Art of Style

Dear Cheryl: Curious about Color

Cheryl Lampard, founder of Style Matters International, answers your questions each month.

BY February 7, 2019


Now that I live in Florida, I’m trying to perk up my wardrobe with prints, but my NYC self (lots of black) is afraid of too much color. How do I break into prints without terrifying myself?
— Rebecca B., Fort Myers

There are various ways to ease yourself into prints, one of the simplest being a two- color print that has (your favorite) black as a base. And this season, you need look no further than the humble polka dot, which is about to enjoy a revival. It’s also the ideal print for a transitional wardrobe: classic, not too summery, and spot-on for early spring style. Designers have played with scale—everything from teeny, tiny dots to saucer-size spots. Although black and white reign supreme in polka dot paradise, there are iterations that feature earth tones as a base color, accented with black dots (or neutrals such as gray or cream). Because of the lower level of contrast, these versions produce a surprisingly versatile color theme, making it easy to coordinate new pieces with your existing wardrobe. Going dotty this season is a great way to go.

I love pants and am constantly adding new styles to my wardrobe. They’re all different lengths, to go with various heel heights, but I’m getting confused about the correct length for each style. Some guidance, please! — Maria J., Naples

Generally speaking, the wider the pant leg, the longer the length. Seldom does one pant style work with both flats and heels. The exception being skinny pants and jeans, which should finish at the top of the ankle, or a little below—wherever the slimmest part of your ankle is. Tailored trouser styles where the leg is straight from hip to hem look best a half-inch off the floor at back, with a small “break” over the foot. Wide-leg pants need to be even longer: a quarter-inch from the floor at back, with only the toe of your shoe visible.

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