| Ask The Style Chefs: July 2011 Archives

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July 2011 Archives

Q. I have a Saturday evening affair in mid September and I am wearing a knee length black cocktail dress. What color stocking is acceptable. I have been seeing a lot of comments saying sheer nude is acceptable.

Middleton-nude-hosiery.jpgA. My first preference would be to wear no hosiery since the weather is rather mild in September. However, if you are more comfortable in hosiery, you can try black hosiery or even a fashion-forward lace hosiery.

There is a lot of buzz lately about sheer nude hosiery, especially since Kate and Pippa Middleton have been seen wearing a lot of nude hosiery lately. In fact, according to New York Magazine and WWD , there is an increased demand in nude hose over the past year with an 85% increase in sales in the U.K. and 12% increase in the U.S. — largely credited to the Middleton sisters. Sarah Jessica Parker, Mischa Barton, and Hayden Panettiere have also been spotted wearing nude hose over the past few months.

The key to wearing nude hosiery is to find an ultra-sheer style that most closely matches your skin tone. Here are some options worth exploring:

Q. I’ve got a soon approaching wedding reception to go to and after going crazy have finally found the dress I am going to wear. A little number hidden in the back of my closet, an off-white mini-sundress with ruffles —PERFECT for a lake side wedding. Only issue with the dress is that because it is made of linen, and not lined, it is see-though in direct sunlight. To not give my boyfriend’s family a show, I’ve been trying to find solutions to my dilemma and have run into a brick wall. Every half-slip or full slip is either too long or the cut isn’t right at the neck. Please be the gurus I know you are and help me figure out what I can do.


A. We can definitely help you find the correct underpinning for your unlined sheer dress. Since the top is closer to the body and you will likely be wearing a bra, you will only need a skirt-style slip for the bottom half; one that is short enough to wear under a mini dress.

That being said, you may want to think twice about wearing a white dress to a wedding. Though your linen mini dress can hardly be considered bridal, there are many who feel that a guest should never wear white to a wedding. If you are looking to impress your boyfriend’s family, consider whether they are traditional-minded when it comes to fashion before you wear white. Also, bear in mind that an all-linen dress will easily wrinkle, so you may not look as polished as you’d like after stepping out of the car.

Q. So, it’s like 100 degrees here in NY this week! It’s brutally hot during my commute to work and then frigid in the office. I have no idea what to wear - help!

A. I hear ya, this weather is putting a cramp on my style too. But when it’s this hot out, sometimes comfort wins out over fashion, or better yet, they meet somewhere in the middle. Just be happy you’re a girl and don’t have to wear a suit or tie to work!

Choose the right fabric


The best way to dress for this brutal heat is to choose loose-fitting clothing in fabrics that breathe. That means you officially get a respite from structured, fussy looks. The best fabrics for summer are cotton, cotton sateen and cotton/rayon or cotton jersey blends; unlike linen, which also breathes, these won’t look like a wrinkled mess by the end of the day. Silk is also a popular summer fabric because it’s lightweight, but be careful, it doesn’t breathe and quickly shows wet stains if you’re sweating.

Top choice: a dress

It’s no secret that I love a good dress, and can’t think of a better clothing option to wear during the oppressive heat. Look for easy styles that don’t have a fitted waist band or require a belt, like a shift dress or easy A-line. The less you have touching your skin, the better. For work, I’d skip anything strapless or spaghetti strapped unless you plan to wear a cardigan or jacket over it once you hit the office air conditioning.

Summer heat to office air conditioning strategy

For your commute, dress as comfortably as possible. Wear the bare minimum, a nice pair of flip flops, and pull your hair off your face (loosely if you plan to take it down later). Leave a few minutes early so you’re not rushing (and sweating). Put your work shoes and a summer jacket or cardigan in a lightweight tote to easily slip on when you get to the office.

Here are a few subway-to-office looks for inspiration. Stay cool!

Q. I have a few denim jackets that are several years old. Can I still wear them?

A. You’ll be thrilled to hear that your denim jackets have earned a permanent place in your closet. A true classic, denim jackets add the right dose of laid back cool to everything from feminine dresses and skirts to trousers. Just ask Nicole Richie, Reese Witherspoon and Cameron Diaz (below) — three celebrities that have perfected the art of layering on a denim jacket over the years. One caveat: make sure yours have a shrunken or fitted look to them, anything boxy or oversized tends to look unflattering.


Cameron’s look worn to the Bad Teacher photo call last week shows off a fresh way to wear the denim jacket this summer: with a jumpsuit. Worn shrunken with the sleeves rolled up and paired with turquoise and white, this look is so effortlessly chic we just couldn’t help but be inspired by it. However, if jumpsuits aren’t for you, here is an alternative:

Q. This summer I have purchased a couple of bold print dresses, one by Velvet and one by ERGE. They both have deep V necks, and are more casual than dressy (both a lightweight jersey knit). I really don’t know what kind of a necklace (or other jewelry) I should were with these. A bold necklace seems to compete with the print and just looks like too much, and a delicate necklace looks out of place. Any ideas?

A. As the owner of several printed v-neck day dresses, I have a lot of experience accessorizing them. This summer, my jewelry of choice is a long pendant necklace or long chain necklace and a gold bangle. Here are some jewelry options to pair with your summer dresses:


Q: I’m attending a swanky black tie wedding this fall, and I’m not sure what to wear. I’m very petite (5’1”, 107 lbs) and any floor length dress I buy will have to have about 6 inches hacked off the bottom. Any suggestions that won’t break the bank in alterations? I love to use but I’m afraid I won’t be able to do that for this event.

A. If you shop in the petite department, you shouldn’t have to alter the length of your dress very much, if at all. A floor length petite dress is made for people that are under 5’3” generally. Add to that a pair of heels and you should be all set! Below are some petite sized cocktail dresses and full length dresses to wear to your black tie wedding — and most are under $200.


Q. I have a few metallic handbags (a gold hobo and a silver clutch) but I’m not sure if they’re still in style. Can I wear them this summer?

A. Metallic accessories are always in style! Yes, some seasons they are considered a “trend” but they’ve also become a wardrobe staple over the past 10 years or so. As far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with a metallic sandal or a glittering handbag — they are the perfect neutral accessories to wear with almost anything in your wardrobe, day or night.

I especially love metallic accents in the summer; a flat gold sandal worn with shorts, a skirt or a day dress is pretty much my go-to summer look. A silver, bronze or gold handbag works year round, but I particularly love one paired with summery white, turquoise, yellow, and pink.

Here are a few metallic accessories you’ll want to wear for years to come:


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