| Ask The Style Chefs: June 2007 Archives

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June 2007 Archives

Q. I’m in a real tangle here- I’ve been scouring the web for advice on the type of jeans I should be buying for my figure, with no luck! I have pretty skinny thighs (not skinny, skinny though) and I’m smallish on the hips. When I tend to buy jeans my butt always looks so flat. What type of jeans should I be buying to make my end look a little bigger? I know jeans with pockets on the back help, but what else?
-Flat Booty

A. You are among the majority of women who don’t like their butts, but you’ve got the right start. Look for jeans with patch pockets, meaning pockets put on top of the jeans, or seek out jeans with angled pockets and seams like James Jeans that are meant to give a curve to the rear. Pockets should be centered on your rear since pockets spaced farther apart will make your bottom look wider, and lower placed pockets (the ones that are longer than your butt) will make it look flatter. Some trouser jeans with no pockets at all can make your rear view instantly rounder. Also, skinny jeans will give the illusion of a slightly larger hip area and are a great option for someone with slim thighs.

Another tip: if you intend to buy jeans with Lycra or spandex, then be sure you don’t buy ones with too much stretch as it may lead to the unflattering condition known as “saggy diaper.”

Be ready to try on up to 20 pairs until you find a pair that satisfies your butt enhancing needs. Here are a few flattering styles to start with:

James Jeans Decker Darted Trouser in BisazzaJames Jeans Hector 5 Pocket Highrise in VenomTaverniti So Sergeant Pepper Skinny in RinseHudson Tucker Pin Ankle Jean in EternalTrue Religion Billy in Urban Cowboy

left to right, from James Jeans Decker Darted Trouser in Bisazza; James Jeans Hector 5 Pocket Highrise in Venom; Taverniti So Sergeant Pepper Skinny in Rinse, Hudson Tucker Pin Ankle Jean in Eternal; True Religion Billy in Urban Cowboy

Q. I think your website is so great at giving advice. I’ve consulted it many times in times of stress and you’ve come through with answers each time! But I do have one question that I’ve been wondering about: how do you know if your jeans are too tight? I’m not talking about muffin tops—let’s say they fit perfectly at the waist, but how do you know you’ve gone beyond chic to trashy from the tightness at the thigh area (and these are boot cut jeans with a bit of stretch in the material)? I’ve seen women (mostly the younger generation) wear jeans that seem like sausage casings, and I don’t want to fall victim to that.
-Sausage Links

Quote TightjeansA. Generally, jean experts say you can buy jeans a size smaller since they will stretch over time and those with Lycra and Spandex will stretch even more. I’m not sure I always agree. Always skip the dryer - you’ll preserve the color longer and avoid a bit of the tightness when you first put them on after washing. And wear your jeans multiple times before washing - like 3-7 times. I, too, have found great jeans that fit everywhere, yet seem a little snug in the thighs. I figure one crease is fine and with a few deep knee bends or squats in my jeans (don’t laugh-plenty of us try multiple ways to get a little “give” in our jeans!) then I’m fine. When you start counting the rings or lines that crease across the back of your thighs, then it’s time to skip those jeans and try on another pair.

When you go jean shopping, you need patience, the right underwear and a good attitude. Be willing to laugh at yourself and be willing to try on up to 20 pairs without getting hung up on the size. Consult a salesperson for help and try on multiple brands.

Q. My daughter is the maid of honor in a wedding in January. The bride has picked out a beautiful apple red formal dress with a diamond-like broach and has chosen to accessorize with ivory shoes. My daughter and I think that the ivory would stand out too much against the red dress. What color shoe would you suggest?
-Ivory & Faux Ice

A. I would have suggested a pale or muted gold heel for sass or a neutral hue of deep cream or light tan for a sophisticated look. If you intend to approach the bride with a new color suggestion, do it delicately.

Q. Your style advice is great, and I hope you can help me! I have a strapless dress in a solid berry/dark pink color. I have two weddings coming up that I’d like to wear it for but I’m not sure how to accessorize. Both weddings are traditional so I feel like I’d need a cover-up for the ceremony. One is in the evening in August and the reception will be nice, but not super-fancy. The next is in the afternoon in September and the reception is at one of the nicest and fanciest hotels in Dallas. I’ve thought about chocolate brown but is that too “fall” for August for a cover up and shoes? Do I choose a muted metallic? I’m 30 and want to look stylish but not too flashy!

