Ask Kathleen

The Uniter’s resident fashion fanatic answers your questions about clothes

Knee-high socks are a faux pas, according to fashion fanatic Kathleen Cerrer. Cindy Titus

Are knee-high socks with a skirt still fashionable to wear?

—Sock It To Me

I would have to say no to this one. The way socks cut off at the knee isn’t flattering and makes the body appear shorter. If you want to show off funky socks, try patterned hosiery in lace, polka dots or stripes. Opaque or sheer black and grey suits every body type and is versatile enough to wear with skirts of all lengths, colours and textures. It’s best to leave this look behind, unless you plan on hitting the roller rink or attending a theme party.

How can I pack light yet fashionable when going away on vacation?

—More for the Minimalist

Getaways to warm destinations are popular this time of year and just a few items can take you from beach to boardwalk. A loose-fitting, off-the-shoulder T-shirt is great for wearing over your bathing suit or to pair with shorts and high wedge sandals. Dresses in light, breathable fabrics in bold vibrant patterns can make for bathing suit cover-ups and can be dressed up with jewelry for dinner on the beach. Shirt dresses in khaki colors or lighter denim washes are a beach-friendly yet classic look to wear in hot destinations as well.

What kind of attire is appropriate for Casual Fridays?

—Working Without a Look

Casual Friday is a day where you can be less formal but still remain professional in your workplace attire. I suggest a plain tee with cardigan or v-neck sweater paired with dark denim jeans for men. Another option is a wool or corduroy blazer over a plain or printed tee. For women, a similar look with a fitted cardigan, or playing up this simple look with a sequined or studded tank.


Which colours flatter a pale complexion?

—Confused with Hues

There are different types of pale skin which range from warm and cool undertones. Usually people with brunette to red hair colouring have warm undertones which look great in bold dark colours, such as navy or green, which compliment their skin and don’t wash them out like pink or coral would. Cooler undertones for fair skin would include blondes and some brunettes with light eyes. Earth tones in make-up (brown, gold, peach) make blue eyes pop, and clothing choices can include ivory, red or turquoise.

What is the best fabric to look for when purchasing a suit?

—Dressed to Impress

For those of you who are preparing for a year of black-tie events, here is an overview of suit materials. You can determine which is best for you.

Cotton: Best for spring and summer wear since it’s practical and keeps you cool. Easy to maintain as it’s machine washable.

Wool: Durable and comfortable, most modern suits are made with a form of wool fabric. Wool suits will most likely last longer and can be worn through all four seasons.

Linen: Excellent for warmer climates and exudes a casual yet classic look. Light weight and breathable, but creases easily.

Flannel: Warm, durable and is worn best in winter. It is becoming more difficult to find as the fabric is hard to maintain and wears away over time.

Do you have a question for Kathleen? Send it to

Published in Volume 64, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 4, 2010)

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