| Ask The Style Chefs: May 2008 Archives

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May 2008 Archives

Q. I have a Saturday night, black-tie wedding coming up and I have no idea what to wear. I know people traditionally wear long, black dresses, but since I’m kind of small (5’2”, size 0), I’m afraid I would get lost in a dress like that. Also, since I’m 24 and it’s summer, I wouldn’t mind straying from black and wearing something fun. Keeping this in mind, what would be appropriate? Would a cocktail dress be ok? Or are there any particular styles of long dresses that flatter shorter people? Do you have any suggestions?
- Distressed Over Dress

A. A long gown on a petite woman can look like an overwhelming amount of fabric or look like you’re playing dress up in your mom’s closet. Black tie affairs no longer require a long gown - just an appropriate dress that is fiercely festive, sophisticated and elegant. I shopped for several options and it’s purely coincidental that they all are strapless.


1. Strapless Florence dress, $250 at
2. Jillian strapless dress, $295 at
3. Kay Unger Strapless Bubble Dress, $330 at
4. BCBGMAXAZRIA Silk Strapless Dress, $360 at
5. BCBGMAXAZRIA Silk Empire Dress, $156 (sale) at
6. BCBGMAXAZRIA Satin Cocktail Dress, $288 at

Q. Do stylish and comfy go together when describing a pair of shoes? I hope so! Going to New Orleans means a lot of walking and standing in the heat. Do you have suggestions for stylish and comfy shoes/sandals that would go well with casual dresses and skirts?
- Good Look Foot

A. You can stand, dance and explore New Orleans from the Garden District to the French Market to Bourbon Street in these sandals whether you wear a dress, skirt or shorts.


1. Onex Icon, $79 at
2. Taryn by Taryn Rose Extol, $195 at
3. Aquatalia by Marvin K. Twist, $181.90 (sale) at
4. Soul Mate, $49.99 (sale) at
5. Picnic, $49.99 (sale) at

Q. I love your site and have been checking out your great advice for a while now. I have a dilemma: I am going to several weddings this summer and purchased a lovely black cocktail dress from Banana Republic (very Audrey). However, I tend to be cold and it is a bit on the skimpy side. I have been trying to find a jacket or sweater to wear over it that won’t dress it down too much, and I am having very little luck. Do you have any advice?
- Chic Coverage

A. When looking for a little coverage, a Pashmina wrap is not always the best answer. To complete your Audrey Hepburn look add a jacket or cardigan, but rather than keeping it black as well, choose a color or shine to stand out and embrace Spring.


1. Solid cashmere rosette cardigan, $188 at
2. Cotton-cashmere primrose cardigan, $98 at
3. Stardust sequin cardigan, $450 at
4. Metallic mosaic jacket, $300 at

Q. I have my cousin’s wedding coming up in June and I can’t decide on a style of dress to wear to the event. I am about 5’5”, a little busty with large hips and a smaller waist; I typically wear a size 12. I definitely keep up with trends, so I would like something fashionable, preferably short. My budget is around $150 or less. Any suggestions?
- Stylish Dress

A. While we girls at totally rock when it comes to finding the best for less, it can still be a daunting task when it comes to a special occasion. I was able to find several choices that are available in size 12, wedding appropriate and under your budget.


1. Pink Charmeuse Floral Embellished Dresses, $94 at
2. Maggy London Silk Chiffon Halter Dress, $98 at
3. Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique Keyhole Matte Jersey Dress, $128 at
4. Maggy London Chiffon Dress with Sash (available in 4 colors), $128 at
5. Maggy London Bateau Neck Chiffon Dress, $138 at
6. O Oscar Belted Dot-Hem Dress, $111.75 (sale) at

Q. Our good friends are getting married in Malibu in a beachside ceremony with an indoor reception, late afternoon to early evening. I just bought a sweet cotton Antonio Melani dress that’s A-line and pale yellow, which I love, but I’m not sure where to go from here! I would love to incorporate another color (maybe turquoise?) or a print in the accessories. Help!
- Beach Bound

A. Yeah! A girl who wants to add more color and not just match it head to toe. I found several items from accessories to sandals that should add some sass and sophistication.

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1. Tasha Butterfly Bangle, $48 at
2. Juicy Couture ‘Garden Party’ Bracelet, $98 at
3. Seychelles necklace, $150 at
4. double-strand jeweled-flower pearl necklace, $250 at

5. Nine West Argent, $83 at
6. Betsey Johnson ‘Fanny’ Sandal, $165 at
7. Linea Paolo ‘Adella’ Sandal, $99.95 at
8. BCBGirls ‘Saraff’ Slingback Sandal, $109.95 at

Q. I just bought a new button down white short sleeve shirt and I love the look of wearing a black belt with shirts although I’ve never tried it. I’m always at a loss with what type of belt to wear with shirts. Could you help me to find the perfect belt to go with my white button down shirt?
- Belted

A. This answer could not have been simpler. Anything goes with a classic white button down. A black belt is a safe bet, but don’t stop there. Choose stripes, patents, bright colors or a neutral woven band to give your white shirt - and whatever you pair it with - distinction.


