Posts Categorized: shoes

Already Prettypoll: Your Ultimate Shoe Style

Every Tuesday over on Facebook, we play around with a style choice question: Things like, “Would you rather have the only neutral in your closet be leopard print, or have the only neutral in your closet be black and white stripes?” And, “Would you rather wear tights to the gym or shapewear to sleep?” Today’s poll isn’t a choice, but I feel like it might still cause the same levels of imaginary anxiety!

If you could only wear one shoe style for the rest of your life, what would it be?

See what I mean? In my case, it would HAVE to be boots. I cannot imagine my style and life without them. But oh, the torture of 95-degree, fog-your-glasses-humid Minnesota summer days in boots! What’s your choice?

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This Week I Love …

leopard chuck taylors

… stylish sneakers. Late to the party again, right? Still not loving the wedge sneakers from last season and don’t quite get some of the Adidas-dress pairings I’ve seen in streetstyle photos, but I’ve definitely come around to the look of a sleek, classic, clearly-not-meant-for-actual-gym activity sneaker. Naturally, my leopard Chucks are the current fave. But here are some other pairs that I’ve been ogling.

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Keen Maderas Lace – $41.99

These have been on my wishlist all summer, and I will probably bite the bullet soon since they’re on sale. I haven’t bought Keens in nearly a decade, but still have my super-comfy green high-tops in storage. The white sole makes these seem a bit seasonal, but they could certainly work in spring and possibly fall, too. And seriously, love that gray. Rare in fashion sneaks for some reason.

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Keds Champion Dot – $50

Interesting. Keds got trendy while I was in high school and I remember lusting after a pair and being amazed by how expensive they were. And although I was totally willing to shell out $50 for my Palladiums, it seems like a lot for these guys. But, um, polka dots. Equally fab with jeans or sundresses. And if you don’t dig the mustard yellow, they also come in black, bright green, brown, navy, burgundy, and sky blue. If the slim/pointed traditional Ked doesn’t send you, try the chunkier Rally style.

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PF Flyers Bob Cousy – $43.99

Like Converse, this brand has a bit of a cult following and gets rave reviews from die-hard fans. Some styles look a bit platform-y for my taste, but this pair just looks cute, casual, and fun. Navy and cream with red accents make these a natural for preppy pairings.

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Palladium Flex Lace – $34.99

You got a peek at these in action on Saturday, and I’ve worn them with everything from dresses to jeans to shorts. I was originally thinking red Chucks, but something about the washed red canvas and like-colored laces on these just called to me. And as I mentioned over the weekend, they’re actually comfier than Converse. Not much arch support, but a bit more cushioning. Also available here in more colors at full price ($50).

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Camper Peu Cami – $170

Spendy, yes, but unlike their friends above these are leather. The Peu is a classic Camper style, with the slanted, stretchy, knotted laces. A great option for arty, funky outfits. If all black isn’t your style, these come in brown/red laces, gray/olive laces, lavender/taupe laces, and gray/navy laces.

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Onitsuka Tiger by Asics – $60

Classic, right? But done in the year’s color, Radiant Orchid. These will have more arch support than most of the other styles shown here, but still might need inserts for fussy feet. Also in 105 other color options. Seriously.

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Superga 2750 Cot Snake – $75

Another cult fave, and similar to the PF Flyers, but Superga does fabulous prints and patterns. Still canvas, still vegan-friendly, and in an eye-catching snake print. In my opinion, these are a bit chunky for pairing with dresses, but maybe a denim mini and graphic tee. And definitely great with jeans.

Do you do fashion sneakers/trainers? How do you style yours? Any other brands or styles to recommend?

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A Guide to Pant Length for 2014

understanding pant length

A few weeks ago, Belle linked to my 2009 guide to pant length and one of her commenters pointed out that although much of the post was still relevant, styles had changed. It’s five years later and ankle pants are almost more common than full-length, so some of my tips are definitely outdated. And since puzzling out pant hemlines is something that many women struggle with on the regular, I thought I’d take this opportunity to refresh and revise that post for 2014!

First and foremost, different pant lengths suit different shoes. Those slacks that look killer with your ballet flats are gonna look downright goofy with your platform slingbacks. Those jeans you love to wear with your stack-heeled boots are going to appear utterly preposterous when you throw them on with flip-flops. When you’re on the hunt for new pants, be sure to bring the shoes you intend to wear with them into the fitting room. Otherwise, it’s a total crap shoot. More on the pant hem dilemma right here.

Also, you’ll encounter different length challenges depending on the style of leg. Skinnies bunch, widelegs engulf, straightlegs pull, and on and on. Yet another reason to bring or wear the appropriate shoes when trying on potential new pants.

And finally, while extra length can be dealt with, lack of length is far trickier. If you unearth a pair that fits you gloriously and suits your budget but is miles too long, a tailor can rescue you quite easily. Gorgeous pants that are meant to be full-length yet expose your ankles will be tough to lengthen to acceptable proportions.

Now let’s see some visuals:

Full-length pants too short for heels

Full length pants that are too short for heels

Here we see a trouser-style dress pant with a crease and fairly wide leg opening worn with heels. They are riding several inches above the floor and showing almost the entire foot. This means that by current standards, they are too short.

Full-length pants too long for heels

Full length pants that are too long for heels

Pants that are too long are often wide-legged or flared, like these pairs of jeans. If the hem covers the entire front of the foot and makes the wearer appear to be footless, they are too long. And, actually, this applies regardless of whether the shoes are heels or flats! We need to see at least a peek of foot.

