Suggestion Box

Although I am ALWAYS open to reader suggestions, it’s been a damned 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, or will be addressed in the next few weeks. Whew.

So! Any suggestions for advice-y, how-to, tutorial type things you’d like to see me blather about? Or really anything you’d like to see more of or less of?

I’d love to know what you’re most interested in, so lay those suggestions on me. If you would rather e-mail than comment, just drop me a note!

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89 Responses to “Suggestion Box”

  1. Snapper

    Do you have any book recommendations geared towards a 40something that is just now (!) trying to get some sort of style groove on? Right now, my library probably thinks they will never see their copies of “In Style-Secrets of Style”, and “In the Dressing Room with Brenda” again.
    Thanks so much Sal!

    • Sal

      Oh Elizabeth, I’m flattered that you’d even suggest this! My potatoes are way too small to cozy up to those guys, I’m afraid. Maybe someday!

  2. Portia

    Different ways of using scarves! I have a wee bit of an obsession with vintage scarves. I can’t resist buying them when I see them, but never seem to be able to work them into my outfits in a way I feel happy with. So I never wear them. Also when I try them in my hair they always slide out. If you have any ideas on this I’d be so glad!

    Also, playing with proportions when styling an outfit would be a good one.

    Such a good idea to have a sugestion box!


    • laura

      I’ll second this motion. I love scarfs and pretty much only do the cowboy tie. I would be very happy to have more info on wearing scarfs.

      • lindykatherine

        Third! I love vintage silk scarves…they are such a steal at thrift shops and are wearable art…just not sure how to wear them!

  3. Anonymous

    I feel like there should be some kind of follow up to Tuesday’s post. Obviously, your whole blog is about dealing with damaged body image…and a lot of the stories were from elementary/high-school years. But how about dealing with coworkers etc. who nicely inform you that you’d look better with a makeover?

  4. Nina

    Can I suggest you do a challenge to NOT do completely monochromatic outfits? Like your all teal outfit the other day. That skirt is so pretty but got completely lost in the world of teal. I think paired with your teal sweater/cowl, a black shirt, black tights, and black pumps, it would have really been on display. Maybe whenever you put on an all teal/lilac/green/yellow outfit take off 3 items and replace then with a neutral color.

    Other than your outfits that are all one color, I generally love the outfits you come up with and the rest of your posts, about body image, etc.

    • Sal

      I guess I’m not sure what you’re asking, Nina. Monochromatic outfits are something I enjoy assembling and wearing, but plenty of my outfits aren’t monochromatic. The majority, in fact. Are you just offering feedback on my personal style, or was there a tutorial you wanted to see?

      • Nina

        Ok, you wore head to toe teal a few weeks ago, and you seem to like to wear head to toe all of one color. I think in that particular teal outfit the skirt would have stood out if you limited the amount of teal you wore. I also remember an all lilac outfit once, and an all yellow outfit as well, so just suggesting to not wear head to toe of all one color as it can be a bit much. So if you put on a green shirt, green sweater, green tights, and green shoes, maybe you can play around and swap out at least 1 thing (maybe 2) for something that isn’t green. Maybe it’ll look better, maybe it won’t. That skirt is gorgeous but when I look at the picture have to look for the skirt because it’s hidden, if it was a teal skirt with black shirt/tights it would really stand out. So yeah I guess it’s a suggestion for your personal style…because otherwise I think your blog is great as is! And the new hair cut is super cute on you!

        • Nina

          That said, feel free to ignore me if you want. You said you enjoy wearing them, so if you enjoy it, keep on doing it! Especially since your blog is about embracing oneself.

        • Amber

          Not that I’m trying to mix any math in here, but in looking over the last few weeks, the percentage of *truly* head-to-toe monochromatic outfits like the teal one is pretty small. I mean, considering there is an outfit posted every single day.

  5. B

    I’d love to see you do a piece on wedding dress make-overs: What to do with your dress if you want to use it again, why just wear it once, after all that money spent, why not make it into a party dress, summer frock or…?

  6. Kim

    I’m not sure if you’ve done this before, but I’m always trying to figure out ways to dress down some of my dressier items for work. I’d love to see your take on that.

  7. Gabrielle

    Hi Sally, I know you have offered up a few tips here and there about getting the most wear out of clothing before washing. Could you do a post devoted to these tricks? I remember one with DIY armpit protectors in a coat, and I just can’t seem to find it again.
    You are such a marvelous resource. I love the variety of your posting content.

  8. joann,sidewalk chic

    I’m sitting here racking my brain for ideas, but a lot of things I can think of, you’ve already tackled (dressing down bridesmaid dresses, wearing flat shoes, etc.). You’re a great writer and keep doing what you do! Sorry I’m not much help, I’ll keep thinking about it…

  9. Lynn Bert

    Hi Sal:

    How much spending on clothes is approrpriate? I think it certainly depends on one’s budget and income, but what about conscience? I spend somewhere between $150 and $200 a month, I feel guilty as my son and husband spend close to nothing on their clothes. My income is high, I can easily afford $150 a month, but I still feel that this is almost too much.

    What do you think?

    • Ruby Lou

      I agree – I’d love to know your thoughts on an appropriate clothing budget as a percentage of your income, for example. If you make $25K, how much should you reserve for clothes/shoes/accessories? $50K? $100K? How should that change if you’re in a professional job and need to wear suits (as I am), or if you wear scrubs, etc. to work every day?

      I know I’m spending far too little on my wardrobe, but I have no idea how much I should be spending.

  10. Mrs.M in MI

    I was recently sent through the intellectual looking glass, and when I was reflecting on it, I thought that I would be interested in hearing what you might have to say. It’s a long story, so here goes…

    I recently suggested the book The Thoughtful Dresser, by Linda Grant, to my book club. We did not end up reading it as a group, but one of the more prolific readers read it on her own and she and I discussed it casually.

    Her main comment about the book was that the author made her feel bad for NOT caring about what she wore or what she looked like, and NOT spending scads of time and money on her clothes, or thinking about them much at all.

    This threw me for a total loop. I’ve spent most of my intellectual life defending my love of style and caring about the way I look. I was raised by people who put great stock in how they presented themselves. I’ve surrounded myself with books, magazines, blogs, friends, and a husband who feel the same way. I even recently read a Biblical justification for caring about your appearance!

    So here is the question to ponder: If you don’t care about the way you look, if you don’t put a lot of thought and effort into the way you dress, should you feel bad about it? We style-lovers spend a lot of effort defending ourselves. Should non-style-lovers also have to defend themselves?

  11. Emily

    A while back you mentioned that you have a hard time with pattern mixing, so I thought I would tell you my two really easy pattern mixes. The first is a striped shirt and an argyle sweater. The second is a floral dress and striped scarf.

  12. Trish

    I second Victoria. Just keep doing what your doing.
    Though I might also ask if you could do a post on dressing if you perspire a lot (sorry if it sounds disgusting). Usually I wear a black top if I know I’ll be walking a lot or in the sun and I hate being so limited.
    Thank you!

    • Nina

      Oh! That’s a great idea. I too am in this boat and I dread going to fancy dress up events knowing that I’ll be in a super pretty cocktail dress with huge sweat marks. ๐Ÿ™

      • Nina

        Forgot to mention, have you tried DrySol? It’s a prescription deodorant that works well for me. Just be super careful using it, otherwise you’ll get a rash in your underarms!

    • Amber

      I just wanted to say that you totally stole my idea! I was thinking about that today. I’m a wee little girl, but my underarms sweat like I’m a sumo wrestler in a sauna *sigh*. It doesn’t matter if I use that prescription-strength stuff or not or what materials I wear, I always end up with sweaty pits. Even in the winter.

  13. Shannon

    I’d love a tutorial on wearing classy vests. I have a very mens-wear style vest in my closet that I love, but have no idea how to wear it. White button-down shirts look awful on me for a number of reasons and would look too “suit-like” besides. Any ideas?

    • Anneesha

      I’d like that one, too! I have on a menswear vest today, with a tank underneath (casual Friday) and some linen floaty crop pants that are a little too mumsy, but oh well … But the vest cranks it up a bit.

      Along those lines – a proportion-comparison of crop pants/capris like you did with shorts a little bit ago?

  14. threegoodrats

    I’d love to see something about creating interesting outfits without accessories. Although I hope to add interesting scarves and jewelry to my wardrobe, my budget pretty much restricts me to buying garments and shoes. I’m trying to use layers, and look for more patterned garments as opposed to solid colors, but I’d love more suggestions!

  15. Carrie

    hi Sal, in th emidst of the current snow storm here, I’m in heavy winter denial! I’d love to find out how to wear shorts stylishly, both casually and more dressy, for spring and summer. And how plus-size women can wear them and look great.

    • Kelli

      Second this one….I’m not plus sized but I have curvy hips & legs & don’t know how to accentuate the positives of my body shape when it comes to shorts.

  16. Bubu

    Not sure if I sent this already, but I would love a post on cardigans – long short, crew, v-neck, straight, flyaway, ruffly, etc- how to pair then, layer them, what shapes work better on different heights, different builds, etc. And since I’m asking, I’ll throw in my own figure challenges! I’m 5’2″, hour glass, and have rather broad shoulders and a shortish neck.. so the fear of frump is great for many reasons! Thanks!!! Continue to love the site AND the new do!
    p.s. any tips on keeping nails healthy in winter? no matter what lotion or polish or foods I try they just seem to be peeling and cracking all the time…

  17. Eliza

    Hi Sal!
    I’d love to see something about wearing menswear inspired outfits when you have a curvier shape. I’ve seen so many cool photos and have many classmates who shop for little boy’s blazers, wear suspenders or flat caps, chop their hair short, ect. Somehow these things never seem to work for me. Real menswear doesn’t fit and adds twenty pounds, clothing that was actually designed for women loses the masculine edge, and it all looks sloppy or dated on me, rather than nonchalant and cool. Right now, the only way I can get a hint of this look in my closet is through tweedy fabrics and my beloved wristwatch (which is still a bit feminine, though it belonged to my greatgrandfather). Any styling advice you could give would be great!

  18. Kelly

    I’d love to see something about dressing for the big moments and days in life! I feel like I’ve got a handle on things most days, but then comes a wedding, graduation, funeral, banquet? I freeze. It’s like I’ve entirely forgot how to dress myself. Especially because somehow the stakes feel higher? Making a “wrong” decision could actually offend by failing to show respect for the day or occasion.

    Or really, perhaps, it’s about how to wear something that feels entirely outside your norm in a big way. I’m getting married soon, and I love the dress, but when else have I paraded around in something so big? Or, when I’ve started a new job, and have to adapt to a new uniform. I’ve got female friends in the military who might really love ideas, too, on how to feel normal, or any bit like themselves, when so much of their appearance is dictated to them. The best we’ve come up with is to sometimes wear frilly underpants under those uniforms ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. anonymous

    This might sound really strange, but — wondering if you’ve ever thought about/written about body hair. I’ve noticed that, despite my inclination to be completely fine with it, I’ve changed what I will/won’t wear in the summer to hide the fact that I don’t shave my armpits. Last year, I bought several short sleeved sweater/shrugs to wear over sleeveless dresses even though I usually internally bemoaned the fact that we’re an anti-hair society. Also, I go back and forth about leg shaving and if I’m supposed to hide it or own it. Just a thought but might be a bit too niche for what you’re looking for.

  20. Lindy

    I’m in my 50’s and grew up wearing hose all year round, but that now looks old fashioned. Tights look great in the winter, but my bare, pasty white legs which seem to get a 5:00 shadow even on days I shave, don’t look so great in the summer. Inexpensive suggestions about how to have bare legs in the summer would be most appreciated. This does not seem timely, but I live in Florida!

  21. Poorva

    Hi Sal. First off, can I just say I love your blog? It’s definitely become one of my go-to places for fashion advice and general fabulousness.

    As for my question: I’m heading to France soon for a teaching assistantship, and because of space and budgetary reasons, I’ll be by and large restricted to what I bring with me. So a) advice on how to pack for seven months when all I have is one suitcase and b) how to be stylish with a limited selection of pieces would be fantastic.

  22. marisa

    i’ve enjoyed the couple of posts i found in your archives about make-up. like you, i’m a fairly minimal make-up wearer and often skip it completely. however i would love it if you’d show us what you do for special occasion make-up! whether it’s an actual special occasion, or just because you feel like doing something more dramatic . . .

    (i’ve been experimenting with this amazing gel eyeliner, since i’m incapable of applying liquid eyeliner but love that 60s eye, and it’s really fun but also a little scary to step out of my comfort zone.)

    it would also be fun to see outfits you put together based on something you saw somewhere and loved (whether on another blog, in a magazine, in a movie) – just to compare your “inspiration outfit” against what you personally wore based on it. maybe you already do that sometimes, but i can’t remember.

    • Sal

      My special occasion makeup really just amounts to “mascara and eyeliner,” I’m afraid!

      But I’ll try to do some inspiration/outfits!

  23. AJM

    How about styling tips for those of us who are “height challenged!” For instance there were recent posts about how everyone loves wearing scarves. I, however, feel overwhelmed by scarves because I am petite. I keep trying to look good in a scarf, but have not yet succeeded. What am I doing wrong? HELP!

  24. Megan Mae

    I think you do a great job of mixing things up – So I agree keep what you’re doing.

    But I am currently struggling with styling white. I adore white for it’s ability to bring a crisp highlight but I feel like every I pair it with ‘doesn’t go’ unless it’s a stark black and white. I’m not a pastels kind-of-gal so if you can include how to pair white with color would be great.

  25. Christine

    Lately I am struggling with age-appropriateness. I would love some tutoring in that arena. Are large flowered clips in the hair appropriate for the 40 and over crowd? What about leggings, jeggings, over the knee boots, etc.? I am just turning 40 and I don’t want to look like I am trying too hard, yet I love some of those items. Thank you forum to ask!

  26. Anon

    As someone who used to deal with a lot of body image issues and is now super empowered, I want to show my body off for my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. However, as a girl with tiny breats but huge hips and a huge tummy I don’t really know what kind of lingerie to look for. Any tips?

    • Rebekah

      What would you say to skipping a bra entirely? Fancy undies and a necklace instead? Garter belt and/or stockings if you want to go all out?

  27. Nique

    Hey Sal,
    Love you. Love your blog.
    I would love it if you would do a post on how to incorporate fine jewelry into an outfit. I am very fortunate to have a dad and husband who like to give me gifts of jewelry, but I am finding that my accessory choices have been big and bold lately, and the fine pieces seem almost too delicate to make a statement. I love these pieces, so I don’t want to get rid of them, and I hate that they are sitting in my jewelry box languishing away, but I don’t really know what to do with them.
    Also, I would love a post on OTK boots. Just bought an awesome pair of Frye, flat balck OTK boots, and I am needing some inspiration.

  28. Elizabeth

    Hi Sal, I read you most days and love your blog and outlook in general. Here;s my suggestion: where to find high-waisted pants and skirts?
    I realize many people don’t like this, but I really prefer high waisted things and have no luck buying them anywhere except charity shops (I guess this means they are out of style… the story of my life…).
    Some of your outfits feature these garments, but a round-up of “high-waisted brands” might be helpful to ladies like me who like to keep the waistband up around the waist.
    Happy Friday!

    • Angeline

      Hi, I hope you don’t mind me answering…
      I just saw that the Gap and Express are now selling higher waisted pants and jeans. It’s part of their retro flairs collection.

    • Sal

      For truly high waists, I turn to Spiegel. I know that sounds weird, but they always stock them!

      Also Talbots is my go-to for jeans. They’re not an exaggerated, costume-y high waist, but they’re higher than most. The Heritage Rise is the one to go with.

  29. Rebekah

    What about a post of fun vegan clothes and accessories? It’s not all hemp and caftans, I swear.

    Another idea— a post on American-made or sweatshop-free brands or stores? I’d like to take my wardrobe in a more ethical direction, but it’s hard to know where to start.

