Your Stylist: Style advice to soothe your sartorial woes

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Resident Image stylist and market editor Melissa Magsaysay answers your style queries in the weekly Your Stylist blog column.

I’m looking for a cute flat shoe that I wear with jeans but will look cute with a blazer, a classic cardigan, or a cute but edgier blouse. Any ideas? M.P., Costa Mesa

A versatile flat is a valuable flat. With the jaw-dropping cost of shoes these days, being able to roll a whole lotta looks into a couple pairs of footwear can certainly be a challenge.
I personally find that a metallic flat gets the most mileage because it provides the perfect accent for anyone who generally wears neutral-colored clothing. They also jazz up jeans with a blouse and echo any gold or silver accessories going on up top.

Also, flats aren’t just for jeans or stowing in your bag for when walking in heels gets too tiresome. Let us take a cue from France’s first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Her penchant for flat shoes with Dior suits works so well, you often forget that a skirt traditionally calls for heels.


And if you choose to embrace spring’s masculine/feminine trend, then try a pair of brogue-inspired flats to freshen up jeans and a blazer or even a vintage dress. They’ve got the same comfort of a flat, but add a little kick and character than a basic black shoe.

I am a short, petite woman who likes the crop jacket trend.However, it’s been hard to figure out how to wear a crop jacket when my torso is kind of short. Are they just too boxy for a small frame or is there a way to make the trend work for me? Too Small, San Diego

Not at all. As long as the jacket isn’t boxy or swallowing your upper half, your ability to rock a cropped coat shouldn’t be difficult at all.

Im assuming you’re buying a small or extra-small size, so this is where tailoring the piece to fit your measurements exactly comes into play. Have your tailor alter the length to hit you mid-rib cage and nip in any extra bulk that might still exist. Three-quarter sleeves will look better on a small frame, so buy one that has cropped sleeves, or have your tailor chop those to hit you midway between your elbow and wrist.

Once the jacket fits you perfectly, make sure the look is refined and not frumpy. My favorite trick is something Rachel Bilson – who is also super tiny – did when wearing a cropped jacket over a dress. Bilson threw a belt around her waist at exactly the point where her jacket hit. The solid black belt reinforces the sharpness of the jacket by creating a clean line at her mid section. It adds more angles to her small frame for a pulled together and polished look.

Depending on the proportions of your upper half, you could try buying jackets in the juniors section of a department store. I personally love the blazers and button-down shirts in the boys department of Target. They are snug in the shoulders, slim through the middle and the sleeves are perfectly three-quarters. Plus they tend to be much less expensive than the stuff made for grownups.

Melissa Magsaysay

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Photos: Shoes, clockwise from left, Aldo, $80, at, Aldo. Tory Burch, $225, at, Tory Burch. Belle by Sigerson Morrison, $220, at, Belle. Bloch, $169, at, Bloch.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy/Charles Dharapak, Associated Press.

Rachel Bilson/Jeff Vespa, WireImage.

Jackets from left: Forever 21, $24.80, at, Forever 21. Alice + Olivia, $440, at, Alice + Olivia.