| Ask The Style Chefs: August 2005 Archives

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August 2005 Archives

Q. I am going to a wedding with my boyfriend on Sunday, September 18th.  The ceremony is at noon and the meal will be served at the reception at 1:30 sharp.  The couple are friends of my boyfriend, attended Purdue University and were both part of the Greek system.  The bride’s family has a lot of money, so it will be a very nice wedding.  As a guest, what should I wear???  I found a Jessica McClintock brown satin dress that is trimmed with an ivory ribbon and has the ivory ribbon also criss-crossing down the right side of the dress.  It falls at the knee.  I love the dress, just can’t decide if it is appropriate for the occasion. 
-Best Dress

A. The best way to decide what to wear is the dress code that is usually stated on the invite—did it say black tie? From the description of your dress it seems that you found THE DRESS to wear to the wedding.  And even better, if you love it, then wear it.  Clothes always look better when the wearer loves them and feels great in them.  It’s all about the attitude!

Q. I have a question in regards to metallics. I really like this hobo bag in which the color comes in a vintage gold/bronze. I usually am into classic things and don’t usually follow trendy things. However, this hobo bag is beautiful and I want to wear the bag for a long time, but worry that metallics will be out soon. How long will metallics be in for? Or would it just be better for me to get the hobo bag in the brown color? I need your advice.

-Shine, shine, shine

E0444225997347 V1 M56577569831127049A. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to guess when trends come and go. Our style editor, Jennifer, has been sporting a fabulous metallic bag from Lorelei for months and her mom loves it so much that she bought one recently as well. The stores and sites we regularly visit are also still jam packed with metallics in bronze, gold, and silver for Fall (like the Audra Metallic Hobo shown left from Isabella Fiore at If you love the bag, then I say go for it, especially since it’s in a deeper hue for Fall. If you buy a brown hobo, sure you’ll use it, but there’s no guarantee that you won’t be bored with it in a few months. Just because it’s neutral doesn’t necessarily mean it’s useful, stylish or will make you feel good. Go with your gut - just don’t spend a bundle for the “trend.”

Q. I have been a big fan in recent years of the no-hose rule with sandals or pumps. Do you think this trend will continue or do you think the end is in sight?

-Bare It?

DknyA. I’ve always been a fan of the no-hose look as well, although so many designers are making great hosiery styles for Fall that I may have to snap up a few pairs for when the temps really drop. I believe wearing or not wearing hose is a matter of preference, confidence and dress code - not a trend. So if you can get away with no hosiery, I’m on your side, but when winter rears it’s ugly head, consider a pair of herringbone tights for under your tall boots and skirts. And wear opaque lacy knee highs or tights with some open toe pumps to extend their wear time for just an extra month.

Q. After recently investing in an almost totally new work wardrobe, I don’t know what to do now.  First question - how do I put together a cute outfit quickly in the morning from my good components, without just grabbing boring standards?  My office is business casual and I work with a group of very fashion-savvy co-workers that I try to semi-keep up with (I am not fashion-savvy by nature).  And second question - what’s the best way to organize my clothes in my SMALL closet in order to maximize my efficiency and wardrobe hip-ness?  Any suggestions? 
-Trying to finish what she started…

A. How can you have a new wardrobe and still not know what to put on in the morning?  Take an assessment of your new wardrobe: Does it have color? Do you have some great accessories? Do the clothes fit your body well? Do you have a well-balanced mix of classics and a few inexpensive trendy items?  You need to mix color with pattern.  You need to pair classic pants or a skirt with a casual fitted jacket. 

Without knowing what’s in your new wardrobe, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to help you create outfits. Are you good friends with one of these fashion savvy ladies to ask some advice? My best advice is to be a little bolder in your choices and be willing to experiment - not by wearing linen with wool, but by layering on necklaces or putting your hair in a sleek ponytail and wearing a pair of dangly earrings or hoops.

As for your second question, it saves valuable time to organize your closet and keep it neat.  I own too much stuff, I admit it, so I keep two wardrobes: one Fall/Winter and one Spring/Summer.  I store whichever season is not in use and then go through it each season to separate what I want to keep, what goes to Good Will and what heads to consignment.  I keep cashmere sweaters stored in cloth bags and I keep almost all of my shoes, except ones in heavy rotation, in their original boxes clearly marked to remind me what’s in them.  I use under-bed storage in canvas storage bags to hold seldom-worn items like ski/snow stuff.   

