How To: Select Some Shorts

Having spent my formative years in the 80s, I tend to be drawn to anything that boasts an alligator, polo horse or Nantucket Red. Tretorns? Had them. Benetton rugby shirt? Check. Polo shirts with the collars up? Yep. I even wore two at a time. In the summer. The New England summer. The hot, humid New England summer. All of which culminated in one of the proudest moments in my life – when I was voted “Preppiest” in my 8th grade class. Boy, was that awesome!

Well, I still have a healthy dash of preppy in my system, which is why I’m loving shorts this summer. I’ve found so many deliciously preppy shorts – kelly green, baby blue seersucker, soft violet – that I feel like I’ve fallen back in time. But without the Aquanet hairspray, of course.

But picking the right pair of shorts isn’t always easy, especially with so many different lengths from which to choose. So let’s talk shorts shopping!

Flat’s Where It’s At. First, go for flat front shorts. Similar to pants and skirts, pleated shorts added extra bulk to waist area. Flat front shorts are more slimming, and allow you to pair them with shirts tucked in or out. I love these flat-front Old Navy shorts in cobalt blue.

Old Navy shorts

Not Seamless. Shorts come in a variety of inseam lengths, so it’s important to try a variety of different lengths to find the one that looks best on you. Here are a couple rules of thumb:

  • Aim for the hem to end above or below the widest part of your leg to avoid making your thighs look larger than they really are. Since my thigh shape starts wider near my torso and gets narrower by my knee, I go for a 5″ or 7″ inseam.
  • Don’t forget to take a seat while trying on those shorts. Make sure you are comfortable with where the hem lies when you are standing up and sitting down. And that’s why I avoid all 3″ inseams!
  • Very in-tune with my preppy roots, here’s a great pair of Lilly Pulitzer 5″ inseam shorts, in a very fun hot pink.

Lilly Pulitzer shorts

Choice Choice. Shorts come in a myriad of styles, so you have lots of choice when it comes to finding the perfect fit. Bermuda, Board, Cargos, Jean, Culottes, Running, Cut-offs…the list goes on and on.

  • Again, remember the hem when trying different styles. Take into account your entire leg as you try on different styles. Since I have athletic calves (and am proud of them!), I stay away from Bermuda shorts because the hem comes to my knees.
  • My favorite short style – the skort!  You get the flexibility of shorts but with a more refined look, so an easy way to transition from a hike to high tea. I love this LL Bean skort (nothing says preppy like LL Bean) with its little bit of flounce.

LL Bean Skort

What’s your favorite style?


July 20, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . How To. Leave a comment.

How to: Get Booted

For July 4th weekend, we headed to Mammoth for one last ski of the season (yes, I did say ski!). Après-slopes today, my friend and I hit the town to take advantage of the summer ski sales. On the list? A new pair of ski boots. Now I know that this is a fashion blog, but hey, boots are boots!

Nordica ski boots

Though we didn’t find a match, we did walk away with some great boot shopping tips thanks to a super knowledgable sales guy at Footloose (one of the best ski shops in Mammoth). Here’s what we learned;

  • Size It Up. Always get your foot measured. It helps the sales staff see the shape of your foot, which will enable them to find the beat fit.
  • Flip Out. Before you try it on, turn it over. The “sole” of the boot should match your foot’s shape. Narrow foot? The sole should be narrow too.
  • Line It Up. Ready to try it on? Not quite yet. Pull that liner out first. Your foot should have about an inch of breathing room between your heel and the back of the boot.
  • Time to Try. With the liner back in, slip that tootsie in. The boot should conform to your foot. Too tight is not right – just like with all shoes – but the boot should be quite snug. Too loose and you won’t have the stability you need to get you safely down the hill.

And my tip for ski boot shopping? Buy in July. $800 pairs were going for $250. Now if I could only find a Louboutin sale like that one.

July 5, 2010. Tags: , , , . How To. Leave a comment.

How To: Pick the Right Summer Pants (Or “Put back the capris!”)

I started working on a post about how to pick the right style of shorts for your legs (coming! promise!), but as I was browsing through TJ Maxx looking for inspiration (and some wedges on sale), I found myself in the most horrific aisle of the store – the capri section. As I came to a screeching halt, my eyes transfixed on the way-too-vast selection in front of me , I knew that I had to shelve the shorts story and send a plea to all of you. Put the down capris down and slowly back away!

Capris do not look good – on anyone! Need proof? Just pick up a Victoria’s Secret clothing catalog and check out the capri section. Capris make those gorgeous models’ calves look they have grown two sizes. The problem – the capri ends mid-calf, and since they aren’t fitted, they make your leg look thicker than it really is.

Now, I know what you are going to say. They are just so comfortable! I understand as I do indeed own a few pairs of capris. Each summer, I seem to be drawn in by their refreshing fabrics and fun colors, but I’ve got stronger over the years and am now able to resist their persistent pull. Mostly because I’ve branded an image in my mind, of myself, wearing white linen capris that had branding at cuff. I shudder just to think about those pants.

So comfort you want? Then comfort you shall have. Here are some alternatives to the capri.

Pack it Up. The Cargo Pant is a hot trend for the summer. You no longer have to worry about smacking someone with your side pockets like with cargo pants of old. These days’ cargoes are simple and slim. Check out the J.Crew Linen-Silk Cargo Pants.

