Posts Categorized: tutorial

Random Tip Roundup: Fit and Sizing

fit and sizing tips

Just for kicks, I thought I’d share a few fit and sizing tidbits that have been floating around in my head of late!

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The fuller the skirt, the shorter the hemline feels. If, like me, you adore pleats in your dresses and skirts, be aware that the shape and design may make a slightly above-the-knee hemline feel quite … er, breezy. Go a bit longer than you might ordinarily.

Generally, shorts will fit better if you try a size up from your normal pant size.

Most retailer websites have a general size chart that only hints at how individual garments will fit. Consult the chart to get within your sizing ballpark and, if you can afford to do so, order your normal size and a size up or down. Keep the one that fits best and send back the other.

Tall boots that reach or cover your kneecap often make your legs look shorter because the eye expects the kneecap to be the midpoint of the leg. (This isn’t always true, but it’s what we expect!) In most cases, a boot that reaches an inch or so below the bottom of the kneecap will look fabulous.

Underwear sizing is ridiculous and meaningless. If at all possible, buy the size that fits your body without squeezing or subdividing your hips and butt, even if that size is several higher than what you’d expect to fit. I’m a size 10-12 in pants and frequently spring for XXL panties.

If a shoe has a platform, subtract the platform height from the overall heel height to determine how tall the shoes will actually feel.

Jeans and pants with high spandex/lycra content can distend with wear. If you’ve got more than 4% in your fiber mix, wear the pants around the house for 2-3 hours with the tags still on them. If they’re sagging and bagging, return them. They might shrink back into shape in the wash, but they’ll just sag and bag again after a few hours’ wear.

When trying on bracelets, look in a mirror with your hands at your sides. If it squeezes your wrist, it’s too small. If it slides down more than an inch past your wrist bone, it’s too big.

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Got any recently learned or unexpected fit and sizing tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

Images courtesy Land’s End.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Reader Request: Styling White Jeans

styling white jeans

Reader Sarah had this request:

I was wondering if you could point me to a post or you could do one on styling white jeans. I finally found a pair that feels flattering and now I am excited to experiment with looks. They look so cute for the spring and summer, but in some ways because they go with everything, it is hard to figure out how to highlight their good attributes.

Although I don’t wear mine terribly often, I love the look of a bright white jean. And I agree with Sarah that they can be very versatile but also very tricky. Here are my tips for making them work:

Consider your footwear

white jeans light shoes

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Regardless of the length or cut of the jean, your own size or shape, or what type of shoe you prefer, light colored shoes will generally look better with white jeans than dark colored shoes. Since the jeans are light, light shoes will create a longer leg line but even if you don’t care to visually elongate your legs, pale shoes will generally look more summery and natural with white jeans.

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Source

Now if you have dark skin the leg elongation situation shifts somewhat: In order to create that unbroken line down to the ground, you’d need to wear a light, super high-vamp shoe … and you may not be interested in doing booties for summer. To keep your look seasonal, a shoe that is no darker than nude to your skin tone is still your best bet. Tan, pastels, and metallics are all great options.

white jeans footwear

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If you’re going to do a shoe that is dark in color, opt for one that has narrow straps or delicate details. To my eye, the dark olive suede shoes on the left look less natural than the black strappy sandals on the right. Black and white are natural partners and doing a black top with white jeans can work nicely if you repeat the black elsewhere, especially by bracketing the look with black at your feet. But again, shoes that feel light instead of heavy will keep the vibe fresh and summery.

Repeat white for cohesion

white jeans outfits 1

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Now I’ll admit that this tip comes directly from the office of the Mayor of Matchy-Matchytown, so bear that in mind. Although white jeans can be worked into a variety of outfits, pairing them with tops that have white in their print or pattern is a fabulous way to create a look that feels intentional and complete. Both of these outfits include tops that have both white and another color AND both outfits also repeat that color in the shoes. Chic and elegant.

Bright contrast or cool monochrome

white jeans outfits 2

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You could also consider doing your pale shoes and white jeans with a bright, summery color like coral, mint, or yellow. Dusty shades like olive, mustard, and most jewel tones won’t work as well as colors with a bit of bite to them. White jeans look fabulous with cream, ivory, pale tans, stone, and other like shades for an arty monochromatic look.

Light neutrals or navy

white jeans neutrals navy

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In addition to white variants like ivory and stone, light neutrals like heather gray and tan look very modern and sophisticated with white denim. Sticking to this palette will create an arty, minimalist look but adding metallic accents like those in the outfit on the left will create a funkier vibe. Navy is a classic choice to pair with white jeans and is perfect for anyone who loves all things preppy and/or nautical.

Column of white or pretty pastels

white jeans outfits 3

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If you worry about breaking up your figure or want to appear as tall as possible in your white jeans, wearing a white top to create a column of color will help. You can then add a vest, blazer, scarf, or other element for interest and your long line will remain unbroken. I had trouble finding a good example of what I consider to be an easy, classic, nearly foolproof pairing for white jeans: Pastels. The look on the right here includes a pink striped top, but any pastel will do from lavender and butter yellow to pale blue and seafoam. I love the look of a pastel top, white jeans, and tan shoes.

And that’s all I’ve got! Hopefully some of these tips and outfit suggestions will help you generate new ideas for wearing your own white jeans. I’d love to hear any additional white denim outfit building advice you have to share. How do YOU wear white jeans?

Top images courtesy Gap.

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