| Ask The Style Chefs: September 2007 Archives

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September 2007 Archives

Untitled1-1Q. I am a bridesmaid in an upcoming beach wedding that the chosen colors are fuschia and turquoise.  I have to say, the bride picked out a hot little fuschia halter dress for the bridesmaid dresses.  But, my dilemma is the shoes and the jewelry.  First of all, what color shoes would you suggest?  I’m thinking more of a silver sandal or very low heel.  Second of all, they just sent the picture of the jewelry (see attached) and the turquoise large teardrop pendant and earrings are supposed to be for me.  Is it just me, or is this a hideous ensemble?

-Jewelry Uncertain

A. Not loving the jewelry choices, especially the “rough” cut combination. Without seeing the dress, it’s difficult to choose many options for you that may work for the dress. I am not a fan of wearing matching earrings and necklace. I think it’s boring and skips an opportunity to express your style and take a chance. I do not know how many bridesmaids are in the wedding party, but as I’ve said in past Ask Alison columns, I am not in favor of making the bridesmaids into paper cut-outs and dressing them the same from head to toe.  It can become costly to the bridesmaids to buy the dress, the jewelry, the shoes, etc. that are the choices of the bride.  Unless the bridesmaids are clueless about style, I believe in letting them make a few choices in their attire, whether it be shoes, jewelry or both. And, of course, with the help of digital cameras and computers, friends can send photos to the bride to let her know what they intend to pair with the dress to get final approval.

With that in mind, I would suggest keeping jewelry delicate for a beach wedding. A thin silver or gold necklace with a charm or small bead would be lovely - and then add earrings. As for your feet, keep to flat silver or gold sandals since you’ll be in the sand. If the reception moves indoors or to a real dance floor, you can bring along heels to slip into.

Neck 3 Lightgreen LEar Gold Blueballs LNeck 7N24 Big

some beachy suggestions:

1. Lisa Goodwin Wishful Linking Necklace Chalcedony/Optimism, $85 at
2. Lisa Stewart Hoop Earrings with Wrapped Turquoise, $180 at
3. Allison Daniel Large Starfish Necklace, $8 at

Hoops PearlNeck Wishbone L

4. Haley M Endless Pearl Hoops, $55 at
5. Zoe Chicco Silver Wishbone Necklace, $75 at

Q. What a fantastic site!  I’m attending a friend’s engagement party in late Oct.  It will be held in the afternoon at a country club.  I was planning to wear a shawl collared white shirt with a wrap tie (new at Ann Taylor), a black pencil skirt with some small pleats in the back and some awesome Stuart Weitzman peep toe pumps in a deep red/burgundy patent leather.  My sister tells me I would look like the staff and I shouldn’t wear the black and white.  Help?  I thought I could pull it off with killer shoes!  BLACK AND WHITE?

A. You can definitely pull it off with killer heels and add a multi strand or chunky stand out necklace or a big cuff to add to the punch of the outfit.

CC Skye Enamel Cuff BraceletMod hammered cuffResin pyramid bangle

Circle link necklaceFloral triple-strand necklace

1. CC Skye Enamel Cuff Bracelet, $202 at
2. Mod hammered cuff, $32 at
3. Resin pyramid bangle, $24 at
4. Circle link necklace, $38 at
5. Floral triple-strand necklace, $88 at

Q. My weight has gone up & down over the years, so as you can imagine finding clothes that fit is a problem. However, I have recently joined a gym as I am determined to lose 35 lbs. In addition to joining, I have a personal trainer for the next three months. It wasn’t so hard to find my workout clothes & sports bras, but my bottom is a challenge. I have always used "Barely There" intimates, but since I have a belly & have gained weight, they really don’t support it.

I have two questions: What kind of panties are best for working out? How can I find a perfect fit that will also be comfortable for everyday wear?
-Losin’ It

A.  High five to you for your determination to lose the weight! Look for a higher cut brief or thong in a microfiber fabric to help wick away moisture and help flatten your tummy. Skip shapewear pieces when you’re working out so you can focus on pulling in your tummy all on your own and be comfortable.  These panties can also be worn under your everyday clothes:

Moving Comfort Micro ThongMoving Comfort Seamless ThongSpeed Boy Short,

1. Moving Comfort Micro Thong, $15 at
2. Moving Comfort Seamless Thong, $15 at
3. Speed Boy Short, $17.99 at (Check out other styles from for panties that wick moisture and offer an abrasion, rub free workout.)

