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Time for single gal to dump dowdy duds

Dear Advice Diva:

The holidays are almost here and my calendar is filling up with different work and family festivities. I am truly excited to celebrate the season with friends but I don't feel I am fashionably ready. My closet is filled with matronly pant suits due to my profession, and I don't think it's appropriate to go with my everyday norm to these special occasions. The big problem is I don't have enough money in my budget to buy a dress for every event. Being that I am still single (and looking for the right guy), I would like to use these parties as an excuse to show everyone the real me, a fun and attractive young woman. Can you help me, Diva?

Holiday Dilemma, N.J.

Dear Ms. Holiday:

We're racking our little diva brain for what profession you might have that dictates matronly pant suits as the fashion protocol. Didn't those go out with Maude in the late 1970s? Like kryptonite to Superman, matronly anything will assure your being Single Forever, unless, of course, you manage to find one of the four men on the planet who has a matronly pant suit fetish.

We say, bag those suckers up, list them on Ebay and find yourself some classic clothes for work that don't scream ''Call Me Aunt Hilda.'' Enlist the help of a wardrobe consultant (most major retailers have them and the service is free) and find some flattering under-the-knee sheaths in solid colors that you can wear with pearls for work or an oversized jeweled brooch and high heels for evening. Or go the sexy secretary route, a look we adore, with a crisp cotton or silk bow-blouse tucked into a solid dark pencil skirt with a wide patent-leather belt cinched around your waist and a slingback shoe. For night, find two cute little classic black dresses and accessorize the heck out of them. Better to look flawless with fewer quality things than buy a bunch of crap from the mall that has an expiration date of next month.

The Advice Diva welcomes your questions and fashion pet peeves -- particularly the more amusing ones. Write her at advicediva@herald.com.

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