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Barbie dress up makeover and hairstyle games: Put that dress on repeat: When formal looks work, can you wear them again?

Dear Ellen: There is always hope, Ellen! A walk through Macy’s the other day reminded me that Lauren Ralph Lauren dresses are flattering, well-priced and designed for just the kind of events you’re talking about. They’re kind of classic but with enough details (like ruching to camouflage the stomach and hips) to look stylish and pretty. An added benefit is that it’s a dress — one piece — so you’re not tormented with what top goes with what pants etc. Another option is to make an appointment with a personal shopper at a department store. Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s have them, as do other large mall stores. In many cases the personal shopper is not on commission, so expensive fashions shouldn’t be the only thing she’s showing you. Be very sure to mention your budget so you’re not presented with $500 dresses and $400 shoes. The shopper’s job (besides selling you stuff) is to put together total outfits if that’s what you want — including jewelry and shoes. You’ll likely have to fill out a questionnaire, and this does require advance planning, but you have plenty of time ’til your class reunion so pick up the phone. And have a great time at the reunion.

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