| Ask The Style Chefs

ask us

( have a style question? email us )

Bridal fashion sizing

Q. I am going to be a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding this fall. She is letting us choose the style of the dress but she chose the color.  Cool, I thought.  The problem is that my size is not my size. Ok, I wear a 6 or 8 in all my pants, jeans, suits and dresses whether it’s Joe’s Jeans, Moschino, Gap, BCBG, or Cynthia Vincent, etc.  BUT the dress people at David’s Bridal told me my size is a 14! I’m flipping out.  I could never fit into a 14. I’m 137 pounds. So tell me, what is with these gown companies? 
-Schizophrenic Sizing 

A. Ouch! You’re not the first to have that “sticker shock” when reading the size label on the dresses or have the bridal salesperson looking at your body and suddenly claim a size horrifically larger than you’ve ever seen grace your curves. It seems cruel. BUT, don’t get hung up on the size of your dress.  Do you think you’re going to get a shake down at the wedding and someone’s going to scream out the size on the label? Most bridal designers offer their dresses in larger sizes with the assumption that the dresses for both bride and bridesmaid will be tailored to specifically fit her body shape, whether it be to hold and support larger breasts and a slim waist or fit a girl with a small bust, but with curvy hips and thighs.  So stop flipping out and know that you won’t get the pat down and be forced to divulge the size to your friends and, perhaps, beau.

Q. I am a hostess for my friends’ wedding and we were asked to wear an ivory/winter white suit.  I am not a shoe connoisseur and I have been pulling my hair out trying to find a pair of comfortable yet stylish closed toe, low heel shoe for the occasion - but it seems as though those are not popular colors.  I have been to numerous stores and even checked many websites but have had no success.  Is it appropriate to wear a black shoe and if so, what kind (patent leather, soft leather, etc…)?  
-Confused and frustrated   

A. I knew I could help you find choices beyond black to wear with your light colored suit.  The point is to keep the look soft and sophisticated.  Black can sometimes seem harsh. Look for ivory, taupe or beige, or other soft colors like caramel, tan or a pale gold or bronze metallic pump.  I’ve found a few picks that suit your needs (the right color, low heel and closed toe) that won’t break the bank.


Stuart Weitzman Hampton
$218 at


Fitzwell Sandy
$59.95 at


Gabriella Rocha 1437 Vivian
$64.95 at

Q. I’m looking to add a splash of animal print to my winter wardrobe with calf-hair Steve Madden flats (Bunni). Can you wear open-toe wedge flats during the winter? Should you wear hose with them? I fell in love with the flats, but I don’t know how long I can wear them.
-Open-toe or no go

827-325340-DA. The best way to wear open toe shoes in the colder months is to wear them with hosiery - opaque hose or ribbed and textured tights. This look usually works best with peep toe styles like your Steve Maddens.  Try for a great variety of tights.

Steve Madden Bunni flats, $82.95 at 

Q. I’ve got a beautiful yellow (more formal) dress with sequins and beading on it that I’m wearing to a gala. It’s short and I want a shoe that’s equally as beautiful and showy. I’m at a loss as to what color the shoe should be.  A white, strappy shoe? I would love to punch up the color with a bright red shoe. 
-Color Wanted 

3034-335413-DA. Yikes! Go with glam and choose a strappy metallic gold or champagne color. You’ve already got on yellow, so definitely skip considering red shoes, it will only distract from your fab dress.  Stick with a glamorous head to toe look.

Caparros Jalena Multi Metallic sandals, $62.95 at 

Q. I’m the Maid of Honor at a wedding near Baltimore at the end of September. The bride asked that I wear a navy dress (there is one other attendant). It’s an early afternoon wedding followed by a reception that will be over by 7 p.m - although I’m sure we’ll move the party elsewhere.  In reading your advice, I like your suggestions. I’d like to wear a sandal with a slim heel.  2 1/2 to 3 inch heel is best for me. Do you think metallic is too much for the afternoon? Too cocktail-y? The dress is a short silk Sophia dress from J Crew - hits below the knee. I was going to buy the Eleanor silk D’Orsay in navy from J Crew but they are expensive and sold out in my size. Maybe my hesitancy about metallic is because I don’t own any metallic currently. I guess I need to get over my “disco is dead” mentality. The wedding is not so formal - the groom is wearing a suit rather than a tux. Can you make a suggestion?
- Fear of Metallics

A. Get over your fear of metallics — while some trends come and go, this one is here to stay.  Metals give “oomph” to so many outfits that otherwise may just have been “nice”.  Go out and buy a pair of silver heels for the wedding - it’s always better to look a bit dressier.  No matter that the wedding is an afternoon gig, you’ll surely look fabulous and I guarantee you’ll wear the heels again, from glitzing up a little black dress or pairing it with a skirt or even dark jeans. Embrace the shine and maybe even hum a little Abba or Bee Gees in your head while you shop!

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: