|These Boots Were Made for Walking …
Plus Tips on How to Save on Summer Pieces
Q: I love the look of knee-high
boots, but I also worry about looking unprofessional. What kind
of boots are best for the office, and should I only stick to ones
with flat soles?
A: Most offices want to create a certain vibe or image, and as long
as your footwear contributes to that look, it’s usually okay.
But to make sure you’re playing by the rules, you can check
the company’s dress code handbook to see what is allowed and
encouraged. If your company doesn’t have one, you can ask
a senior woman in your office for some advice.
In general, boots with slouchy styles, lots of
buckles, studs and dangling material or boots with wild or overly
shiny colors don’t look right for most offices. Neutral colors
in a monochromatic theme can work if you keep your style classic:
think Ralph Lauren. Boots worn with a tailored skirt and feminine
blouse can be a perfectly acceptable and a stylish weekday look.
For heel height, stick to four inches and under,
as anything more is silly-looking, not to mention killer on your
back! Flats can work as long as they are not too “outdoorsy”
or casual. Most importantly, make sure your whole outfit works together.
If you hesitate before walking out the door, it’s probably
best to try another shoe and save the boots for weekends.
Q: I'm not ready to let go of summer! What are some
summer staples I can easily work into my autumn wardrobe?
A: This is the question every woman asks herself when the weather
starts to change. The good news is that there are tons of summer
pieces that work well and actually are necessary fall base pieces.
Camisoles you threw over a bikini are ideal under sheer blouses
and sweaters. They add a nice layer of warmth and modesty and are
perfect for layered looks. Cotton trousers can be worn well into
November if your climate is not too severe and the pants’
material is woven tightly. And to make cotton slacks work even longer,
try wearing tights underneath in gradually thicker materials (nylon,
cotton, wool) to keep your legs as warm as the day requires. Of
course, if you really miss summer fashion, take a vacation to a
warm climate! It’ll give you an excuse to shop the resort
Q : Suits seem to come
in all sorts of fabrics and patterns these days. How do I pick one,
and are this season’s new suits a better and more stylish
choice than plain old wool?
A: It’s true—suits come in an amazing variety of colors
and patterns. The ready-made choices in stores can be overwhelming,
and going through bolts of fabric in a custom made-to-measure shop
can be too much to the novice shopper. Practically speaking, plain
or patterned is less important than color, cut and fit. A perfectly
tailored suit made of paper bags can outshine a poorly tailored
suit in the best material.
A simple rule of thumb is the farther away from black or navy
you get, the more careful your selection should be. Buying patterns
of any kind is always something that needs to be done in person
and with a try-on of the whole outfit. This is especially true if
you’re considering a suit in a bright color. Another useful
rule: the more pattern you have, the less material you should use.
If you’re in a fabric store and you find a busy pattern you
love, have it made into a knee-length skirt suit instead of a suit
with pants. But if you really love patterns, do some research. Try
on lots of different colors and designs in a variety of sizes. You’ll
get an idea pretty quickly of which size stripes, florals or prints
you like and which colors flatter you. Remember, a suit should always
look like an upgrade in your appearance and convey the type of attitude
you need for the occasion or your profession.
Sasha Tong is a New York and Hawaii-based image consultant and freelance writer. She specializes in fashion, wine connoisseurship and modern etiquette.
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