| Ask The Style Chefs: October 2008 Archives

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October 2008 Archives

Q. I have a dress I purchased this summer for a wedding. It is a navy blue shiny jersey fabric, with a scoop neckline, lingerie straps, empire style bodice with beading and drops to an A-line skirt. Could I add a jacket or cardigan and wear it to a fall (Nov 7th) wedding? I’m assuming my gold sandals would look too summery and I might need to find a more season appropriate shoe. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

A. You can absolutely wear this dress in the fall. Without knowing how dressy the wedding is that you are invited to, we would suggest a dressy cardigan or jacket in black or silver. Below are some pretty beaded and sequined options that might work for your navy blue dress. If you opt for the black/navy combination (a very chic look by the way), then wear black heels and bare legs or black sheer hose. Silver heels are also an option.

vanessa8.jpgQ. I read your site everyday and I love it! I have a shopping question, I know if there is anyone who knows the answer it’s you, so… I absolutely love the hat Vanessa Minnillo is wearing here. It’s a knit fedora and I like because it’s a little different. I have been searching online and can’t seem to find it or anything like it anywhere. Do you know where I can find this knit fedora or any other cool hats or sites that sell hats that aren’t too expensive to wear casually like she is?

A. What a great look! We found a very similar knit fedora from as well as a few other options you might like:

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100087-stainedglass-chic.jpgQ. Do you have any ideas for a stylish way to wear an ID badge at work?

A. Check out, it’s full of fashionable ID necklaces, lanyards and more.
Q. Is there a certain type of bra you’re supposed to wear to coordinate with a garter belt? I’ve been told that at least for the bottoms, thongs are the best choice to go with garters (over more coverage-providing undies such as bikinis and boy shorts), and I know that balconets are probably the most commonly worn bras to go with garter belts, but aside from corsets, would any other kind of bra look right?

110331sim_fs.jpgA. We consulted the experts at, our favorite online intimate apparel destination, for help with your question. They said:

While you will most often see balconets or push up bras styled with garter belts, there are no “rules” as to what bra to wear; any style bra will do. As for bottoms, thongs look best with garters but bikini cut will also work. If you want to look sexy, then thigh highs from Wolford or Falke complete the garter belt look.

Simone Perele Avant Premiere Garter Belt Set

nxna237.jpgQ. I am going to wear a tea-length black dress to a 6:00 p.m. wedding reception that calls for cocktail attire. I’m only 5’3” and don’t want to “shorten” the look of my legs. This being the case, would you advise not wearing a t-strap shoe (or even a shoe with a thin ankle strap)? Would a slip-on shoe be better?

A. Tea length dresses tend to hit somewhere between your knee and your ankle, or mid-calf. Since you are petite, a t-strap or ankle strap shoe will likely shorten the look of your legs. To make your legs look as long as possible, opt for a strappy shoe or pump that covers as little of the top of your foot as possible.

Q. What color/type of shoes do I wear with brown dress pants?

A. Great colors to wear with brown pants: gold, cream, tan, cognac, deep red, bronze, copper. As for what style shoes to wear, virtually any heel will look great with your pants. Without knowing how dressy your pants are or where you are wearing them, here are some suggestions:

Q. My husband and I will be attending an evening gala that is cocktail chic. What type of clothing is cocktail chic? Any suggestions for both of us?

A. “Cocktail Chic” is similar to “Cocktail Attire” but with a little extra room for interpretation. Typical cocktail attire consists of short party dresses for women and dark suits for men. Cocktail Chic includes these items but can also include more creative combinations like a dressy top and pants for women or sport coats and blazers for men. Listen to the “chic” part of the dress code and wear something stylish and modern, rather than safe and classic.

A few suggestions for you:

Q. I am attending a weeknight charity dinner with my husband in New York in late October. The invitation suggests “festive attire”. Do you have any recommendations? Would a wrap dress or skirt suit in a luxurious fabric be appropriate? I’d love some stylish tips, especially something I could wear again to another event.

A. Typically, festive attire is less dressy than black tie or cocktail attire but more dressy than casual or work attire. Festive attire is meant to evoke a fun, flirty, party atmosphere. Think metallics, sequins, beading, ruffles, bows, etc. If your invitation is for a holiday party, then festive attire can also include velvet and other fabrics, colors and prints evocative of the holidays.

Your wrap dress or skirt suit in a luxe fabric might work, just be sure to add something fun like metallic shoes or dazzling earrings. Here are a few other options for your weeknight charity dinner:

_5682144.jpg 920235_fpx.jpg jills2007712244_prod_medium_v1_m56577569831208998._SX201_.jpg cstef2006013055_prod_medium_v1_m56577569831252306._SX201_.jpg
1. Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent Ruffle Dress,
2. Abaete Women’s Arthur Top and Ricky Skirt,
3. Jill Stuart Gantz Top (pair it with nice black pants),
4. Cynthia Steffe Marla Top (pair it with nice black pants),

Want more mileage out of these looks? Either of the sparkly tops above can be worn out to dinner or on a date with jeans, while the ruffled top makes an ideal layering piece under a v-neck sweater, cardigan or jacket.
Q. I am attending a black tie optional affair and am wondering what to wear? Female/35. Some of the ladies are wearing slacks, but this is an affair where all the bigwigs will be attending and I want to make a statement. What should I wear?

A. At a black tie optional affair, men wear tuxedos or dark suits and women wear everything from gowns to dressy cocktail dresses. Slacks can be difficult to pull off, but if you choose to go this route, make sure that they are dressy evening pants and pair them with a glamorous top, great jewelry and heels.

Since you want to dress to impress, a dress always offers the greatest impact. Look for luxe fabrics and special details. Here are a few black tie optional choices that demonstrate the range of appropriate attire:

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1. Maggy London Chiffon Gown with Charmeuse Waist, $158 at
2. Adrianna Papell Shutter Pleat Satin Dress, $158 at
3. JS Boutique Beaded Waist Cutaway Dress, $158 at
4. Carmen Marc Valvo Satin Pants, $210 at
Q. I have to attend three weddings in November - one which is an optional black tie. I didn’t know November was such a popular wedding month! I’d like to get a dress that I can wear to all three…without spending a FORTUNE. Something trendy and gorgeous! I like black and bright colors and have auburn hair and fair/medium skin tone. Everything out there seems like it is still summery…also can I still wear sandals in November?

A. How lucky you are that you’ll be getting so much use out of one fantastic dress! You mentioned that one wedding is optional black tie, but we’re not sure if the other two weddings are more or less dressy. Below are some affordable options that can be dressed up or down for a multitude of occasions. Pair them with strappy evening-worthy sandals, some fantastic jewelry and you’re ready to dance the night away.

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