In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the key wardrobe pieces for leg lengthening, and did a little fashion math involving sneakers. Today I want to focus on the leg-lengthening miracle flat: the nude ballet.
Before kids, my husband and I would try to escape the winter cold by doing our own little mini Spring breaks. South Beach was our favorite. I'd pack my XS bikini top (snort), the tiniest bottoms I could find, a little scrap of a dress and off we'd go. We'd stay out all night, sleep in until noon, and then roll out to the beach around 1PM.
Well. THINGS HAVE CHANGED, PEOPLE. And these changes have resulted in a decidedly different Spring Break uniform:
BAM. Because vacation or no, my kiddos get up around 6:30AM. And can you guess how long I can stand to be in a CONDO with two boys under the age of 7 before I lose my mind?
9AM. If we're lucky.
(And if we're in a run-of-the-mill hotel room, I change my answer to 6:37AM.)
Which means I'm on the beach bright and early, and, typically, freezing.
Anyway, a couple of months ago, I received not one, but four different emails from readers asking this exact question: How can I make my legs look longer while wearing flat shoes?
So I googled it. And the number one answer? Wear heels.
Um. Ok. Thankyoufornothing?
Leaving Google behind me, I started playing around. And I think...I THINK...I'm on to something here. There are a few styling tricks and a few key pieces I keep coming back to. Per usual, I've created something ponderous (on par with a dissertation, because YES I take all of this fashion stuff very. seriously.) so I'm breaking it up into multiple parts in the hope that one can actually read it over morning coffee. At this point, it's looking like a three part series? Hopefully not more, but no promises. Sometimes I think I should've named this blog 'an engineer's approach to fashion' just so there were no surprises, and I could then feel free to use charts.
But enough blathering. First up, the key pieces....
Clockwise, from top left:
1. High-Waisted Denim (or Shorts)
Nothing will visually elongate your legs faster than high-waisted denim. Of course, you've gotta show off that waist, so tuck (or half-tuck)your top.
In general, the more of top of the foot you show, the longer the leg line. So ballet flats are a better choice than, say, loafers, simply because they show more foot. Nude ballet flats kick the illusion up a notch further, and are like leg-lengthening magic shoes when wearing shorts or skirts. The key is to find a pair of nude flats that are in the same color family as your skin. I'm a sunburn-easily kind of girl, so I had more luck with a blush pink than with a true nude.
The trapeze silhouette is perfect for leg lengthening because the swing starts above your bustline, completely obscuring where your waist actually starts. Perfect for the short-waisted - especially with a pair of high-waist denim.
In general, sneakers are not leg lengthening. They cover up the entire foot and add bulk. However, sneakers are sofreakingpractical for Mamas trying to chase their kids around a park that I had to figure something out. Here it is: Skip the contrasting laces. Black sneaks with white laces? No. Red sneaks with white laces? No. But...if you can find cute sneaks with laces that are the same color - BAM. It'll work for leg lengthening. I like the black/black combo.
Featured: Onitsuka Tiger by Asics (lots of non-contrasting laces options - the lighter pairs would be perfect with light wash denim for spring)
7. Over-The-Knee Flat Boots
Not only does this trick work, but it works really, really well. And it almost doesn't matter where the boot hits - anywhere between above-the-knee and mid-thigh makes your legs look longer. The trick is to make sure the boot is sleek, and fits well (slouchy boots should be avoided for leg-lengthening purposes).
Those tops and dresses with the elastic waistbands sewn in? Some - some - will hit slightly higher than your actual waist, making your legs look miles long. However, some won't (maxi dresses often are too heavy and pull the elastic down). But keep your eye out - it's worth a shot, right?
Use accessories to draw the eye up towards your face. A little cleavage, a stunning statement necklace, a scarf or a cool hat will lift eyes up. This whole feeling of up will help to elongate your body.
We had the most amazing Saturday. It was our long-anticipated day date (aka my Christmas and Valentine's Day present). And while I had visions of waltzing around the city in something wildly glamorous...Saturday was a mushpot of snow, sleet, and freezing rain. So instead, I wore this:
We started at the Art Museum, where we - get this - wandered leisurely. I read some of plaques hanging on the wall. I KNOW!!
