| Ask The Style Chefs

ask us

( have a style question? email us )

Q. I’ve got the back gap problem. Whenever I sit down or bend over wearing my low-rise or mid-rise jeans they gap in the back. Since I don’t own a wardrobe consisting of all long tops what can I do so I’m not exposing more than I want?
- Butt Bashful

hip-TA. I’ve actually donated sweaters and tops to my favorite consignment while spending more money in search of longer length tops since, like you, I’m not a fan of showing it all off. Tired of layering on tissue thin tanks and spending more money, there is a simple solution. Two women, Christine and Kelly, came up with the bright idea of taking various fabrics to match a woman’s wardrobe and created a pull on “cover” for the back gap problem. Check it out at

Q. I would like to buy my mom — who is a very youthful looking 64 — a pair of stylish but age-appropriate jeans.  She’s way too cute for those light-washed denim capris she’s been sporting for the past two decades. A bit about her: She’s pear shaped (very shy about her midsection and rear), has great legs, and is average-to-short.
-Divine Denim

A. Please hide the light-washed capris. Your youthful mom needs to embrace dark denim washes that are far more sophisticated and chic. I, too, motivated my mom into banishing her tapered lighter jeans and found dark denim boot cut styles for her instead.

I’m a fan of jeans that have a bit of stretch to help hold in the tummy area. Make sure the back pockets are centered on her butt and not high or low. Avoid patch pockets and look for jeans that are mid-rise. Mom doesn’t need to worry about bending over, nor do you want her to wear the higher waist styles that can age her. And definitely go for boot cut or a very slight flare to balance her pear shape. A tapered or skinny leg will only make her hips look larger.  Once you’ve found the right jeans, then have her search for a stylish pair of trouser jeans that she can sport out for dinner and a movie. Encourage your mom to wear a heel (even if it’s a low one) with her new jeans, she’ll look instantly slimmer and feel younger.

Since your mom might balk at the high priced jeans you and I might buy, I found more affordable options:

 Not Your Daughter's Jeans Tummy Tuck Stretch JeansLevi's Perfectly Slimming Jean, Rinse WashLauren Jeans Co Modern Boot-Cut Sydney Jean Worn Jeans 'Lizzie' Stretch Trouser Jeans
 Fire 'Hillary' Wide Leg Pants Wardrobe Stretch Denim TrousersNine West Wide-Leg Denim Trouser

1. Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Tummy Tuck Stretch Jeans, $118 at
2. Levi’s Perfectly Slimming Jean, Rinse Wash, $34.99 at
3. Lauren Jeans Co Modern Boot-Cut Sydney Jean, $89.50 at
4. Worn Jeans ‘Lizzie’ Stretch Trouser Jeans, $98 at
5. Fire ‘Hillary’ Wide Leg Pants, $42 at
6. Wardrobe Stretch Denim Trousers, $68 at
7. Nine West Wide-Leg Denim Trouser, $79 at

Q. I’m 5’1" and have just recently bought 2 pairs of knee high boots online that I absolutely adore. But because of my petite build, I have the following problems: one boot is too loose at the very top of the boot around my knee so it mimicks rain galoshes; the second is so tall it reaches an inch above the bottom of my knee. The first boot is leather, the second is suede. I know you can take boots to the cobbler to have them stretched, but can u also have boots taken in and shortened? I would hate to return these shoes.
-Boot Strapped

A. I’m 5’5” and the boot gap around the calf is not just a petite problem. It seems women are evenly divided between their search for boots that fit slender calves and those for larger calves.  I always start my search early in the season lest boots go on sale and my options are significantly diminished if they don’t have my size. I quickly get fatigued and disappointed going from store to store so I search the internet. I am a huge fan of and for their detailed information on boots including height, circumference or diameter of the top opening. I measure the largest part of my calf and then go shopping.

For a dressy pair, I look for suede pull-on styles that have a bit of stretch so it hugs my calf better. For casual styles, I look for details that list the smallest top opening and of course I purchase several pairs from sites that offer free shipping and returns. Why trudge through the mall or around the city when options can be delivered to my door?

For help when you’ve bought the boots you love, but need a bit of tailoring, you need a shoe doctor - a shoe repair person who specializes in leather goods. This may be the same person who tends to leather coats and handbags. Ask your local shoe repair guy for a referral. He may be able to do the job, but be sure he knows what he’s doing and has done this kind of work before. Consider asking a few leather/shoe repair specialists before you hand over your new boots.

You’ll find these boots in my closet. I adore them both:

Aquatalia by Marvin K. RanchStuart Weitzman

1. I’m loving these boots for casual days with jeans or a skirt. Bonus: they’re waterproof. Aquatalia by Marvin K. Ranch, $375 at
2. Pricey, but I take care of them. Stuart Weitzman Diamondback, $499 at

Q. I need to find an attractive yet durable gym bag that mimics a zip tote. Something that’s reminiscent of Longchamps style is preferred.
-Active Tote

A. Why not carry a Longchamps bag? It’s the style you’re longing for and it will carry your athletic gear in classic style. Gym bags don’t necessarily come cheap and you obviously want a bag that is simple in style and won’t compete with your handbag or coat.  I found multiple styles, many of which come in several color choices to pair with any other bags you may be lugging:

Longchamp Small Nylon Foldable ToteLeSportsac Small Travel ToteKenneth Cole Reaction "Sportster" ToteunXpected Hobo Tote LXSherpani MetaPinnacle Club Sports BagPUMA Fitness Sports BagLug Chocolate Puddle Jumper Gym Bag
Lug Chocolate Puddle Jumper Gym Bag

1. Longchamp Small Nylon Foldable Tote, $115 at
2. LeSportsac Small Travel Tote, $68 at
3. Kenneth Cole Reaction "Sportster" Tote, $38.25 (sale) at
4. unXpected Hobo Tote LX, $49.99 at
5. Sherpani Meta, $75 at
6. Pinnacle Club Sports Bag, $203.95 at
7. PUMA Fitness Sports Bag, $55.95 at
8.  Lug Chocolate Puddle Jumper Gym Bag, $72 at

Q. I’m such a huge fan of your website, please keep up the fantastic work!  I was wondering where I could find a classic checkered houndstooth coat very similar to the one Charlotte had in season six of Sex and the City. Most of the ones I see are modern variations of it, and I’d like a classic look.

A. While I am a big fan of Sex and the City, have seen the whole series and watch the reruns late night, I don’t know exactly which coat you are describing. I still went in search of a range of classic wool houndstooth coats that may appeal to you:

Plaid Winter Wool CoatCynthia Steffe Houndstooth Trench Charles Gray Belt Front Coat
 ABS by Allen Schwartz Plaid Trapeze Coat Mackage Wool Houndstooth CapeletSoia & Kyo Billy Plaid Coat

1. Plaid Winter Wool Coat, $99 at
2. Cynthia Steffe Houndstooth Trench, $210 at
3. Charles Gray Belt Front Coat, $290 at
4. ABS by Allen Schwartz Plaid Trapeze Coat, $407 at
5. Mackage Wool Houndstooth Capelet, $357.90 at

6. Soia & Kyo Billy Plaid Coat, $350 at

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: