"Readers Ask" > Page 1, 2
Black and Blue
Q. I've always been told never to wear black and navy blue together but I've seen a lot of men wearing black shoes with their dark navy blue pants. Is that acceptable dress or a fashion mistake?
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A. Black and blue are perfectly OK to wear together, and actually the preferred combo. I'm not sure exactly when the aesthetic changed, but I do remember when cordovan or brown were acceptable choices for navy.
Where to wear?
Q. What is the proper fit/tailoring of slacks, and what is the proper way to wear slacks? We're all pretty much in agreement about the length of the bottom, and the break at the top of your foot. But, there's some discussion about the fit on the other end: around the waist. Where is it supposed to hang from? The narrowest part of the waist? Riding the hip bone? Where is the waist line supposed to be relative to the bellybutton?
A. The proper way to wear slacks is on the waist -- the horizontal line from your belly button, according to , A Man's Life's "How to Get Dressed."
Q.I'm a terrible dresser. I have all these "nice" clothes in my closet, but when it comes to putting them together, whether its going to work or even casual dress I'm at a loss. Are there any sites that could help me?
A.The best online resource is A Man's Life A book that you might find helpful is Chic Simple's Men's Wardrobe. Probably the best way to learn how to mix and match clothing is hands-on. I suggest the next time you go to the store you get a salesperson to help you put outfits together. If you buy clothing and accessories from one source it also makes it easier to coordinate. Sometimes the problem is in having too many clothes. I think people only wear about 20% of their wardrobe -- the rest just sits there taking up space.
Warm weather wardrobe
Q. Would you have a recommendation for an appropriate "wardrobe" for a five-month winter stay in warm weather? It will be mostly casual with swimming, bicycling, golfing, etc. I have been searching the Net for ideas for a small comprehensive wardrobe. I would really appreciate any referrals to web sites, companies, etc. for ideas. My goal is to establish a coordinated wardrobe to cover at least most possibilities.
1. Stick to just a few colors so everything matches: maybe a palette of white, khaki and black or navy, khaki and red.
2. Buy knits or stretch cottons for comfort and fewer wrinkles.
3. I wrote an article about packing for warm weather destinations.
4. A few good items:
- Dresses, long or short knit ones in sleeveless or short sleeves
- Cardigans. You can wrap a lightweight sweater (I like silk or cotton) around your shoulders during the day and put it on when it gets chilly.
- A sheer, beaded black shawl to wear over a simple tank dress for dressy dinners.
- A pareo or sarong over a swimsuit as a coverup (but plenty of people wrap it up as a dress or skirt as well)
5. There are some companies such as Danskin which package a travel
wardrobe of knits, but they are usually all black.
Tips & Trends
Q. I'm not sure which color of pantyhose to wear with my clothes. Am I suppose to match the color of my pantyhose to the clothes that I am wearing?
A. Right now the "nude" leg is big, so one option is to find very sheer pantyhose that are the EXACT shade as your skin. Donna Karan makes "the nudes," but you can find a great match in a cheaper brand too. The goal with this approach is to wear pantyhose so close to your natural skin tone and so sheer that no one notices your pantyhose. Another option is to match pantyhose colors to what you are wearing. I think this is only going to look OK if the shoe is the same color as the clothing.
Who starts trends?
Q. I have to do a speech in school about something I would like to know more about. I would like to know who decides whether a certain fashion is cool or not. I mean who decided that shirts with hoods would be really popular?
A. There isn't really a group of people who decide whether or not something is cool. Basically, what happens these days in fashion is that designers and buyers (the people at the stores that buy the merchandise to sell) use their best judgment and throw a lot of different looks out there and see what catches on. Basically, WE decide what's cool by what we decide to buy and wear. What happens alot lately is that stuff that is worn on the street by young people catches on and makes it way onto the fashion runways. Hoods came from athletic wear (you know those hooded sweatshirts and stuff) You see, not every fashion idea originates with the fashion crowd (although they aren't likely to admit it) The consumer is in charge.
*Some questions and answers are edited for brevity and spelling and to conceal identifying information of the readers.