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Your Stylist: Style advice to soothe your sartorial woes

February 8, 2010 |  8:00 am

Ph_steven_meisel-vogueUS-december1992-grunge&glory-1 Resident Image stylist Melissa Magsaysay answers your style queries in the weekly Your Stylist blog column.

Q: I like the plaid button-down shirts everyone is wearing, but I can’t seem to sport one without looking frumpy and grungy.  Are there brands that are cut slimmer for girls? (I’m 5-foot-6 and 120 pounds)  - HL, Los Angeles

Initially I was annoyed by the resurgence of early '90s grunge because it made me feel old, especially when the 12-year-old girls I saw walking out of Hot Topic wearing green plaid “Bella” button-downs seemed to make up the majority of who was wearing the trend.

But the mix of the grungy “Twilight” button-down and a more polished, preppy version makes for a more modern approach to an old staple and isn’t just retreading the same territory we saw back in the '90s, especially when you wear one that’s slim and flattering. Plaidbuttondownshirts

Arnold Zimberg is making really cute button-downs for women that come in a ton of different prints, far right photo. The shirt’s lining is done in a different fabric, so should you choose to scrunch or roll your sleeves, you have a little pop of something different.  The shape is cut slimmer and the super-soft cotton keeps the shirt tucked in and comfortable.

The Gap has a good selection of plaid button-downs that are surprisingly slim cut and super affordable, above, left side. Their version is more of a camp-style shirt that fits into the laid-back look of spring, and it pairs well with the cargo pants and khakis that are big for next season.

Just wear a plaid button-down that is cut to flatter your upper body and forgo wearing it with Dr. Martens or your old Nirvana T-shirt, and the frumpy factor shouldn’t be an issue.

Q: Where can I get a bag with a chain strap that looks good for going out? Like the Chanel bags, but preferably less expensive.
- CD, Pasadena

I rarely see girls carrying clutches at night anymore. The chainChainjjwintersIMG_3167 strap bag draped across the body has taken over, and thankfully, there are more options out there than just Chanel – even though it’s every girl's dream to carry her stuff in that quilted flap bag.

For a classic black option Armani Exchange is doing one with Chainclutch-python a gold chain strap and closure, left. It’s just $68 and would go with everything, day or night. Rebecca Minkoff is doing her “Clutch” bag, at right, in multiple leather colors including a moss green and a printed python. This bag has a gold chain strap too, and the colorful leathers are more casual for everyday wear.

I love the chain strap bags from JJ Winters, far right, because the strap is extra long and the collection comes in bright, sexy colors that look right for going out at night.  The bag hits around the lower hip, which keeps your hands free for drinking, dancing and uh, texting.

--Melissa Magsaysay

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Top: When grunge ruled. Photo by Steven Meisel

Plaid shirts: Gap, $49.50 at Gap; Arnold Zimberg, $194 at Arnold Zimberg

Armani Exchange bag, $68, at Armani Exchange

Rebecca Minkoff python-printed "Clutch" bag, $330, at Rebecca Minkoff

JJ Winters yellow leather chain strap bag, $86, at JJ Winters