| Ask The Style Chefs: February 2006 Archives

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February 2006 Archives

Q. I am thrilled to have found a website where I can “secretly” ask a style question and my friends will never know that I too question the do’s and don’ts of fashion.  I just purchased my first pair of camel colored heels.  I buy a new pair of black heels every month, because really you can never have enough and because I work 9-5 and wear heels EVERYDAY.  I need some information regarding how to wear camel.  Does my purse need to match?  I personally love camel and black, but have a fear of lighter colored shoes on the bottom of a dark pant.  Can I wear camel shoes with black pants?  Could you please give me some recommendations on outfits with camel heels?  I am very freaked out by anything but black, so this is a big step for me. 
-Camel Confusion 

A. I’m still reeling over the fact that you buy a new pair of black heels every month!  Girl, break out of the rut and start choosing color. You must have a huge closet for all those shoes or you’re savvy enough to sell them off through consignment.  At least you’ve decided on another neutral color to add to your wardrobe. First off, you don’t need to match your shoes with your purse these days, just be sure your look is polished for the office from head to toe.  As for camel heels—it’s easier to pair a lighter heel with a darker bottom when it’s a skirt.  Otherwise, your camel heels will look best with lighter bottoms like matching camel, pink, white/off white, pastels and pale hues. Black heels with black pants or a dark hued heel with dark pants keep your look streamlined and give an illusion of length/height.

Q. I recently purchased an adorable Nanette Lepore navy and white suit for my engagement party. But I’m having a terrible time finding the appropriate shoes. I’ve looked everywhere but to no avail. I’d like something stylish but don’t need to blow $500 on them.  My ideal shoe would be navy, with cream tip and peep toe.
- In Need of Navy 

A. I’m not big on the matchy–matchy look from head to toe, but I did my best to find you some choices that would give you that option. Navy is one of those shoes that usually leads the shopper into a frustrated state of mind. Add me to the list since I too could not find a navy and white peep toe that wasn’t dowdy.  So I shopped many of our favorite shoe sites to give you some options that would give you a stylish foot to pair with your girly Nanette Lepore suit.

Givenchy 554922
$378.95 at

RSVP Sabine
$99.95 at


Carlos by Carlos Santana
‘Sunny’ Sandal
$88.95 at

Q. I have a friend in Florida with a pressing style question.  She is 60ish, but wants to do what is currently in style.  She has a pair of slingbacks with a closed toe.  She is wondering whether to go without hose or wear nude or black hose (which would match her outfit).  She will wear them with longish skirts.
-Hosiery know how 

A. Your stylish older gal pal can work her longish skirts two ways.  While it still gets a bit chilly at night in Florida, she can stay comfortable in black sheer hose and once the temps start heating up, then she can bare an ankle without the hose. And my 60-something mom agrees.

Q.  I’m graduating High School this year and I’ve been searching for a dress, but I don’t want the usual prom dress, I want an Oscars couture-looking gown, but I it has to be around $350-375. I LOVE sequins and I’ve looked on the websites for Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and A.B.S., but I have found few dresses with sparkle! Do you have any suggestions?
-Sassy Sparkle   

A. For sparkle and shine, your dress shopping destination should be  They have many Hollywood and celebrity recreations that hit within your budget and have plenty of sparkle without overdoing it. And while you may be hesitant to shop among prom , you can find plenty of sequins and choices at And don’t forget to check out other sites like like I did:

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Niteline Sequin Embellished Gown
$338 at

Edressme 1886 398595
Faviana Beaded Evening Gown
$218 at




Carmen Electra-inspired
$199 at

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Sue Wong
Beaded Silk Slip Dress
$385 at

Q. I bought this gorgeous Chaiken black lace jacket (grosgrain ribbon belt, bell sleeves, hits just at the waist). While I think it looks super cool with a simple white cotton tank, jeans and fabulous shoes, I’d like to wear it to an engagement party and can’t think of what would look best. Any ideas? The party’s not super dressy, more sophisticated cocktail attire (guys will be in suits for sure).
-Black Lace Conundrum

A.  You can easily dress up your black lace jacket from good looking with jeans to bravo with a fitted camisole and a black pencil or slight a-line skirt on bottom and your fabulous shoes to finish the look.  The camisole doesn’t have to be black, but should be a fairly simple designed top so it doesn’t detract from the lace jacket. Use the link below to view some options.

Q. I’m absolutely in love with the new skinny legged jeans and pants that have popped up all over the runways for Spring. I’m petite and curvy though, and am worried about how this look might translate on me. Is there any way to pull these off and not look fat, or am I doomed to admire skinny trousers with kimono tops from afar. Thanks for the help!
- Want Skinny, Not Stumpy

A. Truth is, not every trend is for every person. Ideally, the skinny legged jeans are meant for skinny girls with barely there hips and no thighs to speak of.  That’s why we see them photographed on models. Curves become exaggerated when a skinny leg or tapered leg pant looks good below the knee, but shortens and balloons the upper half of the body.  But you may be seeing yourself as curvier than you actually are, so as I tell everyone, don’t assume anything about clothes until you try them on for fit since every body is different.  If you feel good and confident in a pair, then buy them and strut about. And if you can’t find the right pair, then look for straight leg jeans or pants for a slimmer look.

