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March 27, 2013

Sarah Stright-Hartley: Got fashion questions? I’ve got answers

NEW CASTLE — Have a fashion question for blogger Sarah Stright-Hartley? She’ll answer them in this space — just like she’ll do for other readers today. Enjoy!

Q: I'm not model size, so how can I wear the newest trends each season?

One of the most important things to remember is that not all trends are going to work for your body type, and that's OK. You're always going to look better in something that is classic and flattering, rather than trying a new trend that isn't right for your body shape. If you try to wear a trend that just isn't right for you, you'll end up looking awkward.

One trend I can't do? Maxi anything. Maxi dresses and skirts have been a trend for years now (with no end in sight) and I just can't wear them.  I'm petite and I've yet to find a dress or skirt that doesn't make me look shorter or like it's swallowing me whole. So I've had to give up — unhappily.  

If you're absolutely crazy about a trend but it isn't right for either your body or your lifestyle (think sheer), try it in an accessory instead. In keeping with the sheer idea, try a clear bag, a shoe with clear accents, or jewelry with clear details.

Do ruffles (another spring trend) on a shirt make you look bustier? Try a subtle ruffle detail on the bottom of a skirt, or again, in an accessory.  There are almost always ways to incorporate a trend without needing to look like you just stepped off a runway, so get creative.

And also remember that sometimes you just have to let a trend pass you by, no matter how much you love it. Fashion comes and goes so quickly these days that you're sure to find another trend to love within a month.

(If you have any specific trends in mind that you'd love to work into your wardrobe, email me at and I'll help you make it work!)

Q: When I travel for work I sometimes have to move between extreme climates. How do I pack for this?

Layer, layer, layer! Stock your closet with pieces that are made to be layered and you'll always be prepared. When you leave bitter cold Pennsylvania for the sunny weather of California, chances are you're not going to need your thick wool coat. To combat the cold before you leave and when you get back, wear thinner pieces layered on top of each other that are easy to remove and still look like a complete outfit.

The other bonus to this is that these layering pieces are great to mix and match your wardrobe so that you aren't packing an abundance of items.  Look to the right, I've put together a couple examples of how to do this and still be business appropriate.

The outfit on the left features a tank and pretty blouse as the basis for the outfit once you get to the warmer climate. Layer it with a warm cardigan and top with a faux fur vest while you're cold. The scarf adds an interesting detail and also serves as another warm layer.

The outfit on the right has the perfect professional shift dress as the main piece. Layer it with tights for colder weather, a long cardigan (also great as a blanket on the plane) and a jacket that is still seasonally appropriate while in the warmer climate. Make sure to take a bag and shoes that works for every outfit to lighten your suitcase.  

(Do you have any questions? Email me at

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