Q: All I see for spring and summer are short cropped sweaters, many with the midriff showing. But I have a long waist so these sweaters just ride up my back and make me extremely uncomfortable. Have designers completely forgotten about women with figure problems?
A: Not according to designer Randy Kemper. He says that with so many short sweaters around, long ones look new for summer:
"Short-sleeve sweaters at hip length look great over both narrow and straight skirts. Wear a narrow belt in patent to accent the look, and you'll be right in step with fashion."
Q: How do you pick the perfume that is right for you? I've tried several and ended up not liking the way they smell on me. I've heard that scents change, depending on the person who's wearing them. Is this true?
A: Annette Green of New York's Fragrance Foundation says: "Yes, people have their own individual smell fingerprints. Each of us has a unique odor identity, which is the sum total of our hereditary skin chemistry.
"That identity may change, even day to day, depending on a variety of factors, including medication, stress and the environment.
"One thing that can affect the scent is the wearer's diet. A high-fat, spicy diet, for example, will cause fragrances to be more intense. And if your skin is oily, the fragrance will interact with these oils and create a more intense scent."
Ms. Green offers these tips to help you narrow your selections:
"Blondes with fair skin will be happiest with long-lasting multi-floral creations. Their skin is often dry, causing fragrances that are too subtle to evaporate rapidly.
"Brunettes usually have medium-to-dark skins which contain natural oils. These allow scents to last longer, so dramatic orientals are often a good choice.
"Redheads usually have fair and delicate skin that may be incompatible with fragrances which have predominant green notes."
Weather is another factor to consider, Ms. Green adds: "Fragrances intensify on hot and humid days, so choose a lighter scent in the summer and save the more exotic ones for winter."
She suggests that when you shop for a fragrance you should test no more than three because the sense of smell quickly develops "odor fatigue" when exposed to too many sensations in a short period of time.
"One last word: Our sense of smell is not as strong in the morning as it is later in the day, so choose a lively, bright fragrance for the morning. It will sharpen the senses."
Q: I teach biology at a medical school. I have recently been offered a weekly program on a local cable station, interviewing guests about health care.
I have been on TV several times, and when I watch the tapes I feel I don't look as polished and as good as I could. I am especially confused about which clothing to wear. Which colors, styles and patterns look good on TV? What kind of jewelry?
A: You should apply the same standards to your TV appearances that you do for stylish everyday dressing, but there are some additional points to consider.
First, your hair and makeup. Have them done professionally. This will not only make you look good but will help you feel more confident.
Consider the background against which you will be seen. You want to stand out against it, not blend in.
Then address the idea that the lightest and brightest thing on the screen should be your eyes, and that your face, not your clothes, should be the center of attention.
That means you should avoid patterns that might be overwhelming or even create special video problems. Until you have lots of experience trying different things, the best course is simply to avoid them.
You would do best to use solid colors, especially tones that have some red in them. They reflect light that warms most complexions. You may remember the old stage adage that the leading lady should always have a pink spotlight.
Stay away from black and white. White is too reflective and black may make you look morose and a bit washed out.
Jewelry should not be too reflective. Colored beads can work well with most outfits. Avoid long dangling earrings because their movement is distracting, especially in close-ups.
Finally, a good rule of thumb is that when your outfit calls too much attention to itself, the viewer is likely to be thinking about your clothes, not about what you are saying. The understated look is best for TV.
Elsa Klensch is style editor for Cable News Network.