| Ask The Style Chefs: February 2010 Archives

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February 2010 Archives

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Q. I’m 12 weeks pregnant with my 6th child! I’m a petite athletic 5ft tall post pregnancy weight of 105. I’ve always had a hard time dressing my petite frame with all my pregnancies. I continue to run 30 miles per week and continue weight training but since I’m short I tend to look chunky anyway! I would like some tips on how to elongate my torso and look cute for once during my pregnancy. I have very toned arms, shoulders, and legs, how would I go about focusing on those areas rather than on my mid section which tends to hold a lot of my weight gain. Hope you can help!

A. First of all - your 6th child? Wow, congratulations! How you find the time or strength to run 30 miles a week and weight train is beyond me, but good for you!

It can be very tough for petite pregnant women to find clothes that are flattering, since most clothes tend to make you look like you’re all belly. Since you’re fortunate enough to have toned arms, shoulders and legs, you should flaunt them! Look for sleeveless tops, above the knee dresses and skinny pants or jeans that show off your slimmest features. Look for silhouettes that are sleek and form-fitting, and avoid extra fabric like ruffles that will overwhelm your figure. When possible, wear a sturdy heel or wedge to add height.

Some outfit ideas:

  • Skinny pants, fitted t-shirt and a cardigan
  • Short shorts and a bohemian printed top or loose tunic
  • Short sleeveless shift dresses
  • Long maxi dresses with or without a little jean jacket
  • Leggings and a slim fitting tunic top

Here are some pieces to get you started:

Q. I know I’m two years late on this trend, but I am in a desperate search for black riding boots. I’m 5’3, so I don’t want anything too tall. Please help!


A. It’s never too late to buy a pair of riding boots - they are a classic look that you’ll wear for years and years. In fact, it’s the perfect time of year to invest in a pair since many are on sale. Since you are petite, it’s important not to choose a pair of boots that are too tall. Look for a shaft (the height of the boot) that hits an inch or more below your knee. A shaft that is too high and close to your knee can visually shorten the look of your legs. You may have to try on several different boots to find the most flattering shaft height for you, but try a 14” or 15” height to start. Here are some options that are 15” tall or shorter:

Q. I love the snake print blouses I’ve been seeing everywhere recently, but they can so easily go from sophisticated to tacky. Can you recommend a short or long sleeve version similar to this Ella Moss Boa Tank? Tanks and 3/4 sleeve blouses abound, but I find them to be less versatile.


A. I am a huge fan of adding a touch of python to your look, whether in the form of a piece of clothing or a chic accessory. When worn tastefully, it looks far from tacky. I love the tank you picked out (plus, it’s on sale!) It may actually be more versatile than you think when you consider it makes the perfect underpinning for a blazer, jacket or cardigan. If your mind is set on a short sleeve or long sleeve version, here are some sophisticated contenders:

Q. I am attending a wedding in February (in Chicago). It is a morning wedding with a luncheon following. I have a cap sleeved navy silk sheath dress with a black patent leather belt. My question is do I wear hosiery? If so, what color? Peek a boo shoes or classic pumps?


A. February in Chicago can be quite cold. Black solid tights or black textured tights paired with either peep-toe pumps or classic pumps is your best bet. The black/navy combination is a perfectly chic option for your daytime wedding.

Q. I am a woman who has wide calves and big ankles. This is something that I have struggled with my whole life. I do not like to wear skirts or dresses because of this complex - too self conscious. I have a wedding coming up and need to wear a short dress as it will be in a house. Can you please advise what are some great shoes and dresses I can wear in order to help minimize the size of my legs.


A. There are several strategic ways to minimize the size of your calves and ankles:

1. Avoid shoes with ankle straps. A classic pump or d’Orsay pump with a high heel will help to elongate and visually slim your ankles and calves.

2. Opt for a monochromatic leg. If you are going bare legged, then opt for a nude shoe; otherwise, try black hosiery with a black heel.

3. Draw the eye upward. Choose a dress with embellishments or interesting details towards your face, or opt for a statement necklace or dramatic earrings to divert attention from your legs.

4. Wear a long dress. You mention that you need to wear a short dress since the party will be at someone’s home. There are plenty of long or maxi dresses you can wear that aren’t considered too dressy.

5. Choose a dress or skirt that flares out at the bottom. A fuller skirt will make legs look slimmer by comparison.

6. Make sure your dress hits at or above the knee. The shorter you are comfortable going, the slimmer your calves will look. Anything below the knee will draw attention to the widest part of your calves, creating a matronly look.

You can also opt for dress pants with a party top to avoid the leg issue altogether.

Wear black pumps with black hosiery for a lean, monochromatic leg
Nude heels with no ankle straps elongate and slim your legs
Draw the eye upwards with interesting details or a statement necklace
A full skirt makes legs look slimmer
Avoid hems that hit below the knee at the widest part of the calf. Anything at or above the knee is best.
A maxi dress is always an option

Q. Hi! I’m coordinating my cousin’s wedding in St. Louis at the end of March so I want to be chic & stylish but comfortable (no strapless) as I will be working. Any suggestions? I’m curvy (size 8) and petite (5’3”). Thanks!


A. You didn’t mention a color preference, or whether the wedding is black tie or not, so we’ve pulled together a variety of dresses for you to choose from. All of them are flattering for a curvy petite figure, and most importantly, you won’t have to worry about adjusting straps.

Q. I loved Emily Blunt’s shoes that she wore to The Wolfman premiere this week. I’m betting they are way beyond my budget, where can I find a similar pair?


A. Emily’s gorgeous Sergio Rossi Gladiator Sandals are over $800, if you can even find a pair. Since gladiators return as a trend for spring, there are many options out there. While none are quite as stunning as the Sergio Rossis, I think the ZiGiny Women’s Diva Heel (right) comes pretty close. Here are some more options for you:

Q. Is it taboo to wear sheer hose in the winter with a cocktail dress? My legs seem so pasty in the winter, and self tanners are always some sort of social suicide.

A. When you say sheer, I am assuming that you mean sheer nude hosiery. While not taboo, I am not a huge fan of nude hosiery. Unless you manage to find an ultrasheer shade that truly disappears against your skin, I would skip the nudes and opt for one of this season’s chic hosiery trends. The trend this season is not to pretend as if you’re not wearing hosiery, and instead wear prints, patterns and textures proudly.


For an evening look with your cocktail dress, perhaps try sheer black pantyhose (they’re back in style!) or a sophisticated lace pair.

denimleggings.gifQ. I love the look of denim leggings but don’t want to spend a lot on something that might be a short lived trend. Can you recommend some that won’t break the bank?

A. When worn right, I am a huge fan of denim leggings. To make the most of the trend, look for leggings that are made of denim, rather than cotton leggings the look like denim. The best part is, there are many affordable options out there. Here are some of our favorites:

Q. I’d like to know how to look fashionable wearing Dansko clogs. They are so comfortable… but I’m transitioning from high heels and want that chic look. Is it possible?

A. Lucky for you, clogs are a big trend for Spring. Chanel featured them with virtually every look on the runways, including dresses, skirts and skinny pants:


Of course, the clogs shown on Chanel’s runway were hardly of the comfort variety, featuring high chunky heels. However, you can get inspiration from these looks to wear your Dansko clogs with slim-cut pants, jeans, shorts and flirty dresses.

Here are some variations of the classic clog for spring:

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