Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Doesn't Need to Break the Bank on Fashion

DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in the fashion industry and have been seeing my clothing budget quadruple just to try to stay fashionable. Everyone in the office wears trendy new clothing, so I would feel like a bum if I were to wear the same outfit more than four or five times. I have tried reinventing outfits, but I have gotten asked if I wore that same dress yesterday. Is there any way I can save my clothing budget while remaining trendy? I hate seeing money hanging in my closet and not in my savings. -- Fashion Week Every Week, Manhattan, New York

DEAR FASHION WEEK EVERY WEEK: Follow your heart, and do not spend all your money on clothing. Instead, build a wardrobe with key basic separates while adding a few signature accessories to spice up your look. It could be a necklace, earrings, a scarf or belt. Develop a narrative to go along with your wardrobe. Tell your co-workers you are following the French style of dressing, which means you may have one or two key wardrobe items upon which you build. In Europe, it is common for people to wear the same look twice in a week! Talk about quality versus quantity. Tell your friends, only when asked, that you seek out great pieces rather than constantly seeking out new pieces. Wear your wardrobe proudly. Do not flaunt your savings, but keep putting money in savings and investments. In the end, because you will have held the long view, you will have created space for your future to be solid. Rest well knowing you are being smart, even if your co-workers tease you sometimes.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I caught my daughter smoking marijuana outside my home while she thought I was walking the dog. This wasn’t just a regular cigarette filled with marijuana; she had a complete glass contraption. I have never smoked in my life, and I thought my daughter was following in my footsteps. She has graduated from college, has a full-time job and is saving up to move from home. I would’ve never thought she could be so successful while being a “stoner.” What is an appropriate punishment for this situation? She is 22 years old. -- Under My Roof, Pikesville, Maryland

DEAR UNDER MY ROOF: Now is the time to tread lightly. It is hard to punish an adult. Heck, it’s hard to punish a teenager effectively. What you want to do is talk to your daughter and find out what’s going on with her. You should know that many young (and older) people smoke from a bong, which is what that glass contraption is. This doesn’t mean it’s good -- or legal, in your state.

You certainly have the right to require that she not smoke at your house. But I suggest that you go deeper. Try to find out why she’s smoking. For some, it is pure recreation. For many young adults who have moved back home, the time can be extremely difficult. They want to be independent but are not. Smoking weed can be an escape. Tell your daughter you want her to succeed, you don’t want her to smoke weed at all and definitely not at your house, and you want to support her transition to her independent life as a responsible adult. Make a plan together that you both work to enforce.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)