  30. lindykatherine

    This is related to the ‘sweaty’ post above. I feel pretty confident in my winter wardrobe, and even in the fall and spring I feel pretty stylish. But when the temps rise, my sense of style goes completely downhill! One minute I’m outside in the sweltering heat, or in an unairconditioned building…and then in the office the a/c is going full blast and I quickly get cold!

    How can I look professional in the office without overheating – both ‘suit attire’ and ‘business casual’ looks would be appreciated. And then, how about some weekend wear that isn’t schlumpy? Even a post on summer formal wear (like to weddings, graduation parties, etc.) – there’s a lot that could go with this topic.

    I know summer’s a ways away, but the spring/summerfashions will soon hit the stores, and those of us who thrift can find these suggestions year-round! Thanks for considering this!

  31. Angeline

    Hi Sally, I need to talk about skinny jeans. They are everywhere. To top it off, I just read a blog that said boot cuts are so totally out. I’m beyond perplexed. Should and do people where skinnies regardless of their size and shape and it’s okay? Skinnies aren’t particular flattering to me but I feel lost. I guess perhaps I’m looking for a post about following die hard fashion trends and how to make them work for you. Sigh.

  32. Lindsay

    Hi Sal. I was wondering if you could offer a tip for keeping the zippers on boots from tearing up tights. I have several pair of boots that seem to catch and pull my tights. The only solution I can think of, I don’t really like: the socks on top look. The boots I have are too dressy/sleek for it… You wear lots of tights and boots so I figure you have run into that problem before, yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Any advice appreciated!

    • Sal

      I wish I had a tip besides socks! Some boots and tights simply won’t play well together. You can try something like a lightweight tape on the inside of the boot, but that, too may catch on your tights. Socks are really the best way.

  33. Chelsea

    I’d love to see something on balancing different styles! I’m still always struggling with feeling “ok” with having completely contrasting tastes in clothes. One day I’m wearing graphic shirts and jeans (I’ll even be specific…a UFC shirt, can’t help it, I love it!), or the next day will be a punk, stud covered outfit, and the next day a cutesy knitted woodsy outfit. So it’s kind of a mix between confidence and style. Style confidence? The part that I especially have trouble with, is going back to college and seeing people see me wearing things that appear to make me a completely different person every day, which is the awesome thing about clothes, but how do you do it without feeling unsure about it?

    and a blog related question – how to be open with your readers, and personal, without giving out TOO much information?

  34. Nicky

    Hi Sally.
    I would love if you would do a post on what’s appropriate to wear for the office if you are the boss working in a conservative field. I am a physician, and I love clothes. My taste is somewhat traditional, oftentimes a little edgy, but never slutty, Sometimes I have a hard time deciding if something is not appropriate for me to wear to work because I am the boss, as well as that there are certain expectations about what doctors should wear. I am not talking cleavage or short-short skirts, but things like vibrant color and pattern combinations, skirts with no hose in summer, skinny pants, trouser jeans, knee high boots, skirts above my knee (what length is OK?,) Audi’s harnesses, Frye Harness Boots, etc.

  35. Nina

    I am the owner of a UPS Store, so I wear black logo-ed shirts 6 days a week. I try to mix it up sometimes with different jeans…sometimes its boot cut jeans with my Shoxx, othertimes its skinnies with my fake-uggs, sometimes I’ll add a big chunkly grey-pattered scarf. But, I’d like to look a little bit more “cool”, since I’m the owner. I’ve thought about adding a black fly-away cardigan instead of my logo-ed fleece vest. Whatdy’a think?!

  36. Caroline

    Hi Sal! I really enjoy reading your blog.

    You may have addressed this before. But I’d love some advice on packing for a trip – and packing light (esp. in these days of an extra $25 each way if you don’t!). But. Here’s the extra constraints. You aren’t sure of the agenda where you will be going (though it probably wouldn’t be fancy) and it is the time of year when the weather can be fickle and unpredictable at your destination. How do you do that and still have interesting things to wear? Oh, and given that for your sanity you also have to fit your running shoes and duds into that suitcase too ….

    I also second the dressing in hot hot weather, we have loads of that in central texas, and as I grew up somewhere where cold weather predominated, I have a hard time putting together something interesting but still comfortable in the summer.

