| Ask The Style Chefs: July 2010 Archives

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July 2010 Archives

Q. I have a lot of turquoise jewelry that has accumulated over the years. Is it still in style?

A. Turquoise jewelry is one of those trends that seems to come in and out of fashion every few years. This happens to be one of those “in” seasons where chic turquoise pieces are everywhere. That being said, turquoise also happens to be a classic, so if you invest wisely in gorgeous items, you’ll want to wear them for years - even when it’s not the “must-have” of the season.

Here are some of our favorite turquoise picks to wear this summer and beyond:


Q. I’m in the process of losing about 50 pounds. I’ve lost about 10 pounds already and my clothes are starting to get loose. I know I’ll need new clothes soon, but what should I buy? I don’t want to spend too much and would like options that can last me a little while. Yet I’d still like to look stylish while losing. I’m a mom (SAHM) in my mid-30s. Help!   


A. Congratulations on the weight loss and your ongoing commitment! Buying clothes while in the process of losing a significant amount of weight can be a challenge. Luckily, as a stay at home mom, you can get away with a pared down casual wardrobe.

Since you don’t want to invest a lot of money in clothes that may not fit you for very long, your strategy is to choose simple pieces that mix and match so you can get a lot of wearings out of each piece. In other words, you want to be able to get a lot of looks out of just a few basic pieces.

Some things to look for:

  • Tunic tops - these can be very forgiving and will continue to fit fairly well as you lose weight
  • Leggings - when worn with casual dresses and tunic length tops, leggings can look more flattering than you think
  • Jersey dresses and tops
  • Drapey cardigans and belted sweaters
  • Belts - invest in a few belts that can be used to cinch tops and dresses as you lose weight
  • Inexpensive pants with built in stretch - pants tend to be the least forgiving as you lose weight, so you don’t want to spend a lot of money on items you may quickly grow out of. Opt for slim-fitting styles that won’t look as saggy as you lose weight.

Shop for sizes that fit perfectly now, or perhaps even just barely snug, to ensure that they’ll fit as long as possible.

Q. I’m so tired of my bra straps showing when I wear summer dresses and sleeveless tops. I’m not a fan of strapless bras, so what else can I do to keep my straps under wraps?


A. This is a problem I often face as well. You have a few options to help keep bra straps in place, depending on the kind of top you are wearing:

  • Opt for a racerback or convertible bra that will help keep bra straps closer to your neck without sliding down onto your shoulders.
  • If you’re not ready to invest in a new bra, try an inexpensive bra strap converter that helps turn a standard bra into a racerback.
  • Use double stick fashion tape to temporarily adhere straps to your top to keep them from peeking out.
  • Have little lingerie snaps sewn into your tops and dresses to keep bra straps in place.

Q. What’s the best suit alternative in this sweltering heat? I can’t bear the idea of wearing a suit in summer, but need to look pulled together and professional on occasion for work. I am more of a pants girl, so I don’t have a lot of dresses or skirts. Thanks!


A. For women who prefer wearing pants, the key to dressing comfortably in the summer heat for work is to choose lightweight, breathable pieces. We created 3 looks below using skinny summer pants, silk blend slouchy pants and twill trousers. Start by adding a pretty summer blouse which can either be worn by itself or with a belt. Layer a lightweight cardigan or summer blazer over your blouse to change up the look. You can always remove the outer layer when you head outside for lunch or commute to work.

Q. I’m an art professor without an office. So, I’m in search of a creative, put-together tote bag to carry all the stuff needed for class. Any suggestions?

A. Look no further than a stylish diaper bag! They’re full of pockets to keep you organized and often include wipeable surfaces which will help protect your belongings from accidental messes from your art supplies. Here are a few tote-sized diaper bags that are chic enough to carry to and from class.


Q. I am short (5’2) and pear-shaped but with a chest. Every top is too long for me but I feel like I can’t tuck it in because I have a short torso AND a tummy. All I see are long tops or cute ones tucked in. What are we to do?


A. It’s very difficult for women with a short torso and an ample chest to tuck shirts in, we end up looking “all boob”. Add a tummy to the equation and it becomes even more difficult. Your best bet is to look for tops that can be worn untucked, that skim your figure without being tight, or are loose fitting without being boxy. An untucked top will also help to balance out your pear shape. Be sure to look for petite sizes which are specifically designed for your 5’2” frame that won’t be too long. Here are some flattering summer options for you:

Q. What exactly is the difference between a regular blazer and a “boyfriend” blazer? I’m an attorney, and I have a closet full of dark suits and cute blazers that I wear to work. Will these work as “boyfriend blazers” over dresses and jeans? I can roll the sleeves up, like I’ve seen in pictures, but most of them are a bit more fitted than the pictures I’ve seen. Does that ruin the look?


A. When boyfriend blazers first appeared on the scene last year, the term referred mostly to the oversized, somewhat slouchy blazer with a longer length, often with rolled up sleeves. However, in the past year, I’ve seen the term applied to traditional, more tailored blazers as well. Without getting caught up in terminology, or what is or isn’t a boyfriend blazer, what you’re really asking is whether you can wear your tailored suit jackets and blazers with dresses and jeans in a stylish way. You’ll be happy to know, the answer is yes!

You’re on the right track by rolling up the sleeves, this will instantly add a more casual vibe to your work blazers. Keep the look loose and light by keeping it unbuttoned. Try pairing it with everything from flirty dresses and rompers to jeans and shorts.

Q. The ladies here in the office are wondering…can we wear a maxi dress to work? Our office is business casual; however, we cannot wear jeans. Though some women dress in suits/business attire, others wear capris and sandals everyday.


A. Personally, I think that maxi dresses are too casual and bohemian for the office and should be reserved just for weekends. Of course, there are dressier maxi dresses which work for parties and evening events, but these, too, are not meant for work. That being said, some of us here at StyleBakery feel that you can get away with a maxi dress if you work at a really casual or “trendy” office, or if you save it for summer Fridays.

There are ways to make a maxi look somewhat less “beachy” if you do choose to wear one to work:

1. Avoid strapless maxi dresses unless paired with a jacket or blazer

2. Wear with sandals or heels that are appropriate for your work place. Avoid flip flops.

3. Try adding a blazer or cardigan and even a belt to dress up the look.

The bottom line: use your best judgment. If you aren’t sure if the maxi is appropriate for your office, then it’s best not to wear one.

Q. I am going to a Vegas nightclub in a couple of weeks and I want to look HOT but not hoochy, what can a 40-ish woman wear that will still catch my husband’s eye while looking classy?


A. Take a cue from our favorite 40-something women: the ladies of Sex and the City. In the latest movie, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) wore several dresses from Halston Heritage for a night out on the town. These retro-inspired dresses are sexy and sophisticated, without showing too much skin. Add a pair of dramatic earrings, gold bangles and your sexiest metallic heels and you’re set. Another option is a pretty printed top with slim white jeans and heels. Here are some looks for inspiration:

Q. I’m OBSESSED with Bottega Veneta’s Cabat tote. I can’t afford 5k for a handbag. Is there anything out there that’s close? I don’t want “pleather” but a nice woven authentic leather. I’m not looking for a purse, more of a tote. I can spent up to $500.


A. You have good taste! Not only is the BV Cabat a gorgeous, luxe bag, it’s also a classic that will never go out of style. We found a few rich looking woven leather totes ranging in price from $240 to $500. Though not as oversized as the Bottega Veneta version, they are all equally as beautiful and timeless:

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