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Fashion Expert Lloyd Boston Offers Wardrobe Makeover Tips

(Juana Arias)

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Lloyd Boston
Host, Closet Cases
Tuesday, April 14, 2009; 12:00 PM

Lloyd Boston, fashion guru and host of the FLN's Closet Cases, a makeover show which helps you refresh your look by 'shopping' in your own closet, was online Tuesday, April 14, at noon ET to offer tips and tricks for making the most, fashion-wise, of what you already have.

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Lloyd Boston: Hi! I am Lloyd Boston, and I am looking forward to taking your questions today!

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Downtown D.C.: What are the best shoe color options when wearing skirts and pants that are blue (that one always vexes me) or other colors? I get that cream goes with a brown shoe or red can be paired with black but other than owning shoes in tons of colors or all of them in black, what are the best bets?

Lloyd Boston: If navy blue, I would recommend black. I also love metallics in this case (silver, pewter). Thinking about not matching is the most modern choice here.

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Washington, D.C.: What are the two or three suits every businessman should have? Dark blue, dark gray and a pin-stripe? Thanks.

Lloyd Boston: If buying in order, I would suggest:

1. Solid Navy Blue (A classic)

2. Black (swings from business to semi-formal)

3. Medium solid gray (Natty!)

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Woodbridge, Va.: Thanks for taking my question. I am not an up-to-the-minute fashion person. As a matter of fact, ALL of my clothes are seriously dated. You can tell in what decade I purchased everything in my closet! My sister really read me the riot act when I wore a really cute culotte dress. (You have to see it to appreciate it.) Plus I really love to wear scarves as a high light to what I am wearing. Coworkers tell me that scarves are passe! Am I really that fashion challenged?

Lloyd Boston: Scarves are quite chic! Just make sure they are modern, and not matronly. Long, lightweight, gauzy, linen-blend scarves are my favorites these days. And they are not expensive. They add a shot of fun color atop more traditional outfits. Check out Oprah.com for my tips on how to tie one on. Scarf on!

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Columbus, Ohio: What is currently the style for men's dress pants? Pleats or no? Skinny? Cuffs or not?

Lloyd Boston: This depends on your unique body type. I prefer flat fronts, as they can make you look leaner if you are thick around the middle. Cuffs can weigh you down visually, if you are shorter. And if you are a heavier man, be sure your cuffs are at least 2 inches (this looks more proportionate to your frame). I am a flat front/cuffless man, myself....

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Lloyd, I am a huge fan and I have your "Before You Put That On" book and reference it often. I have a men's question: I bought my husband a fabulous Yurman necklace, but unfortunately, it's rarely seen as it's tucked in his shirt. I don't expect him to have it out and visible with his suit on, but is there any time when the necklace can be visible and appropriate?

Congrats on your new show!!!

Lloyd Boston: Depends on his line of work. If he works in a conservative workplace, I vote no. If more creative, yes (but depending on how bold the necklace is). For weekends and exotic travel, add it to a caftan, or lightweight v-neck sweater -- et voile, magic! Be sure he actually likes jewelry in general, which I am sure you can already gauge. I am a minimalist, so you'll never see me in a necklace. Hope he's not the same.

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Foggy Bottom, D.C.: Hi, Lloyd. Thanks for taking my question. First, I loved you on 'The Look For Less,' so I'm excited to have your expert opinion!

I am finishing my MBA up this June and want to buy myself something special. What do you recommend as a big-ticket item that will stand the test of time?

Lloyd Boston: That show was lots of fun to shoot. Elisabeth and I are still friends to this day. Thanks!

Get yourself the best black pant/skirt suit you can afford. Push yourself to spend as much as you can, have it to taliored within an inch of your life, and make sure it:

-- has a single button closure

-- has great fabric

-- only gets cleaned twice yearly

This will be your go-to suit for work, evening, broken up for girls' nights out, travel, power meetings, etc.

For moderate price, try J.Crew or Jones New York...

If you have more cash, I would RUN to Ralph Lauren...

If you want to splurge, Gucci...

Good luck!

Lloyd

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Herndon, Va.: Mr. B: I'm a man in my 60s, so want to keep looking good without going for any fads. Am I okay with button-down collar shirts with a tie, worn with sport coats and/or suits?

Lloyd Boston: It is certainly okay. Is it the best choice? No. Button downs speak more to a junior executive look or a prep school guy. When in your 60s, I would like to see men looking accomplished and effortlessly stylish -- even if they are not.

Use the button down on the weekends, open. Choose a few spread collar shirts to pair with your ties/suits/jackets.

Best,

Mr. B

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Arlington, Va.: Hi, Lloyd. How do you feel about animal prints?

Lloyd Boston: GROOOOOOOWL! I love them! In doses. They never go out of style. And should never be worn head to toe. An animal print dress is great, but never the matching accessories. I even own a pair of animal print velvet slippers for when I am feeling kinda dapper, to wear with jeans, and a black blazer/turtleneck combo. When going animal, pair back on everything else.

