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Fashion Q&A: Lower that hemline

Question: I have great legs (if I do say so myself), but I get disapproving frowns from people in my office if I wear a skirt shorter than about eight inches above the knee. How short is too short in the workplace?

Answer: The looks you're getting should tell you that eight inches is considered too short in your office. Actually, it's too short in any office — no matter what the "leg men" in the workplace may think. Save your miniskirts for after-hours. When you're on the clock, and provided you are reasonably young and trim, opt for hemlines no more than two inches above the knee. If you're older and/or on the heavy side, a hemline somewhere between the top and bottom of the kneecap is most flattering — no matter how great your legs. Anything longer, on the other hand, can look dowdy. So check that full-length mirror, front and back, before you leave home for the office.

Bikers wear black tie?

Q: What do my boyfriend and I wear to a party when the requested attire is "biker black tie"?

A: Sounds like an oxymoron to me, but I guess anything in black leather would work. You could team your party dress with a leather jacket, leather boots and/or chunky metal jewelry. Your boyfriend could swap his tuxedo for a biker jacket, his shoes for biker boots, or his dress shirt for a Harley-Davidson T-shirt. And don't forget the temporary tattoos.


You wouldn't think sunny Florida would give rise to a designer of mittens, but that is just what Orlando native Hannah Welch is designing. But these are mittens with a difference. She calls them Smittens, and they're designed with a double opening so two people can hold hands, skin-to-skin, when it's cold outside. They're great for a romantic stroll or sitting in the bleachers watching a UCF football game, says Welch. Each Smitten is hand-embroidered by Welch, costs less than $20, and can be ordered at My favorite features a raccoon face, but these holly and poinsettia designs are certainly topical.


Lost: Lorraine is looking for a replacement for her favorite eye-shadow product, Clinique Touch Tint for Eyes in Soft Heather, now discontinued. It came in a tube, she says, and lasted all day without creasing. Another reader is trying to find Max Factor Whipped Cream makeup No. 341 Shimmering Beige, which she can no longer find at her favorite Ulta store.

Found: Good news for the Orlando reader looking for boots to fit "athletic" legs with well-developed calves. A variety of boots in wide calf sizes are available at Styles include the Kayleigh and Morgan by Step Up Comfort, the Jackie belted riding boot, Harlow motorcycle boot, Donna scrunch bootie by Jessica London, Cary tall studded boot and Sea platform boot. Also, the latest Marie Claire magazine recommends Sudini and Rockport boots from and also some Nine West boots.

Sanford, Fla., reader Denise can order fair-trade silk scarves and wraps woven by women in Laos at Danny can get Equmen shapewear for men at Saks Fifth Avenue. And the reader looking for Hard Candy nail polish can find it at Walmart.

(Jean Patteson welcomes your questions. Mail: Orlando Sentinel, MP-218, P.O. Box 2833, Orlando, FL 32802. Phone: 407-420-5158. E-mail: