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Dress for Success

Real women have real fashion quandaries. Here’s how to tackle them, one real woman, one real quandary at a time.

Dress for Success
Photo by Erika Ludwig

Who: Kris Swenson, 43, optometrist

My friends and I frequently have conversations about what 43-year-olds should wear. Our conclusion is always “I don’t know.” I have trouble finding the right fit, especially with dresses. After I had cancer surgery, I was unable to wear heels, so it’s hard to find shoes to go with dresses, too.

Before (right): Kris substituted graphic prints for color in her wardrobe, and couldn’t find a dress that fit her shape.

First Impressions: Maybe my goals are unrealistic. When I first saw the dresses on the hanger, I thought, “I would never pull those off the rack.” But then I zipped them up: I felt so comfortable and they fit. I need to be more daring and try more things on in the stores.

Our Stylist’s Take: This look is timeless, sophisticated, and sexy. It’s appropriate for day, for dinner, for the theater, or playing a bit of Sex & The City with girlfriends. We’ve taken her look up to the same level as her sophistication.

Kris’s Conclusion: I have hard time saying that I looked good, because I’m Norwegian. But I looked good! I really did! I felt good and I had a very, very fun time.


  • The Dress: Anne Klein, $420. The Boot: Cole Haan flat boot, $495; both from Bloomingdales, Mall of America, 952-883-8800, bloomingdales.com
  • Burgundy feels modern this season and injects sophisticated color into Kris’s wardrobe. It brightens up her face more than a print.
  • A darker bottom and belt are slimming; it nips in the waist and creates a flattering silhouette.
  • This boot is flat, yet it pairs well with jeans, skirts, and dresses. The tights are of the moment and comfortable.

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Jan 10, 2011 05:43 pm
 Posted by  tracina

Does wearing a monocrome color make one appear taller? I am 6 ft tall, and really do not want to look taller. btw Kris looks beautiful!

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