And afterwards, we strolled around downtown. Held hands. Got coffee at our fav, La Colombe.
(I'm all about the cuffs these days.)
Of course, I posed a little. Wearing two jackets like all the other fashion bloggers.
But aren't these sexy jeans? Even with the combat-ish boots. (Grace, you asked about these boots and so I hopped right to it you #shoppingenabler More later.)
I swapped the combat boots out for heels before our dinner reservations at Vetri. In hindsight, that was a mistake. Mike had booked us a six course dinner at 6PM, with tickets to see Ballet X at 8PM. By 7:45, we were only on course four. By 7:56PM, Mike signed the check, and by 7:59PM we were running - no, SPRINTING - like the crazy people we are. (Thankfully I can still run in heels.) And at 8:00PM sharp? We were busting through the doors of the Wilma Theater.
It was a tough call (stay/go?) but wow. We made the right decision. Ballet X was mindblowing. It was exciting and funny and sexy - Mike didn't even fall asleep!! (The man always falls asleep at ballets.) We'll be going again....with, I think, the boys. The Wilma theater is such an intimate setting that you can hear the sound of their shoes squeaking on the stage, hear the dancers breathing, and see the subtle expressions on their faces. And I love how it was such a departure from traditional ballet, but with all of the rigor. It was like Balanchine-meets-hiphop-meets-threestooges. (OK, maybe not exactly that last part. But close.) And tix were only $35.
After, we went back to Vetri (sheepishly) to collect our entrees and dessert.
Philly, thanks for a beautiful day and an amazing night. You are one seriously cool city. I can't wait (hint, hint Mike) to do this again.
Whoa. The number of layers I'm wearing is ridiculous. But the thought of putting on my puffer coat - yet again - is starting to affect my mental stability. I had to get creative. In the name of health, you guys. HEALTH.
If I had to survive with only one shirt, I'd probably pick one of my thin, drapy v-necks. The low neckline flatters the bust, the drape hides a pooch and they look cool dressed up or down. Besides, I became addicted to the v-neck while nursing FOR ALMOST FIVE YEARS GOOD LORD and I just can't quit 'em.
But. In winter, they are freezing. Here's how I'm warming them up.
With Arm Warmers and a Faux-Fur Cowl
With heels and a sparkly belt if you are feeling especially glamorous, but this outfit works equally well with everyday boots. A faux-fur cowl is my go-to around the house (being bald is very, VERY cold) and the arm-warmers actually make a difference! (They're no turtleneck sweater, but they do alright.)
cowl: old Urban Outfitter...love this one, and it's washable
tee: old Soft Joie (easily my most favorite tee ever) - here's a current one
arm warmers: old, Etsy - but LOVE these or maybe these
So I've been feeling pretty good these days. There's a spring in my step, and my heart feels...light. It's like I'm emerging from a cocoon. Butterfly! I am the butterfly! #stopit
And I'm dressing differently, too. Not a huge shift, but I have this new found sense of...fearlessness when picking out my clothes. Or maybe carelessness is the better word. I find myself throwing something on because it's fun. Like I'm honoring the fact that somewhere...there's a party. (Even if it's just the Pigeon and his hot-dog parties.) Or I'm reaching for my favorite things, uh, period. Like, wearing the same thing three days in a row because it makes me feel good. High heels on a Saturday morning just because, or pretty underwear on a random Wednesday (insert 'hump day' joke).
Know what's happening here? I may be bald-ish, I've got some serious scars, but I'm craving - a little - glamour.
I mean...let's not get too excited. I'm a mom of two young boys - there are limits to this glam. (Glimits?) And someone who talks about glamour while wearing a puffer jacket and fuzzy mittens really shouldn't be trusted.
But I felt like the January issue of Vogue was speaking directly to me: "Here's to the year of you. Fashion 2014 is about the charisma of the individual, the charm of the rare and unique...." and even Ms Wintour, in her letter from the editor, talked about a "sense of promise" that was evident in all of the 2014 collections. Vogue heralded a "return to maximum embellishment" and dubbed 2014 the year of dressing dangerously.
