| Ask The Style Chefs: August 2009 Archives

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August 2009 Archives

Q. I am wondering that type of shoes I can wear with my boyfriend jeans for the fall? Or should I put away the boyfriend jeans until spring?

A. You will be thrilled to know that you can wear your boyfriend jeans in the fall. Pile on the layers with cardigans, blazers, leather jackets and more. On your feet, you can wear ballet flats or heels for as long as your bare ankles can stand the cold. When the temperature drops, turn to ankle boots instead. Below are some runway looks and shoe choices for inspiration:


Q. I am 5’11’ and large busted. I have a terrible time finding a bra that fits at department stores. Help! How can I find a bra that fits?

A. We consulted Panache, the lingerie design expert for D+ cup sizes, for tips on ensuring that you have a properly fitting bra:

Baggy cups are a surefire sign that you have the wrong size. Try going down a cup size. If your cups are creasing around the nipple, try going down a back size to pull the fabric taut.

Spilling out over the tops or sides of your bra won’t make your breasts look bigger; it will make your clothes look lumpy. It means you’re wearing too small of a cup size, so try the next size up.

A bra’s main support comes from the band, not the straps. Make sure that you’re wearing the correct band size: too big, and your straps will end up taking the weight, which will cause them to dig in and be uncomfortable.

Stand sideways and look in the mirror. Is your bra band at the same level all the way around? If it’s riding up at the back, you probably need a smaller band size so it will stay in place and not cause the dreaded “back fat.”

Never mind a rule of thumb; here’s what you need to know about fingers. Your bra band should feel tight and firm but with enough space to insert two fingers under the back band, and one under the center front.

Fascinating bra fact: a bra band can grow up to 4” due to wash and wear. When you buy a new bra, make sure that it fits properly on the loosest hook as you might need to tighten it with wear.

The center front of your bra should lie flat against the breastbone. If it doesn’t, go up a cup size.

On that note, check the wire at the side of the bra. It should sit on the ribcage without digging into any breast tissue.

The best way to see what shape a new bra will give you is to try it on under a fitted T-shirt. Look at yourself from all angles and make sure you have an uplifted look with no unwanted bulges.

You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without walking around in them. So why should buying a bra be any different? Don’t just stand there: stretch out and swing your arms to make sure it feels comfortable when you move. Also, make sure to sit down in your new bra. This will tell you whether the bra will dig in and bother you when you are sitting in it all day.

Ready to start shopping? Here are some of our favorite bras for size D and up:

Panache Tango Classic Balconette Underwire Bra
Panache Harmony Full Cup Underwire Bra
Le Mystere Dream Lace Tisha Bra
Le Mystere Dream Tisha Seamless Full Fit Bra

Q. I’ve been out of work for a few months and finally have a really promising interview. Since I’ve had to cut corners lately, I don’t really have a lot to spend on an interview outfit. Can you recommend something affordable that I can get more than one wear out of?


A. It’s a lot easier to dress to impress a potential employer on a budget than you might think. We consulted Ryan Kohnen, the 29-year-old entrepreneur and author of the new book Young Professional’s Guide To Success and he offered these top 5 ways to dress for a job interview for less than $100:

1. Go monochromatic. Dressing in one color is always polished and can make up for the fact that your suit isn’t Armani.

2. Develop a relationship with a tailor. Even a $20 pair of Gap dress pants are interview-worthy if they fit right.

3. Discount retailers and off-season sales are your friends. Last season’s perfectly fashionable castoffs can be yours for often one quarter of the price.

4. Separates are an option, especially in neutral colors. A navy cardigan can replace a navy jacket-especially when paired with a navy pencil skirt.

5. Limit jewelry. It can tend towards expensive or showy, and neither will do you any favors while you’re looking for work.

What we say: Simple is better. Unless you are interviewing for a position in the fashion or style industry, it’s best to keep your look simple and classic. Avoid anything overly trendy or detailed, especially when you’re looking for clothes on a budget.

A simple seasonless sheath dress or pencil skirt in a basic color are perfect foundation pieces for your interview and work wardrobe. Add interest and dimension with jackets, cardigans, belts and jewelry to change up your look. Invest in rich looking accessories like a chic work tote and great looking shoes. They don’t have to be designer, but the materials should be of the best quality you can afford. Be sure to wear hosiery if you are interviewing at a conservative corporate office. If you’re unsure, it’s best to be safe and wear pantyhose or tights.

Below are some mix and match options that are affordable, classic and seasonless, so you’ll get a lot of wear out of them when you finally land the big job!

priscilladress.jpgQ. I will be wearing this dress as the Maid of Honor in my cousin’s Labor Day Weekend wedding. I will be wearing a pewter colored strappy high heeled sandal as well. I wanted to bring some color into the outfit with my jewelry. I figured a pair of ginormous costume earrings and bracelet would do. What color do you recommend?

A. Since your dress and shoes are both pewter, adding color to your look through jewelry is perfect. Focusing on your earrings and a bracelet and leaving your neck bare is a great look. Jewel tones like sapphire, amethyst, emerald and ruby would look gorgeous, as would icy colors like lavender and cool pinks. Keep the metals in the silver/pewter family instead of gold. Below are some pretty options for you:

Q. I am going on a date and bought this great dress from Kenneth Cole (but in a black color). What should I accessorize with (shoes, bag, earrings) to avoid looking too trendy, clubby, etc and just look great for the evening out? Any advice? I am a huge fan of bold earings and bracelets…should I avoid this since the dress has an interesting pattern?

A. Great dress! To tone down the dress and keep it classic, not trendy, let the pattern on the dress do the talking. Go for chic yet subtle accessories like the selections shown below.


Q. I have fallen in love with the Tayla shoe by Steve Madden. I am, however, unsure about what kind of outfit they would look good with. Any advice?

A. When it comes to shoes with thick ankle straps, it’s always best to show as much leg as possible. The sexy Tayla shoe looks great with short dresses and skirts, like those shown below:

Q. I am 54 and going on a job interview. I have a black silk dress with matching blazer. How can I soften this look?

A. You have several options for softening up or adding style to a black work suit while still looking professional. A sophisticated, yet chic, necklace is a great option since it will bring focus to your face while you’re talking. Look for something strong, yet feminine, like a chunky beaded necklace or twisted strands of pearls. An alternative would be an artfully tied scarf, just make sure it looks stylish and not matronly. Keep your earrings small and subtle.

Depending on the cut of your dress and jacket, you can add a pop of color in the form of a belt. Wear the jacket closed with the belt around the outside of the jacket, or wear the jacket open and wear the belt around the waist of your dress.

You can also convey style with your shoes, there’s no rule saying you have to wear a basic black pump. Look for something professional, yet stylish and appropriate for an interview.


Q. I am going to a party and bought a sequin blazer, but I dont really want to wear it with jeans. Are there any other options that would look glam?

A. Jeans are a great way to dress down a sequin jacket, but they are certainly not your only option. This season, a blazer worn with a flirty dress, like the chiffon frock shown below, is a modern and chic way to dress. Skinny pants paired with a pretty top and heels is another option, or you can go for a rocker look and opt for a tank or t-shirt paired with skinny black pants. Here are some looks for inspiration:


Q. I bought a dress from Lipsy that is a zebra printed dress, although the colors are not exactly black and white, it is more of a grey and white. I am having great difficulty finding shoes to match it, could you please help me?

A. Lucky for you, you have many options available. If you’re looking for a shoe that blends with the dress, try black, silver or even nude. Or, you can go for a bright contrasting shoe in hues like red, pink and blue. Pick your color depending on your personal style and mood, you pretty much can’t go wrong!


Q. I’m hoping you can help me! In 2 weeks, I am taking a trip to a nearby amusement park with my husband and family. We are staying overnight and spending the entire day at the park, and i want to look cute but I must be casual and practical. In the past couple of months, I have gained about 10 lbs and I am no longer comfortable in tight fitting tops - an adjustment I am still getting used to. Short shorts are also a no-no! I appreciate any help in helping me to feel stylish and comfortable, since I am at a loss as to what to wear! Thank you so much!!


A. I’m glad to hear you want to look stylish for a day at the amusement park with the family. Anything besides the oversized t-shirts, baggy shorts and athletic shoes Americans tend to wear is a refreshing change in my book! That being said, it’s also essential that you are dressed comfortably in clothing that allows you to have fun. Unfortunately, that means that a cute dress or skirt is off the table, since you don’t want to risk flashing people while enjoying the free fall roller coasters and aerial swings!

Since you’re also looking to conceal a little extra weight, my suggestion is to choose a pair of lean (not baggy) flat front Bermuda shorts that hit right above your knee, or a pair of cropped cargo pants. Pair these with a comfortable, cute and loose fitting t-shirt like the ones shown below. Add a pair of sandals you can walk for hours in and you’ve got an easy, cute and functional look for a day at the park. Have fun!

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