| Ask The Style Chefs: January 2011 Archives

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January 2011 Archives

Q. After what feels like the 100th snowstorm this winter, I have come to the conclusion that my winter boots just aren’t cutting it. I need something that’s cute, warm and waterproof. Any suggestions?


A. Though it might seem late in the season to buy a good pair of snow boots, it’s actually the perfect time. Just about everything is on sale, and whatever you buy this year, you’ll certainly wear next year and for years after that. So buy the best quality boot you can afford, it will be worth it! Below is a selection of stylish and functional winter boots that will almost have you wishing for the next snowfall.

Q. I want to know at what point or age, should a female stop wearing mini skirts? I am a mother of two little girls and I am 5’6” and in my mid-thirties. I am an avid runner, so I have shapely, defined legs. I was wearing a denim mini one night being out with my friends and one of my friends says to me, who is the same age as me, “Aren’t you getting too old to be wearing mini skirts?” Since then, I have questioned whether I should donate all my mini skirts.

A. As long as you feel good in a mini skirt, there is no age cut-off for wearing them - and certainly mid-thirties is not too old. The big question is HOW are you wearing your mini skirt? Whether you’re wearing a mini, a maxi, or anything in between, it often matters more the style of the items you’re choosing, rather than the length, when figuring out if something is age appropriate.


Denim minis can be tricky, since there’s often a fine line between dressing like a teenager and dressing your age. For example, if you’re wearing your denim mini with Uggs and a pink tank top, a la Pam Anderson circa 2002, or with a cropped top and cowboy hat like Lindsay Price above, then it’s probably too young for you. But if you’re wearing it with a tasteful top and flats like the lovely Reese Witherspoon shown here, or something similar to the look at right, then by all means you are dressed age appropriately.

If you’re unsure of whether your denim mini looks too young, there are plenty of other ways to show off your slim legs in a sophisticated way, like a short tunic dress or short skirts that are not denim.

In the meantime, don’t let your friends discourage you from wearing short skirts. If you feel good, then wear one!

Q. Can short girls rock wide leg jeans?

A. Follow the lead of famous petite girls, Kylie Minogue and Rachel Bilson, and yes, short girls can wear wide leg jeans. Here are a few tips for wearing them to achieve the most flattering look:


  • If you’re slim, opt for high waisted wide leg styles which will help elongate your legs.

  • Always wear heels (chunky styles work best), which will also help to elongate your legs.

  • Opt for a slim fitting, tucked in shirt.

  • Look for styles that are slim through the hips and thighs.

  • If you are petite and long waisted, with shorter legs - avoid this style!

  • If you are petite and plus size - avoid this style!

images via denimology

Q. I saw your post last week about the new wide leg jeans trend. Please tell me how to wear this look without looking huge - or like a throwback from the ’70s.

A. True, ’70s-inspired wide leg, high waisted jeans are the fresh new silhouette. For some, this is a welcome change from skinny jeans that have been so popular for the last few years. More flattering than you think, flared or wide leg jeans can actually make you look taller and thinner - if you wear them right.

A tucked in shirt and a pair of chunky heels worn with wide leg jeans will make your legs look a mile long. If you’re not comfortable tucking in, try a slim fitting top with a skinny belt at the waist, or a closely cropped jacket. If you have a bit of a tummy or rear end, avoid the high waist styles which tend to look better on slimmer figures, and opt for a medium rise instead.

Here are some looks for inspiration:

Like the look? Here are some of our favorite wide leg jeans to wear now.

Q. So I finally gave in to the skinny jean trend (a couple years late, I know) and now I keep hearing that the new “hot” denim shape is wide leg or flared jeans! Do I have to ditch my new skinnies in favor of a wider leg?

TWIGGY1BCCD.jpgA. True, the hot new denim silhouette is a 70s-inspired wide leg jean, but no need to throw away your skinnies - they’re still a stylish option. In fact, this week’s Women’s Wear Daily said that skinny jeans have officially crossed over from a trend to a classic, and they’re here to stay! Here are two quotes that appeared in the WWD article from major department stores:

“The skinny jean has transcended trend. It’s just become part of our everyday wardrobe.”