"There was a strong current of let's-play-dress-up - even whimsy - on the spring runways, and this openhearted spirit only adds to the pleasures of the new season. Trends may come and trends may go, but fun, we hope, will never go out of style."
Sing it, Vogue.
So. Here are a few easy-peasy ways to add a small sartorial punch to your everyday, a little dose of pedestrianglamour that even this sleep-deprived mama can do on a daily basis. As Vogue says (and really, one should always do what Vogue says)....let's play.
Hi Shana! I can't explain to you how much I love your blog - it's always a high point in my day when I see you've put up a new post! I was hoping you could help me with a style problem... I just got these Clarks Rosepoint booties:
I think they're super cute, but they're not really my usual style and I'm not sure how to wear them. Normally my style leans towards kind of casual boho tomboy (that's probably not a thing, I know) and these booties are pretty ladylike. Also I almost always wear more rugged, chunky shoes - moto boots, chucks... because I'm comfortable in them and I feel like they help balance out my, uh, ample...?... thighs and hips. I don't want to look like my curves are tapering down to tiny pointy toes. Right? I'm pretty sure you could make anything look cool, can you help me? thanks so much, and thanks for everything you do for all of us mamas!
Rachel, I love this question. I have very similar booties and I struggle with the same thing. I find them to be...too precious sometimes. You know? Yes. You do.
Ok - so here's a few (thigh-friendly) ways to TOMBOY UP a sweet little laced bootie.
I. Am. Done. IAMDONE. That fact makes my head spin a little bit...it doesn't feel real. I don't have any more medications to take. No more shots. No more IVs, or bone pain, or nausea. The big stuff? The really tough stuff? Is over.
There are times when I feel a sense of excitement (Yay for me! I made it!!!)....but I was expecting to feel a...bigger sense of relief, I guess. Perhaps it hasn't yet hit.
Mostly I feel bewildered. Like, WTF just happened? I mean, it was May. On May 16th, I didn't have breast cancer. And now, just before Thanksgiving, I am a survivor.
So I get up in the morning and put on my outfits and cover what's left of the chemo rash on my face and hug my boys and make them breakfast.
But I'm tired. I'm forgetful. And I don't understand any of this. How a few short months ago I was fine, and then I wasn't, and now I'm on this insanely long road to recovery.
It'll be OK, I know. Someday I won't be so tired. Someday I won't wear a wig. Someday, perhaps, Pax (and maybe even Raines) won't remember 'that time when Mum was sick'. I get to be a part of their someday.
In case my sexy little Bradamant bodysuit wasn't enough (and it is one of Mike's favs) I found a total sex-kitten wig. For under $50. It's from a line of wigs called Forever Young, and the line is aptly named. They focus on young, sexy styles, and the wigs are crazy cheap (for medically necessary wigs, not costume wigs). The one I'm wearing is Edge Savvy, and I'll be taking it into Shannon for a bang trim. Ha! Isn't that funny? Taking my wigs in for trims...man. Add that to the loooong list of Things I Never Thought I'd Say.
So tomorrow (Wednesday) is my third chemo treatment. Which means....after Wednesday, I'll only have ONE TREATMENT LEFT. Crazy, right? So, to celebrate, we're doing a little Bradamant giveaway. And by "little" I mean THREE. We'll have THREE winners. (Oooo...one for each chemo. OMG - I'm so macabre and dramatic these days.)
Let's just go with three lucky winners, and leave it at that. :)
Each winner will be able to chose one Bradamant bodysuit. But what to choose, what to choose?
...but I remember being really impressed with the versatility of the Pirette.
Of course, there's always this gorgeousness, called The Warrior:
Which will you choose?
How To Enter:
You get one entry for liking Bradamant on Facebook, and one entry for signing up to recieve emails about Bradamant sales and new releases. (Scroll to the very bottom of the Bradamant website - the sign up box is on the left.)
Then, let me know in the comments below how you've entered and...done! I'll announce the three winners in a week.