In the November edition of our fashion advice column “Ask Megan,” Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Megan LaRussa tackles readers’ questions about wearing black, turtlenecks, moto jackets and more!
How do you wear a motorcycle jacket? I saw this really cool picture on Pinterest the other day, but don’t know how to style it myself.
Oooh, I love a motorcycle jacket! This style is commonly called a “moto” jacket and looks fantastic over just about anything. The key to selecting the right moto jacket is to make sure it has clean lines, minimal amounts of trendy hardware and a nice shape that flatters your figure. If you stick to these rules when purchasing a moto jacket, then you’re sure to have it for years to come — in other words, it’ll be worth the investment!
Now, when it comes to wearing this jacket style, it all depends on your personal style in how you rock it. If you are more classic, then wear it over a turtleneck with jeans and a flat shoe. If you are more minimal, then wear it with a sleek, all-black look underneath. If you are more bohemian, then wear it over a flowy winter floral dress and booties. And if you are more edgy, then wear it with distressed jeans, a tee or silk blouse and heels or booties. A moto jacket can also be a great blazer alternative for your business-casual look.
For more on turning Pinterest fashion images into realistic, everyday outfits, check out my complimentary Runway to Reality guide.
What’s the difference between something classic, timeless and current?
These terms can really stump my clients, especially when we’re cleansing their closets. They often want to know why we’re donating something that is classic yet isn’t current anymore — shouldn’t classic items maintain a current look for years to come because they are timeless?
Classic items have elements that are longer-lasting than a trendy item. They tend to have more tailored and streamlined shapes, and details that could make them timeless. An example would be a black A-line dress. While a little black dress is a timeless item, because designers make them every decade, they do change slightly with time and trends — for example, a bell sleeve, a ruffle detail, an asymmetrical hemline, a hardware accent, etc. — making them classic yet not timeless.
Timeless items tend to stand the test of time and the changes in the fashion world. An example of a timeless item would be a Chanel suit or a pair of Ferragamo ballet flats. These are items that are made year after year for decades and accrue value with time.
And finally, if an item is current, it looks modern and of the moment. It can have classic details, but it is often not timeless as it might have more trendy elements.
I find that it’s very important for my clients to understand the differences between these fashion terms to ensure they keep their closets classic, timeless and current — so your look is never dated and always effortlessly chic!
How much is too much when wearing black?
This is a tricky question as how much black you wear truly is a personal style choice. I encourage you to first ask yourself why you’re wearing black. Do you genuinely love the minimal, clean look of this neutral? Or is it something you’ve been told is slimming and helps you conceal areas that you don’t love? Or perhaps you think that if you own all black, all of your outfits will go together, eliminating any styling worries.
First, let’s chat about the age-old myth that black is slimming. Oftentimes the color is not important in looking slim — it’s really all about the cut and silhouette. But first you have to understand and know your body type to know which cuts will conceal the areas you don’t love. Once you know your silhouette, you can then branch out and try different colors that you’ve always been drawn to but maybe have felt wouldn’t work on you.
Second, is an all-black wardrobe easier because it all goes together? Well, technically this is true! When you have basically all one color in your wardrobe, it can make styling easier. But with no variety or interest in your daily look, a style rut might kick in. And I am sure you are a fabulous femme who has a great personality, so let’s showcase that through your outward appearance. This is where starting small by adding in colorful accents can help. From there, try out a top or a third piece in your favorite color. With time, you’ll be wearing more color and feeling more confident doing so.
Now if you are someone who genuinely enjoys the color black, your style is minimal and you love clean lines, then let’s talk about how to wear black in an interesting way: Texture is key. When you are wearing monochromatic from head to toe, it’s important to change up the textures to ensure your look has interest. Maybe that means a black cashmere sweater with black-coated jeans or a black silk blouse with black velvet pants. When it comes to a monochromatic closet, texture is your friend.
What is the best length for skirts with boots to keep your look age- and work-appropriate?
It’s that time of year again — time for skirts and boots! With this wardrobe combo, selecting a tall, heeled boot will elongate the look. To further flatter your figure, it’s important to select the right length skirt for your body type and height. It’s also important to make sure the right amount of skin is showing between the skirt and boot, even if you are wearing tights.
The rule of thumb with the length of the skirt is you want it to hit at a flattering place on your leg. Typically that means you want the skirt to hit right above your knee if you’re wearing a pair of tall, heeled boots with it. This is especially true for pencil skirts. Also, you want and need a few inches of skin (or tights) showing between the skirt and tall, heeled boots to avoid looking “bottom-heavy.” Now, go enjoy rocking your skirts and tall, heeled boots this season!
I’m finally cleaning out my closet! Are turtlenecks still in style?
Yes! But only certain styles of turtlenecks are “in,” and taking it one step further, only certain body types look good in turtlenecks.
The most classic yet current style of turtleneck is a cashmere, non-ribbed style. When cleansing your closet, make sure that your turtlenecks, even the cashmere ones, aren’t too short or too long.
Another classic yet current style of turtleneck is a cozy cowl-neck turtleneck that perhaps is a cable knit or slightly relaxed in style. Mock turtlenecks are rarely flattering or in style. And when styling your turtleneck, it’s best to let the neck of the shirt sit relaxed as is, as opposed to folding it over.
Have fashion questions? Ask Megan! Submit your own fashion-related questions for possible inclusion in this monthly column by emailing [email protected].