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Printed denim after 40? Oh, I don’t think so

Categories: bottoms

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My super cute friend Suzanne has a question: “What are your thoughts on printed jeans for women in their 40s?” Ooh, that’s a really good question.

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I would like to have an open mind about printed denim for grownups — I refuse to believe that age is ever a really valid reason not to wear something you love. In fact, I just bought a pair of neon pink skinny corduroys and I am totally smitten with them, even though the combination of neon and skinny really seems to be something that would work much better on a younger woman. I’m also hesitant to argue that a print is not appropriate for anyone’s post-40 body. I’m a big fan of printed pants, particularly for grown up women — I mean, is there anything more chic than a crisp pair of graphic print capris? I think not.

But I just cannot get behind printed denim for grown ups. Sorry.

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Capri pant DON’Ts

Categories: bottoms

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Spring is here, which means that my Twitter feed is full of questions about alternatives to shorts. I love shorts, but as a former shorts boycotter, I understand the resistance many women have to them. The logical alternatives to shorts are skirts and capri pants — and for many moms, capri pants seem more practical and logical.

The danger of capri pants is that they can go from chic to frumpy so easily, and no one wants that. I’m assuming that the whole reason you’re not wanting to wear shorts is that you’re concerned about your legs, but keep in mind that the wrong capri pants can be even more unflattering than the right shorts.

Let’s start with a visual:

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There are a lot of things wrong with these pants — specifically, the length, the width, and the details. I’ll break it down for you:

Length
The pants in the photo are bad because they hit the model at the widest part of her calf, which makes her legs look wider. Avoid this by choosing a cropped pant that hits just above the slimmest part of your ankle (typically an inch or two above the ankle bone). Pants that stop just above your skinny bits draw attention to those bits, while pants that stop just above the wide parts make you look wider.

Width
The pants in the photo are super skinny; that, plus the awkward knee length, makes it look like the model is straining the fabric, which is not slimming. Instead, look for a capri that falls straight from the widest part of your hip. Steer clear of pants that taper at the ankle; this creates an ice cream cone shape that isn’t flattering on anyone.

Details
Keep your capris sleek and minimal; too many details just add bulk and draw attention to the parts you’re trying to camouflage. Slash pockets widen your hips, while an overstated front seam cuts your leg in half. Stick with a flat-front capri with minimal detailing; avoid flap pockets and cuffs, too, as they add bulk in the wrong places.

So what do the right capri pants look like? Like this:

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Are you a capri pants girl? What’s your strategy for styling your capris for the spring and summer?

Photos via LOFT

How to style a midi skirt

Categories: bottoms

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MidiSkirts

The midi skirt has an irresistible appeal; long enough to cover all your lady parts, but not so long that you’ll step on it or get tangled in it. If you’re looking for a chic skirt option for the office, the midi is it.

But the midi skirt can be difficult to wear — style it wrong and you’ll look like you’re on your way to the convent. Here are three simple ways to make a midi look hip.

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Just say NO to embellished jeans

Categories: bottoms

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I love a little bling; I’m all about wearing sequins for the school drop and piling on the necklaces for a grocery store run. But I am baffled by the ongoing popularity of embellished jeans.

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Unless you are an actual rodeo queen, you do not need all that going on behind you. And if you are an actual rodeo queen, I have to wonder if it’s really comfortable to ride a horse with your backside all bedazzled like that.

Let’s go in for a closer look, shall we?

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Shorts for the office? The Wall Street Journal says yes (but I say no)

Categories: beyond 9 to 5, bottoms

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This week, the Wall Street Journal is singing the praises of the shorts suit. “Traditionally, the word ’suit’ is a sad one for ladies, especially when uttered during the summer months,” writes Alexa Brazilian. “Conversely, shorts have always evoked ideas of vacation, heat and leisure. When brought together, they create an unexpected combination of crisp polish and playful sportiness that can be worn anywhere from the office to weekends in the country and formal evenings out.”

In other words, it’s time to get a shorts suit!

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Ahoy! How to wear sailor pants

Categories: bottoms

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It’s spring, and it’s time to think about freshening up your wardrobe. Sailor pants are a summer classic — but how do you style them?

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Elizabeth and James Lucien Trousers, $225, Saks Fifth Avenue


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Shorts: A shopping guide

Categories: bottoms

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“I would like to find a decent pair of khaki shorts that are not 3 inches long and super low rise, nor 1940’s style. Just something classic and simple,” writes Susanna. “I live in south Georgia so it’s already in the 80s here this year and I’m trying to spruce up the wardrobe a little, but in a stay at home mom with little kids sort of way.”

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Paillette short, $148 at J. Crew. Insert eye roll here.


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Shorts: A how-to

Categories: beyond 9 to 5, bottoms

8 Comments

This week, I want your help answering a Very Pressing Question: is it really possible to dress up your shorts?

I have all sorts of issues with shorts. Most women (and men!) are wearing the wrong shorts — wrong size, wrong style, wrong fabric (no more denim shorts, I’m begging you all). But even a really great pair of shorts is still … a pair of shorts. They’re meant for casual wear, and the insistence on dressing them up drives me batty. It’s ok to have clothes that are just for the weekend! Really! You don’t need to wear your shorts to work!

In fact, I say steer clear of shorts for the office. Always.

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How to wear cropped pants

Categories: bottoms

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Lauren recently tried on a pair of cropped pants at Banana Republic “and they fit great,” she wrote, “but I didn’t get them because the length seemed weird. Like they’re supposed to be ‘flood’ length? They hit basically at the top of my ankle bone. How would I wear them so I don’t just look shorter?”

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J. Crew Stretch Twill Minnie Pant, $79.50

Cropped skinny pants are a classic look — think Jean Seberg in “Breathless” or Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face.” As minimalism makes a return to the runway, the skinny pant — sleek, slim, understated — is also back.

But how do you wear it?

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The Monday morning closet: Go from weekend to work with five easy pieces

Categories: basics, bottoms, casual office, shoes

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One of the most difficult wardrobe transitions you’ll ever make is the post-kids return to work. It’s a tough shift for a lot of reasons: your body has changed, for one thing, and your budget probably has, too. And for many of us, the return to work is a foray into a much more casual office environment than the one we left before the baby came home. All of this often means that our current everyday clothes are too casual, while our old work attire is too dressy — or just the wrong size and shape. And most of us don’t have the cash to start over with an entirely new wardrobe (and of course, if you’re still working to lose that last bit of baby weight, you may not want to buy a bunch of stuff that — hopefully — won’t fit in a year anyway).

So what should you invest in before you kiss the baby goodbye and head back to the office? Ideally, pieces that will work both with your current closet and on their own, and that can transition from work to weekend without missing a beat. Here are my five essentials for the back-to-work closet.

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