| Ask The Style Chefs: January 2010 Archives

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January 2010 Archives

Q. I’m going to a Winter Wedding and want to wear a pair of pink pants, they are lined so they were meant for Winter, will wear them with brown boots, is this OK?  And what color top should I wear?

A. As you can tell from our site, we are huge fans of pink and brown paired together. However, the combination of pink pants and brown boots just sounds too casual to be worn to a wedding, even an informal one. If you are going to wear pants, they should be a dressy style like a tuxedo pant or a dressy black pant, and worn with dressy pieces like evening shoes and a sequin jacket or lace top.

If you feel that your pink pants are dressy enough to wear to a wedding, then pair them with a strappy heel instead of your boots. Silver, gray, gold or even black shoes would work. The top, of course, would depend on the shoes you choose, but look for something that will add an evening feel to your look.

Here is one way to dress up your pants for the wedding:


Q. I received a pair of Stuart Weitzman Leopard boots for Christmas and am wondering what would look best with them. I am heading to LA for the Grammys and would love to bring them along. I don’t want to do something overpowering. Any suggestions?

A. Lucky girl with a hot pair of boots and a trip to LA for the Grammys! Leopard print boots and shoes add an instant shot of chic to any look. Since you are looking for something low-key, let your shoes do the talking by pairing them with neutral monochromatic clothing pieces.

Since you didn’t specify whether your boots were short or tall, we created two looks for you using both styles, one that is casual and one that is dressy.


_5700753.jpgQ. I bought a pair of Frye boots a few weeks ago (Jane 14 Tall Pull On) and LOVE them. I wore them with nylon leggings one day and they completely pulled the fabric (looked like an old cashmere sweater by the end of the day). Needless to say, they were ruined. I then bought a pair of 7 for all Mankind legging jeans, which I loved, until my boots did the same thing. I then learned I had to wear socks to cover my pants to protect them. So then, I wore nylons, with socks over them, and at the end of the day there were minor pulls. I am new to wearing tall boots and I am not sure if I should return them? Nobody else seems to have a problem with pants being ruined. They look great with my Fidelity jeans tucked in, but those jeans were so expensive that I don’t want them ruined too! I am totally out of the loop?? Is there a special sock I should wear? I hope to hear back soon—otherwise these boots are heading back.

A. We’re sorry to hear about the trouble you are having with your Frye boots pulling your pant fabrics. Several of us here at StyleBakery own Frye boots, and none of us have experienced the same problem. To prevent the issue from happening in the future, we suggest buying a few pairs of knee socks (not trouser socks which are too thin) and wearing them over your leggings, tights or jeans. Some people like to let their socks peek out over the top of their boots, but if this look isn’t for you, just fold your socks down so they are hidden inside your boot. This should solve your problem and protect your delicate pants.

Q. I just lost some weight and I’m having major bra issues. My old ones are too loose and I’m having trouble finding a bra that’s comfortable and fits well while giving me the right amount of lift. How do I know which style is right for me and what size to buy?

A. I recently had a life-altering experience (no kidding) with Susan Nethero, owner of {intimacy} stores and known as The Bra Whisperer. Susan, who has appeared numerous times on The Oprah Winfrey Show, has made it her life mission to prove to women that the right bra can instantly improve and transform your figure. As someone who has been professionally fitted for bras before, I was stunned to find that I’ve been wearing the wrong size bra for my whole life! At times wearing a 36C and 34D, Susan showed me that I am actually a 32F, and embarrassingly, amongst the 85% of women wearing the wrong size bra!

Once my true size was determined, I tried on several bra styles and learned some truly useful information that will change my bra choices forever:

  • The back band of your bra provides 90% of the support, so it should fit firmly, yet comfortably, against your rib cage and never ride up your back. For those women who rely on the shoulder straps for most of the support, you’re wearing the wrong bra.
  • Women with fuller busts should avoid minimizers, which compress your breast tissue and make you look wider. Instead, look for bras that lift and center your bust line, making you look taller and thinner in an instant without compression.
  • While seamless bras are comfortable and look great under a tight t-shirt, seamed bras actually offer more support and shaping. Susan recommends alternating between the two.
  • Lace bras are actually more durable and retain their shape better than smooth bras which stretch out over time.

Susan prefers to fit people “holistically”, which means she doesn’t use a tape measure which she feels can be inaccurate. She offers a size guide on her site, but this is only a starting point. Here’s how to tell if you are wearing the right size bra:

1) IS YOUR BRA TOO LOOSE? melissa_bramistake.jpg

  • If you can pull your bra away from your body two inches, IT’S TOO LOOSE!
  • If you raise your hands over your head, and your bra rides up over the breast tissue, IT’S TOO LOOSE!



  • Your bust should be midway between your shoulder and your elbow, or your bra is BUSTED!
  • Your bust should be within your body frame, or you’re busting out of your bra!


