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New Year’s Eve Country Club Wedding – Black Tie Optional

Dear Didi,

What would you suggest that I wear to a Black Tie Optional New Year’s Eve wedding at a New Jersey country club? What type of shoes would you pair with it?

-Jessica, Pennsylvania

Dear Jessica,

For an evening wedding we like to recommend chiffon because chiffon dresses are easy to dance in all night long. Since it is also New Year's Eve, sequins and glitter are the way to go. We illustrate styles trending by having you look at Rent the Runway. Not only can you rent a fabulous dress for a special occasion, but you can buy it. Or just look. Go to renttherunway.com and clickon 'Occasions' then under 2 categories, 'New Years,' and 'Wedding,' to look for the designer's name and the name of the dress listed below: Allison Parris:  Grand Celebration Dress Eli Tahari: Chic Chantal Sheath Badgley Mischka:  Fifth Avenue Showstopper Dress Badgley Mischka:  Manhattan Socialite Dress (black) Badgley Mischka:  Navy Petunia Gown Badgley Mischka:  Helena Gown Badgley Mischka:  Flora Chiffon Dress (green) Milly:  Sweet Madeline Dress ML Monique Lhullier:  Madame Damask Dress ML Monique Lhullier:  Cynthia Dress ML Monique Lhullier:  Meet at Midnight Dress Sachin + Babi:  Statuesque Dress Osman:  Dotted Gold Dress As you'll see, the dresses are shown with suggestions for shoes and accessories, that  canalso be bought or rented. Should you find a style you like, look for it in a department store near you in Pennsylvania. The classic holiday shoe to dance you through years of parties to come is the image here, Manolo Blahnik's Metallic-Printed Patent Leather d'Orsay Pumps. How to choose when the dress code is Black Tie Optional?  It would depend somewhat on what your escort is wearing. If a tuxedo, you could definitely wear a long dress/gown. Otherwise, there is nothing chicer than a fabulous short cocktail dress. There are also a couple of dresses that are midi, not above the knee and not ankle-length, which are also appropriate for Black Tie Optional. We're here to help, if the above suggestions don't appeal to you, come back to tell us your size, best colors, and any other particulars we should know in order to help you find the perfect dress for a New Year's Eve Wedding.  

~Didi

How Can I Get My Girlfriend to Dress Better?

Dear Didi,

How do I get my girlfriend to dress better? She’s a young, attractive pediatrician, who doesn’t care about being fashionable and is more comfortable in Birkenstocks than in Jimmy Choos. Any advice? She needs a dress for the holidays.

-J.D., Manhattan

Dear J.D.,

Go to Reformation.com to see if you can find a model in a dress who looks vaguely like your girlfriend to help you find a dress she might like. It is an eco cool company with shops in your area, which you can subtly usher her into to choose a dress for the holidays -- if you would rather have her choose for herself. She will be impressed that the clothing is eco-friendly, most of which are made from vintage and sustainable fabrics. You'll like the fact that these cheap chic dresses are all reasonably priced. She should be able to find a dress for between one and two hundred dollars -- that is if you didn't find her one first. Your girlfriend sounds like a very busy young woman, finding her a responsibly ethical and reasonably priced fashionable source for one-stop shopping should make it easier on you both.

~Didi

Is It OK to Regift?

Dear Didi,

Just as I thought I had finished wrapping all the Christmas gifts and mailing those being sent, I realized I had forgotten a dear friend. Of course, I’m over budget by now, but we do have a storage box of unused gifts we’ve received over the years that are really nice. It contains gifts we don’t need, or are not our style. Is regifting good etiquette when it’s recycling?

-Audrey, Dover, MA

Dear Audrey,

Yes, Audrey, it is OK to regift under the following conditions. The gift has not been used, it is in its original packaging (such as a CD), and most importantly -- it is an appropriate gift for the recipient. Why not recycle gifts that you have not used, and will never use?  Such as a book you know you won't read, because you only read on your Nook. But you know the person would appreciate a Nigella Lawson cookbook. The binding hasn't been cracked -- meaning it feels as though the pages have not been turned. No page corners have been folded down to mark a recipe. There is no personal inscription on the title page that says, "Happy Birthday, Audrey, Much love, Charles." It's a collectors item. Be cautious about regifting food. If that holiday jam has an expiration date, the giftee will notice it, too. Chocolate doesn't age well and turns grayish. Stay away from re-gifting lingerie and clothing that goes to body image, such as a belt, unless you know their exact size. Too small or too big the giftee is stuck with it. Will there be a sting to the regifted present that is not the right size and there is no receipt to use to exchange it? It goes without saying that you would be sure there were no stains on the gift. Last January a viewer wrote wanting to know how to thank a friend for a sweater he received that had traces of dried pea soup dribbling down the front, and it was the wrong size. Be sure to inspect everything before you wrap it for stains, smudges, tears, discoloration, and price. Even if you wore that scarf or tie only once, check for spots. Verify gift cards you recycle as Christmas present to make sure it is valid and has value. The trick to regifting with style is to use creative packaging. Polka dot potato stamp wrapping paper tied up with natural raffia ribbon. Recycling the wrapping materials, too?  Gently iron them out first. When adding to your regifting storage box, be sure to post it with a notation as to whom it was originally from to avoid hurt feelings next Christmas.        

~Didi

I’m Sick of Being The Shy Girl

Dear Didi,

Naturally shy, it is hard for me to go to holiday parties because I’m not good at talking to strangers. How can I move past my shyness and just hang with new people?

-Charlotte, Brooklyn, NY

Dear Charlotte,

Get over yourself. Nobody over the age of thirteen is "naturally" shy. Have plenty to say. Embrace what's going on in the world and learn things to talk about. Subscribe to theSkimm.com to keep up with what's happening and what other guests may be talking about -- things to know about to help the conversation along. Give theSkimm three mintues a day and you'll know more than most people in the room. When starting a conversation, jump in with your hands at your side raised to your waist and palms up toward the ceiling to show you're open to having an honest conversation. Before going out, take in the TED.com talk Power Pose, by Amy Cuddy, to give yourself a long-lasting boost of confidence. Once you've watched Power Pose, you'll know exactly what to do before any event or even a job interview -- and what topics to bring up at your next holiday party.

~Didi

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