| Ask The Style Chefs: August 2011 Archives

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August 2011 Archives

Q. I’d like to know how old is too old to wear the bright, crayon colored skinny jeans that are so popular? I am 36 years old and a size 4. I really love the bright cobalt colored jeans and would like to buy a pair, however I don’t want to look like a cliche.

cobalt denim

A. In my opinion, you’re never too old to have fun with fashion — especially at 36 years old. Colorful jeans are a big trend this summer, carrying over into fall. If you love cobalt jeans, go for it! If you’re worried that they feel young, then pair them with more sophisticated pieces like a blazer and pumps or a cardigan and ankle boots.

Q. My budget is extremely limited, so I can only afford to add a few fall pieces to my closet. Can you recommend any items that will instantly update last year’s clothes?

A. The quickest way to update last year’s look is to add accessories that pack a punch. Take a cue from the lovely Emma Stone and add a bold, colorful pump to your fall look — it’s guaranteed to make last year’s jeans, dresses and trousers look fresh again. A small bag with a long chain handle strap and a tie-neck blouse are also two easy updates worth investing in. Another fun update is to layer a detachable collar under sweaters and shift dresses to give them a brand new look.

Here are some options to get you started:


Q. I remember when I was in elementary school, everyone wore a sweater poncho and boots with jeans. This is great for camouflaging my Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas cookies. Can I wear my favorite fall trend again?

A. Judging by the multitude of sweater ponchos available now, it’s safe to say your childhood favorite is officially in style for fall. Here are some chic options at every price point:


Q. I love your editorial pieces on the classics (especially when you give several options in each category to really help build the staples of a wardrobe). I noticed that you did a piece in 2009 and again in 2010 but not yet in 2011. I love your picks from the archives but all the items are sold out, understandably. With our economy, I think a lot of readers (not just me) would really appreciate another round of the timeless classics since they anchor a wardrobe and never go out of style - essential investment pieces.

A. I’m thrilled to hear that you found our classics series to be so helpful! To underscore the timelessness of a classic wardrobe, our top 10 list hasn’t changed from the list we featured 1 1/2 years ago (read here: The Classics: 10 Pieces for a Timeless Wardrobe). True that it’s time for an updated shopping selection, here are some pieces to add now to your wardrobe, and wear forever:


1. Pencil Skirt

2. Blazer

3. Trench Coat

4. Cardigan

5. Feminine Blouse

6. Little Black Dress

7. Dark Jeans

8. Statement Necklace

9. Classic Pumps

10. 24 Hour Handbag

Q. I just purchased the Stash Away Cardi in gray from Anthropologie. Because it is a neutral, and I plan to wear it casually with jeans, I thought I would have lots of things to wear under it, but I don’t. Everything I have looks boring and bland. Can you give me some ideas for something that may have some color or print to it to make the outfit more visually interesting?

A. A pretty printed sleeveless top is the perfect piece to layer under a neutral cardigan to make it “pop”. Here are some options for you:


Q. The summer humidity is wreaking havoc on my curly hair! Any suggestions for keeping the frizz under control? I feel like I’ve tried everything!

frizzy-hair-.jpgA.Summer is such a fun season, don’t you agree? Lazy afternoons by the pool, beach or lake. Fun nights with friends barbecuing and sipping fruity cocktails, good times right? Everything’s peachy, couldn’t be better until… humidity and intense sun rear their ugly and equally evil heads. My color gets zapped and fades into oblivion days ahead of when it should, leaving strands of gray poking out everywhere and the volume normally visible in my tresses goes limp because I counter the humidity with so much hair products that my scalp short circuits and can’t process another ounce of smoothing serum or volumizing spray and conditioner. It’s a B.H.D. (Bad Hair Day) but it doesn’t end up being just one day…it ends up being most of July straight through to Labor Day, and baseball caps become more then just a sporty, hip accessory, rather they become an extension of my head.

So, I’ve temporarily turned into Nancy Drew super sleuth and I’m on the hunt for a new crop of products, the best and brightest that hair care has to offer that will turn this hamster wheel around for all of us! One easy D.I.Y. replenishing treatment I experimented with last night was mixing 2 tablespoons of mayo with 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (mine is orange), placing a shower cap over my hair and leaving it on mask-style for 15 minutes. The oils and egg in the mayo are the elements that go in and recondition dry, frizzy hair. And I must admit for the pennies it costs, the results I’m being left with today are positive and my hair is shinier than it’s been in weeks. So this effort is getting my thumbs-up seal of approval.

However, for all the beauty junkies who prefer to stay out of the kitchen and head straight to the drugstore, take a peek at the spread below for a crop of products that promise to support you and your tresses through the duration of the dog days of summer. Cool thing is, the emotional high you receive from healthy looking hair comes at no extra charge and that, as the credit card commercial on TV will tell you, is PRICELESS!

Stacy’s Summer Hair RX

Problem: Dry, Frizzy & Color Faded Tresses

1. COLOR RX = Clairol Nice & Easy Color Blend Foam. This is the first home color system I’ve been successful with because the foam means no mess and no dripping so I can multi-task around the house while it goes to work on my sun faded color. I tried “Medium Brown” and it put some pop back in my locks!

2. BUILDUP RX = Nioxin which I always thought was geared for hair thinning, shedding and breakage (which it is) created a new 3 step system for 6 different problematic hair categories focused on replenishing your scalp so you don’t need to use as much product to create the volume in the first place.

3. QUICK FIX RX = Alterna Summer Hair After Sun Hair Quench is a hydrating gel mask enriched with antioxidants to protect from environmental damage while enhancing shine and vibrancy.

4. TOOL RX = I’ve been using the Goody Styling Therapy Copper Paddle Brush and the Paves Tourmaline Cermramic Styling Iron since April and have become big fans of both for controlling frizz and leaving my hair sleek and smooth. The brush literally feels like a scalp massage.

5. EMERGENCY RX = No time, in a rush…opt for either a simple chic bun or grab a stylish fedora and hit the ground running!


Q. I work in a corporate office and pretty much live in suits and pencil skirts all year round. I’m so bored of my clothes, do you have any ideas for “styling up” my daily outfit?

A. Although suits and pencil skirts tend to be rather classic and simple, you can still add a shot of chic to your corporate look with accessories: an interesting necklace, a snakeskin belt, the shoe of the moment… However, one of our favorite ways to add style to your office staples is to invest in some pretty printed blouses. Whether worn with a skirt or layered under a blazer, a printed blouse adds color and personality to your 9-to-5 look. Here are some of our favorite options to wear now and in the fall.


Q. I have a few looser fitting dresses and tees (solids and prints) that I feel would be more figure flattering with a belt or a tie. I’m having a hard time finding one that would work. I don’t want anything too wide as I’m short and petite. Any ideas?

A. My favorite way to tame a blousy shirtdress or loose-fitting t-shirt dress this summer is with a skinny belt. Rachel McAdams spent virtually all of Midnight in Paris wearing a tunic-length button-down with a skinny belt or hip-slung 1” belt and it looked so effortlessly chic. Here are a few looks for inspiration:


Q. I have a couple floral collar necklaces and I’m not sure what to wear them with. Can you help?

A. This is such a bold style that it’s best to let the necklace make a statement and keep everything around it simple. This applies to your top (or dress) as well as any other jewelry; earrings should be small and simple. A chunky short necklace looks great with crew or scoop neck tops as well as button down collar shirts.


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