| Ask The Style Chefs: July 2006 Archives

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July 2006 Archives

Q. I recently started a new job and wanted to celebrate with a treat to myself…splurging on a great bag. Can you recommend a medium-sized bag I could use all year long and that is fashionable but not too trendy/flashy?  I’m looking for something classic, but I’m willing to spend a lot so I want to be able to use the bag summer, winter, spring or fall.
-Brilliant Bag

A. Oooh! This was fun.  Not sure what your “splurge” budget is, so I may have gone a bit overboard. Here are some suggestions of brilliant bags that are neutral colored and classic styles without lots of hardware to complicate the look or be too trendy.


Francesco Biasia ‘Pure Magic’ Large Satchel,
$480 at


Cole Haan ‘Village’ Large Drawstring Tote,
$425 at

P11007558 Ph Hero

Kooba Ginger Bag with Braid,
$635 at

0442131766682 275X275

Gucci Medium Shoulder Bag,
$1895 at

Q. I am going to a wedding Sept. 30th in Tennessee. I have a sleeveless black dress that I planned on wearing. I would like to wear a shawl as a cover for my shoulders. Are Pashminas past season, or would something else be more appropriate?
-Wrap Up

A. While other fashion editors may say Pashminas are passé, no doubt many of them still own them and travel with them. There are plenty of stylish wraps that will give a little coverage for the religious ceremony or just to keep your shoulders warm. If you already have a Pashmina that looks good with your chosen dress for the occasion, then by all means wear it, if not here are a few suggestions:


Tissue-Weight Cashmere Wrap
(comes in many colors)
$99 at


Sean Collection Bead-Trim Silk Shawl
(also in black),
$40 at

0402646756110 275X275

Ilana Wolf Satin Ruffle Capelet,
$225 at

Q. Do you have any suggestions of stores and styles to try for a 5 foot, size 0, pregnant gal? I am about to enter the 6th month of my pregnancy and now that I am truly showing (and 3 cup sizes larger) I can no longer get away with my pre-pregnancy clothes. It was always hard to find styles that were proportioned to my small build but add in a baby belly and it seems impossible. A lot of maternity clothes are cut like tents, which make me look as wide as I am tall. Also, I don’t want to break the bank for clothes that are only going to be useful to me for another 3 to 4 months. Any suggestions as to how I can live out these last months in a more Angelina than Britney fashion?
-Pleasantly Preggers

A. There are countless women who will read your question and think, “If only I could have your worries of being a size 0 and trying to find maternity clothes!”  Since affordable and stylish maternity clothes are difficult for every size, I’ve pulled a list together that will fit into every pregnant woman’s wardrobe worries, from tops and pants to skirts and dresses. Check out sites like,, nicolematernity,, (for Liz Lange) and Always check the sales and clearance sections of the maternity websites for great deals. Also, you can get the most out of pre-pregnancy and early pregnancy clothes using Belly Bands, a great maternity accessory we recently featured.

22C392062hug-a-boo rib kimono top,
$70 at

30504A-1trixies tube,
$66 at

20115 Mid RPerfect Cropped Poplin Pant,
$78 at

Q. What color shoes would I wear with a white dress with a green and blue floral pattern on it? It is more dominantly white, has thin straps and is just below knee length. The dress is very summery, but dressy enough where I can’t wear simple summer sandals. Any ideas on what type of shoe and also the color? I have always had the hardest time matching a shoe to any dress/skirt that is blue and white. I was thinking about wearing this dress to an upcoming wedding that is early evening and will be very hot, but I have always been told not to wear white to a wedding, even though there is a big floral pattern on the dress.
-Color Confused

A. Well, the dress is not completely white since it has a pattern, so go ahead and wear the dress to the wedding. As for sandals, choose a dressy higher heeled sandal in green, blue or go for metallic like silver or gold, which will instantly make the outfit look more sophisticated.

