Posts Categorized: proportion

Reader Request: Long Over Lean for Tall Women

tunics and leggings for tall women

Georg Sand Left this comment over on Facebook:

Would you be willing to augment this post [on long over lean for petites] for tall girls (where all our height is in our legs) that’s me and I love this silhouette too! I also, however, seem to constantly have proportion issues. Do the same rules apply?

And my response? But of course I’m willing! And I’ve called in another expert, everyone’s favorite tall tunic-wearer, Gracey of Fashion for Giants. I’m going to get the ball rolling with my own tips, and then hand the mic to Gracey to round us out. Here we go:

Length affects proportions

A tunic should cover your entire butt as well as your crotchpoint, and many women look best in a tunic that hits at mid-thigh level. However, if you are tall and your height is in your legs rather than your torso, a slightly longer tunic may balance you out a bit more. By covering more of your leg above the kneecap – which the observing eye believes is the midpoint of your leg – you visually shorten and balance your frame. It’s your call, of course, but if balancing your proportions is a figure-flattery priority try keeping your tunic length at least one hand’s width above your kneecap and/or at least two hands’ widths below your crotchpoint.

Boots complicate matters

This is true for all people wearing long-over-lean outfits, but for tall gals minding where your boots hit is especially tricky. Boots that end far below your kneecap give the impression of very long legs. Pair those short-ish boots with a tunic that hits high on the thigh and you’ll look leggy indeed. Nothing wrong with that, of course! But if you’re seeking to balance your leg length, a boot that hits just a couple of inches below the kneecap and a tunic that hits mid-thigh will help. Want to avoid the boot issue altogether? Choose a pair that matches the color of your leggings or skinnies. Yes, this is a technique that is often employed to create a long, unbroken leg line, but it also eliminates hard breaks to create a more unified silhouette.

Cropped bottoms are a great option

As you can see from the first two outfits pictured above, ankle length and cropped slim bottoms are wonderful in long-over-lean mixes on tall women. Even though this combination creates a nearly half-and-half figure division on Gracey, it just works. Her leg line is unbroken from tunic hem to pant hem which means fewer chunks. The cropped pant length visually shortens the overall leg line a bit, but that serves as a balancing factor here. Harder to do in winter, of course, but a fun option for warm weather.

In terms of comparison to the post on long-over-lean for petites, there is some overlap: Visually elongating your legs may not be a priority, but wearing like-colored leggings and footwear will prevent lots of distracting breaks in your figure. Being strategic about focus is always wise, and you can choose a statement necklace to draw the eye to your face or add a like-colored belt to your tunic to accentuate your waist without breaking up your lines. Low contrast layers are great to prevent loads of breaks in your figure line, but not as essential here as they are for someone who wants to look taller. “Don’t worry about it”? Always applicable to advice-y posts. If you prefer to just wear combos you love, you should do exactly that.

Now, let’s hear from Gracey:

Try prints and colors

Gracey from Fashion for Giants wears tunics over lean pants

Why try prints and colors? Mostly just because you can. As a tall person, you have a little more leeway when it comes to long over lean because you can ignore those guidelines that exist to help the less-tall avoid the often-stumpifying effects of long over lean. As Sally mentioned, low-contrast layers are exceedingly helpful to those who want to look taller, but if you’re already tall, you can wear contrasting prints and colors without much worry. Especially if you pay attention to the rest of the tips Sally laid out.

I will say that with printed and colored pieces, proportion matters more than with low-contrast pieces. In the first look, for example, the tunic is a bit long for the length of the pants.  And the ankle strap flats aren’t helping matters. But, in the second look, the longer pants help balance out the length of the top. And, of course, a nude or black flat would help even more but I am currently unable to resist the lure of a brightly colored shoe. Perhaps someday…

Make sure your lean is truly lean

Gracey of Fashion for Giants wears leggings, a white tunic, blue sweater and black flats

In this outfit, as with the leopard and yellow outfit above, I have a LOT of volume up top. Here I’m wearing an over-sized sweater layered over an over-sized shirt. It’s a lot, it really is. But, keeping the lean portion of the outfit truly lean helps balance that volume. That’s why when I wear my long-over-lean outfits I stick to skinny pants, skinny jeans, and leggings. Those bottoms tend to offset whatever nonsense layering I have going on up top. And that’s important because I tend to do a lot of nonsense layering.

Anyone else have tips or suggestions for wearing long-over-lean outfits as a tall person? Proportion preferences? Do you do boots with your outfits? What else would you tell Georg?

Images courtesy Fashion for Giants.

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Reader Request: Button-fronts for Ample Busts

Hi all. Once again, Disqus closed comments automatically for no reason. Looking into this. Here’s the same post, comments should be open.

* * * * *

carissa rose shirts

Recently, I’ve had several readers ask about button-front options for women with bigger busts. Button-fronts make blood boil around here, I know, and although I love them for myself I am a small-busted woman with relatively average proportions so they don’t cause me many fit issues. I know from working with clients and hearing from you readers that everything from sloping shoulders to broad upper arms can make off-the-rack button-front shirts fit poorly. Bust size is a key factor, of course, since button-fronts will pull at the placket if the bust is larger than the allotted bust-room. As is the case for most garments that don’t fit off the rack, you can certainly buy a shirt that fits your bust and have it tailored everywhere else … but in the case of a woman with a large bust and smaller waist/arms/shoulders this can mean a virtual rebuild. Mall stores don’t expect us to be big in one spot. If we’re big, they expect us to be big all over. And some of us are, of course, but for those who aren’t it means that garments that fit the prominent feature are often comically oversized elsewhere. The amount of tailoring needed may surpass the cost of the shirt.