  37. Homa

    I love your style! Just some random questions: My problem is that I still wear maternity shirts 6 months after my second baby. My old stuff is just short somehow. So my big plan is that I want anything new I get to be the start of a new style for me. But where to begin? Chasing kids in skirts won’t work but maybe my jeans + tee routine must go? I would love to start shopping for clothes online but don’t know where to start. I also know I need to pay more but can’t bring myself to buy a shirt over $10. I just feel frumpy and unpretty. I star your posts in google reader but want to really implement your ideas but I feel like I’m starting from scratch. I am going back to work as a lawyer soon and only have cheapie $40 macy’s suits so I know I need improvement there too. How about a post on good shirts for under suits?

    Oh, and any allergy friendly makeup suggestions? I haven’t been able to wear anything since my daughter’s allergy diagnosis (wheat, egg, corn, milk, soy, peanut, tree nut, sesame, grape, melon, and oats) because I’m scared she’ll kiss me and have a reaction. That may be out of your realm but I love your honesty and thought you may know of a good product.

    I’m a size 14 which makes shopping hard as I am too big for most clothing lines. Ok, ramble over! ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. rb

    I’d love to see your versions of Angie’s Mom on the Go outfits – you know, weekend wear formulae (e.g. skirt plus woven top plus cropped cardi, etc), which are not just for moms. Extra points – in my book, anyway – for combos that look extra polished, but are washable and comfortable.

  39. lilli

    Hi Sally,

    may be a post about something like this:
    I work in an office with quite casual style. I like dresses and skirts, and trousers not so much; and I bike to work and I don’t change there. So it can not be to slim skirt and the whole outfit should survive a bike ride without much damage.

    May be you can generalize it for a post into something like multiple purpose outfits.

  40. b.

    Hi, Sal,

    Thanks, as always, for the time and love you put into your blog. I really enjoy reading it.

    I think I might have posted this before, but I am really interested in your thoughts on the Dressing Your Truth system ( I have mixed feelings about it, and yours is an opinion I would trust. Might you consider doing a review?


  41. Kantz


    I have recently started following your blog. It is so down to earth and pretty! I was wondering if you could talk about the getting ready in the morning routine. For 2011 I have the resolution to always look my best every day but so far I have found that it takes time!!! Any ideas on how to achieve this?

    Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Hope

    Hi –
    How about something about polishing/caring for shoes and boots – especially colors other than black or brown. For example, I have a pair of Fluevogs that are a lovely shade of purple, but I have no idea where to get polish for them. (I don’t live in a Fluevog blessed city).


  43. Brandi

    Good Morning Sal,

    I love the sweater dress, leggings/tights, belt, chunky jewelry, tall or short boots look for playing with my son and being ready to go to work.

    What are some other comfortable and easy outfit ideas that work well for playing with my son but would also look presentable enough for work? (I don’t need to look professional; just no jeans, tshirts, sneakers, or flip flops)

    Thank you so much!

  44. firefly

    Do you have any more styling suggestions or recommended sites for dealing with androgynous, petite style?

  45. kate

    I would love to hear any advice you have on this one:

    I have such trouble dressing age-appropriately. I am in my mid twenties and feel like I dress much older than my age at work… partly because I need to look office-appropriate and want to be taken seriously, but mostly because I don’t know how to do that without feeling like I am aiming about a decade over my head. I try not to look like a kid playing dress-up, but I’m clearly missing something!

  46. Cortney

    This has been bothering me for ages– how on earth do you style a cropped jacket? I have a wonderful cropped jacket that I love but I’ve only worn it a couple times because I’m just not sure how to style it!

  47. Beth Anderson

    Love the blog Sally!

    How about a post on tailoring/slight (or not) modifications to clothing? For instance my Mom gave me a nice coat that she never wears. I think it needs to be jazzed up a little (it’s a pea coat). I think you did mention something in a thrifting article – don’t worry if you buy something a little too big because you can always tailor it…

    What if if you have two sizes of clothes – one for weight gain and one for “normal”. But you like the larger ones, too. Can you temporarily alter the bigger ones to fit when you lose some weight, and then let them out when you gain again? I’m talking 5-7 pounds here, not 20.