Suggestion Box

Although I am ALWAYS open to reader suggestions, it’s been a long time since I opened up the box, here. I wanted to make sure that every last one of your requests from the last suggestion box got addressed. And by now they either have been addressed, will be addressed in the coming weeks, or have been addressed in the comments of the previous SB post. Whew!

So. Any suggestions for advice-y, how-to, tutorial type things you’d like to see me cover? Topics you’re curious about or ideas you’d like to see explored? Pressing sartorial or body image questions? Let’s hear them.

A few quick administrative notes:

  • If you would rather e-mail than comment, just drop me a note! In fact, if you have a pressing/timely question, it’s better to e-mail. It takes me a while to get through the Suggestion Box questions, so I can’t promise a quick reply if you comment here.
  • If you ask about a topic that’s already been covered on the blog, I’ll respond in a comment and set you up with a link.
  • Try to keep suggestions general and topical. If you have a question about something personal or specific, you can e-mail me instead. (For example, “What are some ways to accessorize Little Black Dresses” will work better as a post topic than, “How should I accessorize my strapless, knee-length, belted, chiffon LBD for my high school reunion?”)
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  • Roberta

    Wearing winter white, in particular shoes. I think ivory looks elegant, but how not to look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? And what color shoes? Black sems harsh, and white or ivory seems nurse-y or at least impractical in the winter. Ack.

    • Great question. I have an ivory skirt I love, but I’m unsure how to wear it. Particularly to keep it wintery and not too springy.

  • Ashley

    I’m on the lookout for opaque tights – the kind that are warm, last through the season, and don’t break the bank. Maybe you could do a review of your favorite brands? Thanks 🙂

  • vampfan30

    any suggestions for us short, mid 30’s moms who want to keep the rocker type edge to the wardrobe but to end the being mistaken for a teenager would be great.:)

  • Hey Sal! A few suggestions:

    *something on your favorite most-worn thrifted items and how you remix them
    *favorite colour combos and some tips on how to combine colours in unusual ways
    *how to style stripes in unexpected ways

    x

  • Brenda Marks

    I’m stuck on the ancient rule of shoes matching hemlines. I’d love to hear compelling reasons to get it out of my head.

    I’d like to hear more about how to use “the must have lists” of fashion as concepts instead of edicts. For example, I don’t wear black or white, so the LBD and the ubiquitous white shirt are never going to be in my closet.

    Are there colors or color combinations that are too seasonal to wear year ’round? I get concerned about looking too spring-like in the wrong seasons, but the colors I look best in are spring-y colors.

    • Anonymous

      Could I extend the shoe/hemlines questions to include boots and hemlines. I’m never sure if the boot should be shorter than the hem, meet it or be under it! Plus styling all the variety of heels – platforms, stacked and so on. I just can’t seem to get it!

      And thank you for asking. I don’t comment often, but this blog is always one of the first things I read in mornings and I enjoy your writing so much.

  • Anat

    Hey Sal, I have one fully written email for you in my drafts, which I’ve been wondering if I should send out… this gave me just the push I needed!

  • Allison

    I would love to see something on maintaining a weight you feel happy with without stressing/keeping your emotional well-being in check while eating what you want and not gaining weight.

    And I agree with the earlier comment about tights reviews!

  • I would love to know how you develop an outfit. Do you have a system? Do you start with neutrals and then add the more unique pieces or do you start with the more unique pieces and then choose corresponding pieces? Do you tend to start with a blouse in mind or a skirt in mind? I know it probably depends on the day and what you’re doing and the pieces involved, but I have to imagine there’s some sort of trend.

