Ask Aimée


Aimée Gowland is a local fashion expert and stylist who specializes in personal shopping, wardrobe consultation and private shopping excursions.

Where Are the Fancy Feasters?

Q. My wife and I were out to dinner at a lovely restaurant and I noticed other diners were not adhering to the suggested “dressy casual” attire. Men had on collarless shirts and jeans, and one woman had on rubber flips-flops. This trend is becoming more prevalent in many of our fine-dining institutions. Does anyone
get dressed up anymore?
Ken, Riverbend
A. I have also recognized a downward spiral of proper dress in restaurants. This is not an isolated epidemic; fine-dining venues across the country have adopted a relaxed approach to patrons and dress codes. “Dressy casual” or “smart casual” is defined as dressed-up versions of casual looks. For men, it should be trousers and a sport coat. Women may wear sleek dress pants or a cotton dress with sandals. In current fashion, both sexes, sophisticated polished denim trousers are admissible. Worn-out jeans, shorts, T-shirts and
other casual looks are never appropriate. That said, if during the Sugar Bowl, Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest you would like to enjoy your jazz brunch in a tank top, cut-off jeans and Crocs, I will not play fashion police. Please do not forget to accessorize with a fanny pack and giant plastic beads.

Holiday Hints

Q. I need to give my husband some direction with regard to my gift this holiday. What is on your wish list?
Lindy, Old Metairie
A. Keep in mind that this is exactly that: a wish list, so one of these items is not particularly practical. Nonetheless, we can all dream, can’t we? To make certain you receive your ideal present—and not a fancy
vacuum or another fleur-de-lis necklace—leave pictures and magazine tear outs in his car and the lavatory library. If you have children with communication skills, please inform them.
My Fashion Wish List:
? Bejeweled flats for entertaining
? Covered platform Christian Louboutin
satin d’Orsay pumps
? Flat-soled high boots
? Costume cocktail rings
? Sweater wrap
? Pretty underpinnings

Fashion Fireworks

Q. Any suggestions for New Year’s Eve attire? I want something festive, but I gravitate to all things shiny.
Michelle F., Carrolton
A. New Year’s Eve is a night when women (and some men) across the world can twinkle like City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks and not serve time on the worst-dressed list. In New Orleans we are blessed to have more than one opportunity during the soiree season to glitter and sparkle. You are truly fortunate that a tiara is applicable at more than the Miss Tomato Pageant. I give you permission to “ice out” like old-school
Mary J. Blige. Sequins and Swarovski crystals are perfect on a shift dress or dressy blouse, just keep the silhouette simple. Be playful with your shoes, clutches and jewelry. The holiday season is the ideal time to wear rhinestones and costume vintage trinkets. There is no need to splurge; fantastic faux baubles can be found at local art markets, the Red Carpet and our numerous antique and vintage stores.

Flash in the Pan

Q. When exactly did the Bluetooth and PDA become a fashion accessory? I am feeling the urge to bedazzle my iPhone.
Jessica, Covington
A. I met a friend for lunch once and the ridiculous pink Bluetooth fastened to her head out-shimmered the two carat diamonds in her ears. She is an attractive mother of two and a doctor, and I just couldn’t figure out why she wanted to adorn her ear with technology. I can understand while driving or chasing the kids around,
but the blinking light on her head was very distracting. Jessica, please don’t break out your BeDazzler just yet. Proper etiquette calls for handheld devices (phones, PDAs, MP3s) to remain in your pocketbook or pocket unless in use. These gadgets are not to be confused with the latest “it” handbag or denim trend. Save
your finances and refrain from purchasing the fuchsia Hello Kitty BlackBerry. Besides, in these times, any brazen display of flashiness is so pre-Obama.