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Dear Vicki: I need Christmas ideas for my little sewer. About six months ago we gave her a sewing book that you recommended all about hand sewing and filled with projects – she loved it. This year we will start to think about a sewing machine, but before we do, please recommend a book that focuses on using a machine instead of handwork so I can get her ready. I still want …

Good solesWomen who love flat shoes won’t be disappointed this season. The style often called a “smoking slipper” is back for fall and winter, often embellished for that festive feel. They seem especially party appropriate in velvet. J.C. Penney (www.jcp.com) offers them in blue or black velvet as well as an all-over glitter design, for example.Ballet flats also continue t…

Amherst

Holiday fashion stories often begin something like this: “How to look festive – without looking overdone.” Or “Different ways to wear sequins – without looking like an ornament.”In this season of sparkle, shine and, yes, even silly seasonal sweaters, it’s easy to go a little overboard. And sometimes that’s OK. “It depends on your personality. I’m an over-accessorizer,” sai…

Even if you aren’t a big fan of cooking, today’s colorful cookware and bakeware might change all that. You can coordinate colors with your existing pieces, your dinnerware or your decor – or add a whole new pop of color to your kitchen. Such good taste.You’ll want to read up on all the features and details, of course, and consider your cooking needs. Go online or talk to t…

Fashion

It’s not enough to merely reinvent your look each season. These days, you also have to reinvent the language used to describe the clothes you wear. Fashion bloggers and ad copy writers have taken to this task with enthusiasm, coining “abbreves” and portmanteaus (the combining of two words to create a new one) for every trend they can get their ombre-manicured hands on. And…

Knits for nowJust as you enjoy reaching for a favorite cardigan or pullover, sweater knits can add a cozy touch to home accents as well. Macy’s, HomeGoods, Pottery Barn and other retailers all show cable knits or other sweater patterns on pillows or throws. Some are reversible, such as the ones in the Martha Stewart Collection at select Macy’s and www.macys.com with cable …

Unique collars will keep you up to your neck in style this season. Details to look for include crisp points, color-blocking, even some Peter Pan-styling. Faux fur at the neckline adds a cozy feel just when you need it, while blouses with embellished collars will make any outfit party-ready.Button up!All in one: Layered-look collared sweater from the Princess Vera Wang coll…

Dear Vicki: I really enjoyed your columns about your mother-of-the-groom outfit for the wedding. Was there a flower girl or a ring bearer, and how did they dress? I am helping my daughter and would love input as to what are some sweet and appropriate looks for children in weddings. – Libby N.Dear Libby: The flower girl was adorable, and she wore Emmaline from Violette Fiel…

Business

Candy? Check. Pumpkins? Check. Spray tan, professional dye job and elaborate costume for your dog? Check, check and check.Gone are the days when Halloween spending consisted of a pot of greasepaint and a few bowls of candy corn. Halloween is big business. Americans are expected to spend a whopping $6.9 billion this year on theatrical-quality costumes, movie-grade decoratio…

On the light side“The fall 2013 runway shows were awash in Easter egg shades of daffodil yellow, powder blue, cotton-candy pinks and mints,” reports McClatchy Newspapers.This included blush-colored coats at the Céline presentation, which were paired with sleek wool shifts and light-gray, chunky-heeled ankle boots. And at Proenza Schouler, “leather coats in rounded silhouet…

Face it: Halloween is right around the corner. If you’re looking for a few frightening additions to your own little haunted house, skulls and skull-and-crossbones patterns are heading your way. § While not reserved for fright nights, they do make themselves at home among the drop-down bats, zombies and other petrifying props of the season. § Bad to the bone? You bet.Fr…

Fashion

Ask a wardrobe pro what a guy should seriously consider adding to his inventory this fall, and you may be surprised by the answer.“I would definitely suggest Tingleys,” said Natalie Neumann, owner of Riverside Men’s Shop in the Northtown Plaza in Amherst.Tingleys, we asked?It turns out she’s referring to Tingley – a traditional brand of rubber overshoes that protect footwe…

Invest in a vestf you like popping on a vest come cooler weather, this season’s styles won’t disappoint. Puffer vests in a rainbow of colors continue to be popular, while faux – be it fur or leather – is trendy for fall. A faux fur vest dresses up an outfit; a faux leather “moto” vest adds a bit of edginess. Fleece and knits are other options.Shown left: A faux fur vest fr…

Dear Vicki: I love to sew. It allows me to really splurge and buy an occasional very expensive piece of clothing because I can make many other pieces so cheaply. I would like a suggestion for a dress. I seem to be really attracted to skirts and dresses now. I am wanting a dress that is special but not for a special occasion. I work in a showroom, so it can’t be sexy or low…

Fashion

Rihanna with a cascading fishtail side braid. Eva Chen, the editor-in-chief of Lucky magazine, on Instagram with her purple locks woven into a slightly tousled crown braid. Allison Williams at an Emmys weekend party in a complicated French braid.Once relegated to the beer halls of Oktoberfest, the girlish braid has shown surprising staying power since it began to reappear …