Luckily, there are a few button-front shirt options for women with large busts. I’ll share the resources that I’m aware of, and ask you to chime in with more!

Carissa Rose

Definitely my first recommendation for busty women looking for button-fronts, since the company was founded to create shirts that fit curvy women. Carissa Rose shirts aren’t cheap, but my clients love them for their quality construction and design. They’ve got a size chart that will walk you through the measurement process. Shirts are designed to fit women with larger busts and somewhat smaller waists, though all combinations of busts and waists are not available: As bust increases, so does waist though not to the extremes you’ll find in mall stores.

InStyle Essentials

Yep, brought to you by InStyle magazine. I’ve got one of these shirts in my closet and it’s a nice option. I am not the target market since I can buy my button-fronts off the rack, but I can say with certainty that these shirts are on par with a LOFT or Gap shirt. You’ll order by bra size, which can be tricky if you haven’t been professionally fitted in a while, but helpful if you are certain of your measurements. Four styles of shirts, all through 40H.

BiuBiu

Although this Polish company focuses mainly on knits, they do offer several styles of button-front shirts. Like the InStyle offerings, shirts are sized by bust/bra size. The sizing chart features UK sizing, so be sure to double-check before ordering and take your measurements in centimeters! This company also caters to women with smallish waists, and won’t fit anyone larger than a 97 cm/38 in waist.

Tom James

A friend and client uses Tom James, a custom clothing company, exclusively for her button-fronts. She’s an investment banker and relies on this style of shirt for her work wardrobe, but is also quite tall, busty with a very small waist, and has kyphosis and very long arms. There are loads of custom clothiers out there, of course, but my client loves this one. The company will connect you with a rep who will take your measurements and help you order.

My busty clients also love Ureshii for custom knits, but the company is yet to delve into wovens. Great stuff and fully custom, but no button-fronts.

None of these options will be cheap, as I’m sure you’ll notice. But if you love this style of shirt or need the option for dress code reasons, one of these vendors could be a great solution and good investment for you. And, of course, I’m dying to know if any of you have other options to share! Are you a big-busted person who wears button-front shirts? Where do you buy or order yours? By all means, share links!

Images courtesy Carissa Rose.

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How Capris Work

how to wear capris

So. It’s a cropped-pant world we’re living in, friends, and there are many different styles going under many different aliases. I defer to Angie on nomenclature – see her posts on clamdiggers, capris, and walkshorts,  as well as her guide to pant length – but we definitely agree on this: Capris are pants that hit below the knee and above the ankle. In my opinion a true capri is shorter than an “ankle pant” which, unsurprisingly, hits close to the actual ankle bone. The two shown above are good examples of capris, hitting solidly mid-calf.

Cropped pants of all kinds monkey with our leg lines and overall proportions, so they can feel tricky to wear. But they are also cooler than full-length pants and a longtime summer favorite. So here are my suggestions for making capri pants work.

Consider contrast

high_contrast

left | right

Many capris hit at the widest part of the calf, which means they visually widen that part of the leg. Choosing a capri in a color that creates high contrast with your skin tone will make this illusion even more pronounced.

low_contrast

left | right

Opting instead for a color that creates low contrast with your skin tone will make the break softer and the line less broken-feeling. Naturally, you don’t need to wear capris that are nude to your skin tone! Something in the same color range – pastels, tan, lighter denim for pale skin and olive, navy, darker denim for dark skin – will work marvelously. Prints and patterns can work well, too, as they sometimes create the illusion of a softer break. And if you don’t care? Don’t sweat it. This is a tip that only applies if leg-elongation is a figure flattery priority for you.

Choose your shoes with care

shoe_choice

left | right

Many capris are very casual, and flats are a natural choice. However, if you worry about shortening your leg line, opting for a low wedge or heel can make a huge difference. If any kind of shoe height is a deal-breaker, think about contrast again. The black flats on the left are very dark against the model’s pale skin. A tan flat in the same style would be less severe and allow the eye to travel further down the leg line. Consider vamp, too: High-vamp shoes like sneakers, oxfords, and ankle-strap sandals will chunk up your leg line sooner than low-vamp shoes like ballet flats and pumps. And again, these tips are most helpful to those who wish to elongate their legs!

Be aware of leg style

leg_style

left | right

Again, casual capris are ubiquitous and many of them feature straight legs or wide legs. This gives them a casual feel, but since they’re ending mid-calf they also create the illusion of a larger overall leg shape. Slimmer capris feel more formal – and may feel too formal for your capri-wearing preferences – but they also create a slimmer overall silhouette, in many cases regardless of your own build or leg shape. Not a concern for you? Wider styles are often considerably comfier, so go to.

Sensing a theme? Most women I’ve spoken to about capris have wanted to know how to wear them without making themselves look shorter or breaking their leg line, so that’s what I’ve focused on here. As always, none of my figure flattery advice posts should be considered gospel, including this one, and I fully expect you to read them with a grain of salt. Style “rules” are merely guidelines, no matter who is dispensing them. I trust you to use your judgment. And I trust you to take what applies to you, discard the rest, and assume positive intent.

Are you a capri wearer? Do you favor a slimmer or wider leg? What shoes do you pair with your capris? Ever considered the question of contrast? Let us know in the comments!

Top images courtesy Nordstrom left and right

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