| Ask The Style Chefs: February 2009 Archives

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February 2009 Archives

Q. My wife and mother of the bride died in 2003. I remarried last year and my daughter is getting married this May. The question, what should my wife wear…the Groom’s Mother is wearing purple, my daughter has asked that my wife not wear purple also. Bridesmaids are in purple tones…..I’m thinking black, but don’t have a clue…thanks

A. My guess is that it will be an emotional day for your daughter without her mother at her wedding and since your wife was asked not to wear the same color as the bridesmaids and mother of the groom, she should respectfully select a dress in a low key, yet elegant, color. This rules out any “look at me” colors like red, cobalt blue, fuchsia, bright yellow, etc. White and ivory are of course off limits, and it’s best to avoid black as some people view this as the color of mourning. Likewise, the style of the dress should be somewhat reserved, no short hemlines or plunging necklines.

Here are some suggestions in appropriate colors:

Q. Hi! I am in my best friend’s wedding in July. We can pick our own dress and shoes but the dress must be navy blue and the shoes must be pink. Navy blue dresses and pink shoes are not very common items. Do you have any affordable suggestions?

A. Lucky you, the freedom to choose your own dress with few restrictions! Navy blue is a classic color that works well for bridesmaid dresses year round. Since you didn’t specify the length of your dress, we selected one long style and one cocktail dress, both equally elegant styles that you can wear again (yes!) There are many shades in the pink spectrum, so here are 3 options for you in various hues.
Q. Is it okay to wear trouser socks with printed or colored shoes in the cold months, or do I need to freeze my feet to be fashionable?

2333063724_b53ce41f26.jpgA. Generally speaking, ballet flats are meant to be worn with bare feet. However, we’re guilty of wearing the occasional trouser sock or pair of tights with ballet flats when the weather is chilly. The key to doing this in a chic way is to match your sock color to your shoe as closely as possible (black with black is of course the easiest). This might not be as easy with your colored flats, so you should try to match your tights to your pants or skirt. But, rules are made to be broken - the black tights/red shoe combo shown here actually looks pretty cute! The key to pulling off any of these looks is to ensure that your socks fit well and don’t sag or bunch up.
51120081344343477300DBN_multi.jpgQ. So I FINALLY bought the Frye Harness boots I’ve been lusting over for years. (squeal!) They look fantastic with my straight cut faded black jeans that ruche up around the ankles, but they seem a bit - excuse the western pun - horsey with a looser bootcut or flare. How do I avoid the I’m-going-out-to-the-biker-bar-in-mom-jeans look and lean a bit more towards the artsy hipster side of things?

A. Loove, these boots, they are a great investment that you’ll wear for years with a rugged look that only improves with age. The great thing about these boots is that they do have a masculine feel, making them perfect for toughening up feminine pieces like a floral dress or skirt.

You’re on the right track wearing your skinny jeans tucked into the boots, however your bootcut or flare jeans worn over the boot is an option also. If you’re concerned about looking too tough or “biker-ish”, then wear something ultra feminine on top to balance the rugged boot. A belted fitted jacket or cardigan or a pretty ruffled blouse are great options. Even something simple like a tank top and draped scarf is an option.
Q. Are Tory Burch Reva flats still in for Spring 2009? I have worn my first pair out so much over the last year and a half and am in need of a new pair. I love them and don’t mind buying a new pair because they pay for themselves when you factor in the cost/wear; however, when I see all the teenage girls wearing them I begin to question their style status. Please advise!

A. The Tory Burch Reva ballet flat is so ubiquitous, it has become a classic. Once super trendy and “hot”, it has spawned a multitude of knockoffs which can be either the sincerest form of flattery or the kiss of death. The Reva has successfully transitioned from a must-have fad to timelessly chic, introducing new colors and styles every season. This season, there is even an espadrille and jelly version added to the line. In other words, don’t expect to get the same “oohs and ahs” you did when the shoe first came out, but it’s still a stylish addition to your wardrobe.

Q. I recently bought this white strapless dress online not realizing it is a terry dress (shopping online can be deceiving) and nowhere did it say it was a terry dress. I was going to send it back but I actually think it has potential and it can look cute with the right shoes and accessories. I live in Houston and the weather here is warm during the summer so I don’t necessarily have to wear this dress to the beach only. Can you give me some ideas on how to make this dress look nice without looking like I have a towel wrapped around myself, how do I accessorize? Help….  

A. You’re right, you don’t have to limit wearing this dress to the beach, however, no matter how much you try to dress it up, it will always be a casual dress. This means it’s not appropriate for the office or conservative affairs, however, it’s perfect for a day of shopping or meeting some friends for lunch. Start by adding some color to the white dress in the form of a pretty necklace. A casual but un-beachy tote and leather sandals (no rubber flip flops here), also with a dash of color, will help add some “street” to your beachy dress. Now you’re ready to hit the town in a cute, casual warm weather look.

Q. I have tried to wear the new style of blazer, the short blazer. However, I am plus sized (size 16) and find that they don’t flatter me. If I wear a longer blazer, will I be committing a fashion faux pas?

A. Quite the contrary! You’re in luck, this season’s newest silhouette is the longer boyfriend style blazer. To properly wear this look without looking sloppy, the rest of your outfit should be slim: skinny or slim jeans or pants work best (and yes, even on a plus size figure). As for a shorter blazer, try layering it over a longer top for a more flattering look. Here are two long blazer looks and two short blazer over long top looks for inspiration:

left to right: Alfani Plus Size Three-Button Suit Jacket, $149 at; Rag & Bone Elongated Blazer, (not available in plus size); Sweater with silvertone studs, $64.50 at; Eyeshadow Plus Size Cropped Jacket with Peter Pan Collar, $40 at
Q. I am in search of a great pair of nude, high heel sandals in the same style that Rachel Bilson recently wore. The only thing I can find similar at any price range is the Stuart Weitzman Bandura. I would prefer to spend about half that and have a chunkier heel…can you help me?

A. I’m not sure what Rachel wore recently, but the Bandura is a chunky platform sandal with criss cross straps. We found a few similar options for you with a chunkier heel for less money.

Q I just bought a wonderful black sequin jacket at a great price. Unfortunately, I’m not quite sure what to wear it with! Is it possible to wear it with something besides formal clothes?

940378_fpx.jpgA. You can absolutely wear your sequin jacket with casual clothes - in fact, we encourage it! Pair it with a pretty feminine top or even a simple tank and jeans for a casual chic look. Take inspiration from the Iisli Women’s “Tiffany” Lace Cotton Blazer shown here (from to see how great a plain white tee and dark jeans look with the sparkly blazer. Try it also with a day dress or even a pair of man-tailored trousers for some more dressy/daytime pairings.

Q. Do you have any suggestions for “spicing up” a very boring maternity wardrobe? I am seven months pregnant, and so bored with the styles. Any help would be great!!

A. Unless you’re lucky enough to have that famed pregnant glow, it’s usually somewhere around the seventh month that women start to feel big, uncomfortable and just plain “blah”. Of course this carries over to your appearance and feeling uninspired by your maternity wardrobe is quite common. Since you have only a few months left to go, it doesn’t make sense to invest in expensive maternity pieces that you’ll get very few wearings from.

Instead, add some spice to your maternity wardrobe with accessories: a gorgeous statement necklace, head-turning handbag, a fresh scarf or even some great shoes (comfortable, natch). These will freshen up the clothes you already have and can be worn long after the baby arrives. Here are a few ideas for you (click on each for store info):

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