Ask the Fashionologist

Answers to life, the universe and everything fashionable.

Illustration by Lisa Plaskett

Illustration by Lisa Plaskett

What’s with all this mixing of prints lately? Stripes with polka dots and plaid? I like the attitude of it, but I haven’t seen any combinations I actually like. Is there a way to do it right? — R.W., Brookline

Time for a chat about right and wrong, missy. What’s right: wearing things you like. What’s wrong: wearing things you don’t. It’s as simple as that when it comes to fashion. But since you’re intrigued, let’s play dress-up. Mixing prints works best with pieces that both complement and clash with one another — a kooky balance of loud and quiet, big and small, ideally with a related color scheme. Marc Jacobs always excels at cross-pollinating patterns. This season’s Marc by Marc Jacobs floral “Florette” jersey sundress pops under a striped “Aurelie” cardigan from the same collection, the connecting color being orange. Or try J.Crew’s black gingham Mackintosh trench over the graphite-sequin-splashed sailor sweater and a pair of jeans. There are no mixed messages here — just killer outfits that ooze offbeat charm but aren’t off-putting.


I need warm-weather sandals for the workplace (flip-flops are not allowed) that I can wear with a sundress or linen pants. I’m also looking for comfort, so flats or low heels would be perfect. Any suggestions?  — T.P., Hingham

If there were such a thing as the perfect sandal, it would be the wedge. High, low, peep-toe, or strappy, there’s just something about that little triangular insta-heel that propels this shoe into the A-lister sophisticate stratosphere. Pierre Hardy’s black patent leather open-toe version wins top honors for fusing summer breeziness with corporate chic. For a funkier take, Alexander Wang’s “Kasia” — with black whipstitched leather bands — calls to mind a Greek goddess turned motorcycle babe. On the flatter end of the scale, slip on Jimmy Choo’s crisscross snake-print wedges. All of these designs will work with your sundress or linen pants, and will keep you stylishly at the top of your class.


The Fashionologist is Lisa Pierpont, founder of and an undeniably superlative dresser.