As for the closet, I organize it by keeping like items together - shirts stay together and are organized by color (blues with blues, whites with whites, etc.), pants are together, skirts hang with each other and same goes for dresses. I use good wooden hangers to keep the closet looking nice and the clothes hang better, but you can also use plastic - just avoid wire. I never hang t-shirts, tanks or sweaters, they are always folded and stacked in drawers or on a shelf in the closet, usually above the rack.  Look for shoe racks that have 2-3 shelves to use on the floor of the closet or find one that can hang on the back of the door. There are also canvas and metal “closets” that you can find at stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond that can inexpensively give you another closet in about five minutes without any renovation or hammer involved.

162960Q. Love your site! I’m looking for a fun dress for my upcoming birthday party. I love the look of the new little lace dresses coming out, specifically the J.Crew French lace number and the longer one from BCBG Max Azria. But I’m looking for something closer to a quarter of their price…Any suggestions?
-Lace Luck

A. Stylish minds think alike! I just bought this dress for myself—it’s super cute, stretchy and comfortable for a lace dress. And even better it’s inexpensive.

Necessary Objects Lace Baby Doll Dress, $78 at

Q. I have a high profile military funeral in August in DC to attend and I (thankfully) haven’t been to a funeral in many years. I want to be comfortable in the heat, but dressed appropriately and look sophisticated and fashionable all at the same time. All I can find these days are party/sun dresses. What is appropriate as far as color and length/style and where would I find such an outfit?
-At a loss…

A. It’s still always best to wear black to a funeral, and it doesn’t have to be a dress. If you wear a black dress, be sure your shoulders/arms aren’t exposed (out of respect you should be covered in any house of religion). Be sure the dress doesn’t look like it fits in better at a cocktail party. If not a stylish, slightly conservative dress, then opt for a simple skirt and top or even a neutral or dark suit. Just stick to colors that are neutral like black, brown, cream, or navy. You can add accessories, a colorful top and heels to complete the look.

Q. It’s that time in my life where every other friend of mine is turning 30. What gift ideas do you have? I would like to give my friends something personal, funky or cute - what do you think?
-Almost 30 and Almost Loving It

A. Embrace the sweet life, being thirty is great! And you’re looking for gifts just in time, we girls at StyleBakery have created a brand new gift guide that should help you find gifts, whether you’re looking for stylish, intimate or fun. Check out the Great Big, Every-Occasion, Something-For-Everyone Gift Guide.

Q. I have a Bat Mitzvah to go to on September 3rd. The services are in the morning with the party to follow. The party will be at the temple also. What do I wear to this? I never went to an afternoon affair. I don’t want to be underdressed but I don’t want to overdress either. I have a black skirt with sequins and was wondering if I could wear this with a tank or tee shirt and strappy sandals and a funky necklace or would a skirt with sequins be too much for a daytime affair?
-Afternoon Affair

A. A skirt with sequins is fine as long as the top is toned down. Since the entire affair takes place at the temple, be sure you are respectful and have some kind of wrap or a little jacket or cardigan to cover your shoulders during the religious services. If it is an orthodox affair, your skirt should be long and skip the tank. Sequins on your skirt are ok provided you don’t look like a Vegas showgirl! Otherwise, you have the right idea for afternoon affair, funky necklace and all.

Q. I am an 18-year-old heading off to college in a month. I will be going to a school where the dress code is jeans, flip-flops or tennis shoes, and a shirt with the university name or logo on it. I would like to look a little more classy than that. What should I wear to look casual, fashionable, and comfortable in the dorms, going out, and to class?
-Casual with Class

A. Does the college actually have that “dress code” written in school literature? I assume that you are going to a college in a warm weather state, perhaps Florida or California? Think of college as your first steps towards defining your own style. You may go through multiple looks from freshman year to graduation, just like some students change majors. But this is the best time to experiment: be girly with sundresses while the weather is still warm and add gold or silver flip flops; be bohemian with a tiered skirt in ombre, a bold color or a fun print and add a tank and long strands of beads; embrace denim with dark jeans or a mini or wear colorful cords and add cowboy boots and a fitted blazer. College was the time when I also had fun discovering vintage clothing on my limited budget. Enjoy!

Q. I have very pale skin and have experimented with sunless tanners for years. I recently started using Neutrogena’s MicroMist spray (which Stylebakery recommends) and I love it! But I was wondering, how often should I reapply? I don’t want to get too dark but I want my color to be consistent so it doesn’t look fake.
-Fake Bake

300-7A. The look of most sunless tanners only lasts a few days and then you have to find the time to reapply, wait to dry and hope your elbows, ankles and hands don’t look funny. So, for the sun-kissed look all year long without hand stains, try the new Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer. They make it for fair and darker skin tones and you can use it every day to maintain color over time.

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