Are you weary of wardrobe worries? Do you stand catatonic before your closet? Does the fashion rulebook ruffle your feathers? Never fear — Megan is here!
In the May edition of our fashion advice column “Ask Megan,” Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Megan LaRussa answers all of your fashion queries. She demystifies and decodes the “fashion rules,” delivers practical guidelines and gets to the heart of your style rut, so you can face your closet quandaries, your prêt-à-porter predicaments and the garment gauntlet with the bravery of Joan of Arc and the panache of Coco Chanel!
Where do I find the perfect white button-down shirt, and how do I wear it for casual, work and dressy occasions?
The perfect white shirt is like finding the perfect red lipstick — a challenge, but doable! You have to first ask yourself what makes it the perfect white shirt for you. Is it a tailored cut? A beautiful detail, like lovely buttons or a high-low hemline? Or perhaps you want an utterly classic shirt with no frills? Also, ask yourself how you want to wear it. Once you determine what your ideal white blouse looks like and how you plan to wear it, the search begins.
Some of my favorite white button-downs are by Madewell, Equipment (found locally at Saks), Xirena (found locally at Etc.), Joseph, J.Crew (excellent linen options!) and Caslon (found locally at Nordstrom Rack).
The right white button-down can be a workhorse in your closet! Wear it casually with the sleeves rolled up with a pair of jeans or shorts and your favorite casual shoe. Then take your white button-down to the next level by pairing it with white pants, nude heels and great gold jewelry for an evening out. And finally, make it practical yet fun for work with a colorful silk scarf at the neck and black or navy trousers. With the multitude of ways one can wear this top, it’s worth the search and the investment!
What are your thoughts on pool, lake or beach cover-ups and flip-flops? How do you transition them from the water’s edge to dinner and cocktails?
I think cover-ups and flip-flops are must-have summer items for femmes of every age! It’s very easy to forget about these pieces in your closet until it’s time to head to the pool, beach or lake, and then you realize that these items are worn out, dated or just need refreshing. This is an area I love helping my clients with as updating their beach wardrobe without breaking the bank is the perfect way to get excited about all of their summer getaways, and it makes sporting a swimsuit less painful.
I invite you to watch this short and sweet Style Secrets with Megan video to learn all about how to upgrade your cover-up, flip-flops, beach bag and more!
As for transitioning from day to night in your beach attire, the best way to do just that is a cover-up that serves both purposes. When selecting your cover-ups, think outside of the box and focus on cute, casual, breathable dresses and even rompers that can be worn over your swimsuit or as a dress to a casual beach dinner. The same holds true for your beach bag. Straw totes are very “in” right now and look tres chic as both your beach tote and your dinner bag. One more tip: Don’t forget to snag a cute waterproof zipper bag to throw your wet swimsuit in when leaving the beach and heading to dinner!
When are we too old to wear shorts? What are the different styles, and how do we know which length is right for us?
You’re never too old for shorts! Shorts come in all lengths, and based on your body type and comfort level, shorts can be enjoyed by all ages.
Selecting the right pair of shorts begins with assessing the areas you love on your body and the areas you’d prefer to conceal. I love helping my clients break away from any body image issues that may be holding them back from enjoying style, which often includes understanding what looks best on their body.
I encourage you to think about the slimmer places on your leg, and perhaps that’s mid-thigh or maybe right above the knee. Then ensure that your shorts’ hemline hits at that smaller place. Last but not least, stick to a more tailored silhouette with shorts. Voluminous or baggy styles are not anyone’s friend.
What styles and silhouettes are most flattering to those of us with long waists?
Balance and proportion are foundational elements of looking and feeling your best in your clothes. If you find yourself with a longer waist and shorter legs, then it’s time to create the illusion that you are more proportional. After all, dressing for all body types is simply a matter of balance.
An easy way to do just that is by wearing high-waisted pants, skirts or even shorts, and tucking in your top. By wearing a higher waist you are cutting down the length of your torso and elongating your legs — et voila! — balance!
Another simple trick is to elongate your legs through shorter hemlines, such as shorts right above the knee to mid-thigh, as well as nude shoes, and pants or jeans that make your legs look a million miles long!
It seems as if black tie for weddings has gotten more casual. How has the idea of black tie changed, and what do we need to know when selecting black-tie attire for weddings?
Great question, as this is a trend we are seeing nationwide. Like it or not, people are getting more and more casual for all occasions. Offices are moving towards business casual, white tablecloth restaurants are allowing dressy jeans, and black-tie weddings are often full of cocktail dresses rather than gowns.
I personally love to dress up, so I enjoy bumping up my evening look to reflect the actual dress code of the soiree. But I understand not everyone loves getting fancy and frilly! When working with a client that prefers a more low-key, laid-back look, we often find a happy medium when dressing for black-tie functions. The happy medium tends to be a more formal cocktail dress. The formality comes in the form of sequins, sheen or even tea length. And don’t forget to properly accessorize your black-tie ensemble — especially when wearing a shorter look — with elegant evening jewelry and heels. The finishing touch should always be a clutch or small, dressy shoulder bag, so put that on your shopping list if you don’t have one that you love.
What are the best jewelry investments that won’t go out of style?
I love this question as jewelry can make or break an outfit, but at the same time knowing what accessories to invest in can feel overwhelming and daunting. With my style coaching clients, I actually dedicate an entire session to accessorizing to ensure that they have exactly what they need to fit their personal style and wardrobe. To help you know which pieces are timeless and worth snagging, I invite you to watch this video on the must-have pieces every woman needs in her jewelry box.
What’s the best Spanx-type product and design that smoothes away any pesky back fat and rolls caused by bras and undergarments?
You’re not alone in wondering how to smooth those areas that you don’t love! The No. 1 thing to look for in shapewear is something high enough to meet your bra. This creates a lovely and smooth line from your bra to your backside. I love a skirted high-waisted slip like this one by Yummie and this high-waisted pantie by SPANX. Also, reconsider your bra, and look for ones with smoothing bands, and don’t forget to get regular bra fittings to ensure you are wearing the right size.
Have fashion questions? Ask Megan! Submit your own fashion-related questions for possible inclusion in this monthly column by emailing [email protected].
To learn more about Megan LaRussa, or to view style-coaching options, book an appointment or sign up for Megan’s newsletter, visit meganlarussa.com.