Full-length pants at correct length for heels

full_length_pant

If you’re doing full-length pants or trousers with heeled shoes, they should look like this. In my opinion, pants should not graze the floor, as that’s just asking to ruin your hems. About one inch above the floor when you’re standing straight will work just fine. See how just the tip of the toe peeks out? And in the back view, see how about an inch of the heel is showing? Conditions are perfect.

Full-length pants at correct length for flats

full_length_flats

These guys are a little closer to sweeping the ground, so you could certainly go up a half-inch or so. You still want the hem to be pretty darned close to the floor if your pants are meant to be full-length, even if your shoes are flat or almost-flat.

Now, both of these pairs have fairly wide legs, although one pair is formal and one casual. Things get trickier if you’re doing slimmer styles like straight legs because the opening at the hem may ride on the bridge of your foot.

Straight leg pants with heels and flats

straight leg pants with heels and flats

Here are straight leg pants worn with both heels and flats. If the pants on the left were any longer they’d bunch over the bridge of the foot and get caught on the back of the shoe. If the pants on the right were any longer, they’d bunch over the bridge of the foot and drag on the ground. So: Better that your straight-legs ride a little higher than your trousers to prevent awkward encounters with your feet and the floor. But since we want full-length pants – especially dressy ones worn for professional purposes – to appear longer than this, straight legs may look a little less elegant. My guess is that ankle-length and cropped pants gained popularity because they look intentionally short instead of shrunk-in-the-wash short, which can happen with certain straight legs. And so …

Ankle pants at correct length for heels

Ankle pants at correct length for heels

SUCH a subtle difference between the straight legs above and these ankle-length pants, I know. And in some cases how high a pair of pants rides at the waist and how high your heels are may nudge them over the edge into ankle-length or just-a-touch-too-short-length. In my opinion, the key here is that we see the entire bridge of the foot and the hem hits at ankle height. You can go a bit higher or lower than this, too, and still be in ankle-length territory. Notice that one of the key differences between these ankle-length pants and the straight legs above is that this pair is slightly tapered.

Ankle pants at correct length for flats

Ankle pants at correct length for flats

If you’re doing flats with your ankle pants, ideally they should show a bit more ankle. Why? Because when they’re longer they’ll look just like the straight-legs above. Ankle-length pants are meant to look a bit short and show a little peek of skin. When you’re wearing flat shoes and the bridge of your foot is parallel to the ground and therefore downplayed, showing more of your ankle makes this style of pant look fun and intentional. This is especially true if you go for oxfords which cover your foot entirely. 

Skinny pants that are too long

Skinny pants that are too long

These are very mild examples, but show the issues that can arise with truly skinny pants. Now, if you’re tucking into boots, your skinnies can be miles too long and it won’t matter a bit. Cuff them and tuck them into your socks. Bam. But if you’re wearing super slim-fitting pants with heels and they bunch up at your ankles, they will look too long. If you’re doing skinnies with flats, same deal. With denim and pants made from fabrics that are slightly stiff, you can just tuck some of the pant length back into the pant leg itself for a French cuff and no one will be the wiser. No hemming needed, no bunching visible.

Skinny pants at correct length

skinny pants right length

Skinny pants that are worn untucked with either heels or flats will look the most polished and chic worn at ankle length or above. No bunching, no knocking into your foot’s bridge, a clean, neat finish.

Fit issues with full-length tapered styles

Fit issues with tapered pants

Based on what I’ve read and seen, full-length, slouchy, pleated, tapered pants are meant to pool a little at the ankle, so the pair on the left is fine. The pair on the right is tapered but not skin-tight at the ankle, so tucking it into ankle boots looks a bit off. There’s some pooching and bunching, and the curve of the ankle is obscured. Probably better to untuck your tapered pants or even cuff them so they hit at ankle height or above instead. Which segues nicely into …

Detailed hemlines make pants look intentional

gather_tie_cuff

Shorter length pants with gathers, ties, and cuffs are GREAT options because they broadcast intentionality. The bottom line is that no matter how long or short your pants are, you want to look like you’ve chosen their length on purpose. They’re not this long because you’re wearing your heels-length pants with flats today and they’re not this short because they’ve had an encounter with Hot Dryer. When they’re finished with hemline details, you’re telling the world that you know exactly how long your pants are meant to be and exactly where you’d like them to hit on your leg line.

Is all this written in stone? Will you burst into flames if you don’t follow these guidelines to the letter, measuring down to the centimeter where your pant hem hits on your ankle or foot’s bridge? Am I saying that these are the only ways to wear any kinds of pants correctly? Is getting your pant length just right going to make or break you as a fashionable person? No. Also no. Hells no. And allow me to give you a giant heaping pile of NO. The Pant Hem Police are especially lax these days because SO much comes down to personal style and preferences, and even if they weren’t this is seriously nit-picky, granular stuff. But since questions about the “right” length for various styles of pants worn with various styles/heights of shoes are posed to me on a near-weekly basis by clients, readers, and Corset customers, I wanted to outline the current guidelines as I understand and employ them myself. 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.

So! Was this helpful? Do the guidelines make sense? What combinations of pant-length and shoe-style are you most likely to wear? Are you wearing ankle-length pants these days? They certainly are the dominant style, it seems. Anything you’d add? Anyone wearing straight-legs and have some additional input for making them look great? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!

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All images courtesy Nordstrom

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