Jill Martin answers Shop It To Me members' fashion questions

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We gave away 4 copies of “Fashion For Dummies” by Jill Martin, fashion extraordinaire, who often appears on the TODAY show.

We chose 4 questions from the many asked by Shop It To Me members, and were lucky enough to get Jill to answer them!  Here’s what she had to say (and watch tomorrow’s post for a bit about our winners of the books!):

How can I look stylish at college without looking too dressed up or styled amongst all the UGG and NorthFace-wearing clones?

Try a pair of flat knee high boots instead of Uggs. Tuck a pair of skinny jeans or leggings into the boots and pair with a great sweater and belt over the sweater. A beautiful wool pea coat has more style than the typical NorthFace jacket. Pair that with a cute hat, scarf and messenger type bag and you will still be comfortable and casual to walk around campus, but be totally stylish and stand out from the crowd!

At 53 and a grandma of 2, I still feel young and am told I don’t look my age. What suggestions can you offer for dressing in fashion without looking like I’m trying to be 20 again and yet not look like a “granny”?

Go for classics that fit well and flatter your figure. At your age it is about expressing your style and not worrying about what’s “trendy”. Try shopping at places like Banana Republic and J.Crew – stores that have current pieces, but are not too trendy or too young looking. You can put together great outfits with jeans, slacks, blouses, sweaters and fitted blazers that will look pulled together, chic, and age appropriate. Just avoid anything too cutesy, or too mini, or anything that is not figure flattering.

Many of us Baby Boomers have acquired a “middle”. How can I better define my waist, while hiding the larger midriff?

Try wearing pieces that will attract attention away from the midsection. Bootleg cut pants and jeans draw the eye down the leg and away from the waist. V-neck tops and off the shoulder tops draw attention to your shoulder/neck/face and will also minimize attention at the waist. The combination of those two pieces will give your entire look more balance and detract from the focus on the midsection. A fitted blazer will give you more structure and define the shoulder area, minimizing the waist in proportion. Avoid anything too tight or too clingy that hugs the area you are trying to minimize.

Trends aside – what part of your outfit (or wardrobe) should you invest in/or spend a little more money on? And, where can you get away with spending a little less?

Spend a little more on great shoes and bags. You can really tell the difference in the quality of accessories. You can find great jeans and t-shirts very inexpensively at stores like the Gap, but this is not the case with accessories. If you pair an expensive bag and shoes with a basic jean and t-shirt, you will look fabulous. Better quality shoes and bags will also last a lot longer and serve you better than inexpensive ones.

In addition to using sites/services like Shop It To Me to score great designer fashion for less, what other tricks do you have to find great deals and look like a million bucks?

The trick is to pair your less expensive items with the more expensive or nicer pieces you should be collecting for your wardrobe. So mix less expensive, trendier pieces from stores like H&M, Zara, the Gap, or Target with your basic or investment items that you spent more on.