Q. I am going to Paris in a week, and need to know what to pack. I need to be comfortable, but also want to look chic. Is this possible? What are your recommendations for clothes and especially shoes that can take me from the museums to the cafes to wandering the streets? I love StyleBakery, and know that you can help me.
-C’est Chic

A. Simply take an eagle’s eye view of the wardrobe you plan to pack and add some stylish accessories - and take out the athletic sneakers. Pack a low-heeled sandal that can take you walking through the Tuilleries or paired with a dress for dinner at a bistro. Add a stylish ballet flat or low wedge espadrille and a cute pair of kicks (my term for sneakers like Puma or Adidas that are meant for wearing with khakis or jeans and not for working out) to walk the streets and visit museums (may I suggest the Rodin, D’Orsay and Picasso museums?).

Pack a short sleeve fitted white button down shirt or a long sleeve that you can roll up your arms. They’ll look clean, fresh and simple. Pair them with a pretty necklace that has some color. Pack a few skirts, pencil or A-line, that aren’t too mini nor too long. Add a pretty cotton top that is simple in design with a little ruffle, a wrap style, nautical stripes or a scoop or v-neck. You can even pack a pair of nice shorts (not the ones meant for casual t-shirts on weekends) and wear with a button down shirt, belt and your sandals or espadrilles. Add in pants in white, khaki or navy.

Most Parisians are classic dressers. Somehow a shirt, solid sweater and dark jeans look better on them than the average American - it’s not fair! Just keep your clothes looking classic and add accessories like great belts, earrings, a beaded necklace, or cuff bracelet to give them oomph. It’s a scorcher over in Europe this summer and they don’t have powerful air conditioning like we do, so dress in clothes that are airy and light. Wear your skirts day and night. And add a silk jersey dress like one from Diane Von Furstenberg (there are plenty of less expensive styles) that you can toss in your bag, won’t require ironing and looks great on any body type. Bon voyage!


Cole Haan offers a great selection of stylish and comfortable shoes using Nike Air technology. The ‘Air Bronte Bit’ slide and ‘Air Beau’ flat shown here from are great travel choices.

Q. Love the site and the emails!  I am attending an evening wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico this Labor Day weekend.  Can you suggest some stylish options for the ceremony?  It will be a formal ceremony, but on the beach…don’t want to be overdressed, but appropriate for the occasion! Thanks so much…you ROCK!
-Formal and Beachy 

A. Mariachi music!  Yeah!  Get ready to dance, dance, dance. You need a dress that is festive, colorful, and easy breezy.  Avoid black.  Go for color and even better, choose a patterned dress - it will express more personality.   It’s going to be hot, hot, hot, so choose a dress that moves easily and be prepared to go barefoot on the beach and carry your sandals.  Kick up some sand and be sure to dip your toes in the clear blue water.

Edressme 1906 5304986

Nicole Miller
Tiki Print Resort Dress
$300 at


Nicole Miller Border Print Tie Front Gown
$355 at


Charmeuse Smocked Scarf Print Dress
$56.10 at

Q. Where can I find a black, flat lace up espadrilles without any beading.   I have the beaded ones from Nine West but the beads keep falling off. I have a problem wearing heels but love the lace up look of espadrilles.
-In need of espadrilles 

A. For a huge selection of espadrilles check out Otherwise how about these suggestions:

Steve Madden ‘Barrier’
$93.95 at


Seychelles ‘Ribbon in the Sky’
$59.95 at


BP. ‘Congo’ Sandal
$59.95 at

Q. I have a question and I am keeping my fingers crossed that you can enlighten me.  I am a recent graduate with a degree in fashion design.   I have bought all of the resume books and cover letter books but still can’t find anything with enough flair for the fashion industry.
I have the resume part down, but how does one ask for an internship in the fashion magazine industry? What should I say in my cover letter, and further still, what should I not say? I hope you can help. Any advice would be appreciated.
-Fashion Hopeful

A. I would hope you wouldn’t find a copy of “you” in a book.  Instead of copying a letter already written, pull bits that help illustrate your excitement and creativity. More importantly, define for yourself exactly what kind of job you’d like to aspire to.  Do you want to be a fashion editor, a stylist, market editor? 

