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.
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.
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.
Several of you have emailed asking for Thanksgiving outfit ideas...and this year I'm looking for the sartorial equivalent of comfort food. But I also want something pretty, dammit! I want to offset all of the hard and ugly of Fall 2013. So whether you've been dealing with your own form of #takethatbreastcancer (and OMG I hope not) or just had a crazy few months....these are for you.
A Glamorous, Long-Sleeved, Maxi
Nothing adds drama like a long, sweeping skirt. I'm picturing myself regally entering the dining room: red lipstick firmly in place, shoulders back, one (sparse) eyebrow perfectly arched, my patchy, bird-like hair - UGH!! SEE? It's why I need the glamorous dress. Such effortless elegance. Besides, these things are crazy-comfortable.
[Dresses 1, 2, 6 and 8 are nursing-friendly. Dresses 4 - 8 would work for pregnancy.]
Awfully boobalicious, I know. Kinda why I like it. A plunging v-neck (and artful ruching) does wonders for hiding a poochy stomach. I'd layer it over a pretty bra and probably pin the neckline a touch, or layer it over a lacy cami.
I was wondering if you could help me with styling this new skirt which I recently bought at Zara. The skirt is lovely and vintage-y but I found the styling surprisingly difficult.
I thought it would work with black but I am wearing it with black t-shirt and black ballet flats today and it just looks … blah. Help please?
K - thanks for emailing! Printed skirts are hard. As you mentioned, you can easily end up looking a tad boring, or I sometimes end up with some weird color-blocking thing going on and regretting that I ever bought bright blue tights. (Why? WHY?)
The key, I think, is to either mix patterns (you can do it subtly, if nervous), or make sure your accessories are interesting.
For example, if the outfit K described above had been black stiletto ankle boots and a black faux-leather tee, there would've been nothing boring about that all-black look with the plaid skirt (although admittedly not work appropriate).
I am so glad I came across your blog via the Rookie Moms site. I need this fashion kick in the butt to get out of my yoga pants. I feel I often find great pieces and then get them home and don't know what to do with them. Case in point, I just ordered this skirtand am super excited about it, but am I limited to a white tank? If you could give me another recommendation, I'd really appreciate it.
I took one look at this skirt, Jenn, and immediately contacted the designer (via Etsy, love that!).
It's on-trend, gorgeous, yet as comfy as sweatpants. You should be super-excited about it! Nice. Pick. Ms. Krista over at Satin Stitch Designs was kind enough to send a skirt over to me so I could style it up here. (And psst! Each is custom made, so no hemming required. That is much appreciated by this short Mama.)
Jenn, since you are writing in looking for ideas, I'll skip over the obvious stuff like the white tank you already mentioned, or a black tee, or chambray shirt, or even a denim jacket...right? I mean...any of those would be fabulous with this skirt, but since you took the trouble to write in, let me see if I can do something a bit more interesting. Here we go.
Beth emailed a while back, wondering about all-black outfits. She wrote:
I love to wear black. I know that may not be the "in" thing to do- but it works for me. Black, a rich midnight blue, dove or heather gray- those are colors I work well with. The problem is that those then look so drab for spring. Any thoughts?
Yup. See, I'm with you, Beth. While color is huge right now, I tend to be a more minimalist, neutral kind of gal at heart. From growing up in the 90's, perhaps? Which also explains my oversized white t-shirt obsession. But black is pretty fabulous - there's no reason you can't rock all black all year.
WOOT WOOT Weekend, Mamas! The last two weeks have been very, very long. I have been inexplicably sick (with a cold! It's just a cold!) for over two solid weeks. This nasty virus has robbed me of motivation, sucked me of enthusiasm, and taken my patience out for a looong vacation. Grrrrrrr.
Even my kids have been attempting to cheer me up. "Mom, it's OK!" Raines said to me yesterday. "You're the best mom EVER EVER...even if you're always grumpy!"
Awesome. Let's put that on a mug for Mother's Day, shall we? "World's Greatest Always-Grumpy Mom!"
(NOTE: Mike, you had better freaking NOT. Just so we're clear.)
So. For this issue of Friday Fun, I have exactly ONE find. Happily you, lovely Mamas, have been doing a little shopping while I've been sniffling, and have been emailing me all sorts of fun finds.
After moving to New Jersey from LA in January I was looking for a long sleeved dress that is relatively warm, nursing friendly and pretty enough for a date night. I stumbled upon your post about affordable dresses on Zappos, and that's how I discovered the Patagonia brand dresses. I ended up buying two of them!
Helen ended up with Patagonia's Bay Laural Wrap Dress in black (currently on sale for $36!!), and the sleeveless Margot dress (also on sale for $36). They are both nursing friendly, and Helen reports that they can also help disguise a small pooch, as well.
I really, really loved your style resolutions for 2013 article a few months back, and thanks to you I have the beginnings of a decent wardrobe that's not full of things that sort-of-but-not-quite-fit for the first time in five years!
I love, love, loved the gray maxidress you featured two years ago, but couldn't find it anywhere when I started looking for something to wear this summer. I live in Jordan right now, and it's already 80 here most days so summer starts a bit earlier for me. A few years ago I would have bought a couple of dresses that I sort of liked from Old Navy and never have felt good about them...but I remembered your point about cost-per-wear and held out until I found something I loved. And I did! This maxi dress from Shopbop is exactly what I was looking for: beautiful drape, pooch-hiding blouson top, modest enough that I can get away with wearing it here in the Middle East, but still sexy thanks to the V-neck and the drape of the skirt.
Instead of a half dozen crappy dresses, I have one that I truly love and that makes me feel beautiful. Thank you, thank you, thank you for encouraging women like me to find what makes us feel good about ourselves and giving us pointers as to how to get there!
First, let me say that I love your blog! I read it religiously. So much so that my husband no longer asks where I get new ideas from. Thank you for helping me feel kid-friendly, mom appropriate and sexy all at the same time.
Here's my question...I'm looking for some ideas for work appropriate layering of a lace shirt. I am an attorney and need office appropriate wear, but get bored with the same old dark suit getup. If I can at least make the tops under the jacket interesting, I feel like I win. On non-court days, I have a little more freedom in what is appropriate. I'm 100% on board with the layering a turtleneck. I tried a t-shirt today.
(wearing: GORGEOUS lace tee is Lauren Conrad for Kohl's)
Is there anything else? Would a button down work?
Suzanne - Thanks for writing in! You obviously read the article (linked above) where I recommended a lace top. If you recall, I claimed that it was oh-so-easy to style and soooo very versatile and...well. I see that you are calling me out. (Nicely, of course.) Challenge accepted!! It's time to put my styling where my big ol' mouth is, and attempt to style one up for the office. Not just any office....but one of the most conservative of work environments.
Mamas! I had the pleasure of working with this hot Mama a couple of months ago:
Jenna had emailed me because she bought a pair of ankle boots but they...just...weren't...working. She sent pics, saying:
I bought these coach priscilla booties at a great sale at bloomingdales but every time I try them on with skinny jeans, leggings or tights they look weird. My friend said it's b/c my ankle looks skinny and that makes my feet look big :( Should I return them? Please help!