Posts Categorized: shopping

This Week I Love …

… the abundance of high-rise styles currently on the market.

I know high rises aren’t for everyone. Low and even mid rises hit me at exactly the wrong spot and make me unspeakably miserable, and depending on how you’re built high rises may do the same for you. But they’re the ONLY style of jeans and pants I can wear, and I’m thrilled to see a variety of washes, sizes, and styles available right now.

Here are a few styles and brands I love:


Karen Kane Zuma Twill Jean – $109

We’ll start with my standby: Karen Kane denim. I know this is a lot to pay for a pair of jeans, but I’ve worn my pairs on the blog and off and just straight-up adore them. I bought a pair of black Old Navy jeans about 9 months after I got my black Zumas, and the ON pair has already faded twice as much. Lots of stretch but no sagging, a slim leg, and a nice high rise. There’s a cropped version, too, in some fun colors for fall.

All Karen Kane jeans and pants are high-rise, so if you’re not into skinnies, there might still be options for ya. Plus sizes available in some styles. Made in the U.S.A.

cn9026067Gap 1969 Resolution True Skinny High-rise – $34.99 – $79.95
use code COOL for 40% off until midnight

My other go-to right now is Gap, a brand that resisted high rises for a billion years before unveiling a great little collection earlier this year. They’ve got dark and light washes, several levels of distress, and tall and petite sizes in many styles. I’ve also got a couple of pairs of Gap Factory high rise skinnies that are super comfy, but tend to bag a bit after a day of wearing.

everlane slouchy trouser

Everlane Slouchy Trouser – $120

I will admit that I’m yet to place my first Everlane order, but based on Grechen’s opinion alone I’m more than willing to recommend the brand. The company is extremely transparent about its sourcing and production methods, and dedicated to lower markups than traditional retail. These pants are an unlined mid-weight wool twill, and in a cut that would look equally appropriate at the office or at a funky restaurant.

nydj straight leg

Pretty much any pair of NYDJ pants or jeans – $30 – $150 (this is the pair shown above)

I’m linking you to 6pm above, but also check Amazon, Nordstrom, and eBay for great pricing, especially if you’re looking for past-season styles or colors. Again, a spendy brand at full price, but comfortable, well-made, and available in a mind-blowing array of colors and styles, many in regular, petite, and plus sizes. The brand recommends buying a size down from your regular to optimize the “tummy panel,” but that has never worked for me. I buy my regular size and am far comfier in them. Made in the U.S.A.

jny sloane

Jones New York Sloane – $33 -$89

Again, the vast majority of JNY styles are high rise, but this classic wide-leg dress pant is incredibly versatile. Pocket-free and pared-down, it’s made from a seasonless, stretchy poly blend and comes in petite and plus sizes, too. Macy’s has some cute new JNY styles for fall.

talbots pants plus

Pretty much any pair of Talbots pants or jeans – $29 – $139 (this is the pair shown above)

I don’t wear this brand much myself anymore, but still praise them constantly for their size diversity – most styles are available in regular, petite, and plus sizes with a decent though smaller group in petite plus and tall sizes. Talbots will occasionally do a mid-rise, but the vast majority of their jeans and pants sit at the waist. And now’s a great time to buy since dozens of pairs are 50% off or more.

Premium denim brands like Paige and J Brand are hopping on the high-waisted bandwagon, too, showing everything from skinnies to flares, and you can get some great deals on them through the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, running until August 2.

Who else is a high-rise fan? Any other styles or brands to recommend?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Crop Tops: Surprisingly Versatile

crop tops with skirts

one | two | three

I steered well clear of the crop tops during the 90s. They scared the living daylights out of me, since they were worn with low-rise jeans and therefore would’ve exposed the entirety of my middle-jiggle. When they came back around again I was initially skeptical, but people were styling them so differently that I converted fairly quickly: Nowadays you’re more likely to see a crop top worn with high-rise pants/jeans or a high-rise skirt. Much less torso is exposed. In fact sometimes you can’t see any torso at all and it’s just the short-top-longer-bottom proportions that become the outfit’s focus. A whole different ballgame.

But even in this revised form, some people still feel that these tops should be the exclusive domain of the slender and lithe. A couple of weeks ago, an article appeared in Oprah’s O Magazine with the following text:

Q: Can I pull off a crop top?

A: If (and only if!) you have a flat stomach, feel free to try one. For more coverage, layer the top over a longer shirt as shown in look two.

Aaaand the world responded with a cheerful – and completely appropriate – middle finger to that one:

crop tops collage

Source left | right

Because, ya know, it’s BULLSHIT. First off, everyone can wear everything they want all the time because no garment in the world will cause a body to spontaneously combust. Second, stuff like that is a form of body-shaming; Telling people that if they lack figures that fit the current beauty standard, they’d sure as hell better keep those figures out of sight, instead of accepting that if you see someone wearing something you don’t like, you can just look away. And third, even if you’re going for a relatively traditional set of figure-flattery priorities, crop tops are great on a wide variety of figure shapes and sizes.