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Laurel, Md.: What do you recommend for non-suit-wearing offices, like scientific research establishments?

My basic office attire is "eastern outdoor" (L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer).

Lloyd Boston: Yikes! This is interesting. I vote for great pants like chinos, or cords (flat fronts) in natural tones (browns, tans, cremes, navy, black, gray).

I would pair them with smart v-neck sweaters worn over crisp white dress shirts. To finish, loafers in black or brown -- that look more stylish than all that is on top. That way you can always add a solid blazer, and go straight from desk to dinner if you need to.

L

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Silver Spring, Md.: My cousin gave me a ton of maternity clothes, which is great. I'm really appreciative. They are almost all basics (lots of navy and gray tees, blue jeans, khaki pants), and I'm wondering what I can do to spruce up this wardrobe?

Lloyd Boston: Layer bright tissue t-shirts beneath them. And let a little hang out around the waist and sleeves.

Choose juicy colors like mango, lime, hot pink, kelly green, and layer them under (or on top of darker tones), to add shots of fun to your look. You can find these everywhere from Old Navy ($), to Jones NY Sport ($$), to JCREW ($$$).

Good luck....

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Olney, Md.: Hi, Lloyd. What's your favorite trend going on right now? What's your favorite 'go-to' classic piece?

Lloyd Boston: Fave trend:

Loving long, bright, lightweight scarves still. American Eagle Outfitters has them for around $20, and you get a deal if you get multiples. Also, loving belting just about anything on a woman (jackets, tops, dresses). Skinny or wide, the look is hot!

Fave classic:

Shawl-collared sweatshirts. They are comfy, warm and chic -- all at once. Found a few great ones at J.Crew and Polo.

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Business suit: What business "must haves" should a woman have in her closet?

Lloyd Boston: 1. great black dress

2. black pant/skirt suit

3. crisp white shirts

4. sweater sets

5. killer black patent slingbacks

6. a bold trench for travel (black with sheen)

7. a gray pencil skirt (if that shape flatters your body)

Check out my latest book, Before You Put That One: 365 Daily Style Tips for Her. Amazon.com has it stocked, or any bookstore.

There are many more tips and lists there.

Thanks!

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RE: Navy Blue: I normally wear dark brown with navy blue pants. Is that a big no no?

Lloyd Boston: Love this combo! Very European of you. Tres Chic!

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Pennsylvania: What are the best suit lines for petite women? Most suits I've found would have to be completely torn apart and redone since the rise, armholes, etc. are too long in a regular misses size.

Lloyd Boston: - Jones New York

- Ann Taylor

- Anne Klein

These are 3 affordable favorites.

Also, a great tailor on speed dial will always help.

So worth it...

L

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Washington, D.C.: What can a plus-size woman do to look her best?

Lloyd Boston: Honor her curves!

Three golden rules for my fuller ladies:

-- Buy the size that fits, not the size you hope to be.

-- Avoid those long jackets and sweaters that you think hide your frame. They add volume! Do shorter jackets and sweaters, and let your top ride out longer beneath it (if you have an 'anxiety zone' around your hips/backside.

-- Embrace pattern, prints, and bold color -- in small doses even. No need to avoid all the fun stuff, just layer solids on top -- if you feel they draw too much attention.

Great question!

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Chantilly, Va.: Lloyd, I need help. I only wear black, blue and some brown. What can I do to make my pant sets pop or have today's look?

Lloyd Boston: Honestly, don't only wear black, blue and some brown.

Live a little...

Inject doses of peacock blue with a scarf or wrap...

A smidge of mustard on a shoe or bag...

Hints of bight orange looks amazing with brown...

Feel me?

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Great Falls, Va.: Hello, Lloyd. I'm trying to spruce up my wardrobe with oblong silk scarves in bright colors, a cut above the kind of things one finds in stores like Macy's -- mediocre fabric with half-hearted hemming. Appreciate any online suggestions. Thank you!

Lloyd Boston: American Eagle Outfitters, surprisingly so...

Also, J.Crew...

Try Steve Madden...

And a company called Cejon, just Google them...

Lastly, Love Notes is another company to Google...

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New England: I wear conservative suits to work most of the time; my wardrobe is more Hillary Clinton than Michelle Obama. I try to stay current by updating my shoes, or wearing a blouse or sweater in a trendy color under my suit jacket.

I have noticed that belts are making a comeback -- how can I wear one with a suit?

Lloyd Boston: 1. on top of your jacket

2. on top of you blouse/sweater, beneath your jacket

3. atop your coat

4. atop your sweater, with trousers or a skirt

5. two skinny belts atop a little black dress

Check out JNY.com for my online video style series called Style Miles. Many more ideas there...

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Anonymous: When is enough actually too much? I love clothes and accessories and I have a lot of them! When do I have too much? And (more importantly) any suggestions on how to pair it down a bit?

Lloyd Boston: My new TV Show Closet Cases had its debut last night on the Fine Living Network. I focus on this lots. I say, take one thing off before leaving the house. Less is modern. Careful of emotional accessories (little pins, wimpy bracelets, etc.). They may mean something to you, but add nothing to your style, got me?

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20002: I'm a young professional and I often look in my closet and hate both my work clothes and my play clothes. Any advice on the five items I have to have? And what about shoes? What colors do I have to have pumps in?

Lloyd Boston: Scroll back a little bit; there are a few lessons already answered on this... Good luck!

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Gaithersburg, Md.: What is your favorite discount store for fashion finds? I like Target for unexpected accessories (I always get compliments on my Target jewelry, never the expensive stuff) and Filene's Basement for clothes. Am I missing any places?

Lloyd Boston: Online!

Sign up for sale alerts with your favorite label...

Also, GILTgroup.com is fun...

Shopbop.com is a fave of my stylish friends...

Also:

H&M

Uniqlo

Top Shop (NYC)

Kohls is looking good these days too...

L

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Del Ray, Va.: I received a gorgeous silk scarf from my boss last Christmas but I don't know how to wear it. I'm 30 and I feel like I've only seen scarves on middle-aged/elderly women. Any suggestions?

Lloyd Boston: I would need to see this...

Can you describe it at least?

Wish I have magic vision, but a silk scarf could come in a million different ways...

Happy to help...

L

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Washington, D.C.: What's a good source for men's fashion? Most magazines/fashion columns cover women's fashion. Thanks!

Lloyd Boston: thesartorialist.com

British GQ...

American GQ...

Men's Vogue (might have just shut down)...

Essentiallymajor.com

Lloydboston.com

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Alexandria, Va.: Lloyd:

I'm 35 year old male with a significantly formal closet. What are the essentials for spring/summer casual gatherings, including shoes? I would like to stay away, if possible, from the ubiquitous khaki shorts. I'm of tanned complexion.

Lloyd Boston: Check out jcrew.com...

For me, they are offering ALL a stylish man would ever need for spring and summer...

Also, Zara has come mean caftans that are really wearable -- and will set you apart from the khaki short crowd.

L

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Los Angeles, Calif.: I always have a hard time finding suits because of my build. I'm 5'10" 200 pounds with a 47-inch chest and a 34-inch waist. Can you recommend any suit designers that might work out well for me? I know I could go custom, but that's pretty pricey. Also, do yo know any shirtmakers that might work?

Lloyd Boston: Suits:

Rochester Big and Tall

Joseph Abboud (athletic cut)

Brooks Brothers

Shirts:

Charles Tyrwhitt

Thomas Pink

Brooks Brothers

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Cleaning out closets: I was cleaning out my mother's closets this weekend and found a couple of interesting items from the 1980s: a bubble-gum pink jacket with HUGE shoulder pads and -- drum roll, please -- my moon boots! I can't believe my mom kept these. Ah, the 1980s. Good times...

Lloyd Boston: LOL!! Also, check out fln.com/closetcases. You can see other fun items like this. And upload pictures of your own...and get real feedback. Too much fun.

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RE: Belt: Where do you suggest we get the prized belt you have mentioned? And in what colors?

Lloyd Boston: Start with black:

Kohls, under $30

Macy's

JCPenney

J.Crew

The Gap

(the list goes on and on, depends on your price goal)

As for colors, i say:

- black

- chocolate brown

- black patent

- something metallic (silver, pewter, bronze)

- a skinny red one

- a skinny black one

- something animal (black and white zebra, you name it)

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Hose or No Hose dilemma: My legs aren't the most flattering (pale, not too toned). The idea of not wearing hose (except in the middle of summer with casual outfits) just doesn't make sense to me, especially when wearing more conservative work attire. Your recommendation?

Lloyd Boston: Depends on your job vibe...

If you must wear them, spend as much as you can for a good pair that virtually disappears on your legs (usually not from a drugstore). Wolford is my pick.

Also, adding hose sometimes means adding years too. Bare leg ladies look young, modern, and hip. Not 'incomplete' as many would think. It just looks fresh! This is if your job allows it, or clients won't frown. Knowing your world means knowing your style.

I vote for bare, if you dare. A little bronzer goes a long way, trust me.

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Re: Animal prints: Sorry, hit "submit" too soon. I love them as accent pieces -- shoes, bag, scarf -- but I just choose one to wear at a time. Is that okay?

Lloyd Boston: And that sums it up! This is the only way to wear them. Thanks for knowing this without me...

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Lloyd Boston: Hey, thanks so, so much for joining me to chat style today. I loved this! For more, please check out my new show, 'Closet Cases' only on Fine Living Network (10 p.m. ET on FLN). Or, go to fln.com for full episodes for free!

Bye + stay chic!

Lloyd

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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