| Ask The Style Chefs: May 2007 Archives

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May 2007 Archives

Q. I will be going on my honeymoon from July 10-20 and I need some advice as to what to pack. We are going to Hawaii and we will be spending the first three nights in Honolulu, and then the rest of the trip on the island of Kauai (more remote and quiet). We are a young active couple in our mid twenties and our activities will be very active, but there will also be down time and nice romantic dinners, the beach, etc. I am petite (5’1, 120lbs) and not really into too-sporty styles. Any advice on stylish outfits and clothes for the most memorable trip of my life?

A. Obviously, you want to look good for all those photos you’ll be taking. For a honeymoon I change my usual packing advice about keeping to three neutral colors and simplicity. For evenings, wear lightweight sundresses and for days of activities, pack shorts, tanks and vintage style tees. Skip jeans and pack stylish khakis or white pants and skirts. Pack double the amount of tops to bottoms. You can wear pants and skirts twice with fresh colorful tops before tossing in the laundry bag. Pack three swimsuits so you can continually switch them. Pack a clutch for dinners, a tote for the beach or pool and use that same bag for shopping or day excursions. Pack strappy heels, sneakers, flip flops or thong sandals and a low or flat sandals or espadrille. And don’t forget some pretty lingerie. Extra tips —pack an extra pair of sunglasses in case you lose a pair and you can always wash intimates with a little shampoo and hang in the shower overnight to dry.

Striped Sylvan dressStrapless Smocked Jersey Dress from Nicole MillerGrace Eyelet Dress

Pack a few day to evening dresses that can be worn with flip flops or wedge sandals, left to right: Striped Sylvan dress, $148 at; Strapless Smocked Jersey Dress from Nicole Miller, $255 at; Grace Eyelet Dress, $44.50 at

Love Squared Drawstring Tube TopGingham ruffle halterStretch twill short

Pack a variety of tops that can be paired with shorts worn multiple times, left to right: Love Squared Drawstring Tube Top, $26 at; Gingham ruffle halter, $78 at; Stretch twill short, $60 at

 Three Tier Print CamiTory Burch Frederick Pants

left to right: Three Tier Print Cami, $78 at; Tory Burch Frederick Pants, $235 at

Susina® Pointelle CardiganZinc Patchwork SkirtRialto boatneck sweaterNick & Mo Tab Front Skirt

left to right: Susina Pointelle Cardigan, $36 at; Zinc Patchwork Skirt, $42 at; Rialto boatneck sweater, $68 at; Nick & Mo Tab Front Skirt, $42 at

Q. I have several “big” events this year. The first is a late-July family wedding in the Midwest that won’t be terribly formal. The second is my (gulp) 20-year high school reunion on September 1 in Phoenix, which also won’t be terribly formal, and the last is the wedding of my closest friend in Santa Fe on September 8, also not formal, but probably dressier than the other events. I would like to have one dress to wear to each since there will be entirely different people at each event. The problem is that the first event is smack in the middle of summer, and the last event is just in the very beginning of fall. I was leaning towards a halter-style neckline dress with an empire waist (I am short and curvy and find this style highlights the shoulders and bust while hiding my non-flat tummy) and have fallen in love with a chiffon one that is black with white polka dots. Will this be too summery to wear to the September 8 wedding? If so, do you have any other suggestions of dresses in the style described that would be in a color and fabric that is more seasonless?

A. Your black and white polka dot choice will certainly work for all three events. I like that you thought beyond a simple black dress and chose a pattern. With none of the same people at any of the events, you have multiple options. A little black dress can be switched in a myriad of ways with different accessories and heels while a patterned or colored dress makes a fresh and more stylish impression. I found several flattering options for a petite, curvy figure:

Sexy Red Dresses
from edressme new yorkAdrianna Papell Floral Silk Halter DressAdrianna Papell Floral Silk Halter DressMaggy London Print Charmeuse Halter DressMaggy London Silk Chiffon Halter Dress

left to right: Sexy Red Dresses from edressme new york, $42 at; Adrianna Papell Floral Silk Halter Dress, $178 at; Adrianna Papell Floral Silk Halter Dress, $179 at; Maggy London Print Charmeuse Halter Dress, $178 at; Maggy London Silk Chiffon Halter Dress, $148 at

Dress CopyQ. I recently purchased a Navy Satin Pinstripe dress by Betsy Johnson for a formal evening wedding this July 2007 in downtown New York (which I hope is OK to begin with!) However, I want to add a little spice to the dress and not just buy a black/navy satin shoe since the dress itself is different as far as style. Any advice on how to spice things up a bit!

- Frazzled and Dazzled

A. Metallic or color is the best way to add sass to a navy dress. Here are several options for your feet and to carry.

Franchi Handbags
Pagoda Leather ClutchWhiting & Davis Handbags
Shirred Mesh Long ClutchNina 'Oriana' SandalStuart Weitzman

opt for silver or white accessories, left to right: Franchi Handbags Pagoda Leather Clutch, $158.95 at; Whiting & Davis Handbags Shirred Mesh Long Clutch, $183.95 at; Nina ‘Oriana’ Sandal, $68.95 at; Stuart Weitzman Hotdish, $285 at

MAXSTUDIO 'Savannah' SandalCharles David
CarouseHand-painted laurel garland ring
Patent Bean Clutch

or add red, black and gold, left to right: Maxstudio ‘Savannah’ Sandal, $128.95 at; Charles David Carouse, $170 at; Hand-painted laurel garland ring, $45 at; Jalda Patent Bean Clutch, $265 at

Q. I am a size 14-16 and I am 5’8” and work in a bank. We have strict rules on no back or tummies to be revealed when bending over and raising your arms. Where can I find reasonably priced tops and pants that give enough rise and length to be professional? I also wear jeans on casual days and my jeans sit just below my waist. I need a pair that doesn’t cling to my thighs so I have wiggle room.
-Clothes Don’t Fit

A. I scoured our online sources for professional choices that will give you coverage in the front and back. For waist coverage, wide bands around the waistline can be flattering. Plus the new belted and tunic styles are stylish and cut longer and belted styles will help create an illusion of a smaller waist. Or try one of this season’s cropped jackets over a longer tunic or tank. For pants, look for styles that have a slightly wider leg. If you opt forjeans, trouser styles are flattering with a wider leg cut, they look more professional - plus you can dress them up for a night out.

Belted tunic with button detailVivid print cap-sleeve blouseBelted railroad-stripe shirtEyelet cotton pique jacket
Semantiks Faux Wrap Sweater Solid Chelsea wide-leg pant Svoboda 'Kate' Stretch Denim Trouser Jeans Jones New York Collection Flat Front Crepe Pants

left to right: Belted tunic with button detail, $24.99 at; Vivid print cap-sleeve blouse, $44.50 at; Belted railroad-stripe shirt, $39.50 at; Eyelet cotton pique jacket, $79.50 at; Semantiks Faux Wrap Sweater, $58 at; Solid Chelsea wide-leg pant, $49.50 at; Svoboda ‘Kate’ Stretch Denim Trouser Jeans at; Jones New York Collection Flat Front Crepe Pants, $99 at

Q. Do you know where I can find a cute summer dress with the on seam pockets in plus size? I think that it is the sweetest fashion look out there this summer and I can’t seem to find one to fit my larger frame (my bust in particular). Any advice you have would be great!
-Seemingly Cute

A. All these dresses have the pockets you’re seeking that will fit your curvy figure, just remember, they’re a style to use once in a while. Don’t rely on the pockets since consistent use can change the look or fall of the dress.

White denim halter dressLinen-blend dressKate by Kathryn Conover Jumper & TeeKate by Kathryn Conover Contrast Trim Matte Jersey Dress

left to right: White denim halter dress, $44.99 at; Linen-blend dress, $148 at; Kate by Kathryn Conover Jumper & Tee, $118 at; Kate by Kathryn Conover Contrast Trim Matte Jersey Dress, $140 at

Q. I love your website. I’ve been interested in fashion (like lots of women) for a long time. I was wondering how you got into the business. I would love to become a stylist or give fashion advice but I don’t know where to start. Also, I live in a pretty rural area so I don’t have access to much.
-Style Eyes

A. After college I worked as a print journalist at a women’s magazine and was lucky to have an editor-in-chief that let me assist the fashion editor on photo shoots. Some days I spent interviewing celebrities, writing articles on serious issues like teen pregnancy or writing a travel review, while other days I dressed models, lugged trunks and learned about styling. It has been many years since my start and since then, I’ve been a fashion editor, style director, freelance stylist and have traveled quite a bit for countless photo shoots in near and far away places.

The best stylists I know are those that don’t diva themselves—they can pick out clothes, work with models, hire a good assistant and create a compete look that works with the photographer and director’s vision.

The best way to get into the business is to be prepared. Follow designer trends and keep track of how they vary from season to season. Watch how lesser priced retailers knock off the top designers. Watch fashion shows which can be viewed at Read fashion magazines, blogs and regularly look at top fashion and beauty sites like,, etc. Consider getting a retail job in a local boutique and learn about the designers they choose for the store. Take stock of what retail sources you have available in your town and the surrounding area and offer personal shopping services for a low fee to get your feet wet in helping people organize their closets, create a wardrobe and find their personal style. Find your voice and start your own fashion blog on the internet (sites like make it easy, even if you don’t know much about computers). If you have a small local paper, offer your writing services for free to talk about style. Team up with a local photographer, hair and makeup artist and start doing small photo shoots with models or model wannabes to get photos to put in a portfolio. Perhaps your local paper or magazine will print photos of style trends you style so you can borrow clothes from various boutiques and they’ll receive credit of where to purchase the clothes.

Good luck!

Q. I just found these fabulous Paige Denim jeans at Nordstrom Rack and bought them because they seriously fit like a dream! They are ivory—when is it OK to wear them? In my opinion, they look great with spring colored tops, a cute, fitted dark denim jacket and tan strappy sandals. But can I wear them in summer and fall? What’s the rule with off-white?
—Dreaming of Jeans

A. You’ve bought a pair of jeans you can wear all year just by changing the fabrication of your tops. In summer, pair your new jeans with tanks, camisoles, short sleeve tops and tees and add sandals. In fall and winter, pair them with darker hued sweaters, tops and fitted jackets and add boots.

Q. I have a new 3/4 sleeve jacket - do the sleeves of whatever I wear under the jacket have to be shorter, or can I wear a long sleeve T shirt or lightweight sweater under the shorter jacket sleeves?
-Peeking Out

A. You don’t have to the have the sleeves of all the tops you wear underneath be 3/4 or shorter. It can look quite stylish to have a patterned long sleeve shirt on underneath. As for a sweater under the jacket, be sure the fabric isn’t too bulky when popping out past the sleeve.

Q. I am attending my sister’s wedding next month, and I am a bridesmaid. The fabric she picked out is a chiffon material, I am a larger girl and plan on wearing a corset (being she picked out strapless dresses), and something to hide my heaviness, my only problem is that I don’t know what fabric the panties should be that won’t show through, and type of material for the corset.
-Hide it

A. You want to make sure that you don’t show visible panty lines and that whatever you wear up top and down below gives smooth support and slims. Best option would be to order several items online or head to your top department store’s intimate apparel area with the dress.

Here are some of my favorite pieces that give lift and smooth bumps. For bustiers, make sure the boning doesn’t effect the draping of the dress.

Flexees by Maidenform 
Disappearing Waist Lace Collection moderate control strapless full slip	
The Body Wrap 
bra slip with underwire cups Bali: Lace Convertible All-In-One
 The Body Wrap: Firm Control Thong	
Tummy panel brief	
Body by Nancy Ganz 
The Belly band brief
Essentials bustier

left to right: Flexees by Maidenform Disappearing Waist Lace Collection moderate control strapless full slip, $51 at; The Body Wrap bra slip with underwire cups, $50 at; Bali Lace Convertible All-In-One, $41.60 at; The Body Wrap: Firm Control Thong, $24 at; Bali Tummy panel brief, $8.80 at; Body by Nancy Ganz

The Belly band brief, $21 at; Felina Essentials bustier, $69 at

Q. I will be going through sorority recruitment this summer and need help finding some appropriate clothes. Clothing is among the many ways a person is judged and I need some help of what to wear that is appropriate and stands out in a good way. Can you suggest any fun yet classy outfits? Thanks very much.
-Girl in a Rush

A. It will be summer so you’ll be dealing with hot temps and you want to look cool. First step is to make a list of the types of activities you’ll be involved in, including meet and greets, interviews and parties. Look for stylish tops to pair with chic shorts and espadrilles, sundresses with great earrings, big cuff or a beaded necklace, and skirts with a top and wide belt. And incorporate espadrilles, strappy sandals and cute ballet flats with your outfits.

Try pairing colorful accessories with a simple dress that can be dressed up or down:

V-neck jersey knit dressGlass-bead necklaceFrosted Palmetto bangle

left to right from V-neck jersey knit dress, $88; Glass-bead necklace, $25; Frosted Palmetto bangle, $65

You can’t go wrong with a flirty floral dress. Or pair a white patent belt with this simple eyelet dress:

Velvet Torch Scoop Neck Empire DressRuby Rox Eyelet Shirtdress Patent Leather Skinny Belt

left to right: Velvet Torch Scoop Neck Empire Dress, $52 at; Ruby Rox Eyelet Shirtdress, $52 at; Patent Leather Skinny Belt, $29 at

Mix and match feminine tops with skirts:

Free People Coarse Cotton Tie TopGabby TunicGina Top

Pindot skirtAnchor mini

left to right: Free People Coarse Cotton Tie Top, $68 at; Gabby Tunic, $32.50 at; Gina Top, $26.50 at; Pindot skirt, $118 at; Anchor mini, $69.50 at

Finally, add some cute top & shorts combinations for casual days:

Coco Halter  $26.50 7" chino shortFree People Pool Side Blossom7" chino shortFree People Scarf Cami5" chino short,

left to right: Coco Halter, $26.50 at; 7” chino short, $39.50 at; Free People Pool Side Blossom, $59.99 at; 7” chino short, $39.50 at;; Free People Scarf Cami, $58 at; 5” chino short, $39.50 at

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