Tips from the pros.

Fashion Matters

Mixing patterns and prints seems like a fun trend. How can I pull off this look without looking like a fashion disaster?

This is a tricky one, but it really is worth trying. Start simply with just two prints or patterns. Keep them in the same color family; for example, you should pair a floral that’s predominantly pink and green with a stripe or plaid that is also mostly pink and green. A large pattern, like big flowers, meshes most easily with a small pattern, like gingham. The items you contrast should be ones that are similarly textured and that you’d wear together anyway if they “matched,” such as a sundress and light cardigan, but not heavy pants and a tee.

— Dannielle Kyrillos, editor-at-large of DailyCandy.com, the free daily e-mail covering food, fashion and fun.

Life Lessons

I’m not a morning person, but I’m starting a new job and need to be on time. How can I change my habits?

Waking up early can be a pain, although a little perspective in this case may help. Don’t forget that we are still in a recession, so having a job at all should be motivation in itself to get up and go to work. Waking up early is like any other habit; the more you do it, the better you get.

— Shannon Graham, professional life coach, www.321lifecoach.com

Wine & Dine

What wines are good for large gatherings where the host has to consider the tastes of many guests?

Large groups tend to consist of casual wine drinkers rather than enthusiasts. If you want to appeal to a broad range of tastes, go sweet. Dry wines may turn off casual wine drinkers unaccustomed to the taste. For reds, I suggest a Zinfandel, as it will be fruity and on the sweeter side. For whites, I suggest a Riesling, as it also tends toward the sweeter side.

— Brad Prescott, owner of IntoWine.com

Family Issues

I’m concerned that my teen daughter might be smoking. How can I talk to her about it?

Communicate to your daughter your own beliefs about smoking. Don’t threaten her with punishments; instead, give her the facts about what smoking does to your health in both the long and short term. Let her ask any questions she has without judgment. This will provide her with a set of guidelines to follow to help her make her own healthy decisions. Also, many small discussions, instead of one “big talk,” are easier for you as a parent and are more likely to have an impact on your teen.

— FamilyEducation.com