Are you weary of wardrobe worries? Do you stand catatonic before your closet? Are you stupefied by the snarls of style? Does the fashion rulebook ruffle your feathers? Never fear — Megan is here!

In the February 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!

Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth

Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth

I love wearing black tights in the winter, but some of my favorite shoes are brown and gray. Do I have to wear black shoes with my black tights?

This is such an important winter-weather wardrobe question! Especially with stockings and hose on the “no go” list, we are left with tights to serve us on those chilly days. You are spot-on in that black tights look lovely with black shoes. As for a brown or gray shoe, nix the brown tights and instead opt for a charcoal gray, non-heathered tight or your tried-and-true black tights. And don’t be afraid to mix black and brown, but it is important to keep it all in the color family. For example, if you are wearing brown suede pumps or booties with black tights and a black dress, then complete your look with a sumptuous brown jacket or even a scarf with pops of brown in it. By incorporating brown again into your overall look, it’ll help make the brown shoes + black tights make sense.

Don't be afraid to mix black and brown — simply add a dash of brown elsewhere in the outfit, such as the soft brown in the skirt, so that there's a cohesive element to the overall look. Image: We Fashion Trends

Don’t be afraid to mix black and brown — simply add a dash of brown elsewhere in the outfit, such as the soft brown in the skirt, so that there’s a cohesive element to the overall look. Image: We Fashion Trends

What would you wear to a dinner date for a casual, fun look?

I often hear from my fabulous clients that once they have the perfect evening wardrobe, they are much more inclined to want to go to that party, that dinner with their significant other or out for drinks with the girls. Some important evening basics include: dark-wash denim in your favorite silhouette, black trousers or black-coated denim, fun silk blouses, a festive dress or two, black heels and of course a clutch! Once you have these basics on hand, it’s easy to mix and match to create your perfect evening look. Ultimately, it’s important to consider your personal style and what you feel best in. If you feel your best and most confident self in jeans, a fun blouse and a vest, then by all means rock that. If you’re more of a dress girl, then pick one that makes you feel fabulous. If you’d like more concrete style inspiration, I invite you to check out my Pinterest boards to peruse more specific outfits that you can emulate. Again, at the end of the day, remember that what matters most is that you feel and look like the best version of you!

Pair your favorite little black dress and heels with a leather jacket for an edgy romantic look. Image: Who What Wear

Pair your favorite little black dress and heels with a leather jacket for an edgy romantic look. Image: Who What Wear

RELATED: If You Never Wanted a Style Coach, We Bet You Will Now …

Dress up your favorite pair of jeans with a lacy top, sleek white blazer, classic black heel and a ruby red lip! Image: Who What Wear

Dress up your favorite pair of jeans with a lacy top, sleek white blazer, classic black heel and a ruby red lip! Image: Who What Wear

What are the five key trendy items that I need for spring?

Each season there are important basics and trendy pieces that every femme needs in her wardrobe. At the end of the day you do need to take into consideration your personal style, body type and lifestyle when reviewing my must-have list, as style should be personal. Here’s a sneak peek of the spring items every femme needs:

  1. Reworked denim that showcases a frayed hem, patchwork or maybe just a unique silhouette like a cropped kick flare.
  2. A printed piece that pops, whether it be a bold-striped dress or a fun, floral blazer.
  3. Statement earrings, from large studs to ones that dust your shoulder.
  4. Your favorite garment or accessory in a shade of pink ranging from blush to fuchsia and everything in between.
  5. A kitten heel that’s both comfortable and stylish. Select a block heel for more stability, and an ankle strap for added flair.

For more spring must-have basics to more trendy pieces, take a short survey to get access to my spring and summer shopping list!

Take a short survey to get Megan's spring & summer must-have shopping list.

Take a short survey to get Megan’s spring & summer must-have shopping list.

How do I find a bra that fits well without having to get a fitting and shell out big bucks?