  • If your straps are falling down, your band is riding up your back
  • Your band should be level across the bodice from front to back


  • If your bra is the right size, YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL THE UNDERWRE
  • If your cup is too small, the bra will dig into breast tissue


  • If you’re overfilling your cup, you’ll spill out of your bra
  • If you’re under-fillling your cup, you can have puckering in the cup

Susan proved to me that the right bra can make you look better in your clothes, look taller and thinner and feel more comfortable. My best advice for every woman is to get a free professional fitting as soon as you can. (find a bra-fitting store near you)

Q. I am attending an auction gala at the end of February. The theme is Denim & Diamonds, so I’ve got the jeans and boots ready, but what type of top could I wear that would amp up the outfit?


A. What a fun party invite! Here are some outfit suggestions:

  • Pair jeans and cowboy boots with a glam sequin blazer layered over a t-shirt. Or choose a velvet blazer or tuxedo jacket as an alternative. Crystal (or diamond) drop earrings and an evening clutch finish the look.
  • Instead of jeans, pair a cocktail dress or evening gown with a denim jacket or vest.

Q. What is a functional yet fashionable school tote for a college student like me? I have noticed that many female students at my school carry around Longchamp Le Pliage bags. I do like these, but would like something more unique for under $200, and perhaps more durable.

A. Whether you’re a student or someone entering the job force, a functional, chic and affordable tote is a must. You want something that’s stylish, lightweight, roomy enough for all of your essentials and can fit over your shoulder. Here are some options you’ll want to carry with you everywhere, and they’re all under $150:


Q. I’ve been considering piercing my ears for a while, but I’m worried that I’ll be allergic/get an infection/etc. I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on how much earrings contribute to an outfit or someone’s style. For example, I notice that with many of my fashion idols, like say Alexa Chung or the Olsen twins, or models in photoshoots, they usually don’t wear earrings. Is there a particular reason for this, or a general rule as to when/how one should wear earrings?

A. My ears have been pierced for so long that I’m always surprised when I meet someone whose aren’t pierced, but this is something chosen by many women for various reasons. Personally, I fall in and out of love with earrings. Often, I’ll wear no earrings or small studs, allowing a chunky necklace to take center stage. Other times, I’ll forego a bold necklace and opt for dramatic earrings instead. Similarly, earrings fall in and out of favor with the fashion world with chandelier earrings being called a must-have one season and statement necklaces the next.

Earrings are by no means a necessity, but they are a great way to add interest to a look and draw attention to your face. Angelina Jolie at the 2009 Oscars and Vanessa Williams at the 2009 Emmys are shining examples of how earrings can elevate and enhance your look.


I would never try to convince someone to get their ears pierced, and am no expert on instances of allergies or infections from piercing. I do know that millions of women (and some children) have had pierced ears for years without incident, so I would guess that it’s a relatively safe undertaking. If you’re unsure, clip-on earrings have come a long way and are the perfect way to give earrings a try:

Q. I wear Ecco perforated sneakers to work - super light, but not dressy. What’s the best comfy + dressy black shoe?  ( submitted via Twitter)

A. For a style upgrade from your black leather sneakers, turn to comfortable ballet flats and wedges from brands like Sofft and Cole Haan. Here are some of our picks for cute and comfortable black shoes to wear to work:



Q. I have been searching for a similar handbag to the Kooba Avery Tote that I saw Vanessa Minnillo carrying in 2008. Before I totally give up, can you recommend something similar or one in a reasonable price range? I love the style of this bag, and although this is so last year’s bag, it would be great to find something similar.

A. I love this bag too and it’s very hard to find now. We found some great alternatives that have the same sort of lived-in luxe look of the original Kooba Avery - and all under $200.

Q. What is your take on Ugg boots? I have been anti Ugg boots for years, but suddenly I am having a change of heart. I see them everywhere now, and they are growing on me, especially the cute sweater styles. And a few weeks ago, I had a miserable experience involving frozen toes and uncomfortably stiff flat leather boots that has pretty much convinced me that I need a pair of Uggs. But please tell me, honestly, is there any way to wear them without looking completely tragic? That’s a lot of money to spend to look really stupid, even if your toes are warm and happy!

ugg31229.jpgA. This is a question I can really relate to. For years, I was a die hard Ugg hater - I hated that they were so trendy, I hated that people wore them in the summer with shorts, and I hated the way they looked. Over the years, though, Ugg Australia has introduced a variety of styles to add to their classic line, which have a lot more style than traditional Uggs (in my opinion).

Coincidentally, I was given my first pair of Ugg boots just last month - this year’s hot Bailey Button boot. I’m not sure if it’s the arctic temperatures we’re having this winter or the updated look, but I am officially a convert and proudly wear my super warm, supremely comfortable and somewhat cute Uggs everywhere. A little late to the game, perhaps, but like you, they are growing on me. And considering that you can buy them everywhere from Bergdorf Goodman to, they are most definitely not disappearing from fashion’s radar anytime soon.

Our advice? Choose a pair that has interesting details, like buttons, buckles or laces, and wear them with skinny jeans or leggings and a cozy sweater. Skip the knit styles which tend to look dirty after a few wearings. And please, do not wear them with shorts!

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