Hello, leggy lovelies,
Excuse my long hiatus—fall has brought with it a ramp-up at work, and styling and moving to a new neighborhood have left me with nary a free moment! That said, I’m ready to be back in full blogging swing with a fun series kicking off next week on vintage and vintage-inspired fashion for talls! I’ll take you through the decades, and serve up a little fashion history, a dash of good visuals, and heaping spoonfuls of great tips for dressing with timeless panache.
But first, a little update on my styling work. I have been working with lots of new clients this fall, and am becoming very comfortable working with…petites! Most of my new assignments are petite (5’4”ish and under), and I’ve started to embrace the other side of the height spectrum—recognizing that style-related challenges on both sides of the bell curve can be quite similar (shoes in a size 5 are about as rare as 12s!) When I think about the handy-dandy little tips that I keep dispensing among my petite clientele, I think it’s high time I shared them with my tall readers as well!
- Pants or denim should break over the back of your heel: Petite pants and jeans can be more economical in saving hemming costs, but some of my leggier petite clients even find petite pants to be too short. There are lots of dependencies when determining the correct length for a pant (Is it a trouser? A skinny leg? Are you wearing it with flats or heels?), but I generally use this rule of thumb: if you’re purchasing a work pant or non-skinny denim, the trouser/pant should AT LEAST extend to the sole on the back of your heeled shoe. It can be any height of heel, but if the back of your shoe isn’t covered, the pant is too short.
- Buy denim a bit small, but make sure the rise is flattering on you: As tempting as it is to opt for jeans that are comfy and have “some give” from the first try, you should err on the tighter side—not restrictive or circulation-cutting, but snug. Most jeans have anywhere from 2%-15% spandex content, and will stretch with wear. But most important, make sure the rise is flattering for you. If you are bottom-heavy, opt for a lower rise to eliminate gapping (5” or so for talls) and a higher rise if you have a thicker waistline (8”+). The most flattering rise for all body types is mid-rise—somewhere in the 6”-7” range.
- Apply the rule of 3: When my petite clients are transitioning into more colorful and experimental wardrobes, they sometimes express intimidation in going overboard with color. Based on some general design principles (and 60-30-10 proportions), I recommend the “Rule of 3”—if you’re a bit colorshocked, wear no more than 3 colors at once. This could be three neutrals; two brights and a neutral; two neutrals and a bright; et cetera. A good example of this rule enacted is a yellow shirt paired with a green skirt and black cardigan, tights, and shoes.
- For instant polish when wearing dresses/skirts, match your shoes to your hose: Although this is relatively self-explanatory, it is worth noting that having tights in some basic solids including black, navy, brown, and gray and shoes to match help to instantly tie any skirt-centric outfit together. An added bonus is the leg-lengthening effect of matching your shoes and hose.
- The “must have” item for fall and winter is…: ALWAYS a great coat. Save your pennies and invest in one (or several) winter coats that make you feel absolutely fab. Coats are all most people see on you in the coldest months, so if you love color, patterns, or a particular shape (whether pea or trapeze), invest in the details that will lift your heart and brighten your outlook on a cold, gray day.