J Crew Linen-silk cargo pants

It’s Okay to Slouch. Summertime is the right time for a little slouching. Though relaxed in the fit, slouchy pants still look great on a date, especially with when rolled at the cuff. Pair with stacked high heels and a fun tank. Gap Slouchy Pants

Gap Slouchy Belted pants

Elongate It. Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean you have to wear short pants all of the time. A full-length pant in a light fabric can feel and look just a fresh, especially in fun summer colors or a crisp white. Check out the Old Navy Button Front Wide Leg Pants – love the wide bottoms.

Old Navy Button Front Wide Leg Pants

Island Fever. Living the luxe life? Try the Georgie’s St. Bart Pant – gorgeous brown silk for tropical island nights or perusing Parisian shops by day.

Georgie St. Bart's Pant

June 27, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . How To. Leave a comment.

How To: Get Some Life Out of Your Tunic

Nothing says summer like a tunic. Though I tend to steer towards the New England uniform (white, black, beige and navy), I can’t seem to help myself when summer rolls around and the tunics come out. The colors and patterns make me absolutely giddy. Well, maybe not giddy, but at least willing to try some pink.

As I was pulled into a store simply because the tunics featured in the front window, I thought how sad it was that the gleeful tunic had to hibernate come fall. So here are some thoughts on incorporating more fun into your wardrobe, courtesy of the tunic.

So let’s start with the fab navy-blue ikat-print tunic I recently got at Toss in San Francisco (that was the store with the tunic display – so smart).

Classic Cover-Up. Since it’s summer, we’ll start with the obvious – the beach cover-up. Throw over your suit and pair with your favorite beach bag, Havaiana flip flops and floppy hat.  (Sorry to get off topic, but can’t resist sharing my new fave sunscreen – Neutrogena’s new Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock in SPF 70 – perfect under makeup).

Free Flow. After a day in the sun, freshen up that tunic for a summer’s meal with skinny white pants, gladiator sandals and a chunky beaded necklace. Leave that tunic flowing free over or tie off with a skinny belt.

Missing the waves while at work? Sneak a little tunic fun into your work wardrobe. Here are three ways to make it work:

  • You’re Penciled In: Grab your favorite pencil skirt and you are good to go. Tuck in your tunic and pair with a statement necklace and complete with stacked high heels.

  • Well-Suited: Slip the tunic under your suit to wow up your wardrobe. Try an all-black or all-white suit to make the tunic stand out. Just tuck it in and trot it out. Add a metallic necklace and a bit complementary color at the foot (such as orange with navy) to complete the look.

  • Cool Casual: Have Causal Friday in your office? Dig out those paper-bag waisted pants and skimmers for a just-come-from-the-pool casual look. Again, tuck that tunic in to highlight the paper-bag waist.

So there are five ways to get some life out of that favorite tunic. What’s your favorite one look like?

June 19, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . How To. Leave a comment.

How To: Pick the Perfect Summer Sundress

Spending time in San Francisco this past weekend, on what was the most glorious day they’ve had all year, I was greeted by a bevy of beautiful sundresses, in every color and shape imagine. As I rush home to pull out my summertime shifts, I thought I’d cover some shapes that flatter our different figures.
Long for It. For those lovelies long in the torso, try the oh-so au courant blouson dresses. Either gathered or tied with a ribbon, the blouson dress will sit perfectly just above your hips.
  • Pick one with a bit of a flounce in the skirt to give your dress some flirt.
  • Avoid longer skirts that shorten the look of your legs.

Victoria's Secret Blouson Dress $29

Whittle Waist. To give some length to your look, short-waisted gals should go halter. The gathering at the neck gives you a long, lean look, plus shows off arresting arms.

  • Think A-line skirt to complete the body-skimming shape.
  • Add a belt or tie to help create a waist by cinching towards the hips
  • Avoid empire-waist dresses that shorten your torso even more.

Jane Norman halter dress $55

Strong in the shoulders? Go feminine without going too girly by kicking up your curves with a full skirt.

  • To help balance shoulders, select some cap sleeves.
  • Want to enhance the bustline? Ruching works wonderfully!
  • Avoid halter style dresses that make shoulders look even stronger.

Modcloth Cap Sleeve Dress $53

Want to downplay the decolletage? Try an interesting full-coverage shape, like a one-shoulder affair, that keeps the eye on the whole outfit.

  • Think tailored and full-supported.
  • Avoid any embellishment at the neckline.

Topshop One Shoulder Dress $90

Ladies with fuller shapes on bottom should look for two-toned dresses to help accentuate their top assets. Look for darker shades on bottom and bolder on top to balance your overall outfit, with cap or short sleeves.

  • Go for A-line, body-skimming shapes that fall at least to the knee
  • Add accessories or adornment at the neckline to bring the eye up
  • Avoid full skirts with pleating or gathers.


Taylor dress $158

Ladies with fuller shapes on top should invest in simple body-skimming shifts. Think sleeveless styles in solid colors, stopping above the knee to accentuate fab legs.

  • Go for a vee-neck shape to create length.
  • Create a waist at your narrowest point through cinching, belts or subtle gathering
  • Avoid trapeze dresses that add  unneeded volume on top.

Harvey Nichols dress $285

Where’s your favorite place to find the perfect sundress?

June 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . How To. 1 comment.

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