Which brings me to the main reason I wanted to cook up a crop top post: I’ve found them to be a handy solution for the shirt-skirt proportion issue.

As a general rule, tops worn with skirts should be a bit shorter than tops worn with pants. With a skirt, an untucked top should hit about two fingers’ width below your navel. With pants, an untucked top should just about subdivide your butt or hit two to three fingers’ width above your crotch-point. (Whichever looks better to your eye.) These are incredibly loose guidelines, mind you, with the main point being that longer tops tend to suit pants, shorter ones suit skirts.

Most brands are designing all of their tops in incredibly long lengths these days, so if you want to wear a skirt-top combo you pretty much have to tuck. Which drives some people bananas because tucking can be constricting and uncomfortable … yet finding skirt-length tops has been well-nigh impossible for ages. Even petite tops tend to be a bit long in the torso, not to mention that many have shorter sleeves and adjusted armholes to fit actual petite figures, not just regular-sized women hoping to find shorter tops. (And rightly so – that’s how petite sizing works.)

But now? Now we have crop tops. And some of them are very, very short and clearly designed to show some skin, but others are longer. And if you find the right length, shape, and cut, they can turn out to be the perfect length for wearing untucked with skirts. I’ve snapped up a couple from Topshop and Kohl’s that are working beautifully with my summer skirts. Many of them are actually sweaters – if you search for “crop top” you’re likely to get tees, but “crop sweaters” gets you knitwear.

The best way to tell if a crop top will be long enough is to measure any tops you currently have that work untucked with skirts. Get within an inch or two of that length, and you’re likely in the sweet spot. Most websites will offer length measurements so you can compare before ordering. You can bring your tape measure to the mall, too, or just shop wearing a favorite skirt so you can see how various tops look worn with it.

If you’re long-waisted, crop tops still may be mighty short worn untucked with skirts – even crop tops that are cut on the longer side. But if you’ve got an average or short waist, this workaround might be worth exploring. Getting tops tailored to be skirt-length certainly works, but if you can get them off-the-rack at the right length it saves you time, money, and aggravation.

Crop tops can also be layered. They work worn over dresses for a variety of effects, from breaking up the outfit’s lines to offering more coverage. Pop a long-sleeved crop over a sleeveless dress and you’ve got interesting proportions and covered-up arms. If you buy them snug enough, they can also be layered under dresses and I’ve seen designers layering tank crops over button-front shirts for fall. So if you don’t like them on their own you might love them layered.

No one can force you to try this style, but I hope you won’t let anyone scare you off it, either. I’ve seen petite, plus sized, tall, curvy, curve-free, teenaged, and middle-aged women rocking crop tops in various ways and in a marvelously diverse group of outfits. They might just be the missing puzzle piece in your own wardrobe, too.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Reader Request: Wardrobe Diversity

wardrobe outfits same

Reader Monica asked this question:

I would like to hear your perspective on style or wardrobe diversity. Often I feel like I have a few types of tried and true outfits, but feel ‘boring.’ And then I think, well, Sal always looks great and many of her outfits have a similar flavor, maybe it’s not that important? It seems you may have an interesting perspective on this.

Monica’s got me pegged: Even back when I had a lot more stuff, I had my go-to formulas and I wore them into the ground. Above you see three outfits from earlier this year, all of which feature a jacket, top, slim pants, and ankle boots. I could live in variations on that outfit just about every day from October to April.

It’s been great to see the press focusing on stylish women – many of them working in the fashion and design industries – who opt to wear personal uniforms. And I think there’s absolutely no harm in wearing slightly tweaked versions of the same outfit every day of your life. UNLESS doing so makes you feel bored, boring, or stagnant. It comes down to the difference between a signature style and a style rut: A rut feels bad, frustrating, and difficult to get out of. You’re in a rut if you’re wearing the same things over and over again and cannot think of anything else you’d rather wear. A signature feels natural, aligned with your inner vision of yourself, freeing, serene. You’ve developed a signature if you’re wearing the same things over and over again and feel pulled-together and perfectly like yourself.

So the answer to Monica’s is a question: Is wardrobe and outfit diversity important to you? If it’s important to you but you aren’t managing to support that importance with putting time and energy toward your personal style, is there a way to compromise? Maybe create three main outfit formulas to work off instead of sticking to just one? Are you bored with wearing the same things each day? If so, what’s keeping you from branching out? Could mixing up your shoes and accessories be helpful?

And if anyone ever complains to you that you wear the same outfits over and over, I highly recommend mooning them. Or suggesting some other hobbies aside from tallying and cataloging your outfits!

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