| Ask The Style Chefs: September 2005 Archives

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September 2005 Archives

Are nylons OUT?

2629Q. Hi Alison!  I say nylons are O U T “OUT”; my girlfriend disagrees.  My opinion is that nylons (nude, taupe, etc.) are a huge fashion faux pas, but sheer black are ok with a cocktail dress…but NEVER with sandals or an open toe.  What do you think?
-Are Nylons a No No

A. Although I personally am not a big fan of hosiery, it does help many women hide minor bulges and flaws.  I usually discourage younger women from wearing flesh-toned hosiery when they usually have great legs.  Go bare I say!  But if you do want to wear hosiery, then choose from all the creative styles that saturated the runways this season. Sheer black hose with a cocktail dress is the norm for many women.
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When it gets cooler, there are tights, fishnets and patterns to choose from to wear with skirts, dresses and even as trousers.  And just a tip—many women in NYC, including fashion editors, wear tights or patterned hosiery with peep-toe shoes to add a pop of color and extend the length of time they can wear their fashionable shoes — just be sure there is no visible seam.

Above left: Jonathan Aston Double Diamond Tights, $13.99 at
Below right: Jonathan Aston 40 Denier Opaque Pantyhose, $12 at

Q. I like wardrobes, what kind of jewelry (closets) are best for easy display and daily access/organization of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and hair clips?
-Easy Access

A. I’m a big fan of keeping my jewelry organized and easy to find. I own a leather jewelry armoire from Hold Everything and I can’t imagine what my drawers would look like if I didn’t. I also keep additional necklaces organized in soft cinched bags and small boxes in the top drawer of my dresser.
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leather jewelry armoire
$345 at

Athena mahogany jewelry chest
$189.95 at
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Alexandra jewelry box
$149.25 (sale) at

Q. Can velvet be worn for a formal occasion now?


162924A. Other than those rich fitted velvet jackets one can start wearing in October when the temperatures begin to drop, I’m not a big proponent of velvet in October (though it is a HUGE trend this season). It truly depends on the outfit—a red, green or black velvet dress can be a big no-no for October since so many velvet dresses scream “HOLIDAY here I come.” But a cute cocktail dress (like the ABS by Allen Schwartz Chiffon & Velvet Dress shown left from or a dress in a contemporary cut or even a fantastic velvet suit in rich shades like eggplant and cappuccino can sneak by at a formal event this time of year and look great. Use temperature and location as your guide - if you live in Colorado where it’s already snowing then wear it, if you live in Florida where it’s still beach weather then skip it until November.

Q. I have been searching everywhere for a good quality hair straightener that dries and straightens hair at the same time. I know that there are a lot out there, but I am looking for one that really works. I was wondering if you could help me find one for under $100.
-Flat Out

B00019Mjq8.01-Aujfgu7Cgs4Fi. Scmzzzzzzz -1A. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a perfect drying straightener on the market. Reason being, the time it takes to get tangled hair or wet hair through them. BaByliss Pro 1½“ Vented Ceramic Straightening Iron is the best one I have seen in this price range, but hair can be at most damp when you begin.

Q. I seem to be doomed with limp locks. No matter what cut, style or length…the gang always plays dead. What simple product can you recommend for an “on the go” gal to help turn up the volume?
- Limp Locks

04385988904A. I asked our beauty contributor, Mickey Williams, for help with your limp locks. She recommends the Kerastase product line. The only issues with this line are price, and that you practically need an expert to tell you which product you should use. Ask your hairstylist to look at the texture and volume of your hair and to write the “prescription”.

Another sure way to make the gang play is to get a bottle of Beach Spray from Bumble and Bumble and use this product exactly as directed. The salt in this product brings curl to even pin-straight hair. Another thing to consider is using a leave-in conditioner rather than one in the shower. Sometimes we can over condition hair, creating a heavier strand that just lies flat. Again, Bumble and Bumble makes a very lightweight leave-in conditioner that is exceptional. It’s a bit more pricey, but the results are worth it.

Check out to shop for these products for free shipping and discounts.