A. Don’t knock yourself, you’ve come up with some great ideas. My first choice would be chocolate for a wrap and even chocolaty bronze for heels. There’s also muted golds or silvery grays that would work. Just don’t wear black—it’s too boring and too much of a contrast unless it’s in a satin fabric with some kind of detail like crystals. Some options for coverups:

Nordstrom Tissue-Weight Cashmere WrapElie Tahari 'Sirena' Jacket 5376193ECI Cropped Jacket

left to right, all from Nordstrom Tissue-Weight Cashmere Wrap (available in virtually any color), $99; Elie Tahari ‘Sirena’ Jacket, $448; Robert Rodriguez Crop Jacket, $429; ECI Cropped Jacket, $78

Q. I am the stepmother of the bride. We have a wonderful relationship although her mother does not care for me. Her mother will not pick a color for her gown. The groom’s mother is going with a darker blue than the bridesmaids. The Bride’s bouquet is hot pink, orange, and a blue ribbon – tropical theme. It is a 2:00 church wedding. What color do I get and should it be tea length or long. The bride has stated that she does not care either way or what color I wear. 
-Mrs. Step

A. I’ve said this to many mothers of the bride, mothers of the groom and plenty of others: do not get caught up in matching or accenting your dress color to that of the wedding. Find a great dress in a color that enhances your skin tone and flatters your shape. And most importantly, keep a wonderful smile on your face all day and enjoy the occasion. Don’t let the ex wife make you feel uncomfortable, but do realize that she gets first dibs on photo ops and she has the right to sashay her daughter around to family and friends. This is the bride’s chance to shine as well as the mother’s to beam with happiness.

Q. My best friend has absolutely no booty to speak of, but now after all this time she wants one. We have been searching everywhere for a fanny panty. She really wants to find one before we go jean shopping next week.
-Booty Builder

A. I helped a girl on Tyra get the “bootylicious” look she always wanted with the help of a fanny-enhanced panty. Of course, I would have gladly given up some of my naturally enhanced butt if I could. If your friend wants to pull off the look, then be sure she tries on the padded panties, likes them and then tries on multiple pairs of jeans with and without them. She’ll either have to love the jeans with and without the special panties or only wear those jeans with the panties, which means she’ll need to buy two pairs of jeans.

Huit  Just A Kiss padded shorty with cupsTatiana Low Rise Formed Buttock Enhancer Brief PantyNearly Me Hip & Rear Padded Panties

left to right: Huit Just A Kiss padded shorty with cups, $55 at; Tatiana Low Rise Formed Buttock Enhancer Brief Panty, $33 at; Nearly Me Hip & Rear Padded Panties, $44 at

Q. I am an opera singer looking for formal gowns that have sleeves. Where can I find them? Seems like all the gown designers have forsaken the woman with unattractive upper arms! 
-Solo Style Seeker
A. You were right about dresses sans sleeves. I searched about 15 clothing sites and realized you’re up against a generous amount of gowns that are sleeveless and expensive. The best choices I found were all on and Check out the “mother of the bride” sections to find the formal dresses you seek, many of them have sleeves and are still elegant and stylish.

eDressMe Private Label
Red Evening GownLace Mother of the Bride GownCelebrity Inspired Evening Dresses
by eDressMeLong sleeve Peach Mother of the BrideShort Sleeve Mother of the Bride Dresses
by Jovani

from, left to right: eDressMe Private Label Red Evening Gown, $275; Lace Mother of the Bride Gown, $750; Celebrity Inspired Evening Dresses by eDressMe, $410; Long sleeve Peach Mother of the Bride, $640; Short Sleeve Mother of the Bride Dresses by Jovani, $550

JS Collections Brocade Jacket & Taffeta SkirtJS Collections Pleated Jacket & SkirtDavid Meister V-Neck Twist Front Jersey GownJS Collections Shadow Stripe Dress with BoleroCachet Mock Two Piece Sweater & Dress

from, left to right: JS Collections Brocade Jacket & Taffeta Skirt, $348; JS Collections Pleated Jacket & Skirt, $198; David Meister V-Neck Twist Front Jersey Gown, $368; JS Collections Shadow Stripe Dress with Bolero, $228; Cachet Mock Two Piece Sweater & Dress, $198

Q. I am getting married in North Carolina in early October of this year. I am having a formal wedding and I wanted to know what ideas you can share with me for the informal rehearsal dinner the night before?
-Informal for Formal

A. Instead of having the typical dinner at a restaurant, which seems the norm these days, why not go for the fun factor and have a “clambake” in someone’s backyard? You can usually order the clambake “buckets” at gourmet food shops. Grill up corn on the grill and offer beer and wine chilled on ice in big buckets. Fill a backyard with oversized beach blankets, we love the ones at and pile pillows for comfort. Put together a play list of music on your iPod of beach music from old Beach Boys and the Go-Gos to newer tunes. Perhaps even set up a volleyball net and croquet.

