| Ask The Style Chefs: November 2012 Archives

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November 2012 Archives

Q. I will soon be hosting a holiday party at my house and need some help with an outfit/accessories. It’s a casual get-together, but I still want to look put together. I’m going to wear dark jeans and possibly the JCrew scattered sequin sweater in red, or Ann Taylor’s cashmere wrap cardigan in red or blue. I’m not quite sure how to accessorize these looks with jewelry or shoes. I’m also open to other top options!


A. The key to putting together a successful hostess look is to find the right combination of holiday chic and comfort. I tend to get pretty hot when hosting a holiday party with all the time spent in the kitchen and tending to guests, so I avoid anything too warm. And since I spend most of the party on my feet, comfortable shoes are a must. For even a casual holiday get-together, I think it’s nice for the hostess to wear something a little special and festive — whether this translates to a sparkly top, a pretty dress, velvet pants, or something red depends on your personal style.

The two tops you are considering are perfect for hostessing. Either would look great with a pair of dark jeans or even one of these fancier denim options. For the sequin sweater, a pair of glam earrings is all the jewelry you need, while the wrap sweater would look stunning with a sparkly statement necklace. Avoid any jewelry that might get in the way like long pendant necklaces or stacks of chunky bracelets. For shoes, a pretty smoking slipper or special flat would be a comfortable choice, or wear one of your more comfortable heels or boots if you own any.

I also like to wear a dress and opaque tights when I host a holiday party — it not only makes me feel put together and a bit more dressed up, but offers more freedom of movement than jeans or skinny pants.

Q. I’m going to my boyfriend’s for Thanksgiving and it’s the first time I’m meeting his family. He says dinner is casual, but I want to look good. What should I wear?

A. For a family Thanksgiving or holiday dinner with his parents, you want a look that is stylish without being too fussy, casual but still neat, relaxed yet polished. You can’t go wrong with a variation on one of these looks:

1. A cozy chic sweater paired with great-fitting jeans and pumps or boots. To update this classic combination for this season, look for sweaters that have a little something special, whether it be a polka dot print, a metallic sheen or chunky knit. Your jeans can be velvet, brocade or even colored denim for an upgrade on your basic blue denim.

2. Another no-fail look is a pretty blouse paired with skinny pants and heels. This season, we’re loving jeweled collars and pretty prints on silky tops.


Q. I have several parties coming up for November and December and have no idea how to style my hair. I have long wavy/curly hair and usually just wear it down or in a ponytail which doesn’t seem dressy enough. I’m terrible with a curling iron and don’t like to blow my hair straight. Any suggestions?

Amy Adams deep side part, Kirsten Dunst side swept ponytail

A. Two of this season’s most gorgeous hair looks also happen to be super-easy, requiring little extra styling time.

The deep side part — As you can see from Amy Adams’ look above, simply moving your side part over an extra inch can create a dramatic and flattering evening look. Smooth out your waves with a little styling product and sweep your hair over one shoulder and you’re done.

The side ponytail — Perfect for a day-to-evening transition, a ponytail dresses up for a party with a little side swoop. Style your bangs across your forehead towards the side where you’ll create your low ponytail, like Kirsten Dunst above, and secure it with a pretty hair tie. This look works well with sexy “undone” hair or pulled a little tighter for a sleek look.


Q. Although I have embraced the skinny jean trend, I have to admit that I still can’t resist bootcuts and flares. I usually wear them with ballet flats in the spring and fall. I would love to wear flares and bootcuts in the winter but I am at a loss for what to wear on my feet. I have heard high-heeled round toe shoes but I find that impractical and hard when chasing my two-year-old and walking through the ice and snow. Do you have any suggestions?


A. My favorite styles to wear with bootcut and flared jeans and pants in cooler weather are ankle boots. Heeled styles are perfect for when you want a polished look, but a flat ankle boot, or chelsea boot, is great for when you want a casual, comfortable look. If you’re wearing in the ice and snow, you’ll want a boot with a rugged sole. And for evenings out when you’re not chasing around your two-year-old, a pump (round or pointed toe) will give you a dressier look.

Here are some casual boot options to wear with your bootcut pants with a lower, more comfortable, heel:

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