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Amy Verner (Fred Lum)
Amy Verner (Fred Lum)

Earlier discussion

Fashion dos and don'ts Add to ...

Do you need help with your summer wardrobe? Want to change your professional look? Need advice on what to wear on the town?

Globe Style writer Amy Verner will be online today at 1 p.m. ET to take your questions on all things fashion. E-mail your questions to Ms. Verner now.

After moving back to Canada from New York in 2003 where she studied media criticism at New York University, writer Amy Verner started penning small pieces for Flare and the Toronto Star. By 2006, she was contributing to seven Canadian publications including Toronto Life, Fashion magazine, the National Post and The Globe and Mail. Amy joined The Globe and Mail as the paper's style reporter in 2007 and has since juggled numerous columns such as the Film Festival's party circuit, Toronto's buzz-worthy people and the dos and don'ts of what to wear to work. She also covers all things fashion for the Globe's Life Style section, from decoding the latest trends to interviewing emerging young designers.

Editor's Note: globeandmail.com editors will read and allow or reject each question/comment. Comments/questions may be edited for length or clarity. HTML is not allowed. We will not publish questions/comments that include personal attacks on participants in these discussions, that make false or unsubstantiated allegations, that purport to quote people or reports where the purported quote or fact cannot be easily verified, or questions/comments that include vulgar language or libellous statements. Preference will be given to readers who submit questions/comments using their full name and home town, rather than a pseudonym.

Rasha Mourtada, Globe Life web editor: Hi Amy, thanks for coming online. This week you wrote your last Suitable column. What surprised you the most in your two years of writing on work couture?

Amy Verner: Hi Rasha. Indeed, I think we shocked a few followers yesterday with the news. First, allow me to correct you slightly. As mentioned in my final column, we have always labelled Suitable "Work Couture" yet in retrospect, my goal from Day One has been to provide advice that's ready to wear. In other words: accessible and easy to understand. To answer your question, I've been most surprised by discovering that dressing for work is a univeral issue -- it frustrates, confuses and affects all of us.

Sara Clark: Hi Amy, I work in an office where attire ranges from casual to full-on business. I try to stay on the dressier end of things. My question concerns footwear. I have a lovely pair of Kate Spade high platform espadrilles - in top condition, orange/brown/white print on top and a traditional ropey bottom. They are quite dressy (and quite high), but I wonder if the bottoms make them too beachy.

Amy Verner: Oooh, those sound nice! Sight unseen, my feeling is that you can dress them up like a chic Parisienne and make them work for work. Wear them with a blazer -- khaki comes to mind -- and a corresponding skirt (not necessarily matching, you could try navy or darker brown). Do a white top or blouse. Make sure everything is nicely pressed and your hair is done. This way, you'll own the look (even if you're daydreaming about St. Tropez).

AMR from Ottawa writes : Hello ~ I've been at the same job for six years and am making a (long-overdue) change. I have a promising interview in two weeks. The thing is...the job I have had has allowed me to wear anything to work (programmer - I'm often alone in the office - so I often just wear running gear. I know! Eek!Over the years I have given away most of my business wardrobe and what I do have left is all black (I love black). I'm guessing that arriving at an interview in all black would NOT be a good thing. Wondering your thoughts on this and what few things I could add to update myself.

Amy Verner: Hello AMR. At this point, with the limited information I have to go on (I'm not even sure whether you're a man or a woman), I would still suggest steering clear of black head-to-toe. I would say that your number one priority is to make sure what you have fits -- and not simply in terms of whether you've gained or lost weight but whether the sleeves are falling properly and what's happening around the shoulder area. If some of your black clothes pass the fit test, you must then determine whether the black pieces look black enough. By this, I mean that black has a tendency to fade and this is a big giveaway to an interviewer that you do not care about the upkeep of your clothes, which may send signs to them about your potential performance. If your pieces pass these two tests, you may only need some small updates -- you can never go wrong by investing in a white shirt. Not only is this a wardrobe staple but it will bring light to your face (Barack Obama is the poster guy for white shirts). If you're a woman, you may want to purchase some knitwear - pale grey round-neck sweater or cardigan in pale pink. Even a leather belt in a metallic finish of silver or blush pink will go a long way towards updating your basic black. Best of luck!

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