Pink flatters most women and will be a favorite spring pastel

Q: My sister is having a big party for her 10th wedding anniversary. She wants to wear a dress in one of the new spring pastels, but can't make up her mind which one. She's a brown-eyed blonde. I say pink, but she's thinking of yellow because it will tone with her hair. What do you say?

A: I'm thinking pink because it is flattering to most women. It's softer and looks more modern than red for spring.


To be sure, I checked what some designers had chosen as their favorite pastel. After all, they are responsible for the rush back to pastels.

Bill Blass, who opened his show with an array of pink outfits, says: "Pink. It's light-hearted and wildly pretty. But it also can be sophisticated. The many wonderful shades of pink look good with black or white."


Richard Tyler, who designs his own collection as well as Anne Klein, also believes in pink: "It's great. Pink works with everything, every color. And pink, because it is soft around the face."

Oscar de la Renta chose shades of rose pink. He did pink wool suits, pink linen dresses, shiny pink rain coats and pink embroidery and silk crepe gowns for evening.

De la Renta reckons "pink is flattering any hour of the day."

Q: Even though I'm only 24, my eye doctor says that I have to give up my contact lenses and start wearing glasses full time. I am desolate and haven't the slightest idea how I should go about selecting a style that's right for my face. Can you help?

A: Without knowing the shape of your face, it is hard to give specific advice. But when I asked for suggestions from Art Poll of Leonard Poll opticians, who fits the glasses for many New York celebrities, he said to put aside your fears:

"With today's technologies you should be able to get a thin lens with a lightweight frame that will be easy to wear all day long."

As for styles, he says the "retrolook" is in fashion and is easy to wear. Another flattering shape for almost any face is the "cat eye."

"This shape has a nice widening frame that flatters and enhances the shape of the cheekbones."


Mr. Poll stresses that the shape of the frame you choose should balance and accent your features.

"Color is another important factor," he says. "It should have a neutral feeling, complementary to your complexion and hair color.

Q: I have always pictured myself looking mysterious in a black lace dress from one of the big-name French designers. Then I made the mistake of going to a sale and buying a designer blouse without even trying it on. When I got home I found the lace pattern was a modern geometric, not the romantic Chantilly I'd dreamed about.

It has everything I wanted -- a soft collar and narrow arms with deep cuffs -- but the pattern is too strong against my bare skin. Should I try to line it?

A: Lining a blouse is difficult, especially if it has a designer cut. Your best bet is to look for a black, almost sheer, long-sleeved bodysuit. Wear it under the blouse and you'll find the black-on-black makes the pattern disappear, while the shape of your arms and body still sexily show through. Accessories will also draw attention from the pattern.

Q: I have to attend lots of formal events. I know that the usual bag that goes with formals is one of those little things you can easily put on the table near you. But what good are they? I wear glasses, I smoke and I need a pen and small note pad. I just can't squeeze all these and my cosmetics into a small bag.


Is it ever appropriate to carry a large bag with a formal gown?

A: For advice on handbag etiquette, I checked with Judith Leiber, who is known for creating museum-quality handbags. I'm sorry to report that she responded with a resounding "No, it is not appropriate to carry a larger handbag with a formal gown.

"Consider buying a pair of folding glasses that tuck compactly into your purse. Also try to limit what you carry to those items you really need -- a lipstick, hanky, credit card, driver's license, just a few cigarettes and money folded into a small money clip."

Some evening bags have a slightly larger carrying capacity, and Ms. Leiber suggests one of these.

Elsa Klensch is the style editor for Cable News Network.