  • Becky

    Sally, I’d love to see you address the question of fibers/fabrics. I found your discussion of ponte very useful and I’m wondering what other fibers you seek out and/or avoid. For example, I’ve noticed that many brands label certain rayon blends as machine washable but said garments quickly fade and pill, even on the delicate cycle. I’ve learned the hard way to avoid buying them. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that some (usually natural) fibers/fabrics that are labeled “dry clean only” actually hold up well to machine washing on the delicate cycle (and air drying). I could go on: I usually avoid polyester and synthetic fibers in general, but in some cases, polyester can be just the thing (Need a dress that can be packed in a suitcase and emerge wrinkle free? Polyester!), etc., etc. And I tend to avoid fibers whose qualities are unknown to me (viscose, modal, and actually ponte until I read your rave about it, etc.). Do you have any fiber-related rules of thumb that you follow when selecting clothes? And, on a related note, do you have any tricks for reviving garments that are faded, pilled, or have lost their shape? (Someone once told me that going over a faded garment with a warm iron can restore its sharpness, but I haven’t been successful with this technique).

    • Lady Harriet

      Ooh, this sounds like a great idea! For what it’s worth, my experience with modal has been that it’s ultra-soft and cozy, but pills easily. However, almost everything made of modal I’ve owned has been thrifted, which may have something to do with it. It’s also really stretchy, though most of the things I’ve had have been jersey, with spandex and possibly some cotton mixed in too. I know that modal is made from beech tree fibers, and it’s somewhat similar to rayon.

    • Lauren

      Just wanted to second the interest in fibre types – this is a great idea 🙂

      Also, for Becky: I recently learned that Viscose is, essentially, Rayon. Wikipedia explains it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viscose (hope that’s useful: I’ve always avoided synthetic fabrics, but once I learned a bit more about Viscose/Rayon, I’ve started to enjoy them a bit more!)

  • Mollie

    Hi Sal,
    I notice you seem to be an expert at pulling off long, even very long cardigans. How do you do it?

  • Kenzie

    You did a summer black-out…how about a winter black-out? Maybe only for like a week, not all winter. I’m going to try it myself but it’d be cool to get it out into the blogosphere. Cuz the post-holiday blahs is when most people are going to go to their dreary, comfy, dark, easy outfits so it might be more of a challenge! it’d be cool to see lots of both colorful and cozy outfits.

  • I know you’ve talked about feeling jealousy and how to deal with that lately but I would love a discussion about how to deal with other people’s jealousy. Sometimes when I go out looking fabulous (and feeling it!) I can be brought down very quickly by the jealous comments and behaviors of others towards me. I really begin to question myself when that happens.

    Just writing that down makes me feel anxious!

  • Kaitlin

    Knee socks and leg warmers!!! I love them, but how to wear them? They’re great casually, but I’d like to figure out how to work them a little more professionally–can I? I like them with tights or leggings, but then they tend to make my legs look really weird. Help! 🙂

  • Kenzie

    also, another thing. this may be weird and too personal, but I guess you’ve done stuff on body hair, so can you do a post on underwear? like the right kind of bras and panties to help avoid lumps, bumps, and lines on different outfit types, as well as employing slips and camisoles when necessary.

    • Tara

      I love this idea!

    • Janet

      I second Kenzie’s idea! I would especially love to see a post on slips.

      • Lady Harriet

        Yes! I have trouble finding half slips that are the proper length and don’t cause “segmented worm syndrome” (I love that term.) I would love to wear full slips, but with a large bust I can forget it, especially since thrift stores and garage sales are my main source for clothes.

        • Kate K

          I would LOVE to hear more about this.

  • I would love suggestions for finding warm winter tops / knits. Most of the stuff is sooo boring: either simple figure-hugging long-sleeved blouses, or knits that are either shapeless or again body-hugging.

  • Sal

    EEEEE! I’m LOVING these! So excited to dig in. You all rock. And don’t you forget it.

  • rb

    Dressing for really cold offices but still looking professional?

    Colleagues have resorted to fingerless gloves and even snuggies. That’s not what I mean by professional. 🙂

    • Sal

      Oh my gosh. Are your bosses trying to torture you? It must be FRIGID in there!

