Ask Aimée

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Aimée Gowland is a local fashion expert and stylist who specializes in personal shopping, wardrobe consultation and private shopping excursions.

Q. I am trying to find some tasteful, sassy lingerie for Valentine’s Day for my honey. Do you have any recommendations for choosing boudoir attire that will not offend or look as if she is wearing a “service industry” costume?

Randy K., Slidell

A. This intimate question will depend on what she considers offensive. My guy determines good lingerie by how it looks on the floor! I, however, have different expectations and will provide a few guidelines that will guarantee a successful Valentine’s evening.ask-aimee2

Customer Service
I am obsessed with House of Lounge, 2044 Magazine St. This elegant, sexy store combines the perfect blend of retro glamour with modern styles of lingerie and loungewear. It also provides amazing customer service, unlike the saccharine pink store at the local mall.

Buy for Her, Not for You!
Take some time to think about her lifestyle and what she feels sexy and comfortable wearing. What are some of her favorite colors? Is this ensemble for a snuggly evening or an “I want to rock your world!” night?

Know Her Size
It simply does not work to hold out your hands at chest height and say, “Umm, she’s about this big.” After making a final decision, it is crucial that you retain the receipts, just in case.

Styles and Fabrics
Animal prints only look good when done in high-quality fabrics; lace can be itchy; and skins do not look attractive on anyone, not even Heidi Klum. Save the snake and gator for handbags.

Your sales associate will be able to choose quality garments to fit your budget and her lifestyle. Whether it’s a bra-and-panty set or a baby doll nightie, go with what is going to make her feel confident in the bedroom. I hope your purchase will result in a present for you too.ask-aimee1

Q. Mardi Gras parades are in full swing. What are your fashion essentials for the parade route? Must I wear the unflattering purple, green and gold vertical-striped rugby? Also, I have kiddies, so this will be a rated-PG parade.

Jill P., New Orleans

A. So you will not be setting up the ladders for Krewe de Vieux? Well, we have just what you need and where to buy it:

—Dark wash denim, in a skinny cut, with traditional five pockets and no fading, whiskering or embellishments
Jean Therapy, 5505 Magazine St., and in Lakeside Shopping Center, Metairie

—Knee-high flat or low-heel boots, with jeans tucked in (not too fancy in case of doubloon stomping!)
Bella Rouge, 3640 Magazine St., and Shoe-Nami, 3319 Severn, Metairie

—Lightweight cotton or wool V-neck, slim-fit sweater with funky T-shirt underneath. In these absurd temperatures, think about layering.
All Hemline locations, and MetroThree, 2032 Magazine St.

—Large-frame sunglasses and small stud earrings (to prevent bead/ear injuries, no hoops or dangles)
The French Market, 1008 N. Peters St., and Aucoin Hart, 1525 Metairie Rd.

—Handi Wipes and Purell
All Rite-Aid and Walgreens locations

In lieu of a purple, green and gold rugby on Fat Tuesday, I prefer body glitter.

Q. I am coming in from out of town and this is my first time to attend a ball and super dance. The invitation states “costume de rigueur.” What does that mean and what is proper fashion protocol for these events?ask-aimee-3
Holly W., Hoboken, NJ

A. “Costume de rigueur” is defined as the formal attire required to attend a “bal masque” held by a mystic krewe or society. You will find that slight variations exist from one organization to another but typically entail floor-length evening gowns for female guests and white bowtie, white vest and tales for the male invitees. The society’s members are traditionally masked. It is also proper to refrain from gowns in a white, eggshell or ecru color, which is typically worn by the queen, members of the court, debutantes and ladies-in-waiting. Please be respectful of the organization rules. There is no reason to bare midriff or expose vast landscapes of flesh. You will be in the company of women opposed to Girls Gone Wild Mardi Gras videos. Though I have heard rumors that former royalty made an appearance in the spring break ’08 edition.

Q. I have some articles of clothing that I adore and would like to store for use in the future. How do I keep them protected from critters and mold?

Jonathon F., Mid-Cityask-aimee-4

A. Unfortunately, in this city, if you stay still long enough you will be infested with termites and covered with mildew. Any item that is a prized possession must be stored properly. Your clothing is a significant investment and a few precautions can be taken to ward off mildew, allergens and insects. Be sure to sanitize, contain and repel.

Sanitize: Dry clean or wash all items thoroughly. Remove from the plastic dry cleaning bags, and if they were laundered, make sure clothing is completely dry.

Contain: Plastic storage boxes are fine if you are not storing for more than a season. Otherwise, airtight or vacuum-sealed containers or storage bags are the only secure means of keeping outside pests from getting inside.

Repel: There are a number of natural products designed to fend off mold and insects. People love the smell of cedar, but bugs detest it. Cedar and lavender chips or blocks can be found at any of your specialty hardware or big box retailers. Avoid the use of mothballs. These are toxic if ingested and leave a noxious scent that is difficult to eradicate.