| Ask The Style Chefs: July 2008 Archives

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July 2008 Archives

Q. I recently bought a pair of really cute yellow flats on a whim, but now they’re collecting dust inside my closet because I can’t find anything to wear with them. Could you recommend something?

Q. I recently received a cute Italian leather purse, which I love…the problem is, it’s yellow. I’ve tried to add it to outfits, but always end up leaving it behind for something less vibrant. What can I wear with it this summer and can I carry it into fall as well?

yellowbag.pngA. Kudos to both of you for choosing yellow accessories, one of our favorite looks this summer! Whether it’s a pair of yellow shoes or a yellow handbag, you can wear it with so much more than you might think (just not together please - matching yellow shoes and handbags are just too much!) For the most part, you can wear yellow with pretty much anything - navy, denim, white, brown, red, orange and sometimes even black.

Check out some of the looks on these pages for some examples of accessorizing with yellow:

As you can see, we’re really loving yellow this season. And the best part? You can wear your yellow shoes and handbags through the fall.
_5580239.jpgQ. First, I LOVE your site!! I just bought this dress in navy. Navy is a tough color. What type and color shoe can I wear to keep it elegant and fashionable for an evening summer cocktail party. I love the dress but the color is difficult. I like navy and camel but would that work?

A. Cute dress! Navy looks especially chic this season and finding the right color shoe is not as daunting as you might think. I’m not sure if camel would be my first choice for evening; instead, look for black, silver, light neutrals and more. Red can also be a fun choice if you’re feeling bold. Here are a few options ranging from simple and subtle to statement-making, depending on your mood:
Q. I am looking for a stylish, sturdy bag to carry my laptop and paperwork as I trek from one meeting to another. I want something that’s not your basic black briefcase, but that is large and sturdy enough for everyday use for a long time.

-Bag Lady

A. Laptop bags aren’t necessarily the most stylish bags to carry everyday, but I did find big enough handbags that would carry and still protect your laptop plus specific bags built to carry your computer. Plus, these bags will carry all of your other essentials as well. I’ve categorized big bag and laptop bag, now you choose.

Big enough to carry your laptop and daily essentials:

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1. Foley + Corinna Glazed Jet Setter Jr Tote, $528 at
2. Rebecca Minkoff Market Tote with Scarf, $675 at
3. Jill Stuart Handbags Noho Victoria Tote, $402 at
4. Tory Burch Embossed Lux T Jordana Tote, $495 at

Bags with specific interior pocket to hold your computer:
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1. Knomo Josselin, $299 at
2. Knomo Toyah, $254 at
3. Nine West Laptop Tote, $99 at
4. Francesco Biasia ‘Nika’ Laptop Satchel, $538 at
5. cinda b Takin’ Care of Business, $96 at

Target also has a nice selection of laptop bags at affordable prices:
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1. Mango Tango Quilted Faux Suede Laptop Bag, $44.99
2. Mango Tango Canvas Stripe Laptop Bag, $39.99
3. Mango Tango Faux Croc Laptop Bag, $47.99
4. Mango Tango Faux Leather Quilt-Lined Laptop Carrying Case, $59.99
5. Isaac Mizrahi for Target® Notebook Computer Tote, $39.99
_5622850.jpgQ. I am attending a Black Tie Wedding this weekend. I purchased a black halter style gown. My question is …Do I wear a necklace? What type of jewelry would go with the dress?

A. Generally, you should not wear a necklace with a halter style dress. Instead, go for dramatic earrings and a cuff bracelet or cocktail ring.
219276_4520.jpgQ. I just bought this pair of orange capris that I love. I’m looking for other color combinations besides the typical standby of an off-white top and sandals. Any suggestions?

A. Of course, you can always pair your orange bottoms with neutrals like white, off-white and navy, but this summer, we’re all about mixing up colors. Try wearing your orange capris with other citrus shades like lemon and lime. Or try one of these colorful printed tops below:

As for shoes, metallic gold looks great with orange, as does brown, navy and of course tan/neutrals.
Q. I’m trying to protect my hair and the skin on my face from the summer sun, so I went looking for a nice hat that would cover my face and hair but with a brim that wasn’t so broad that I look like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. My bathing suits are all different colors — black, navy, brown, even some purple thrown in. What I really want is a canvas hat with a little bit of a metallic sheen. But everything I see out there is black, black, black, or straw. I can’t find what I’m looking for anywhere! Does such a thing exist? Can you help?-Thanks, (Going) Mad Hatter

BKM400-lg.jpgA. Finding a sun hat with a small brim can be very difficult, after all, it’s the brim that protects your face from the sun. You might want to try a bucket or cowboy hat as an alternative to the typical wide-brimmed hat. As for colors, there are plenty of options other than black, and canvas is certainly an option, but why the aversion to straw? There are many chic straw options available - and they look great with virtually any swimsuit color, including the ones you mentioned.

