Q: I've been buying T-shirts with cute sayings printed on them for the last year or so and now have quite a collection. I think some of them are appropriate to wear under jackets to the office and out at night.
My girlfriend disagrees. She insists that T-shirts are strictly for wear at home and at play. Who is right?
A: With the current trend to casual dressing in offices, you could wear the T-shirts under jackets -- avoiding controversial subjects. As for nights, go all out.
Hong Kong-born designer Vivienne Tam shows T-shirts for evening in her spring collection. On the front she embroiders the bust of Chairman Mao, the late Chinese strongman.
Ms. Tam explains: "Cross-culture fashion is becoming a major trend. It's partly due to the influence other countries have on us through television and traveling, and partly because the United States is made up of people from different cultures.
"I used Mao because he is an icon of Chinese culture and was so important to millions of people for decades."
Q: I'm an accountant and not an extravagant woman, but I when started checking my spring wardrobe, I felt like throwing out the lot. My jackets are all in good shape, but I am bored with the sameness. Is there an accessory I can buy to give them a new look for the season? Something that will give them and me a lift?
A: No single accessory will work for half a dozen jackets. You would be as tired of it as you are with the rest of your wardrobe.
But you might try changing buttons. It's an idea used by many chic, creative and economical women.
Diana Epstein of Tender Buttons, a Manhattan boutique, says: "Change your buttons and change your look. Buttons can give a new lease on life, extend the fun of putting on a garment that's been in the closet and can even serve to cover a moth hole, stain or cigarette burn."
Here are some of her suggestions.
"Try gold or jeweled buttons for a dressier look. Add leather or horn and it's sporty. Add Scotties or assorted fruit and it's a conversation piece.
"Right now fashion calls for a more natural and conservative look, using materials such as wood, horn and leather in either round, square or oblong shapes."
Gold and silver buttons add a touch of the glamour featured in so many collections.
Ms. Epstein says, "The trick is to spend time trying different buttons against a jacket until you fall in love with one."
Elsa Klensch is style editor for Cable News Network.