      • Kate K

        I am ditto-ing this comment! My office is a little icebox!

  • Ways to store & organize sweaters, addressing different types / styles / fibers of sweaters. I’ve looked thru your & other bloggers sites, but I can’t quite figure out what’s efficient so I can see what I have, doesn’t take up scads of space, but won’t cause sweaters to stretch out (like if I hang them) or wrinkle/bunch up (if I fold them). I have a ton of sweaters in all kinds of materials, but it’s so hard to deal with them!

    • Jenni

      yes, i second this! would love to read a post on storing sweaters and other knits. to avoid hanging i just pile them up in my drawers, but then i can’t really see them when i’m putting together a plan in the mornings.

  • Anne

    So, I’ve tried the skinny jeans – they’re not all that great on me. Boyfriend jeans make me look kind of stumpy. Boot legs jeans are really the best fit for me but they’ve been around for quite a while. How do you make them look fresh?

  • Sarah

    I’m usually a quiet reader, but I’m curious–I’ve seen snippets of your cat (cats?) in your photos, and I’d like to see a post discussing fashion tips in regards to having pets, like how to handle pet hair on your dressy (or even everyday) items, what problems pets pose to one’s wardrobe (my cats love to paw at my legs to get my attention, and if I’m wearing flimsy tights, there goes the pair!), that sort of thing. Many a person dressed to leave the house gets their clothes slobbered on, covered in cat hair at the last minute, or finds pet dander on something your cat managed to sleep on. Any suggestions to help combat these common problems would be appreciated, especially in terms of having to dash out of the house for work or some other time-sensitive event.

  • H.

    I work for a theatre (a “legitimate” theatre, not a movie theatre) and often have to work evening reception and concerts. Do you have any suggestions for long-sleeve, cocktail-appropriate tops? I seem to get stuck with work-appropriate sweaters, and I would like something a little more fun. Thanks!

  • Thanks for opening the box! Hopefully you won’t suffer Pandora’s fate!

    Perhaps I am the only person who wants to dress “older” but here’s my situation…. I want to dress to look *older* but not *too* old. How do I hit that sweet spot of dressing to look in my 30s-40s but not over-shooting into my 60s? I’m in my mid-20s and the people I serve (I’m a pastor) are 3-4 times my age… and they constantly comment on how young I look. There seems to be no correlation between what I’m wearing and what sparks their comments —- I could be wearing an ankle-length skirt and sweater and STILL get told I look young —- but what can I do with my personal style to keep myself from looking like a teenager?

  • Kay

    Two questions are weighing heavily on my mind:

    1. How would you professionally dress a busty (we are talking more than DD here) short (5 foot!), curvy woman with hourglass shape? (as in thigh proportionate to the bust). and no, wearing heels is not an option. (read question 2 to see why)

    2. Suggestions for flat boots (heels: 1 inch or lesser), wide width that have removable insole to accommodate my orthotics. Money is not a problem. I just want one pair – just one pair of wide width flat boots with removable insoles.

  • Jenni

    another winter-related request: any guidelines for “accessorizing” outerwear – ie, winter hats, gloves, scarves? to match or not to match? how to chose cozy things that place nice with different coat fabrics? do these “outer” accessories need to coordinate with the “indoor” accessories underneath the jacket?

    (my office isn’t frigid but i tend to be cold EVERYWHERE in winter and am likely to leave on a winter scarf or fingerless gloves indoors. doesn’t leave me very coordinated though!)