Q. I have just gotten a short haircut and am interested in sporting some chic hats.
-Preparing for a bad hair day

A. I adore that you are interested in wearing hats this Fall. So many women shy away from wearing hats thinking they can’t pull them off. It takes a confident attitude and it helps to have a stylish haircut. For Fall, look for toppers in tweed and corduroy and newsboy driving caps that won’t cover up a short haircut completely. Avoid those wide brim boho chic hats made famous again by Sienna Miler, they’re meant for girls with long hair.70072 Wc3427

David & Young tweed newsboy cap, left, $16 at; tweed topper, right, $68 at

Florfrplcsrn PQ. I have a non-working fireplace in my apartment and am looking to create a little romance and mood lighting with candles since I can’t light up any logs. And I don’t want to just put a bunch of candles in the area. I’m looking for something like a “chandelier or candelabra” effect for the space. I need help with some suggestions.

-Light Up My Hearth

A. Not knowing your design style, I wanted to give you several suggestions that may fit into your living room motif. There are several ways to approach the lighting effect for the room. You can fill the fireplace with logs or birch branches to give the look of a fireplace ready to light and then fit a fireplace screen with votive holders in front (like the one shown at left top from

For inside the fireplace, consider a multi level candleholder to get varying heights of light whether in rustic bronze or modern steel (Malabar 5-cup candleholder, shown above right, from Pg01-1922198RegOr, you may choose a simpler design by placing several thick candles in varying heights on a wood, glass or metal “plate” and place it in the center of the hearth (metal and glass candle plate, shown left,

If you want a little more detail but still want to stick with a minimalist touch, buy a few hurricane candleholders and place them next to each other or in various spots of the fireplace and place large thick candles inside. Voila! Instant ambience. (open hurricane, shown right, Quick tip - be sure to measure the space before you buy anything to be sure you don’t start a real fire or leave visible smoke marks.

Also, take a look at your mantle (or put one up if you don’t have one) and add candles, mirrors, artwork, etc. to complete the full effect.

Q. What’s the correct way to button a three buttoned jacket? My husband seems to button the middle only and I am constantly telling him it looks very old fashioned. However, I wondered if the same rule applies to women, as some of my colleagues fasten just the top, others all three and I fasten the top two!
-Buttoned Up

A. For both men and women, the best looking way and the most common way to wear a three-button suit is to button the top two buttons. Buttoning all three buttons is a formal way to wear the suit and is acceptable. By just buttoning the top button, I wonder what extra room a man needs in the suit for, perhaps, an expanding waistline.

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Q. HELP! I am supposed to go to my fiance’s 10 year high school reunion in early October. The catch - it’s a football game followed by all day hanging out/drinking. I obviously want to look cute (ie. - not sloppy) but also want to be appropriately dressed for a football game (ie. - not over dressed). The reunion is in early October, so flip-flops will be an option. Suggestions???

-Game Day

157844-2A. Unless you’ll be in a warm weather locale then I’d skip the flip flops, but if the thermometer outside is still hovering above 80 degrees then go ahead and wear stylish flip flops (not your favorite well-worn pair of Old Navy’s.) Fall football games always make me think of argyle, nubby fabrics and a scarf wrapped around my neck. For game camaraderie and comfort, go for dark jeans, cute slip-on flats, a chunky cardigan sweater with a button down shirt or tee underneath and a simple fitted jacket for when it turns cooler at night. If the jacket is too much for the temps outside, maybe a scarf and a cute tweed topper or driving hat is your stylish standout. Find out the team colors and find a scarf with those colors - guaranteed compliments. You may even find a “university” style sweater that fits into the theme of the day. I have a favorite from Tory Burch that always makes me feels nostalgic when I put it on. At left: Vince Cable-Knit Alpaca Wrap, $275 at; At right: 525 America Pocket Cardigan, $88 at

Q. Shrugs seem like a great idea for those of us with less than perfect arms. But, who should never wear them? Do they make your middle look thicker or your bust look huge?

-Arm Cover

A. Shrugs are a great solution for a little extra coverage with tees, tanks and sleeveless dresses. To avoid looking bulky, adding extra broadness to shoulders or attention to a large chest, look for ones that are not made of thick knitted fabrics. Shrugs ultimately come in two versions - just over the shoulders with a bit of rounded ends that can either fit snugly or scoop over a bit of breast, or the other version is the tie front. To avoid adding attention to your chest, avoid the scoop side version and choose the tie front style in a material that isn’t thick. Or instead of the shrug, look for a little bolero style jacket or shrunken cardigan. At left: Laundry by Shelli Segal Cashmere Ruffle Shrug, $148 at; At right: One Girl Who Shrug Bolero, $97 at

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