Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tips & Tricks for Everybody: Skirt Length Rules FAQ's (Part 4) - More On Shoes & Legwear

Here's the last installment in the FAQ's about the "Skirt Length" Rules -- and this post is for EVERYONE!
Shoe & Legwear Guidelines for:
(1)  Maxi skirts and dresses
(2)  Wider-legged capris (which I really don't recommend, but I see that the 'gaucho' look is back)
(3)  Wider-legged pants
(4)  Calf-length, fuller-skirted skirts and dresses

Surprise!  The footwear and legwear guidelines for this category for everyone are the same!  Why?  Because regardless of your leg length proportions, these clothing categories will tend to add visual bulk and width to your entire hip-to-foot area.

So all of us will want our footwear and legwear to help us counteract that no-so-flattering "widescreen effect".  We're aiming for either of two equally-acceptable visual goals:  (1) We want to float or skim the floor with disappearing, barely noticeable feet ("weightless footwear"); or (2) we want to be firmly and noticeably anchored to the floor ("gravity footwear").

Let's look first at legwear:  Ideally, match or blend legs with your shoe color.  Why? Because your clothing is already creating a horizontal line near the bottom of your leg, so you don't want to add yet another horizontal line where your leg and shoe "break".

Footwear:  Choose "extremes" footwear -- meaning:

"Weightless footwear" -- Ethereal little bits of shoe that barely add anything to our feet, and the more neutral or quiet the color, the better.  Examples:  ballet shoes, or flat sandals either with a lot of skinny straps or with just a few wider straps.  Notice the footwear choice J. Crew showed with the dreamy Rose Trellis Taryn dress in the picture at right.  Dark, but really just a wisp of leather and no heel at all.  Perfect floaty choice.

On the other "extreme", your choice would be "gravity footwear" with a lot of heft and substance, both literally and visually.  Examples:  wedges, riding boots, booties, shooties or other high-vamped shoes/boots with a flat heel or a chunky heel.  Notice how J. Crew styles the gaucho jean for Spring/Summer 2011.  Very chunky, high-vamped sandal with a lot of dark leather showing, a lot of "heft" to the body and the heel.

And one last tip:  With these types of clothes, we should all avoid skinny or kitten heels of any height, which make us look like we're teeter-tottering on tippy-toe with yards of fabric swirling around us.  The higher the heel, of course, the more that's the look.  Visualize a pretty bunch of barely-tied-down party balloons in the breeze.  Not what we're going for. :-)

That's a wrap, y'all -- for now, the end of these FAQ's.  I hope they're helpful guidelines for you.  If you've got questions or requests for future "Tips & Tricks" posts, please e-mail me at!

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