Or, skip dinner and have your rehearsal guests join you for afternoon tea. While they serve little sandwiches, no one ever seems to go hungry with the sandwiches, cakes, sweets and more that they pile on those multiple tiered serving dishes. And you can choose hot teas or iced tea.

For another casual, fun party, you could create your own mini Olympics by creating teams, having each guest wear a colored sash for their team and come up with games including baton races, sack races, hula hoop timing, count basketball shots in a minute and have chocolate medallions as prizes to signify gold, silver and bronze.

As a party favor you could offer a retro candy table, check out, and guests can fill up Chinese takeout containers that can be found at party stores with their favorite sweets.

Or, have a wine and cheese tasting party. Contact a good local wine shop or speak to a sommelier at one of your favorite restaurants to set up wine and cheese pairings. You can set up the get together at a happy hour time rather than the usual dinner hours. Have the wine merchant or sommelier guide people through the tastings and have all the accoutrements available like good baguettes, nuts, dried fruits and fruit pastes to work with the cheese.

Q. I love your site! I saw that you are from NYC and was wondering if you could help me… I need some boutique suggestions. I am coming to NYC this weekend and only have really Sat to shop. I was hoping to go to Greenwich or SoHo or anywhere and hit 3 or 4 smaller stores. (Rather than get lost on all the floors of Barney’s or haul up and down 5th Avenue or Madison Avenue looking at $2000 dresses.) I’ve been looking around but can’t seem to find a good guide of cute/hip boutiques in neighborhoods. The brands I like are Nanette Lepore, Juicy Couture, Cynthia Rowley, Ella Moss, James Pearse. I am a 35 year old mom of two — generally a size 8, tall. I went to the Nanette Lepore store last time I was there but then was at a total loss for anywhere else to go after that and ended up getting lost.
-Lost in New York

A. Ooh, you’ll have a great visit. Stick to downtown. The three neighborhoods you want to visit are SoHo, NoLIta (which is just east of SoHo) and the Lower East Side which is farther east of NoLIta and all walkable. There are great shops in all of those areas including Cynthia Rowley, Alice + Olivia, Tory Burch, Tracy Feith, Mayle, Olive & Bette, Calypso, Nanette Lepore, Foley & Corinna and much more. The best way to see it all in one day—and it is completely possible to enjoy a day of shopping and walking—is to do a little mapping out ahead of time. Start in SoHo and break for lunch in NoLIta or the Lower East Side. Get more detailed info by going to and clicking on shopping and the neighborhoods you want and then you can map out your destinations.

Some good lunch or dinner spots:

NoLIta: Café Habana (small Cuban restaurant, always popular), Bar Marche (lovely little restaurant with great food-I love the fish tacos, good salads as well), Rice to Riches (mod designed place for rice pudding in every flavor imaginable—just go and sample a few flavors)

Lower East side: Clinton St. Bakery (on Clinton off of Houston), and a great fun dinner spot is Stanton Social on Stanton St. near Ludlow (yummy food served tapas style—a great chance to try lots of different foods and the drinks and dessert as delicious as well- it can be a little loud though)

Q. I’ve never been a big jewelry wearer, but I realize how much it can pull together an outfit. My style is really classic and casual, and I’d love to find a very delicate, simple gold necklace with a small charm that I can wear with (almost) anything. I don’t have a whole lot to spend, but I want something nice. Any ideas? 

A. Well, gold doesn’t come cheap and if you want to wear it with most everything in your wardrobe, it’s worth it to invest in a great necklace that will last you “forever” rather than something that will fade and turn another color. There are plenty of choices that don’t cost your paycheck. Look for a gold chain with a pendant or charm that is delicate and feminine alone on it’s own, but also think of it as a layering piece that you can wear with another gold necklace of another length. I found several lovely choices for you:

Gorjana Three Petal NecklaceNordstrom 14k Gold Pendant NecklaceTiffini Dooris Luna NecklaceGiles & Brother Small Sparrow Necklace
Gold Vermeil Small Lotus Disc Pendant NecklaceJulie Sandlau 18K Gold Plated Sterling Silver Clear Crystal Locket and Leaf Charm NecklaceGold Vermeil Coral Branch Necklace on Double Chain

left to right: Gorjana Three Petal Necklace, $95 at; Nordstrom 14k Gold Pendant Necklace, $98 at; Tiffini Dooris Luna Necklace, $180 at; Giles & Brother Small Sparrow Necklace, $200 at; Catherine Weitzman 18k Gold Vermeil Small Lotus Disc Pendant Necklace, $88 at; Julie Sandlau 18K Gold Plated Sterling Silver Clear Crystal Locket and Leaf Charm Necklace, $180 at; Pade Vavra 22KT Gold Vermeil Coral Branch Necklace on Double Chain, $99 at

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