| Ask The Style Chefs

ask us

( have a style question? email us )

Q. I will be attending college this upcoming fall and I expect my time to be filled with long hours at the library and coffee shops near by. Since I am just entering college, my spending limits are minimal but I still would like to keep my appearance stylish yet still comfy. Suggestions?

A. Comfortable, simple, affordable basics that mix and match easily and layer well should form the core of your college wardrobe. Start with a few pairs of jeans and long sleeve tees, then add in fitted blazers, boyfriend cardigans and chunky knit sweaters. Purchase a versatile coat and an edgy and trendy leather moto jacket as well as a roomy tote bag and handbag. Finally, add in some comfortable shoes you can walk in: cool trainers, ballet flats and a great pair of riding boots.

Here are some pieces to get you started building your college wardrobe:

Q. I will be attending a work-related convention in Houston in August, so it will be hot and humid. I need suggestions on what to wear. I do have a navy/white patterned jersey wrap dress that I’ve never worn and would like to take with me. What shoes would look best with it?

A. You’re on the right track: your navy and white jersey wrap dress is an excellent choice. Not only will it pack well (no wrinkles) but it is a simple, chic, weather-appropriate choice that will take you through the day’s events and even out to dinner. Your shoes should be chic, yet comfortable. Look for a 1.5 to 2.5” heel in black, gray or natural - neutral tones that will likely match some of the other clothes you plan to pack. Here are some shoe options, as well as a few dresses:

br588007-01vliv01.jpg _5672464.jpg pl599919-00vliv01.jpg pl544798-07vliv01.jpg
1. Knit shirtdress, $130 at
2. Max & Cleo Cap Sleeve Jersey Dress , $98 at
3. daniblack Candy, $135 at
4. BCBGirls Stela, $95 at
gp498564-01vliv01.jpgQ. I bought a pair of linen/cotton wide-leg pants from Gap a couple of weeks ago. I bought them because they were really comfortable, but now I’m not sure what sorts of tops to wear them with. Can they work as both casual and dressy/work pants? I hope you can give me some suggestions as to what can be paired with them.

A. You’ll wear these cuffed linen wide leg pants for years to come, so it was a great purchase. Though somewhat tailored, you can wear them with casual items in addition to the expected work appropriate items.

For the office, tuck in a floaty feminine blouse and add a little cardigan or fitted blazer if the air conditioning is on full blast. Pair it with peep toe pumps, pretty wedges or t-strap sandals and you’ve got a great work look. On weekends, pair them with a simple tank and flat sandals for a relaxed casual look.

Here are two options for the office:


Left: Pair a feminine blouse with a lightweight cardigan and a skinny belt. All from

Right: A slimfitting short-sleeve belted sweater is also a chic option. From

Q. I work for an extremely conservative financial institution and our dress code requires us to wear hose with skirts and dresses. This requires closed-toe shoes even though the dress code allows for peep-toe shoes. To make the dress code even more of a challenge, I live in South Texas where average temperature in the summer months is over 100 degrees. So, what to do? Nude hose? Patterned hose?

0a663han.jpgA. I feel for you - hosiery in the summer heat can be tough, though many conservative corporations require it. Your best bet is to choose ultra sheer or transparent hosiery that closely matches your skin tone. This will give you that bare leg look while still conforming to your office dress code. And if peep-toe shoes are allowed, go for it! Just make sure any visible seams are tucked underneath your toes. And when the temperature cools, opt for tights and patterned hosiery as well.

Hanes Silk Reflections Transparent Sheer Control Top Pantyhose, $8.95 at
Q. I’m getting married in August and I’m going to have a Church Ceremony. My mom is basically MAKING ME wear closed toe shoes because according to her strappy sandals are inappropriate for a Church Ceremony. Is that true???? I really wanted to wear strappy sandals instead of big clunky shoes! I need help convincing my mom. She will listen to you!

A. Strappy sandals are acceptable for most modern church ceremonies. If you belong to an ultra conservative church, or just want to please your mother, you can wear a closed toe shoe for the ceremony and then switch to a more fashionable strappy shoe for the reception.

get the scoop

subscribe to our free weekly email! rss feed follow us on Twitter! Like us on Facebook! Follow us on Pinterest!

like us on facebook!

subscribe + win


Around the Web: