advice?"

Women shudder when I deliver the following advice, but it never fails me: Try a low-rise jean. But not just any low-rise jean; it has to fall straight — neither flared nor tapered — from the widest part of the hips. The low rise mitigates the size difference between the wider hips and the smaller waist. (A high-waisted pant is never a solution to this issue.) Wear a top that either drapes over the waistband or is tucked in. No bare midriff, ever!

Head Over Heels

"I've been invited to a party in Beverly Hills. I have the dress — a purple Hervé Léger — and for heels, patent peep-toe stilettos in beige. But what color purse? Does it have to match my shoes?"

Say no to matching shoes and handbags! That's as dated an axiom as "No white after Labor Day." I'm a huge fan of purple and of Hervé Léger, so I have every reason to believe that it's a stunning look. But the beige stiletto eludes me. It sounds like a day look that will potentially dress down the impact of the Léger. Color options for beige are challenging when dressing up: You can't reach for darker hues; you can't go black; and a metallic clutch will cause people to think that your beige shoe is gold gone sour. Metallic footwear will provide you with a wider range of harmonious color options for the bag. Please, rethink the shoe.

Critter-free Couture

"I'm a vegan. What are some of the best places, preferably online, to find stylish, animal-friendly fashions?"

When I was chair of the Department of Fashion Design at Parsons, I'm proud to say that I had a number of students who created vegan collections. And while I know the textiles that they used, I'm not at all familiar with resources for finished products. So your question is a first for me. I did some research and found that mooshoes.com is great for affordable footwear and bags. Olsenhaus.com is another favorite among editors. Personally, I love Stella McCartney. Her designs are fur- and leather-free and simply divine.

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