| Ask The Style Chefs: June 2009 Archives

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June 2009 Archives

Q. I’m over 50 and in search of an age-appropriate dress to wear to work this summer. I’m not comfortable wearing sleeveless, so it should have short sleeves, and I’m also a bit self-conscious about my stomach. The dress should hit around the knee and be easy and comfortable to wear, yet impressive enough for my job in sales. Thanks for your help!

A. Sure thing! Here are several short sleeve, knee length dresses for you to choose from:

Q. I need your help. I don’t know what shoes to pack for a week long walking tour in Europe. I don’t want to be so sporty that I coordinate my outfit around a pair of tennis shoes, but I also can’t find a pair of sandals that are supportive enough to withstand eight hours a day of walking. Am I too worried about fashion over function? I just can’t bring myself to spend an unfashionable week in tennis shoes and tourist clothes in one of the most fashionable continents on the globe! :) Any suggestions?

A. Unfortunately, the European image of the typical American tourist is a t-shirt, shorts, fanny pack and sneakers. I applaud and completely support your desire to look stylish while feeling comfortable. You’ll be thrilled to know that there are plenty of options for comfortable, supportive - and, yes, chic - sandals to wear during your European tour.

Below are some sandal options, as well as some stylish sneaker alternatives (no tennis shoes in the bunch!). Just be sure to give your final selections a good test run before you leave for your trip - you don’t want any blisters ruining your day!

Q. I’m small-chested (34A) and whenever I wear my strapless bras (and i’ve tried a number of them: Victoria’s Secret, Gap, etc.), if i have them on under a snug fitting top, i get a highly unattractive “dent” across my breasts where the top of the cup meets my skin. Yes, i’ve tried the bras specifically designated as “smooth” for supposedly seamless coverage. Can you please help me? Thanks!

A. My guess is that the bras you’ve tried so far have been bandeau-style (straight across at the top) which can often give the appearance of a dent. Instead, look for bras that dip down in the middle that help give more of a lift than a flattening effect. If you are still experiencing a “dent”, then it is possible that you are choosing a cup size that is too small, try a 32B or 34B instead.

If these solutions still don’t work for you and you are truly an A cup, then I suggest skipping the bra entirely and wearing one of the nipple covers we recommended here.

Here are some strapless suggestions to try:

Q. I am 46 years old and have a young look with a slim build. My problem is that I have small breasts and don’t like to wear a bra as I really don’t need one. I don’t like the padding and most are tight around my rib cage and uncomfortable. Is there a bra that conceals my nipples without being too much?

A. Lucky you if you’re able to go bra-less! If your goal is merely to conceal nipples, then your best bet is to try these bra alternatives:

sassynips.jpg.jpegSassybax Sassynips - Made from Soufflé technology, these adhesive nipple concealers are so light, natural and comfortable, no one will know you are wearing them but you. Each patch is approximately the size of a half dollar and can be washed and reused up to 50 times. $18

Fashion Forms Ultimate Silicone Gel Petals With Travel Case - Silicone petals that offer a smooth look with or without a bra. Can be worn up to 25 times. $15

Fashion Forms Breast Petals 3-Pack - 3 pairs of disposable no-show designed petals that have padded centers, and are great for wearing with or without your bra. $6

Pure Style Girlfriends Smooth’em Nipple Concealers - Dim the headlights the easy way! These re-usable silicone discs create a seamless silhouette as they conceal nipples with a gentle adhesive. They’re tapered to lay flat and they adhere gently to the breasts for a natural and seamless look. Waterproof and sweatproof, reusable up to 20 times. $17

Q. Do you have any suggestions for some cool, kick-around pants? All the pants I own fall into two categories: dress pants or jeans. I’d love a cool looking pair of relaxed pants to wear with my flats or “fashion” sneakers on the weekends. Any ideas?

A. Our favorite kind of pants! This season, we’re loving the Ripstop Utility Pant from (below) for its versatility and comfort. You can wear it with sneakers and flat sandals or dress them up with heels and a pretty top. They come in a variety of colors as well as petite and tall sizes. We also like washed linen drawstring pants, cuffed stretch jeans and cargo pants.

Here are some more casual weekend pants for you to choose from - all under $100:


Q. I’ve started looking into gel-ly adhesive bras because strapless bras usually don’t fit comfortably on me, or the gel sides that prevent the bra from falling down bother me a lot, and I just wanted to ask you if you had any insights toward them. I was just wondering if you guys knew any other good adhesive bras besides the NuBra? Most of the results of my Googling were mainly about the NuBra, but I don’t know If I’d be comfortable in one, so I’m not ready to shell out $60 just yet.

A. Adhesive, backless bras are the perfect solution to wear under strapless, backless or one-shoulder tops and dresses. Although you can find some that fit size C and up, it’s important to note that these styles work best for women who are a small C or smaller, or who don’t require a lot of lift and support.

The NuBra is one of the most popular styles and can be worn over and over again. The NuBra Ultralite is a less expensive version, available for $32. An alternative to the reusable bras is the Adhesive Body Bra which can be worn 6 times and costs $12 or the disposable one-time-use Fashion Forms Adhesive Bra which costs $8 for one pair.

Our advice? If you’re unsure if an adhesive, backless bra will work for you, start with one of the options for $12 or less. If you are pleased with the bra, then the reusable NuBra will be worth the investment.

(P.S. get 10% off any of the above styles through 7/31/09, click here)

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Q. I am in a wedding later this month in which I am part of the “house party” or, as I like to call it, the “B-Team Bridesmaids.” Luckily, we can pick out our own dresses - the bride just asks that they all be solid black, around knee-length, and free of anything too flashy like beading or sequins. This will be the first time I see my ex after a terrible break-up six months (and 30 lbs) ago, so I really want to look GREAT. Please help me find a simple, stylish, and extremely flattering LBD! I definitely don’t want to show too much skin at my friend’s wedding, but I’d love to find something a bit sexy, like a one-shoulder, strapless, or halter neckline. What do you think? Where is the line between looking hot at a wedding and looking inappropriate?

A. Congrats on the dramatic weight loss! Here are some little black dresses to “wow” your ex - sexy, yet tasteful enough to wear to your friend’s wedding:


Q. I’m attending an anniversary party and would love to wear this dress I found at Express. I’m not sure what accessories (shoes, bag, jewelry) I should wear though. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Great dress! Let the bold graphic design dictate your color palette: yellow, black, white, gold - any of these colors would look great with the dress. We opted for black strappy heels, a lemon yellow clutch, a chunky gold necklace and bangles.

A white or gold bag would also look great, as would gold shoes. You can also substitute great dangling gold earrings instead of the chunky gold necklace or add a skinny black patent belt to change the look.

Q. I recently bought a vintage Ralph Lauren navy boyfriend blazer. I am interning at an art museum this summer and would love to wear it then. However, I’m a bit unsure of how to incorporate it into my ‘business casual’ wardrobe. The only look I’m familiar is with boyfriend blazer is wearing them with skinnies and shorts—but can’t wear those at the museum!

A. The soft, slouchy, slightly boxy boyfriend blazer can be tricky to pull off in the workplace where “neat” always looks better than overly relaxed or sloppy. Yes, a boyfriend blazer looks great with skinnies and shorts, but at the office, you are better off with pencil skirts, slim trousers and shift dresses. Just remember to keep the rest of your look clean, unfussy and tailored close to the body. Below are a few ideas for inspiration:

Q. What type of shoe can be worn with sundresses and the great new maxi length if you can’t wear sandals or strappy shoes. I just don’t seem to have the feet for them. I appreciate any suggestions!!!

A. Bohemian-inspired maxi dresses and pretty, feminine sundresses generally call for summery pedicure-flaunting shoes. Long (maxi) dresses can look especially dowdy with most closed-toe styles, so some sort of sandal or wedge is usually called for. 

When you say “you don’t have the feet” for sandals, I’m not sure if you mean that you find them uncomfortable or if you just don’t like to expose your foot for some reason. Below are some dresses with shoe options that aren’t too strappy or sandalish, so hopefully there is a shoe style that you feel comfortable with (click each image for purchasing info):

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