I hate to break it to you, but getting a complimentary bra fitting at your favorite local lingerie shop is an essential piece of the wardrobe puzzle. I often work with clients who quickly find that with the right well-fitting bra, their current wardrobe instantly looks and feels better. Therefore investing in the time it takes to get a bra fitting and of course investing in the bra itself is important and shouldn’t be skipped. If you are on a limited budget, tell your bra fitting specialist to show you a nude convertible bra. This type of bra will give you the most bang for your buck as it serves as multiple bras in one. Once you purchase your new bra make sure to take good care of it by hand washing it or placing it in a lingerie bag on the delicate cycle in your washing machine so that it’ll really last.

What are the best practices for mixing and matching patterns, especially stripes and polka dots?

What a fun question — thank you for asking! I personally think print-mixing and pattern-matching can be so much fun and is a great way to express your personal style. There are two main rules for print-mixing that you need to abide by to master this styling technique. The first tip is to select two prints that have a similar color palette, or at least one color in common. For example, if you’re rocking a pink-and-navy striped top and want to pair it with another printed item, then why not try a navy and white polka dot cardigan or scarf? The second tip for mixing prints is to allow one print to make more of a statement and the other print to take a backseat or play a supporting role, so to speak. If you are wearing a bold floral-print dress, then the secondary print should be smaller and less eye-catching.

"The first tip for print-mixing is to select two prints that have a similar color palette, or at least one color in common," says Megan. Image: The Zoe Report

“The first tip for print-mixing is to select two prints that have a similar color palette or at least one color in common,” says Megan. Image: The Zoe Report

"The second tip for mixing prints is to allow one print to make more of a statement and the other print to take a backseat or play a supporting role, so to speak," says Megan. "If you are wearing a bold floral print dress, then the secondary print should be smaller and less eye catching." Image: Graceful Story

“The second tip for mixing prints is to allow one print to make more of a statement and the other print to take a backseat or play a supporting role, so to speak,” says Megan. “If you are wearing a bold floral print dress, then the secondary print should be smaller and less eye-catching.” Image: Graceful Story

How do you navigate the dangerous ground between crop and capri pants?

Ooooh, I love this one, because the answer is often a game changer for my clients when they learn the right way to wear a shorter pant. Let me just cut to the chase about hem length, whether it be with pants, skirts or dresses. Here’s the ultimate rule: you should always select a hemline that hits at a slimmer place on your leg to ensure your overall look is on point and chic. That nixes capri pants altogether as they typically hit at your calf muscle, which is not always a flattering place on your leg. As for a spring and summer pant that is flattering, focus on the slimmer places on your leg such as your ankle, right above the knee, etc. Don’t let the summer heat keep you from wearing a shorter pant, just be smart when selecting the right length for you!

"You should always select a hemline that hits at a slimmer place on your leg to ensure your overall look is on point and chic," says Megan, who rocks the look here.

“You should always select a hemline that hits at a slimmer place on your leg to ensure your overall look is on point and chic,” says Megan, who rocks the look here.

RELATED: Your Burning Fashion Questions Get Answered: Introducing “Ask Megan”

How do I dress during the hot summer months without being sleeveless? I don’t love my arms as I am older.

Not to worry, as you are not alone with this question! I hear this often from my wonderful clients, especially once summer hits. First and foremost, select garments in breathable fabrics such as linen blends and cool cottons. If you prefer sleeveless tops and dresses in the summer to stay refreshed, then simply select a lightweight, linen-blend short sleeve or three-quarter-length-sleeved cardigan to cover up your arms without adding warmth. If you like a one-and-done kind of look, then opt for short sleeve or three-quarter-length-sleeved dresses and tops that boast airy materials. But do keep in mind that when selecting these summer-weight garments, make sure they are still tailored and well-draped — no boxy, linen pieces allowed!

A wide leg pant and dramatic collar paired with statement jewelry and a fab pair of glasses make for a timeless and elegant Katherine Hepburn-esque look. Image: Pinterest

A wide leg pant and dramatic collar paired with statement jewelry and a fab pair of glasses make for a timeless and elegant Katherine Hepburn-esque look. Image: Pinterest

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.

*********

For more on style in the Birmingham scene, visit our Fashion & Shopping section or download our FREE SB App.