| Ask The Style Chefs: November 2011 Archives

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November 2011 Archives

Q. I’m a 5’2” girl with a medium frame weighing 120 lbs. I have a pair of black boots with heels that are knee high. Those boots are great, but I can’t wear heels all the time. I want a cute pair of boots that are flat but also flattering to my figure. What do you suggest?

A. Petite women can absolutely wear flat boots, it’s all in the proportion. While you may be able to pull off a knee high boot with a heel, a flat knee high boot might not be as flattering. Instead of knee high, look for boots that hit a few inches below your knee (around 12” tall) for the most flattering look. Another option is to choose an ankle or mid-calf boot that you can still wear with leggings or skinny jeans. Here are some flat boot options to try:

Q. I’m going to be traveling quite a bit over the next few weeks, mostly for long weekends. I’m really hoping to avoid the hassle of checking a bag, do you have any tips for fitting everything into a carry on?

A. You’re smart for wanting to avoid baggage claim and breeze through the airports as quickly as possible. Here are some packing tips to keep in mind to help you travel light:


1. Invest in a lightweight carry on bag. The ones with wheels may not be the cutest around, but they definitely win for ease of travel. Be sure to choose an airplane regulated size that fits in overhead compartments.

2. Bring a tote bag. Since you are allowed two carry ons, your second should be a stylish tote bag that doubles as a handbag during your trip. Pack only small clutches for the evening, recommends Mary Alice Stephenson, fashion expert and style ambassador.

3. Wear your heaviest items. A chunky versatile sweater, your favorite jeans, boots, and your coat take up too much room in the suitcase, so wear them on the plane instead.

4. Focus on tops and dresses. You can get away with just one or two pairs of pants during your trip, instead, pack a few interesting tops or dresses that take up little room in your suitcase.

5. Limit the extras. Stephenson suggests choosing a few pieces of neutral jewelry, like one chunky necklace or chandelier earrings, that can dress up all of your outfits.

6. Shrink your beauty routine. A versatile makeup palette and travel size bottles of your essential products should be all you need.

Q. I have been seeing these gorgeous color block style dresses with black paneling on the side like this Stella McCartney one on Liv Tyler. Is there anywhere I can find a similar style? Any color with the black would do. And I’m tall (5’8) so nothing too short please.

A. Dresses with colorblocked side panels are not only gorgeous, but they’re masters of camouflage that visually slim and sculpt your figure instantly. We found a variety of similar styles to choose from:


Q. I recently purchased a few crew neck sweaters from J.Crew. I got theTippi sweater in Dark Grape and Dahlia. I also the purchased the Betsy sweater in Heather Aqua. While I want these sweaters for a casual daytime look (with jeans), I’m finding they look boring! What kind of necklaces or scarves would work with these?

A. Great purchases! The classic crew neck sweater is making a huge comeback this season and I love that you’re experimenting with color in your choices. You’re right, though, when worn on its own, especially with jeans, an unadorned crew neck can look a bit boring. The good news is, there are endless ways to style it.

The easiest way to accessorize your crew neck is by pairing a fitted collared shirt underneath. Let the collar, cuffs and shirt tail peek out like the look shown here. Don’t feel limited to plain white shirts, you can wear patterned shirts or colors underneath too.

A really fun accessory that’s been popping up is the detachable collar. Available in a variety of prints, colors and textures like leather, sequin and faux fur, the detachable collar dresses up your crew neck sweater without the bulk of wearing a shirt underneath. Scarves are also an option in every available form, from a classic silk scarf to a chunky knit snood.

Another option is to wear one of this season’s collar or choker necklaces to add interest around the neckline of your crew neck sweater. We’re especially loving chunky links and elaborate bib necklaces. Or, try pushing up your sleeves to 3/4 length and pile on the bracelets.

Finally, there’s always the option to wear your crew neck underneath a blazer or faux fur vest.

Q. Skinny cargo pants were really in last year, especially in military green by J Brand. Are they still in this fall/winter, and if so how can I update the style for 2011?

A. True, skinny cargo pants were a huge trend last year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them again this season. Rather than treating them as the central part of your look, think of your skinny cargos as a basic and pair them with cozy sweaters and ankle boots. This season, a Southwest-inspired sweater, faux fur vest, or poncho/cape will give your skinny cargos a fresh update.

Tell us, are you still wearing your skinny cargo pants? If so, what do you wear them with?

Q. We are eloping in Vegas at a strip chapel, I found this cocktail dress in ivory, however I do not want to wear ivory shoes and I will need something to cover my arms since it is chilly this time of the year and I want to wear the dress out to dinner and wherever else we go that evening, I want to keep it simple as my fiance is wearing a white shirt, dark jeans and black dress shoes. Please help, I am running out of time.

A. Congratulations! Regardless of how dressed down your husband-to-be is, it’s your wedding and it’s Vegas! Don’t be afraid to put on the glam! Cover up your halter dress with a chic tuxedo jacket (which you’ll definitely wear again) or a pretty sequin jacket. Match your shoes to your jacket and you’re set! Here are two ideas for you:

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