Ask Catherine: Style advice from Chatelaine's beauty and fashion editor

In this regular feature, Catherine Franklin, finds solutions to all your style questions

Alvaro Goveia

Dear Catherine, I love to wear blazers as they are an easy way to dress up a casual look. I’m in the market for a new summer blazer, do you have any suggestions on the style, colour, brand and cut?

A: A hip length, one-button blazer is the way to go. You’ll get your money’s worth if you buy one in a tropical wool because it will work from spring through to fall. Colour-wise, a soft shade of grey works anywhere and looks perfect with your favourite jeans. Look for one with a pretty lining so you can roll up the cuffs and add a touch of casual cool. Tailored pieces make great investments so I would suggest that you look for one that isn’t too trendy in its styling. Club Monaco almost always has a great selection as does the Theory Collection.

Dear Catherine, I need new pants. I wear jeans almost every day and am getting pretty bored with them (but if you know of a great brand of jeans I should buy, please tell me). The thing is, I’m not really into khakis/chinos, nor do I love the classic dress pant, so what should I buy? What would you buy if you were looking for a new pair of pants to get you through spring and summer? Can you please advise?

A: Why not trade in your denim for a pair of white jeans in the summer? They look great with everything from a tailored blazer to a feminine blouse and I love the classic nautical look you can pull off with a striped t-shirt. A good place to start is the Gap and find out where you can find the jean brand Fidelity. Also, when you’re in stores you’ll be sure to notice that there are a lot of cotton casual trousers (updated chinos) in pastels and bright shades. I just got a pair of baby blue ones from J Brand. This trend is definitely going to continue through fall and you can expect to see rich jewel tones like ruby red, sapphire blue and amethyst.

Dear Catherine, I wear a lot of ballet flats, but with certain skirts they really make me look frumpy in a shocking kind of way. Should flat shoes not be paired with certain kinds of skirts? What do you advise?

A: I am a huge fan of flat shoes. Even though I am in the minority and heels always seem to rule, flats are pretty versatile and work well with pants and skirts. The trick (like most fashion choices) is being keenly aware of proportion. The dowdy meter will be high when flats are paired with longer pencil skirts if you are under 5’6, so go for shorter lengths or embrace the classic 1950s style with a defined waist and a voluminous skirt. (Try Aritzia for this style skirt option.) When it comes to ballet flats, choose simple shapes and avoid ankle straps because they will make your legs look shorter.

Dear Catherine, I see a lot of people wearing flip flops to work. Frankly, I find the look a bit sloppy and also unsavoury when they’re overdue for a pedicure. What’s your take, is it okay to wear flip flops anywhere other than the beach?

A: If you ask any podiatrist this question the answer would be a definite no to flip flops anywhere other than a sandy beach. These rubber shoes offer no support and can cause feet and ankle problems if worn on concrete sidewalks. Health concerns aside, as office wear I would have to agree with the podiatrist. If you want to be taken seriously in a professional environment stay away from beach wear of any kind! That said, I can’t deny the appeal of slipping into a pair on summer weekends so a good pedicure is a must.

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