1. Women’s Basic Leather Belts, $16.50 at
2. Lacoste 201000, $64 at
3. Silk resin-buckle belt, $34 at

4. Cynthia Rowley Patent Leather Belt, $42 at
5. Lucky Brand Leather Embroidered, Perforated And Studded Belt, $2 at
6. Splurge: Gucci Bamboo D-Ring Buckle Belt, $315 at

Q. I love the all the metallic out there - bags, shoes, belts, even clothes, and have bought a few pieces for Spring & Summer. How much metallic is too much? And what to wear when wearing a metallic accessory? For example if I wear bronze shoes, I would assume that a metallic handbag is too much. Likewise, if I’m carrying a beautiful bronze or silver tote, handbag or clutch, do I go with a neutral shoe?
- Bronzed in Boston

A. You really do love your metallic. The old rules of accessories used to be that one always matched their bag and shoe color, but that doesn’t necessarily apply today. I believe that as long as the bag and shoes are not bright shiny metallic you can get away with pairing a metallic shoe and bag. Err on the side of subtlety. I have no problem wearing strappy metallic sandals and carrying a metallic clutch for evening. Think of metallic as a new form of a classic piece in your wardrobe, but they have to be used conservatively like you would and animal print. More than one or two pieces at a time can be too much.

Q. Can you make some suggestions on what to wear to a wedding in late May in Florida? The ceremony will be on the beach and the reception is going to take place on a boat and it is bound to be HOT & HUMID in Florida that time of year. I have several black dresses that I could wear but I am concerned that will look to formal and “dark” for this event. - Cool in Heat

A. The weather will most likely be hot, so to help avoid a sweaty brow and underarms, skip the black dress which will soak up the sun’s heat and look for a dress in a fun, bright color and preferably sleeveless or strapless. Since the ceremony and reception are more casual and are water related, keep the length of the dress to somewhere between mini and cocktail just in case you get a chance to cool your toes in the water.


1. Cotton cady strapless Claudine dress (available in 10 colors), $260 at
2. Milly Nautical Print Rope Halter Dress, $412 at

Q. What jewelry and accessories look best with white on white? I am going to a white on white party (which is a color I never wear) and need help with accessories and jewelry tips?
- Wear with White

A. While you’ll wear white on top and bottom, there’s no need to be a walking cotton ball. You can follow the invitation request, but still inject a bit of style by choosing accessories that have a pop of color. Choose a necklace, a cuff bracelet and sandals that effortlessly “work” with white and help you stand out just a bit from the wall-to-wall white at the party.



1. Wide hand-painted enamel zebra bangle, $68 at
2. Hand-painted enamel seahorse bangle, $78 at
3. Resin floral necklace, $59 at
4. Anchor pendant necklace, $32 at

5. BCBG Max Azria Ceren, $198 at
6. Rafe New York Wendy, $245 at
7. Nau‏ghty Monkey Sugar Pop, $64 at
8. Delman Lane-Gpm, $249 (sale) at

Q. Your site is great. Here is my fashion conundrum: I spend a lot of time in a coffee shop, working on my laptop. People I know see me there all the time. What should I wear? I need something comfortable, but not shlumpy in a tracksuit or jeans (which I wear now). Also, the air conditioner indoors bothers me after awhile, so I usually - even in the summer time - wear my track jacket. Thanks for your help!
- Coffee Shop Girl

A. You need comfort and style so you can fit into the coffee shop work mode, but not look like you don’t care. Skip the jeans once in a while and pull on cotton pants in colors from khaki to navy to grey. Skip white since you’ll be concerned about spilling your coffee or getting wrinkled after sitting for several hours. As for what to wear for that chill that occurs with indoor air conditioning, choose thin knit cardigans and thin jackets that are sporty, but colorful. You want a little coverage that when you don’t need it can easily be folded up and tucked into your bag.


1. Egyptian cotton V-neck cardigan (available in 8 colors), $88 at
2. Featherweight merino ruffle cardigan (available in 12 colors), $88 at
3. DKNY pure DKNY Long Sleeve Easy Jacket, $125 at
4. Vince Cricket Cardigan, $215 at

5. Vince Wide Leg Pant, $225 at
6. Loomstate Maiden Twill Pant, $150 at
7. James Perse Casual Trouser, $175 at

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