We had a hard time finding a small-brimmed, non straw metallic hat, but the Hat Attack metallic linen sunhat with piping shown here somewhat fits the bill. It does have a brim, but the floppy style makes it youthful and not too Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Scroll through some more options you may like:

Q. I recently purchased a one piece retro-inspired swimsuit. I am worried about my belly bulge and am wondering, is it possible to wear some type of shapewear underneath the swimsuit?

r410568-p410574-back.jpgA. We’re not aware of a shapewear product specifically designed to be worn under a swimsuit in the water, but I suppose you could always wear a icontummy flattener thong, provided it fits completely underneath your swimsuit. I can’t think of anything more uncomfortable, though, on a hot summer day than shapewear underneath a swimsuit. Next time, opt for a tummy trimming swimsuit instead. There are so many styles available, including retro-inspired, that have built-in tummy panels and high spandex content to suck you in - you’re sure to find one that suits you.
Q. Do you have any suggestions for some fun, stylish walking shoes? I live in NYC and walk my dog frequently in Central Park. I’m finding that my old stand-by shoes - Pumas, one of the older styles - don’t look quite right when I’m wearing cropped pants in the summer and flip flops don’t work either. My dog enjoys walking and running off the sidewalk so maximum foot coverage is probably best. Any ideas on some sporty shoes that would work in the summer?

A. You and me both, trekking around the city with our pooches. A girl needs to weather the hard city streets, a chance to enjoy the green grass in the park and still look slightly stylish. I am hooked on the Cole Haan Air Brea ballet flats as my substitute for sneakers and I found some other choices that are pulling me nearly as strong as my dog when she sees another cute pooch she has to meet or actually sniff.

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1. Privo Tidal, $89 at
2. Cole Haan Air Billie Mary Jane, $149 at
3. Cole Haan Remy Ballet, $149 at
4. Cole Haan Women’s “Air Bria” Woven Ballet Flats, $150 at
5. Naturalizer Cresson, $69 at
Q. I just bought a Calvin Klein black pinstripe suit for a job interview, and I am trying to choose a white shell to wear under it. Since the suit is linen, I’m thinking a cotton/poly blend with a tiny bit of lace around the neckline or a viscose/nylon white shell knit. The knit looks good with the suit, but I’m wondering if a knit with linen “works”. I think it looks good, but I know mixing the right types of fabrics together can make a difference in the overall look. What do you suggest?

A. Basically, just avoid heavy fabrics, particularly wool or thicker fabrics. A thin knit or light blend will work with your suit, but be willing to consider a variety of tops to pair with your suit in the future once you nab the job, from patterned white on white to chic tops with collars in bold colors. Don’t just settle for the safety of black and white. Here are some white tops you might like:

brshawl.png alfani.png 915436_fpx.jpg 1. Shawl-collar textured blouse, $64 at

2. Alfani Short-Sleeve Polka-Dot Mesh Top, $59 at

3. Nanette Lepore Women’s Jamming Eyelet Top, $215 at
Q. I have a work event that has me totally stumped for an appropriate outfit! We will be at a theme park all day, immediately followed by dinner at a restaurant where the dress code is evening casual. Do you have any ideas?

A. For the day at the park, pair a patterned top with shorts so it’s easy to beat the heat and enjoy a day of being a kid. Avoid white tops that may get wet at the park and become see-through, make sure your tops don’t bare your midriff at all and that your shorts are long enough to cover a portion of your thighs while you scream with delight on the roller coaster. A patterned shirt will help hide any stains like a little mustard from a hotdog, dirt or camouflage you if you get wet.

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1. Tommy Hilfiger Paisley Puff-Sleeve Tunic, $44.50 at

2. Lucky Brand Jeans Printed Cap-Sleeve Linen Top, $68.00 at

For the casual evening attire, pack some of the following simple, stylish suggestions into a tote and change in the restaurant, at a stop along the way or at the park before you leave for the restaurant. You’ll look instantly refreshed and chic without overdoing it for the crowd. And remember, the park is for fun and the restaurant is to finish off the day with a good impression.

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1. City Style Printed Halter Top, $32.95 at

2. City Style Caftan - Diamond Maze, $36.95 at

3. Paisley kimono-sleeve dress, $110 at

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