— Ken Downing, Neiman Marcus

“The legging just continues…the legging and the skinny jean have just become wardrobe staples.”

— Colleen Sherin, Saks Fifth Avenue

So, if the major department stores consider skinny jeans to be a classic, you can expect to see them in stores on a permanent basis.

Cameron Diaz, in James Jeans
Twiggy 5 Pocket Legging Jean

PG.NWEASYCOOL.DBRBKSU.PD.jpgQ. I am in need of some assistance with a fabulous pair of shoes that I found (Nine West Easycool Suede Peep Toe Platform Slingbacks)! Following my passion, I ordered first and thought about what to wear with them later! This usually works out just fine, as I LOVE building outfits around shoes. However, this time I am perplexed! They fall into that “this used to be a fashion no-no, but now is totally acceptable” category…they are two tone black and brown!! HELP! Do I wear black…brown…bright colors?? I usually do not have a hard time, but this one has me feeling very unsure of my style credentials!!! Also, I would love ideas for any season! Since they are peep toe I would totally rock them in the winter with some cute tights.

A. No need to fret, my dear, your shoes were not only a chic purchase, but a wise one! Black and brown is indeed an acceptable combination (as is black and navy!), and finding a pair of shoes that combines both colors opens up a wide array of color options to pair with them. Besides the obvious of wearing them with black and shades of brown, these will look great with purple, red, orange, pink, tan and more. They will work with pretty much any color you would typically pair with brown or black shoes.

As for wearing tights with these peep-toes, I would recommend opting for black tights since this is the color that surrounds the toe area. If you’re feeling daring, though, feel free to wear bright tights, too!

Q. Ugh, I am so bored with my winter wardrobe already. Do you have any ideas for adding excitement to my daily look?


A. I hear you. Every year, right about this time, I tend to get bored with winter clothes too. Perhaps it’s the dreary winter weather or possibly all of the bright spring clothing starting to trickle into stores, but our daily sweater and skinnies uniform is starting to feel a little drab. The best way to perk up your look is to look forward - try adding a fresh new spring piece to your look. Not only will it help makeover your look, but it will also give you a few months of added wearings to your purchase. Who says you have to wait for warm weather to start wearing spring trends now?

One of our favorite trends for Spring 2011 is the color orange. In various hues, orange appeared on many designer runways, including Proenza Schouler, Tory Burch and Vena Cava. Try adding one orange piece to your winter blues, browns and grays to give them an instant wakeup. Below are some orange pieces worth the investment.

Another trend to try is spring’s bright lip. Celebs have been spotted everywhere sporting bright pink, orange and coral lips. It’s a bit daring, but also a guaranteed mood-lifter. Here are some tips on how to brighten up with a colorful lip.

Q. I’m attending my first-ever writers conference at the end of January, and am feeling a little lost about what to wear. From what I’ve heard, most of the people do business casual or dressier casual attire, and a suit would be a definite no-no. I usually feel more comfortable in a dress, but since the conference happens to be during winter in NYC, that might not be the best of ideas. There will be a lot of standing/walking around, so heels won’t really be practical either. I’ll be pitching my new book idea to some literary agents and I want to look professional, yet creative. There will be a lot of potential authors there, so I’d like to stand out (in a good way). I’m also very petite so I don’t want to look like I’m playing dress up in my Mom’s business clothes!

A. I love when you can infuse a bit of creativity into a work look. Since you feel most comfortable in a dress, wear one! We New Yorkers wear them all winter long - just add some opaque tights and a pair of boots and you’ll be fine. To add a creative touch to your dress, try pairing it with a sleek leather jacket. Another option is to pair skinny black pants with a belted jacket and booties. Add a stylish accessory like some great jewelry or an animal print belt or scarf, and a chic tote.

Though I understand the need to wear comfortable (and perhaps flat) shoes if you’ll be on your feet for hours, your best bet is to look for a stylish pump or shoe with a mid-size heel - this will help you to stand out a bit more since you’re so petite (sometimes we have to suffer a bit for fashion!) Find a shoe that you’ll be comfortable enough in that still offers a little bit of height and will add style to your look.


Below are some looks for inspiration:

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