| Ask The Style Chefs: September 2011 Archives

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September 2011 Archives

Q. I’ve been seeing a lot of pictures of celebrities wearing chokers. Is this trend coming back? Please say no!

A. You’ve got a keen eye! Like it or not, chokers and collars are indeed making a comeback — at least for another season or two, having been spotted on the Spring 2012 runways at shows like Charlotte Ronson, Donna Karan, and Elie Tahari. No need to fear this trend, the new chokers are far more fashionable than the ones you remember from the late ’80s and early ’90s. Ranging from chain link chokers to Cleopatra-esque collars, the one thing the new chokers have in common: they make a statement. Try one of these chic options with a plunge neck dress or a classic button down shirt.


Q. I think I have found the perfect transitional boot for the fall season. It is the Naya Genesis in the Graphite Suede. My question is, can I wear theses beyond the fall season? They have a peep toe and I live in Minnesota. Can I wear tights with them or socks in the winter? I’m in my forties. I love these boots, but I feel they may not be worth it if I can only wear them for the short fall season.

A. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Good news: Yes! You can absolutely wear open toe booties with tights - just be sure there is no seam at the toe, or that the seam is safely tucked away and not visible.

Bad news: I’m afraid that there isn’t a tight made that is warm enough to keep your toes from freezing in the middle of winter in Minnesota. Unless you are going straight from a heated car to heated indoors, it’s best to stick with a closed toe style in the winter.

Only you can decide whether you will wear these booties enough to make the investment worthwhile. However, you’ll be happy to know that you can wear these through the fall until the cold weather hits, and then again in the spring until you’re ready for sandal season. Though once quite trendy, the open toe bootie has been with us for several seasons now, so you’ll likely be able to wear them at least through fall 2012 again, if not longer.

Q. I have several solid cardigans (from J.Crew) in bright purples, blues and yellows. Because they are bright I don’t want to pair a bright, printed top with them, but I want something more that just a plain tank or tee. Do you have any ides for a solid tee or casual shirt that has some detail to it?

A. Your bright cardigans are a great way to add color to your fall/winter look. Even better, there are many options for what to wear underneath that are an upgrade from a basic tank or tee. Some ideas to try: a soft chambray button down, a printed blouse, a sequin tank, a tie-front blouse (this season’s must-have), a Peter Pan collar, or a soft drapey top. Look for neutral colors or brights that match well with your cardigan color, or opt for one of fall’s top trends and choose a contrasting bright color for a color-blocked look.

Here are some options for you:


Q. I have seen some ladies wear rain boots as winter boots. Is this okay? I bought some fabulous black Michael Kors rain boots and I bet if I put warm socks on underneath they would be warm enough to double as winter boots here in Washington, D.C. It would be great to get some extra mileage out of them.

A. Yes! Actually, I often wear my rubber rain boots in the winter, especially since they are a tiny bit big on me, so there’s plenty of room for thick socks. Even better, there are rain boot liners or Welly Socks available that are made specifically for the purpose of wearing with your rubber Welly-style rain boots in cooler weather. They come in a variety of fabrications including fleece, faux fur, and cable knit wool in everything from simple colors to wild animal prints. Here are a few to consider:


Q. I love polka dots and I know they are a huge trend for fall. I absolutely love polka dot tights but I’m not sure how to wear them without looking silly. Any suggestions?

A. You’ve hit on one of the hottest trends of the season, polka dots, and spotted hosiery is a chic way to incorporate the trend. The obvious looks to pair your polka dot tights with include little black dresses, pencil skirts, and more. But really, you can wear them as you would any pair of black tights: with everything from tweed midi skirts to slinky dresses in bright colors. They’re easiest to pair with monochromatic skirts and dresses, but you can also try mixing them with other prints. Check out our tips on pattern mixing from earlier this week.

How to mix prints

Q. I loved your recent editorial piece on pattern mixing. I actually purchased the ASOS Irregular Striped Midi skirt (one of the featured items). I have not worn it yet because I was unsure what to pair it with but now I’d love to try it with a blouse in a contrasting print. Could you offer some suggestions?

A. Not only is this the perfect skirt to carry you over into fall, it’s also a great print to mix with other prints. Here are some tips to consider when mixing patterns:

1. Mix large prints with smaller prints. Since the skirt features a large graphic stripe print, it will pair easily with smaller prints.

2. Choose prints that match at least one color. The black in the skirt pairs well with a top that also includes black, especially as a background color.

3. Choose prints that are not similar to each other. The vertical stripe of the skirt should not be repeated in the top.

4. Prints that are not next to each other are easier to match. Since the skirt has an all-over print, it pairs easily with a top that only features a print on the upper half of it.


Q. I have a beautiful pair of black patent leather pumps that I wore a bit in the spring and not much in the summer. Can I wear them in the fall and winter? If so, what kind of hose? It would be too cold to go bare legged and I don’t think I’d like black tights with the patent leather.


A. You absolutely can wear patent leather in the fall, in fact, you can wear your patent pumps year round. As for hosiery, black tights are a natural fit for your black patent pumps, you can also try a print or patterned tight like lace.

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