Question: I am expecting a baby in January and need maternity clothes I can wear on the job. (I plan to work at least until December.) I can find dressy clothes and sport clothes, but nothing sophisticated enough for my needs as an attorney. I wear a Size 12. Can you help?--B.B.
Answer: You can approach the bench in style if you follow the fashion approach here. The idea started with Coco Chanel, who first designed the look in our sketch in wool jersey. The white collar brings attention to your face instead of your baby, and the bow reinforces it. This long-sleeve version, made in polyester and rayon crepe, is from a collection of maternity clothes especially designed for business needs. It's available in navy, gray and burgundy, and it comes with a separate silk bow at the neck. You can order it from Mothers Work, Box 40121, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106, for $64 plus postage and handling. The collection also includes tailored suits and separates. You might be especially interested in the Adjuster Skirt. It's a tailored dirndl with hidden buttons that allow the waist to expand up to 3 1/2 inches during your first months of pregnancy and upon return home from the hospital, then return to a perfect slim fit. The skirt comes in camel-colored wool for $55 or red Dacron/wool for $49.
Q: I have a black shirtwaist dress with a rather full skirt. It now looks too preppy for my taste. What can I do to make it look more sophisticated?--D.P.
A: You can follow the lead of Anne Klein designer Louis Dell'Olio and wear your black dress with black accessories--black Western accessories. Your choices include a black bola tie with silver tassels; a wide, black tooled leather belt; a pair of flat-heel Western boots with white top stitching, or, if you prefer, pony-skin boots. The key is to choose the newly made Western offerings now widely available, not the authentic cowboy variety. The difference is that the new Western accessories look clean and modern, not like "Little House on the Prairie."
Q: I love the "Dynasty" look I get when I put shoulder pads in my clothes, but alas, they create unsightly bumps and ridges and can even be seen under some of my sheer blouses. Is there any help for this shoulder-pad see-through?--A.M.
A: Yes, camisoles with built-in shoulder pads. Several manufacturers now offer them, and they're stocked in most lingerie departments. For some items, you might also want to try flesh-colored shoulder pads. Experiment with several sizes and shapes, depending on your needs.
Q: I have a wardrobe full of T-shirts and blouses that are in good condition, but they don't really look up-to-the-minute. I think it's because none of them has shoulder pads. I don't have the time or the patience to sew pads into everything, and I'm not interested in layering my bras with shoulder-padded camisoles. It's too hot here for all that fabric.--B.L.
A: Solve your problem the way stylist Carole Pohn solves hers. She owns 15 different sizes of shoulder pads, which she wears in every single blouse and T-shirt in her wardrobe--without sewing them into anything. Here's how. Buy the shoulder pads of your choice and about 3 inches of 3/4-inch-wide (or wider) Velcro at any fabric shop. Tack the Velcro, rough side up, from neck to shoulder on top of each pad. Slip pads under bra straps. Attach top layer of Velcro (smooth side) over the bra strap so the two pieces bond. The pads stay in place and your problem is solved.