| Ask The Style Chefs: September 2008 Archives

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September 2008 Archives

Q. I am desperately looking for shoes to wear when it’s raining. I already have a pair of rubber Wellies but want something with a bit more style. Any suggestions?

A. We found a slew of chic waterproof shoes - many of them you’ll want to wear rain or shine. Scroll through our picks below:

Q. Ankle Boots are everywhere this Fall. I’m happy about this, since my calves are too dense for mid-shaft boots, but more importantly because I live in Florida, where Autumn is a stylish state of mind, and not much else. I have no idea how to actually WEAR the ubiquitous ankle boot. I know they can be paired with trousers to give the effect of wearing a full on boot—but what else? How do I pair an ankle boot with skirts or dresses? Most importantly: how does someone who isn’t 5’10” and 115 lbs wear an ankle boot without making their legs look shorter/wider?

A. True, ankle boots, or booties, are everywhere this fall, worn with everything from skinny jeans to dresses and skirts. This doesn’t mean it’s a trend for everyone, however. Those with shapely calves may have a hard time wearing ankle boots with a skirt or dress since the boots tend to make even thin calves look a little thicker. If you’re petite or have short legs, be aware that booties will chop inches off the length of your leg, though this can be compensated for with a high heel.

If you think you’re ready to give ankle boots a try, here are some chic options:

1. Wear your ankle boots with skinny jeans
2. Wear them with dresses or skirts that hit just above the knee or higher, below the knee is harder to pull off. You can wear this look bare-legged or with opaque tights.

Here are a few visuals, on the left is from and the rest are from

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Q. I have a lovely red satin dress that I would like to wear to a wedding but I am a little worried because everything I read says not to wear a red dress to a wedding…is this still true? Or is it an outdated taboo? I plan on wearing silver strappy shoes…but I am not sure how to do my makeup?

A. There are many who believe that wearing black (too funereal) or wearing red (too attention grabbing) to a wedding are big faux pas. I, however, am not one of them. To me, a little black dress is eternally chic, whether worn to a wedding or any other affair. As for red, in most cases it should be fine, provided it’s not too lowcut or too sexy. The idea is not to steal the attention from the bride, so a super sexy and revealing dress in red (or any other bright color for that matter) is not appropriate. If your dress, accessories and behavior are tasteful, there should be no issue with the color of the dress.

To address the second part of your question: yes to silver strappy heels. Your makeup and hair should be simple and sophisticated in colors that work for your complexion.

Here are three gorgeous red dresses to wear to a wedding or other dressy affair:


Lauren by Ralph Lauren Cutaway Crepe Dress

$152 at


Anne Klein Dress Stretch Satin Sheath Dress

$178 at


Maggy London Beaded Silk Chiffon Dress

$158 at

Q. I’m looking for a designer, rather large/roomy tote to carry around for school. The hard part is that I really want a zipper wall that goes down the middle inside the bag so my books/binders can stand upright and not fall over and also to separate my wallet/makeup-bag from my books. I have searched furiously online with barely any luck. My price range is up to $450 I would say. Any suggestions!?

A. This proved to be tougher than we thought! Here are three chic options that contain the center zip compartment you’re looking for. And if any of our readers have other suggestions, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!


LeSportsac Lexie Tech Tote

$120 at


Hayden-Harnett Catalina Slouchy Laptop Brief

$473 at


Lodis Accessories Milano Tote With Laptop Pocket

$279 at

Q. I have a red leather biker jacket. Can I wear it this season?

0900631b81524006M.jpgA. Motorcycle jackets are huge this season. Though we’re mostly seeing them in black, brown or gray, your red version should be right in step with the trend. We found a red Helmut Lang moto jacket at for a mere $1,290 and a red faux leather jacket at for $39.99. In addition to jeans, try wearing your jacket with feminine skirts and jackets for the look of the moment.
Lanvin-knee-boot.gifQ. First, I love your site, especially the Ask Us feature. So naturally, I thought I’d send this question to StyleBakery! I would love a pair of the Lanvin Flat Knee-High Boots, but at a more affordable price. I’d still like something quality that will last, but not priced at $1000! Any idea where I can find the same look?