  • Lady Harriet

    This may be something you feel you’ve covered enough in previous posts about inspiration, your outfit list, &c, but I would like advice on how to combat wardrobe boredom. I graduated from college in May, but have yet to find a job, so buying new clothes really isn’t an option with an income of zero. (I wasn’t spending much money in the first place–even thrift stores are largely beyond my budget, so I mostly shopped at garage sales over the summer.) I have probably a medium to large wardrobe, although in recent years I have purged many clothes and almost all of my shoes (due to weight loss and comfort issues, respectively.) Part of my problem may be wardrobe orphans. Some of it may also be that many of my clothes don’t work for this time of year–I live in Wisconsin, but after four years of college in Florida I don’t have many warm garments anymore. I do have a TON of jewelry (at last count over a hundred necklaces, and probably more pairs of earrings) and a pretty large collection of scarves.

    I have found that donating clothes I no longer like and reorganizing what I have left helps somewhat, but I still feel frustrated. I look at my closet and am annoyed that I own seven black jackets and sweaters, but none in a number of colors I wear frequently. Some of these I used to have, but “outshrunk” (opposite of outgrew!), some I never had in the first place. I would love to be able to buy things to fit the holes I know exist in my wardrobe, but I just can’t justify it right now.

    I’m rambling on and giving a lot of specifics, which you definitely don’t need to address in a post. I guess what I’m really looking for are no-cost ways to combat boredom and frustration with a very imperfect wardrobe, especially after major life changes (in my case it’s graduation, moving back home to a very different climate, and unemployment, but it could apply to a lot of different situations.)

    Thank you so much Sal! I really love your website and appreciate all you do for your readers. You definitely are an inspiration to me, especially during the deep, dark Midwestern winter.

  • Anonymous

    Following up on Kay’s post, I’d appreciate any suggestions for flat shoes, ankle boots, and regular boots that work with orthotics. More generally, you talk a lot about shoes here, and it’s hard to get excited about shoes when one’s shoe choices are limited. Any words of encouragement for people whose medically necessary shoes seem to ruin the best constructed outfit?

    I was also going to suggest fashion tips for people with pets (as Sarah has above), including whether you recommend particular fibers (some attract pet hair more than others) and whether you have any other tips for reducing obvious pet hair on clothes (laundering techniques, storage strategies, etc.–I used to store and wash certain nice pieces separately from my other clothes so they would stay fur-free).

    More posts about scarves would be great. I have a lot of rectangular silk scarves, so I’d especially enjoy seeing how you wear those.

    A lot of advice on wearing color assumes that one uses the whole color wheel. People recommend choosing opposite colors for contrast, or choosing a triad of 3 colors evenly spaced around the color wheel. However, what about those of us who only wear colors from one half or one third of the color wheel? I wear green (cool green) to blue to purple to pink. I’ve applied the advice on contrasting colors in a limited way by pairing green with purple or pink (i.e., the opposite ends of my color range), but it seems difficult to wear more than one color at a time if choosing from the center of my color range. So if I wear blue, I’m stuck with only blue because my other colors seem too close to it. And then how many shades of blue to wear simultaneously? I wouldn’t expect you to address my specific color palette, but general suggestions for people with limited color palettes would be interesting.

    • Lauren

      I seem to be all about ‘seconding’ post ideas today rather than coming up with my own, but still: I’ll second this request for orthotic-friendly shoe ideas: so many “flat shoe” posts (from all over the interwebs) seem to suggest only ballerina flats, which just do not work for an orthotic.

      (I wear an orthotic but have a *narrow* foot, which makes finding shoes like finding needles in haystacks: so many orthotic-friendly brands assume all orthotic wearers have wide feet, for some reason).

      I also like the idea of encouragement or ways to feel inspired about clothing choices when you’re limited to one or two shoe options total…

  • MJ

    I know you’ve mentioned it but I’m really hoping you’ll do a post or two on fashion for young girls. I’m a mom of a preteen who just asked for her own clothing allowance & I find it can be a really difficult balance between letting her express herself & being honest if she asks what I think.

    • Jenni

      i second this request! my stepdaughter is in 7th grade and very into labels and dressing like her friends. sometimes she chooses clothes that we just have to say no to – but i don’t want to squash her self-expression or give her cause to feel uncomfortable with her own body. it’s tricky stuff.