Warner's Without A Stitch Hi-Cut Brief Jockey No Panty Line Promise Hip Brief Barelythere Flawless Fit Microfiber Hi-Cut Brief

4.  Warner’s Without A Stitch Hi-Cut Brief, $7.60 at
5.  Jockey No Panty Line Promise Hip Brief, $8.50 at
6.  Barelythere Flawless Fit Microfiber Hi-Cut Brief, $7.20 at

Q. I bought a new pair of gray pants to wear this winter, but I’m not sure what color tops I can wear with them. I tend to look better in warmer colors, but is it okay to pair yellow undertones with the cool of gray? What will look best with the pants without washing me out?
-Gray Lady

A. Get your gray on with a multitude of colors. I find that gray and brown bottoms lead to a richer mix of styles and colors than your basic black. Gray and brown can be a canvas while black can sometimes just be a backdrop; a color you settle for when you don’t want to take a chance. Gray can look lovely and feminine with pink, lavender, yellow and baby blue and rich with burgundy, olive and hunter green. Paired with teal it can add a bit of color to your face, while a navy pairing looks sophisticated. Since the gray is on your bottom half, you really needn’t concern yourself with looking washed out. Choose top colors that enhance your skin tone and have a flattering fit.

Here are some pretty tops to pair with your gray bottoms:

Emma Ruffle Top  Lux Daydream Blouse Deity Satin Blouse

1. Emma Ruffle Top , $34.50 at
2.  Lux Daydream Blouse, $29.95 at
3.  Deity Satin Blouse, $48 at

Laundry by Shelli Segal Washed Silk Wrap BlouseWalter Leopard Chiffon BlouseSemantiks Printed Silk Blouse

4. Laundry by Shelli Segal Washed Silk Wrap Blouse, $195 at
5. Walter Leopard Chiffon Blouse, $143 at
6. Semantiks Printed Silk Blouse, $78 at

Q. There is a question in a magazine that asks:  what do you always wear underneath a body-skimming dress?  They list four choices, from which one should be selected.  They all make sense to me depending upon the dress.  Which is the one that should always be worn? The answers to choose from are: thigh-shrinking hosiery; curve-accentuating bra; derriere-lifting underwear; tummy-flattening shape wear. If you have an opinion, I would love to hear it. 
-Baffled by Choices

A. I don’t know what the magazine answer was, but nobody has the same body so there is no one correct answer.  One or several can apply depending on the fit, and of course how you want to look in the dress.  While some of us may seek cleavage, others will want to look as slim and smooth as possible. Don’t  let a Q & A intimidate you, just aspire to look and feel good in your clothes.

For specific tips on what to wear under your clothes, check out our style recipe Underneath It All.

Q. I’m a preschool teacher and 40 something mom.  But I like to be hip and trendy.  I need ideas to wear to work while it is still warm.  I can’t bear wearing tennis shoes and capris like all the other teachers. We can’t wear jeans or shorts, and most of my heels won’t work on the wood chipped playground.  Any ideas?  I’ve got fall covered with tights, boots, flats, and dresses, but it’s this in-between hot and cold season that has me stumped.
-Still Warm in Kansas

A. Well, you certainly already own the flats that can be worn now, so slip into them. As for bottoms, you can wear cotton pants instead of jeans or shorts and how about some knee length skirts with lightweight cotton tops. And when it gets a little chillier just add a thin jacket or cardigan for recess.

Here are a few layered looks to take you through the fall:

Solid deep V-neck vestSophie peacoat sweater Favorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords

1. Lilah shirt in satin-stripe floral, $98 at
2. Solid deep V-neck vest, $39.99 at
3. Sophie peacoat sweater, $148 at
4. Favorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords, $79.50 at

Striped scoopneck waffle hoodieFleece trapeze coat,Khaki striped wide leg pants

Layer a button down top under this striped hoodie and add the fleece peacoat for chillier days on the playground .