A. Great boots, but scary price tag! The good news is, we found some amazing flat boots in a range of prices, all for less than the Lanvins. Scroll through these options:

Q. Bare legs or hosiery at a black tie optional wedding? I’m wearing a simple black dress with a lovely shawl. Also, I have a beautiful pair of patent leather pumps with a peep toe but think maybe I should wear a closed toe shoe? Thanks for your advice.

hosieryorno.gifA. Feel free to skip the hosiery for your black tie optional affair if you feel more comfortable. As for shoes, peep toes are also acceptable, just be sure to have an immaculate pedicure.
Q. I recently bought a navy business skirt suit. The jacket is a hidden button front closure from the neckline down. It looks so plain! I’m thinking of adding a colorful belt to the waist. Will that look odd? How else can I liven up a very plain suit?

A. I applaud your desire to add some personal style to a basic navy suit. Adding a belt, colorful or not, adds a chic touch to a fitted jacket. Try also wearing a colorful or printed underpinning and a bright handbag. Depending on how conservative your office is, you can add patterned tights or a colorful shoe. Jewelry, like this season’s statement necklace, or a scarf can also add interest.

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1. a patent belt in black or a brighter color adds interest to your suit (Anne Klein New York Crossover Collar Jacket, $450 at
2. colorful jewelry and underpinning will brighten up a dark suit (look shown here is from
3. a colored shoe with dark tights (or a bright opaque tight with dark shoes)
Q. I’ve got a bit of a style conundrum. Every style “guru” I’ve read recommends adding a belt to make a waist appear thinner or more shapely. How do I do that if I’m built like Jennifer Lopez? Without a full skirt, the belt just highlights the prominence of my bum, which is not something that I’ve ever wanted to do. I’m tired of always wearing a full top (babydolls, men’s oxfords, tunics) with wide leg jeans or capris. I’d like to be cute once in a while. Any ideas?

A. Belts may be a huge trend this season, but that doesn’t mean they are for everyone. Cinching your waist tends to accentuate your bust, hips and rear - something not all of us are interested in. Women that are thick in the middle or short-waisted may also have trouble finding a flattering way to wear a belt. There are a few tricks, however, to wear a belt without drawing too much attention to your JLo-esque assets:

  • A thick belt draws more attention to your waist and anything above or below it (your bust and hips/rear); try wearing a skinny belt worn at your natural waist instead. (#4 below)
  • Look for a belt that is a similar color to your clothing (#2 below)
  • Look for a top that provides balance to your bum: a blousy shirt with a wide open collar, a boat neck top, etc. Try belting the top and letting it drape over your hips instead of tucking in the top and belting your pants. (#1 and #2 below)
  • Wear a slim-fitting top with a belted full skirt to camouflage your rear (#6 below)
  • Look for drapey dresses belted slightly higher than your natural waist (#3 below)
  • Try wearing your belt hip-slung (#5 below)

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1. Lafayette 148 New York Stretch Cotton Geri Blouse, $328 at
2. Madison Marcus Silk Lunar Top, $245 at
3. Sleeveless silk ruched dress, $148 at
4. Ribbed shawl cardigan, $89 at
5. Ribbed cardigan & wide-leg jean at
6. Belted high-waist skirt, $48 at
Q. I’m still confused whether it’s OK to wear white after Labor Day. Fashion myth or fashion rule?

whiteafterlaborday.jpgA. We thought we put this issue to rest last year, but many of you still aren’t sure if it is acceptable to wear white after Labor Day. There are those who strictly adhere to this antiquated rule, but we promise, you won’t be arrested by the fashion police for wearing white in October (or November or December…)

Essential to pulling this look off is to ensure that your fabrics are weather appropriate - in other words, no linen, eyelet or gauzy white fabrics.

Willing to wear white? Start simple with a white blouse as a layering piece like the look shown right from Collette Dinnigan’s Fall 2008 collection. Feeling more daring? Try white jeans or winter white wool pants with a black chunky knit sweater. Generally, white sweaters, coats and jackets are also a “do”.  White bags and shoes are harder to pull off, so put them away until next spring just to be safe.

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