Since you’re willing to ask for an internship, you probably already know that your first job will most likely be the grunt work - errands, ironing, packing, steaming, making appointments for your bosses, etc.  Before you ask for an internship (which is usually non-paying), ask for an assistant position with a low paying wage, but a start up the magazine ladder. Honesty, enthusiasm, and offering to work hard (example-you’re active so lugging trunks for shoots will be a breeze, you’re organized so clothes and accessories will always be accounted for, lists will be catalogued, etc.). Briefly explain your love of fashion and why you’ve chosen to pursue it in the magazine industry. Leave any negativity out of the letter and be ready to follow up with a phone call since magazines get inundated with young graduates wanting to work for fashion magazines. 

Send your package to not only the editors of the magazines, but also to the human resources departments for each publishing house.  Call the publishing houses and find out the appropriate people in HR to send your materials to so as not to just write “attention: human resources”. And be ready at the interview to talk about the magazine you are applying for a position with in regards to the editors (know their names), designers they have recently featured, the fashion spreads, etc.  Assert your willingness to work hard, learn fro your superiors and contribute to the magazine.  Good Luck!

Q. I’m 15 years younger than my husband.  We both work out and are fit.  His son is getting married - afternoon wedding.  The bride and I are very close.  She said she doesn’t care what I wear to the wedding.  My concern is that I want to look elegant but not draw too much attention to myself from my attire.  The ex-wife is much heavier than I am, and also 20 years older.  I’m struggling finding the appropriate attire.  A beaded suit is not me at all, yet I don’t feel a black little dress is appropriate.  I’m a very outgoing upbeat person — any advice on what I should wear?
-Formal and Fretting 

A. You’re fit and fabulous and there’s no reason to look dowdy or play it safe and be a wallflower.  Weddings are a girl’s chance to dress up, heck, we just don’t get enough opportunities during the week to pull on a gorgeous dress. And don’t worry about drawing attention—all eyes will be on the bride, everyone else is just an afterthought when we all compare what we’re wearing. So look good in a dress and heels.   I scoured the stores and came up with options that are elegant and sophisticated without being daring.  You can stand proud and know that you look good, but are not making a statement.

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J Crew Avery silk short cross-back dress
(available in many colors)
$195 at

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Maggy London Halter Dress with Charmeuse Waist
$160 at


Anne Klein Dress Silk Georgette Dress
$220 at


Anne Klein Dress Charmeuse Waist Dress
$210 at

Q. My mother is searching for a dress to wear to my brother’s August 5 outdoor wedding, taking place at 4 PM, at a B&B-type locale outside of Boston.  As I can’t shop with her, I was hoping for some style suggestions that I could share with her.  I’m assuming that it will be hot, but she told me that she does not like sleeveless dresses – I believe she is a little self-conscious, being a size 14-16, so am hoping to find something elegant yet flattering for this special occasion. (Also, she probably will not want to spend over $200, knowing her!). It’s a tall order, but I would appreciate any help you could provide!
-Dress Frustration

A. It’s her son’s wedding and surely your mom is fretting over what to wear that fits her body and looks great since plenty of attention will be given to her.  I’ve found options that all give arm coverage, range from long to knee length and formal to semi-formal with a few color choices as well. They range in price from around $150 to $300.  It’s an important day, so find the dress that looks and fits best, a few extra bucks will be worth it when you see the photos.


Sean Collection Beaded Dress with Jacket
$278 at




Sean Collection Three Piece Ensemble
$318 at



Edressme 1905 5279716-1



Plus Size Gold Lace Cocktail Dress
from Kiyonna
$178 at




JS Boutique Beaded Mesh Dress
$158 at

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