Q.My boyfriend's sister is getting married in a few weeks. The ceremony is at 4 p.m., followed by a reception. I was planning to wear a dark blue dress to the wedding. It is a tailored with short sleeves, fitted and just below the knee. Now I learn that the bridesmaids also will be wearing dark-blue dresses. Can I still wear my dress, or will that be considered upstaging the bridesmaids?
A.Your short, tailored dress probably has little in common with the bridesmaids' dresses, except for the color -- and it may not even be the same shade of blue. Most likely, the bridesmaids' dresses will be longer, softer and more bare than yours -- though it wouldn't hurt to check on the style.
If the dress styles are dissimilar, feel free to wear yours. Then make a point of wearing jewelry and shoes that are distinctly different from the bridesmaids'.
Q.At a workshop I attended recently, the speaker discussed how to choose fashions that flatter different figures. She suggested what to wear if you are big on top, big at the bottom or big around the middle. But did not give any tips for women with a figure like mine: big on the top and bottom, without much waist. Can you help?
A.Yours is an easy figure to dress because it is relatively balanced. However, your squarish shape could use a little softening, so look for gently fitted clothing in flowing styles and soft fabrics. These will give the illusion of curves.
In particular, choose dresses with dropped waists or softly blousing tops over elastic waists; slim, wrap skirts; pleated trousers in fluid fabrics; semi-fitted tops; gently shaped jackets; long, loose sweaters; and hip-slung belts. Shoulder pads are a must.
Avoid stiff clothing and bulky, boxy shapes.
Q.I was given a turtleneck sweater made of 70 percent lambswool, 20 percent angora and 10 percent nylon. It is so scratchy I can't wear it. Any suggestions as to laundering that can take out the scratchiness?
A.Many people have an allergic reaction to wool, finding it scratchy and irritating. There really is no way to treat the fiber to eliminate this effect. If you love the sweater and want to wear it in comfort, your best bet is to find a soft, somewhat fitted garment to wear underit.
Write to Jean Patteson at The Orlando Sentinel, 633 North Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32801. Individual replies are not possible.