1. Striped scoopneck waffle hoodie, $26.50 at
2. Fleece trapeze coat, $59.50 at
3. Khaki striped wide leg pants, $59.50 at

BCBGMAXAZRIA Empire Poplin Shirt Womyn 'Olivia' Stretch Twill Pants

1. BCBGMAXAZRIA Empire Poplin Shirt, $138 at
2. Womyn ‘Olivia’ Stretch Twill Pants, $154 at

Navy & Red Together?

Q. I have had this argument with my boyfriend for months! Once and for all, can you confirm or dismiss that it is stylish to wear red pumps/flats/wedges with navy clothing? Thank you, you settling this may have saved a relationship!!
-Ending Argument

A. Your relationship must be a breeze if you only bicker about style.  But deary, a debate like this one lasting for months? Tsk, tsk. Once and for all, feel free to wear navy and red together. Navy is one of the hardest hues to match so it gives stylish gals the license to wear navy with red, green, burgundy, brown and more.  Color always adds sass to an outfit.

Q. I have an 18” string of pearls that I received for my wedding.  I used to wear them to dressier events and functions, but my style has changed and evolved over the years. I am mostly in casual, daytime situations with children and other moms and work part time from home in a creative profession. I would love to wear my pearls again, but no longer just for special occasions. How can I make them more of an everyday, hip accessory?

A.  Unfortunately, an 18” string of pearls is never going to be considered hip.  It will forever be in the sophisticated, classic category - and there’s nothing wrong with that. Multiple strands piled on are tres chic a la Coco Chanel, and one strand worn with your button down shirt is the ultimate in country club prep style. Simply put, pull out your pearls and put them on with your cute tops, button downs and your favorite jeans whether you’re running after the kids, working or headed to a movie. Make the pearls “your thing” to wear, and if you want hip, add a patent leather bag to your wardrobe.

Q. I’ve always been confused about the "unofficial" end of Summer, Labor Day, and the "official" end of Summer, Sept. 22nd. Do I put away all my lightweight summer whites and tropical prints and straw accessories at the beginning of the month, or can I wear them for a few more weeks? Also, what about my big white leather handbag and short off-white trench? Have these things run their course? I live in San Francisco where the warmest months of the year are generally September and October.
-Warmed Up

A. For every stylish girl, it really depends on where in the country they live.  We New Yorkers have still been sporting white cotton skirts and dresses since the temperatures are hovering in the 80s.  If you live in a city that’s succumbing to serious heat and humidity, you get a free pass to continue wearing cotton whites. And by the official end of summer, you can then pack away your tropical prints, espadrilles and straw accessories. As a San Fran resident, you can carry your handbag a little longer and as for your trench, pair it with darker colors like black and navy to give it a sophisticated look and extend the length of wearing it into Fall when afternoons and evenings turn chilly.

Q. Is it still not fashionable to wear white after Labor Day?
-Wear White

A. Take notes, ladies. Once and for all, you can wear white all year long. Wear your cotton whites until the official end of summer in late September, and in very warm locales you can stretch it even further past that date.  When the weather turns chilly, pair your white jeans with dark hued tops and turtlenecks. White jeans, a black cashmere sweater and boots worn with a trench looks super chic. Designer Michael Kors has been telling women for years to keep their white jeans accessible all year long. And once it’s cold enough that you need a jacket everyday, then turn to your “Winter” whites of wool, wool blends, cords or cashmere jackets, pants and sweaters.

Here are some winter-appropriate whites:

Scooter Brown Babydoll JacketPleated Back Funnel Neck CoatCashmere turtleneck sweater

1. Scooter Brown Babydoll Jacket, $110 at
2. Pleated Back Funnel Neck Coat, $248 at
3. Cashmere turtleneck sweater, $148 at

Design History Bobble Stitch CardiganBeth Bowley Long Wool CardiganFavorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords

4. Design History Bobble Stitch Cardigan, $158 at
5. Beth Bowley Long Wool Cardigan, $242 at
6. Favorite-fit stretch vintage trouser cords, $79.50 at

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