| Ask The Style Chefs: May 2006 Archives

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May 2006 Archives

Q. I’m in New Orleans and find myself hard-pressed to find unique items that I’m looking for. Some of my favorite boutiques are still closed, so I’ve really gotten more involved in online style searching and purchasing. I do find it more difficult, however, to find specific articles that I’m looking for when I don’t have a particular brand in mind.

Right now, I’m dying for a cute, very sheer, beach tunic for a trip I’m taking to Belize at the end of June. Do you have any sites and/or designers you could recommend for finding some of these?
-Fashion-starved since Saks closed   

A. Love the summer heat and I, too, can’t wait for the beach.  Here are a few of sheer tunic cover ups to consider:

P D636437long, sheer and gorgeous
print tunic with sequins from Delfina Swimwear
$191.99 (sale) at

 5184260-1a little sexy

La Blanca by Rod Beattie Crochet Tunic
$86 at

74146 Wt0022 Su06 Msomething simple
Washed Guaze Back-Tie Tunic
$29.99 (sale) at

 5163653wear it on the beach or out to dinner

Lilly Pulitzer ‘Plum’ Tunic
$188 at

Q. I saw something in a magazine about a designer handbag club. You pay a yearly fee and then you basically swap the “it” bag of the season for a period of time without having to buy the bag. Are you familiar with the club and any info on the web?
-Lookin’ to be It 

Hp SosA. Yes, it’s called You can choose from Trendsetter, Princess, Diva or Couture status.  Membership starts at $9.95 a month and you can borrow the bag for a month, six months or even a year.  Plus, you can borrow more than one bag at the same time, it all just depends how much you want to spend and how badly you want that “it” bag hanging off your shoulder.  This is a simple and more affordable way to dress like the rich and famous.

Q. Help!  I have a date Saturday night.  I want to wear wedge-style or strappy style dress shoes, but am insistent on wearing black nylons to go with my dress.  Is this okay?  I can’t find any closed-toe shoes that I like.  I would go with a lighter black nylon if necessary.  The dress is knee length and since I had weight loss surgery in January, my knees and thighs are a little droopy so I really want the support of the nylons.  Your prompt answer would be greatly appreciated.
-Nylon Know How   

A16DkhA. Hosiery with strappy sandals or full sandal style wedges is a no-no with sheer hosiery.  Sheer hose looks best with pumps, slingbacks,  D’Orsays or you can even get by with a peep toe pump.  Fashionistas wear tights in colder temps with some strappy styles, but it truly takes attitude to pull it off and the tights are usually a color, not black.  And look for black sheer hosiery that has some built in shaping like Donna Karan Sheer Satin Essential Toners ($16.50 at

Q. I have a semi-formal evening wedding to which I am wearing a knee length black and white skirt and black formal halter top.  It’s in the South at a country club. Do I have to wear hose with my sandal? What kind of sandals would you suggest?
-Clueless Dresser 

A. Skip the hose. Stylish southerners know that when the heat is on, hose just makes y’all sticky and constricted.  Choose a mid to high heel to give the appearance of having longer legs.  And certainly with hotter temperatures and it being a festive occasion, go for a strappy black or silver sandal with perhaps extra details like satin fabric, a small bow or even a few small rhinestones.  And get yourself a pretty pedicure in a soft nail color—no blaring reds.

Q. I have a pair of white unlined pants—should I cut all pockets out and have them sewn together?
-See Through 

19444 41405 H011006M-1A. After having models try on countless pairs from various designers in all price ranges for our recent Today show segment, we were surprised by how many designers make pants that are nearly see-through.  For pants with pockets that seem glaringly apparent, we do suggest taking them to a tailor to have the pockets cut out and the hole sewn closed.  This can create a sleeker, smoother look. 

Since transparent whites seem to be rampant among so many designers, make sure you also wear the right undergarments to avoid attracting any undue lingering attention - NEVER wear white, color or prints.  My favorite is the Barely There Flawless Fit in nude.  The bikini doesn’t ride up and is made of incredibly soft, thin fabric. The boy short version is also an excellent option for no VPL (visible panty lines).