69196 Gr7216Q. I am going to be married in the near future (we are considering eloping, so it’s a bit casual). To that end, I picked up the J. Crew whitney silk faille dress in pale green and am trying to figure out how to accessorize it. I’m thinking strappy heels and some sort of wrap with dangly earrings, but I’m not sure what to do color-wise since the dress is a light sage green color and I don’t particularly want to wear white with it. Would metallic sandals work? Where would I look for something like this (especially as I tend to need a 12W)?
-Wedding Shoe Woes

A. Just because you’re considering eloping doesn’t mean your wedding attire has to be casual.  It’s your day to shine whether it’s walking down the aisle at the Little White Chapel in Vegas, with your closest family on a hilltop in Hawaii or having a small gathering at an intimate restaurant.   

Shopping for a larger size shoe can frustrating since many designers do not produce larger sizes and when they do, they produce fewer styles and stores buy smaller amounts of the styles compared to sizes 7 and 8. It may take a little more sleuthing to find a stylish heel that accompanies the chartreuse dress, but my suggestions lean towards a metallic heel and these shoe picks all come in your size:


Special Occasions ‘Coco’ 
$143 at


Annie Selena 
$58.95 at 


J. Renee ‘Inga’ Sandal
$82.85 at

Q. What is the recommendation for hose color with shoes?  Can tights/hose be darker than the shoe?  (An example of a probable fashion faux pas in my past history - red and black plaid skirt with black tights and red shoes.)  Is it still recommended when wearing solid black or navy to have a unified color from head to toe? 
-Hopeless With Hosiery

A. I agree, your red and black plaid skirt with black tights and red shoes would have been better on a six year old, but there aren’t necessarily hard and fast rules with hosiery.  I recently wore a black sweater with a thin belt at the waist over a black pencil skirt and black opaque tights and gave the whole look character by wearing greenish teal suede high-heeled round toe pumps. Had the outfit been brown, I could have added bronze metallic or a dark, less shiny gold  pump or even an animal print. Navy can be one of the hardest shades to match up head to toe so it takes a gal with attitude to add a little color like greenish teal, olive or hunter green and burgundy.  While black certainly looks chic head to toe, it’s nice add a bit of color with a shoe or accessory in a deep hued color. Just be sure to see yourself in a full length mirror before you walk out the door.  If you like it, then wear it.

Q. I am a bridesmaid in a wedding and the bride is concerned with what color shoes we should wear.  Our dresses are tea-length and chocolate brown.  Dyeables are not an option, as it is an outdoor wedding and the dye will run.  She’d like us all to be in the same shoe due to the length of the dresses. 
-Shoe Review

A. Just like we worry about the dress and the surefire phrase you can wear it again, you’d like to make sure the shoes you invest in can actually be worn on another occasion.  The chocolate dress and the shoes do not have to match exactly, and thank goodness for that since no one wants to look like a chocolate popsicle.  Your shoes can be a lighter or darker version of the hue of the dress or go one step further and look at bronze as your metallic choice to give the dresses more “shazam!” as Beyonce would say.


Nina Mabel Braided Sandal
$79.95 at


Chinese Laundry Wesley
$54.95 at


RSVP Venice
$89.95 at

Q. I’m having a beach wedding in May in Bermuda. My dress is a sheath style halter in silk charmeuse and the color is called latte.  It is best described as a deeper ivory color.  I am planning on doing the ceremony barefoot but for the reception (under a tent) I wanted some options for shoes.  I don’t want to do dyeables.
-Dyeables Don’t/Won’t Do

A. I’m not a fan of dyeables for anybody’s wedding. You need style and fancy flair in a fabulous pair of shoes that don’t scream matchy-matchy. Before you buy a pair of sandals, think about the length of your dress and what the difference will be between walking on the beach barefoot and then slipping on heels for the reception.  Do you want more height at the reception?  Might you slip onto the sand for photos and a view of the sunset?  You probably don’t want to be tied up or strapped into sandals that require more than slipping on and off for the occasion.  Enjoy the chance to be footloose and fancy free some moments on the beach or dance floor and other times, elegant and sophisticated.  And due to the “latte” color and choice of a sunny location, I would shop for dressy sandals in light gold tones. Here are my suggestions for your destination wedding that give you height and elegance, but also the chance to toss them off easily:


Nina Verlie Glittering Sandal
$79.95 at


Kate Spade Lover
$298.95 at


Nine West ‘Accolia’ Sandal

$68.95 at

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