| Ask The Style Chefs: January 2008 Archives

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January 2008 Archives

Q. I read with great interest almost all of the shoe related questions on your site. While I did learn a lot, thank you, I could not find the answer to my question. We are going to my Niece’s wedding in mid-January. I found a lovely burgundy, sweetheart neckline, velvet skirt suit. I just love it. I have a pair of black velvet pumps, but they just don’t look right. I’ve seen some burgundy suede wedges that I like and also black patent leather mid-heel pumps. Could you please  share your expertise on  shoe  color and material(s) that would go best with that burgundy skirt suit? 
- Shoe Stressed Aunt in Michigan

A. Velvet and velvet is too much velvet. And don’t get yourself stuck trying to match burgundy colors, feel free to play up a different burgundy hue. My suggestion would be a black or bronze heel with a satin, suede or patent leather fabric or perhaps something in a pattern with an added detail on the front of the shoe. Skip the wedge, if you plan to dance, wedges don’t allow a person to really strut their stuff.

SkirtQ. I recently bought the Backyard Garden Skirt from Anthropologie but I’m a bit unsure of what I can pair with it - both on top and on bottom.  Never before did I think that brown and black could go together, but I see that both colors are on this skirt.  Does this mean I can wear black shoes with it?  Can I wear tall black boots?  And would I wear opaque or sheer tights?  For the top, do I have to find a shirt that matches one of the colors on the skirt, or can it be a completely different color?  I’m kind of lost on this one!  Any advice you can give would be great.  Thank you so much for your fantastic column!

-Color Combo

A. There are multiple ways to wear this skirt since there are several colors in the pattern. You can certainly wear black or brown opaque tights with matching color boots or heels on your bottom half during winter months and come spring you can lighten up the look with bare legs and sandals. You can go classic with solid tops in any of the colors picked up from the skirt. You may even want to try a grey, black or brown top and grey patent leather heels. Or choose the peachy color to add brightness to the outfit. And if you are truly daring, choose a top with a subtle pattern from one of the skirt colors or choose a pale solid color like seafoam.

Q. I need help to figure out what type and color of shoes to wear as a bridesmaid for a beach wedding in Key West.  My dress is a tangerine color and is from JCrew.
-Tangerine Dream

A. Beach weddings are always tough in the sandal department. We all want to look our best and heels guarantee a good looking leg, but sand impedes that choice. The other way to look at it is you get to be more casual and dance barefoot. So before you kick off your sandals and go barefoot for the reception, choose a flat fancy sandal with a little gold embellishment.

Mystique 1919Nine West Rosmarie

1. Mystique 1919, $130 at
2. Nine West Rosmarie, $82.95 at

Leggings Over 40

Q. Are leggings still acceptable?  I am 40-something with quite a few dresses that I think are too short for someone my age to wear without pants or leggings.  Love the dresses, but not sure how to wear them.
-Leg Wear

A. Why do you own so many short dresses? Are they from several years ago when you felt more confident sporting a view of your legs above the knees?  It’s fine to wear leggings once in a while with dresses, but not as a routine. So keep only your absolute favorite short styles and donate the rest to consignment, a younger friend or a charity run thrift shop. And start buying dresses that don’t require leg coverage all the time.

Q. I love reading your website, so I thought I’d reach out with a question of my own.  I am tall (5’8) and have large breasts (D/DD).  I really need a comfortable bra that will support me.  Right now most of my bras are comfortable, but unsupportive or a pushup style that leaves marks.  Is there a happy combination of both?  I haven’t had a lot of luck with chain stores, and am hoping you can recommend a specialty store where they will fit me (I live in Boston.)  I’m willing to pay whatever it takes for a bra that I will use over and over again.   I’m also in my 20s, so something cute would be much appreciated.
-Cute and Comfy

A. You’ve got to start with the best pieces underneath your clothes so you feel comfortable and confident with what you wear on the outside. And with busty gals, there’s no need to sacrifice support, comfort or even being sexy. A few tips when shopping for the perfect fitting bra:

  • If breasts spill out on the sides go up a cup size
  • If the cup has any wrinkles, go down a cup size
  • If straps leave marks, look for wider straps that are cushioned and adjustable
  • While underwire generally works best, there are plenty of new designs and technology that will still give support without the wire

As for Boston bra fitting experts, here are a few to help you with your shopping dilemma that are highly rated:

  • Lady Grace in Brookline
  • Intimacy of Boston in Copley Plaza
  • Lingerie Studio on Newbury St. in Boston

Some suggestions online:

 Bali: No Poke Wire® Seamless Underwire BraBali "Passion for Comfort" Minimizer Underwire BraLilyette® "Fit for You" Lace Wire with Sew Free Wing Panache: Inferno Convertible Underwire Plunge Bra

 Olga: Satin Edge Underwire Bra Le Mystère: Dream Tisha Seamless Full Fit Bra Bali: Seductive Curves Underwire Bra

1. Bali No Poke Wire® Seamless Underwire Bra, $24 at
2. Bali "Passion for Comfort" Minimizer Underwire Bra, $32 at
3. Lilyette "Fit for You" Lace Wire with Sew Free Wing, $31 at
4. Panache Inferno Convertible Underwire Plunge Bra, $53 at
5. Olga Satin Edge Underwire Bra, $32 at
6. Le Mystère Dream Tisha Seamless Full Fit Bra, $68 at
7. Bali Seductive Curves Underwire Bra, $24.80 at

for even more optiions, check out our Ultimate Bra Guide

Q. I know that rain boots are in season right now, but is it okay to still wear them when it is NOT raining?
-No Puddles

A. All those colorful, printed, patterned rain boots were designed to make splashing through puddles more fun on a dreary day. To wear a rain boot when it’s not raining means choosing a boot that doesn’t scream "rain boot."  Look for boots that have minimal details that are stylish enough to pair with pieces in your wardrobe, while still blending with your outerwear. I dig these four styles for their fashionable to rugged looks. And remember in the winter months to wear a warmer sock since rubber doesn’t offer much insulation.