$6.99 at

Q.  I’m traveling to London at the end of the month and I’m looking for a pair of flats that are cute, comfy, can be dressed up and down, and can be worn rain or shine. The problem is that I’m not looking to spend a lot of money. Can you help?
-Flat Appeal 

000006416A. I adore these flats from Aerosoles called the Frillie Pepper—they’re super cute, comfy with a cushioned insole and the gold can be paired with walking shorts by day and dresses at night.

$69 at

Q. I’m in a wedding in June.  The bride chose a dress that has three layers of ruffles at the bottom, a cowl neck with a low drape in back, and flutter sleeves.  The dress is lavender.  I would feel naked without any jewelry, but don’t want to overdo it.  What accessories would you put with this dress?
-Accessory Uncertainty 

A. Go for gorgeous earrings and either a pretty cocktail ring or simple bracelet.  The earrings are the focal point. Here are a few suggestions from lavender colors to pearl hues:

Kalb Lulea1Ingrid Kristina
Lulea Earrings,
$220 at

Eb18 LLaurice Curran
Amethyst Earrings,
$60 at

Jilli Cascade Amethyst1Jill Italiano
Cascade Earrings,
$84 at

Grapes-MediumRachel Leigh, NY
Grapes ring,
$180 at

Amybracelet-320X240Claudette Jewelry
Purple Diamond Bracelet,
$70 at

Renatom Mop2Rena Tom
White Shell Fan Bracelet,
$170 at

Q. Where can I find a one-piece or tankini with underwire?  I am a size 16 and with D breasts, so I just can’t go without the wire.  I am only 28, so I don’t want a “grandma” suit, but I can’t wear a string bikini either.  Please help!
-A Southern Sunbather

A. Some of the best styles that give lift and support with no “grandma” concerns are halter-top swimsuits.  Look for ones with built in cups for the best lift and there are many swimsuits with discreet features like extra Lycra to flatten tummies and slim hips.  I love Miraclesuit, and they offer specific styles for D and double D cups. Below are a few of my suggestions and be sure to check out our latest Swim Style style recipe for more options.

Eb05Iu 0120212 216A1Solid-Color Wrap Miraclesuit
$102 at

167208 Af05 M1 Mia MD-cup Solid V-neck Halter Tank Swimsuit
$68 at

L1009098-1Venezia Sport rhinestone-accent halter tank
$89.50 at

Q. What basic color shoes should be in a woman’s wardrobe? Someone told me white, black and red but this seems out there.
-No Clue Shoes 

A. White as a requisite in your shoe wardrobe is definitely “out there.”  Very few people wear white shoes, and when they do, it’s usually a sandal or flip flop.  Word of advice: don’t ask that same person about clothing choices!   

It’s hard to determine what’s best for your wardrobe since your lifestyle and career can influence your needs and choices, but if you were to keep the colors and styles to a bare minimum, black and chocolate brown should cover you for most occasions and seasons. For the past few years, metallics have become essential neutrals, adding spark to everything from a cocktail dress to jeans and helping to alleviate the desire for “matching colors” from head to toe.  A bronze heel can replace your brown pump when the shade is wrong with your outfit, while silver and gold work well with a multitude of colors.  Finally, adding color to your shoe wardrobe, whether it’s a navy espadrille, a pink ballet flat or a green pointy-toe slingback can give new life to any wardrobe or polish even the most basic jeans and t-shirt look.

Q. When is it ok to wear capri pants in terms of time of year? I live in Canada and it’s now spring so is it ok to start wearing them?
-Cropped Pant Craving 

A. Go for it! Plenty of gals all around the country are sporting them.  But here’s my tip for the best fit and fashionable function: capris look best on women who are 5’4“ and taller; capris on petite girls will only make them look shorter or stunted.  To pull off the cropped pant for shorter heights, look for lengths that hit just above mid shin and higher up to a walking short length and pair them with wedges or heels.  And no matter what height, avoid a baggy leg.  As for season, some cropped pants (depending on color and fabric) can be worn all year long when paired with knee high boots and a sweater during the cooler months.

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