  • Jenni

    one more quick one – the next time you post about jewelry, could you share some thoughts for drawing attention to the face for those of us who can’t wear earrings? i may be in the minority here, but my ears have been terribly allergic for years (i’ve tried it all). thanks again for everything you share here!

  • Anonymous

    Following Mollie’s suggestion, how about where to FIND those knee-length cardigans? I would love one or two basic mid-weight knee-length cardis to wear with dresses in the fall, winter, and spring. Yours seem to be mostly from thrift stores, but my thrift stores–and even the department and outlet stores!– have a strange dearth of such cardigans. So a round-up of (inexpensive) resources would be fantastic. Thank you for a wonderful blog!

  • Hannah2

    I know that I’m a bit late to this party, but it’s taken me a while to figure out how to formulate the request.

    I was hoping you could do a post on how to come to understand and appreciate what looks and makes us feel good—without having to buy the clothing and hang it all first. I feel like I’m starting to make progress in understanding myself but because of small weight gain (just enough to make lots of stuff fit wrong) and because of deeper appreciation for my body, even things I bought with concern and attention after purging my wardrobe in August fit funny, feel funny.
    Obviously, the weight gain was unexpected and even potentially reversible…. but is there a shortcut to learning what fits me as ME without spending lots of money on clothes to be dumped a few months later or without spending hours trying on every piece of clothing in the mall just to see?

    Thanks for all that you do.

  • I really hate getting dressed for weddings. Any other event, I head for my closet and feel delighted to play around until I come up with something I love. It seems that all of the weddings I’ve been to within memory have been in the dead of winter. Since I live in upstate NY, a winter wedding means getting dressed up and trying to stay warm at the same time.

    Also–your blog the only one that I read every single day. Thank you for making style so accessible and inclusive.

    • Sal

      Cheryl, thank YOU! What a great compliment.

  • Jess

    I don’t know quite how to phrase this, but I’d love a post on how to shop for those items that make you feel insecure. For example, I’m mostly a wearer of skirts and dresses, but I want to incorporate more trousers into my wardrobe. However, while I’m familiar and comfortable enough with my body in skirts and dresses to make shopping for those items straightforward and pain-free, shopping for trousers fills me with angst because it highlights those parts of my body I haven’t quite got to grips with (my thighs, mostly, which are the reason why I find it hard to get trousers to fit), and also because I find the sizing (with waist measurements and hip measurements and leg measurements and all of that) confusing. As a result, I tend to either get upset or give up very easily. But I want to overcome this, not least because my Dream Jeans are on their way out and I can’t find any more of the same brand and I want to be able to find some replacements!

    Also, as someone who is considering going from long to short hair, a post on how your crop has changed your styling would be very interesting! (Or did you already do one of those? I have a vague recollection of reading one, though I think that may have been A. from Academichic.)

  • Kirsty

    I’ve just completed a law degree and will be heading into a highly competitive and formal looking job market. Suits are the obvious choice for interviews and later for work but I am very large in the bust and haven’t been able to find a way to make shirts not gape in the bust. I’m fairly certain it is not that the shirt is too small in the bust as it doesn’t seem to matter how large I go. At the moment I work in a casual office so wear shirts unbuttoned to below the bust and wear a black or white singlet underneath to give appropriate coverage. I think this is too casual for the corporate law job market and yet gaping shirts are hardly professional either.

    I would love some ideas of what I could wear that will look equally formal and yet not gape. Preferably I’d like something to draw away from my ample bust. Alternatively something that would stop the gaping would be even better.

  • Sarah Heath

    I would like ways to style double pierced ears, or more, for those people that have two holes in each ear lobe. Thanks

  • Stina

    Hi Sal,

    I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for a couple of years and I’ve picked up so many tips from you.

    I was wondering if you could provide some tips on how to layer tops for someone living in a sub-tropical climate.

    Thanks!