Plask W6628-471460-DLa Canadienne
DorinaAquatalia by Marvin K. Nasty

1. Tretorn Plask W, $129 at
2. Sporto Lani, $68.95 at
3. La Canadienne Dorina, $258.95 at
4. Aquatalia by Marvin K. Nasty, $370 at

Q. I recently bought a few shirts that could use a black sweater to go along with them, but I am having a difficult time tracking down one that is cute and affordable.
-Basic not Boring

A. A black sweater is a classic and every woman should own a turtleneck and a v-neck or cardigan. But the sweaters don’t have to be dull in shape or style. For a sweater to stand apart in your wardrobe, look for extra details like a puffed sleeve, buttons in non-standard places, 3/4 sleeves and embroidery. All these sweaters are under $100:

3/4-sleeve buttonless cardiganVintage Lace SweaterBoyfriend Cardigan Sweater Gitano® metallic shimmer cardigan

 Chunky Cotton Cardigan Lux Santa Cruz Cardigan
 Lux Santa Cruz CardiganNoemi Smocked Sweater Zq1507 001

1. 3/4-sleeve buttonless cardigan, $68 at
2. Vintage Lace Sweater , $34.50 at
3. Boyfriend Cardigan Sweater , $24.50 at
4. Gitano metallic shimmer cardigan, $36.99 at
5.  Chunky Cotton Cardigan, $88 at
6.  Lux Santa Cruz Cardigan, $48 at
7. Noemi Smocked Sweater , $29.50 at
8. Roundneck sweater, $39.50 at

Q. I bought a cable knit scoop neck sweater dress in winter white that is about 18 inches, so it hits above the knee. I have NO idea what to wear on the bottom- tights? If so, what color? Boots? Flats? [I’m 6 feet tall, so I love flats.] I have a pair of flat black riding boots, but I don’t know how well that will go with winter white.
-Shed Some Light

A. Go for a bold contrast of black and white. Wear black opaque tights with black knee high boots or black pumps (or flats in your case). You can do the same with some textured brown tights and add brown boots or a patterned flat, wedge or pump in brown hues. Also consider playing with color for casual days with burgundy or hunter green tights and heels or boots.

Q. Any suggestions for a sophisticated prom dress? Should it be black? What length?
-Prom Pinache

A. A black dress or a long dress doesn’t guarantee sophistication. You need to look for a dress that is appropriate for your age, doesn’t show off too much skin and fits your personality. I had fun finding multiple styles that are sophisticated, feminine and perfect for prom.  My extra tips would be to make sure you go light on the hairspray, don’t wear too much makeup and be sure to blend below your chin. Rah, Rah!

Black Strapless Holiday Dresses
by Sue WongShort Black Dress by JovaniSequined Strapless Dresses
by Betsy JohnsonDKNY Jeans Juniors Ruffled Satin Halter Dress

 Ruby Rox Tube Party Dress with TieNavy Ruched Bodice Long Gowns
by BCBG MAXAZRIALavender Mist Chiffon Evening Gowns
by BCBG MAXAZRIAEdressme 1983 26555455

1. Black Strapless Holiday Dresses by Sue Wong, $372 at
2. Short Black Dress by Jovani, $440 at
3. Sequined Strapless Dresses by Betsy Johnson, $425 at
4. DKNY Jeans Juniors Ruffled Satin Halter Dress, $89 at
5. Ruby Rox Tube Party Dress with Tie, $66 at
6. Navy Ruched Bodice Long Gowns by BCBG MAXAZRIA, $440 at
7. Lavender Mist Chiffon Evening Gowns by BCBG MAXAZRIA, $480 at
8. Silver Prom Dresses by Faviana, $258 at

Q. Can you advise me what kind of earrings I should get to go with my halter style wedding dress? I will probably have my hair up somehow, but nothing too formal. I’m not wearing a veil and was thinking about a small hair accessory instead. I decided not to wear a necklace, but I am clueless as to whether I should go with a stud or small drop or some mid-sized chandelier earring. What kind of earring shape should I be looking for with a dress like this? I’m not very tall (5’2") and my wedding is being held at the Forever Grand Chapel at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in July with a guest list of about 50 people.
-Not so Traditional Bride

A. Petite gals need to stay away from oversized jewelry.  Since you’re skipping all the other traditional accoutrements you do, however, need a little more shine on the ear. Skip the studs and choose something with a little drop from the lobes.

Aquamarine, Whisky Topaz, and Garnet EarringsIsharya Libra Earrings L-1CC Skye "Jackie O" Baguette HoopsJuliannes's Bow Earrings - Gold

2 Carat Olive Quartz and Citrine 14K Gold Earrings1/8 Carat Diamond 14K White Gold Flower Drop EarringsCubic Zirconia and Ivory Quartz Oval Earrings

1. Aquamarine, Whisky Topaz, and Garnet Earrings, $115.60 at
2. Isharya Libra Earrings, $188 at
3. CC Skye "Jackie O" Baguette Hoops, $165 at
4. Juliannes’s Bow Earrings - Gold, $29.99 at
5. 2 Carat Olive Quartz and Citrine 14K Gold Earrings, $195 at
6. 1/8 Carat Diamond 14K White Gold Flower Drop Earrings, $250 at
7. Cubic Zirconia and Ivory Quartz Oval Earrings, $126.40 at

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