According to Kris: Style 101 – Part 1

By Kris James

Happy Wednesday stylers! I’m back with more tips to get you through this hot summer weather. I have recently been receiving emails from some of you asking for advice about styling tips. I thought this would be a great add to According to Kris.

Dear Kris,

I work in the education field. Most of my coworkers are really trendy dressers and fashion-forward. I can sometimes become self-conscious due to my drab wardrobe. School is around the corner and I do not want to be left with a bland closet. I cannot afford to buy all new outfits. What are some tips or ideas that can add some spice to my lackluster collection? Sincerely Sincerely, Not-So-Trendy Teacher

Dear Not-So-Trendy Teacher,

First I’m sorry that summer is almost over and you have to go back to work. Secondly, I have two words for you: Capsule Wardrobe. A capsule collection is a set of clothing, normally around 24 items which can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits. These are items you would consider essential. I’m sure your closet has the foundation you need. I would aim to have five pairs of pants but in different styles with 10 tops that you can switch out weekly to create a fresh look. Please let one be a graphic tee. They are fresh and the kids will love you for it. To finish it off, layering items will complete any look. This can include scarves, a denim jacket which is timeless, and cardigans, which can add a modern look.

Dear Kris,

I’m going to a concert next month with my girlfriends and I need advice on an outfit to wear. It’s a Lyfe Jennings concert in New Orleans so it’s going to be a mature crowd. I want to still look “cool” without coming off as someone older thinking they’re back in their 20s. Help!! Sincerely, 30-Something

Dear 30-Something,

Nothing gets old but our clothes, so don’t let your age mature you. I understand you don’t wanna look like you’re trying too hard to keep up. Skirts and shorts never go out of style no matter our age but it’s how you dress them up that will define you. You’re going to a concert so don’t over think it. It should be fun, not premeditated. The one thing I will suggest is to bring a pair of chunky booties and a pair of Converse with you. You’ll thank me later.

Dear Kris,

I consider myself one of your “Stylers” because I read your article every week, but I don’t feel too stylish. I grew up a tomboy and I’m more comfortable in jeans, a T-shirt, and flip flops. However, in the work world, this dress down attire is not accepted. I’ve tried to buy “professional” pieces of clothing to dress up my wardrobe, but I never actually wear them. I tend to dress how I feel and I never feel like dress pants, pencil skirts, and flowery blouses just aren’t who I am. I’m stuck and don’t know what to do. Please give me some advice! Sincerely, Tomboy with Style

Dear Tomboy with Style,

Thank you for reading every week. If it makes you uncomfortable don’t do it. Confidence is the key to any style, so do you, but do it the best you can. When trying to merge your identity into the workplace find the balance. A classic white button-down shirt is a solid starting point. It’s a great way to dress up those jeans you love and it looks great with black pants. It also complements a blazer nicely. A t-shirt is now essential to everyday life but to balance it out pair it with a black pair of loose-fitting chinos. It’s elegant but easy. I love a chunky cardigan too. It looks great over a graphic tee. The right shoes will complete these looks so stick to oxford style or loafers, and maybe on a Friday your favorite pair of high top sneakers.

Dear Kris,

Is it okay for a plus size woman to show off her curves in a professional setting? I work in a career where we must look professional every single day. I am curvier than most of my petite coworkers and they always look so neat. If I wear a pencil skirt, it clearly defines my curves and I often wonder if it is too much for the work environment. Just so happens I also have a larger chest and I feel like I stick out in a crowd. I appreciate any advice you may have. I am not ashamed of my curves but do not want to cross the line. Sincerely, Professional Curves

Dear Professional Curves,

There is nothing wrong with you showing off your curves. We all have different body types and for those who love their body and confidence, a pencil skirt is never a bad idea. The only advice I would give you is to stay clear of deep plunging necklines. Keep a balance if you’re wearing a fitted skirt. I’d suggest pairing it with a flowing top. Wide leg pants look great on all curvy body types. Adding a duster to a body fitting dress will still give you that stylish look without drawing too much attention.

If you need advice reach out to me at and I’ll answer you in “Style 101 – Part 2.”

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