Where Life Meets Style: U asked, I styled

by Aaron Leth

>In Baltimore a few years ago I had my palm read, and the psychic claimed I would be in the industry of helping people – something to do with wellness. While I’d never touch a scalpel, I’d definitely touch a shopping bag (surprised?) for anyone who asked – except Britney. So without further ado, let me flex my style muscles and see what I can do.

Hi Aaron:
Fashion question for you: I’m attending a political convention at the end of this month. The attire is business casual, but I’d hate to be boring. Any ideas on how to be stylish while still looking professional? Thanks!
Trying for politically posh

I’ve been waiting for this question all my life, and it’s timely given this year’s major elections. The best advice I can give you is to take cues from female stateswomen, such as Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi, the real high-profile femmes who rock the boardroom to the boardwalk on a daily basis. While I’m sure you’re thinking you need to wear a beige pantsuit, think again.

I’m a huge fan of the shirtdress. It’s formal, yet feminine, and super on trend. Aim for muted or dark colors, no prints (This isn’t Ibiza!), and use accessories and hair to really show your individual style. I suggest a Mary Jane pump for shoes since it will still be cold and too early for peep-toes. Places to scour: White House Black Market, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor, all with several metro locations. Places gone sour: Forever 21, Casual Corner and Anthropologie.

I recently purchased a very chic pair of black pants at H&M. I love how they feel and fit, yet all I have for shoes are Pumas and A&F sandals. I want to get a pair of shoes that aren’t too dressy but not too shabby that I can wear for both work and play with these pants. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
Choosey shoesy

Thanks for writing. One thing few people know about me is that I struggle with shoes. My feet are fairly large, and shoes for men are sometimes so plain and boring. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have the PERFECT solution for your kicks kafuffle: ballet flats. They truly look great with everything, from flowy skirts to skinny jeans to formal dresses – but don’t push that last one.

Another great thing about ballet flats is that nearly every retailer is chiming into this trend with its own version. My favorites usually come from Steve Madden or Gap. Plus, consider your black pants a blank canvas since black coordinates with almost all colors, including metallics and patterns. I have faith in you that you can say goodbye to the Pumas – which have a time and place – this season, yet still keep your shoes equally fabulous.

Hi Aaron!
I just spent the last four years of my life in Houston. This has given rise to a wardrobe that is, to put it mildly, biased to the warmer (read: 80s) weather trends. I’m finding it really hard to dress well in winter. How do I layer without looking like a marshmallow? 
Tundra Conundrum

I don’t think you’re alone in this struggle. I’ve lived here for four years and still find it a blessing to have feeling in my toes and fingers when I get to class some mornings. Let’s face it: Minnesota’s weather needs to go to rehab.

With that said, I suggest Cuddl Duds, available for a small price at department stores. They’re made with lightweight fabric, but don’t let that fool you. They literally hug the body and disappear under outfits, keeping toasty but not too boasty. Or try Under Armour; I know it’s super sporty, but it’s called armor for a reason. If these two fail, try Gap Body or the A&E underwear store, aerie, at aerie.com.

-Have your own fashion quandary and question? Let me know at [email protected], and you too could appear in “Where Life Meets Style!”