| Ask The Style Chefs: Style Rules Archives

Recently in Style Rules Category

Q. I keep hearing that pastel colors are a trend for spring, does that mean I can’t wear all the bright colors and neon shades from last year?

A. Yes, delicate pastel hues are going to be big for spring 2012 in a way that they haven’t for several years. Look for soft sherbet colors like mint green and pale pink to add a sweet touch to your wardrobe. The good news is, bright colors, and yes, even fluorescents, will continue to be hot through 2012. In other words, when it comes to color, anything goes.


From the soft pastel hues seen at Chanel, Phillip Lim and Marc Jacobs to the
bold bright color at Nanette Lepore and Jason Wu, expect spring to bring the full color wheel for 2012.

Q. Is the military trend still in style? I have some great military jackets from last year and I’m not sure if I can still wear them.

A. Military is one of those trends that seems to be around every season in one form or another, so you’ll be happy to know that military is indeed still in style and will stick around for spring and summer as well. Look for military shirts and jackets as well as brass buttons, buckles and other military details.


Here are a few pieces to add to your wardrobe now:

Q. I was wondering about boot height (shaft height, not heel) to body proportions. Should shorter people avoid shorter (mid-calf/ankle) boots? If you are bottom heavy/athletic build, is it better to go with either really short, or really tall boots (eg knee or over-the-knee height)? I have a range of boots that vary in shaft height, and I’ve got thicker legs and find that mid-calf/lower boots make me look shorter/thicker waist down. Is that always the case, or am I just not doing it properly? I tend to wear all these boots with skinny jeans.


A. That is a great question! I’ve touched a little upon choosing the right shaft height for petite women in the past, but here is a more detailed primer on choosing the right boot for your figure. First, a lesson on boot shafts:

Boot shaft: This is the part of the boot that covers your legs.

Shaft height: The height of the shaft is measured from the inside seam of the boot where it meets the sole up to the top of the shaft.

If figure flattery is your primary goal when purchasing a boot, the key is to find a boot that hits just at the top of the fullest part of your calf, leaving a couple of inches between the top of the boot and your knee (depending how tall you are). If your calves are very full, a boot that hits mid-calf will draw attention to the fullest part of your lower leg, while one that hits just at the top of the calf will emphasize the slimmest part of your leg right below your knee. For petite women, a boot shaft that comes right up to your knee will effectively chop your legs in half, making you appear shorter, while a boot that hits an inch or more below your knee will make your legs appear longer.

There are, of course, exceptions to the above rule based on your body shape or boot type (for instance, a petite woman may be able to wear a tall boot shaft if the boot also has high heels, or a woman with full calves may be able to wear a mid-calf boot if she has long legs), but this is a great way to help determine your boot shaft “sweet spot”. To find your sweet spot, measure the length from your instep (the top of the foot, not your arch) to the top of the fullest part of your calf, this will be the shaft height you should aim for.

For ankle boots, a woman with fuller calves, an athletic build, or petite legs should look for low ankle boots that hit below the ankle bone and dip down on the instep for the most flattering look.

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. I just purchased this great Parker dress to wear in fall and winter. Since the background is navy, I can’t default to my usual black tights and shoes, somewhat the reason I avoid colors. What would you suggest for colors/styling in the way of hose, shoes, or boots to wear with this dress. I live in a cold climate so warmth is desirable.

A. Actually, black tights and black shoes is exactly what I would recommend to wear with this dress! The notion that black and navy can’t be paired together no longer holds true, in fact, black and navy is an extremely chic combination, and one of my favorites. Look no further than the Fall 2011 runways where designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Zac Posen sent several black and navy combinations down the catwalk. And it’s not just this season, black and navy have been an acceptable (and cool!) combination for years.

When you no longer need to wear tights, this dress would look great with tan or red shoes as well, but until then, it’s safest to match your shoes to your tights, which in this case should be BLACK.

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: