| Ask The Style Chefs: December 2009 Archives

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December 2009 Archives

Q. I bought a black, shrunken menswear vest last year from the Gap. I was wondering if they are still in style because I don’t see them in stores anymore. I was just wondering how I can wear it besides the basic very dressy outfit over a button up shirt.

A. Not only are they still in style, but menswear-inspired vests were all over the Spring 2010 runways. Here are some looks from the Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren and L’Wren Scott shows.


Menswear vests are also a favorite of such celebs as Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Cameron Diaz, Becki Newton and Jennifer Lopez. Here they show some stylish ways to wear your vest: over a feminine blouse or tank top paired with skinny pants and trousers, or worn bare with a skirt or paired with a pencil skirt. The great thing about the vest is you can add your own personal flair to the look.


Get the look with these options in every price range:

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Q. I am wearing a beautiful green one shoulder Badgley Mischka dress to a holiday party this weekend, but am afraid I’ll get cold and will need a sweater or jacket. I have no idea what would look good with this dress, because it comes in tight at the waist, flares out at the hips and the fabric is a flowing chffon. I will be wearing open toe Miu Miu gold shoes and thought either a cardigan or a short jacket perhaps? What color, and what style? Help!


A. Since you seem like a stylish gal, no ordinary cardigan or jacket will do. This season, we’re loving little sequin jackets and boleros or faux fur capes and chubbies over dressy dresses. Since you are wearing gold shoes, something in the gold or cream family would look rich and elegant. You can also opt for a neutral like black, brown or tan. Any of the styles below would look gorgeous with your green dress.

Q. I have to attend a formal dinner/dance (it’s been compared to a wedding) for my husband’s company. I have purchased this dress from Anthropologie. I was wondering if you could suggest what to wear with it. Because it is a work event, I wanted to wear a sweater or jacket over the dress to cover my arms for at least the beginning of the evening. I tried on a bunch of cardigans and jackets but because of where the dress cuts me in the middle, all of the things I tried on didn’t look right. Do you have any suggestions? I would also like jewelry, tights and shoes suggestions if you have them.


A. Pretty dress! This style dress that has the look of a shirt tucked into a skirt, is a big trend this season. One of the freshest way to wear this dress is with a jacket or blazer, so you are in luck! Everything from a cropped jacket to a longer boyfriend-style blazer would look great with the dress. To give the dress a more formal look, try a jacket with sequins, velvet or a tuxedo style.

For jewelry, we recommend a short but striking necklace that won’t interfere with the delicate ruffles at the neckline, or you can skip the necklace and go for sparkly earrings. A cocktail ring or rhinestone cuff bracelet would pair well with a necklace or earrings. Warning: don’t wear all of these together!

Since this is a formal work event, it’s not really the best time to experiment with this season’s lace or textured tights trend. Instead, go for black hosiery paired with pretty black heels. Have fun!

Q. I have a wedding in Atlanta this month. It is an evening wedding and I bought a great green dress for the occasion that would be accompanied by a black sparkly shawl. I was wondering if it was acceptable to pair that with a great pair of black calf boots with 3 inch heels and a buckle? I thought it looked pretty good, but have been told not to wear boots to a wedding. Is this true?


A. Your dress and shawl sound lovely. Unfortunately, however, I agree with your friends that boots are not the best option for an evening wedding. Most boots would be considered too casual to wear to a formal affair. You are much better off opting for a black evening shoe. Here are a few of our favorites:

Q. I have to go with my husband at his office Christmas party. Any suggestion what would be appropriate to wear? I’m 28 yrs old and size 4.

A. For your husband’s holiday party, you want to strike the balance between festive and fun yet conservative. You want to impress your husband’s colleagues without giving the office gossip something to chatter about. Since you didn’t mention whether this is a casual or formal affair, we are going to assume that the attire falls somewhere in between. Here are two chic yet understated looks to try.


The first look pairs black pants with a sequin tank and velvet blazer for just the right amount of festive sparkle. A rhinestone cuff and platform pumps finish the look. The second look starts with a simple and conservative timeless black dress. Swap out the belt that comes with the dress and add a sequin bow belt, along with a bauble necklace and cocktail ring to turn your understated dress into the perfect party look.

Q. I’ve been eyeing the Tuxxedo shoes from Steve Madden for a while now. I absolutely adore them in black and white, but I wonder if they’re too formal looking for every day wear? How I could I rock them or the ones in cognac?

A. Menswear-inspired Oxford shoes can be worn casually many different ways. Take a cue from Selma Blair, Taylor Swift and Sienna Miller by pairing your Oxfords with everything from dresses and skirts to skinny or boyfriend jeans.


The black and white Tuxxedo does have a slightly more dressy feel, but you can still wear it casually - and it would look great with a boyfriend blazer and leggings. If you’re unsure about whether you can pull it off or not, then go for the cognac color like the pair Taylor Swift is wearing above.


Q. I’m dying over the new sequin blazer trend and want to buy one to wear to a few holiday parties. However, I don’t want to spend a lot on such a memorable piece. Can you recommend some options that are around $100?


A. We’ll do even better than that - how about a few options for much less than $100! Here are several sequin blazers in various silhouettes that are well worth the money.

Q. I purchased this dress to wear to a holiday party, birthday party and a wedding this December. For the birthday party, I was thinking of wearing it with black leggings and black ankle boots and a black cardigan, to dress it down a bit. What do you think of that idea? For the holiday party and the wedding, what shoes? Maybe a black chunky pump or gray suede ankle boots? I’m having a hard time deciding!


A. Great dress! And I love that you’ll get at least 3 wearings from it. Your birthday party pairings sound perfect, alternatively you can try a black blazer or motorcycle jacket. The holiday party and wedding call for glam accessories that are a bit more special than a black pump or gray suede ankle boot (though these would be fine too). We suggest swapping the black belt that comes with the dress for something dressier, like a metallic or sequin belt. Add metallic shoes and festive accessories and you’ve got a look that will turn heads.

Here, we show three ways to style the dress (click on the accessories for buying info):

Q. Is it still ok to wear bell bottom jeans? I have some from the Gap that I got in the spring that are the dark wash and like new.


A. True, all we seem to see are skinny jeans these days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear other jean styles. Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe is a huge fan of ultra flared jeans, proving that it’s always chic to march to your own beat. Since flared jeans have a ’70s vibe, we’re loving them with faux fur vests, belted shirts and leather jackets. Whatever you wear on top, make sure it has a slim silhouette to offset the wide hem of your jeans. Here are a few looks for inspiration:

Q. I will be spending the holidays with my boyfriend’s family this year. It’s a casual get-together at home and he says everyone usually wears jeans. It is the first time I’m meeting many of them, so I want to look good, but I also don’t want to overdress. What should I wear?


A. For a family celebration at home, you want to be comfortable but also a bit festive. We suggest a chic sweater dress with tights or a cozy sweater with leggings. Add some sparkly jewelry or a jeweled flat and you have the perfect casual chic look for the holidays. Here are some ideas for inspiration:

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