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?

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July 20, 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.

put2gether pick: let’s romp!

Looking for a fun option for the summer? Give the romper a whirl. Back in full force this summer, the updated romper looks great in bold colors with small prints. My favorite style features spaghetti straps (which keeps the overall look very light and playful), but there are options for everyone, from strapless to short sleeves.

 

Billabong romper ($34)

And it goes easily from day to night.

  • By day, pair with gladiator sandals, big oval shades, an oversized bag and a floppy straw hat
  • By night, throw on a tuxedo-style blazer, leather and cork heels, and a metallic clutch
  • Though I love statement jewelry with just about anything, I suggest layering a few delicate silver or gold necklaces to complement the lightness of the romper

Ready for a romp?

June 6, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . put2gether pick. Leave a comment.

Fashion Files: The Case of the Dastardly Denim

I love to put together outfits. I seem to find myself – almost nightly – thinking about new ways to pair my different pieces to get more outfits out of my closet. But I know that it’s not always easy figuring out what to wear, especially to a special event, or for work, or on a first date, etc., so that’s where I’d like to help! Whether it’s a party outfit puzzler, a riddle about ruching or some sleuthing needed on a signature style, I’m on the case!

Let’s begin.

The Case of the Dastardly Denim

Client: Steph – a successful entrepreneur, communications guru, busy mom of two and fellow blogger (OShouldKnow)

The Crime Scene: Blue Jean Ball, benefitting the March of Dimes

The Perp: The event’s theme

The client came to put2gether with a real conundrum, one that has stumped many a woman – what in the blazes does one wear to event where the theme is “Black and Blue?” Haven’t encountered that one yet? It’s a formal affair, popular with the fundraising set, where attendees pair traditional black with blue jeans. And it seems to be a theme that is becoming more popular, to which I certainly raise a eyebrow. I mean, black and blue don’t even match!

So to help our intrepid client conquer her first Black and Blue event – where you not only have to wear black and blue, but dress up your black and blue – I advised her to put together the following outfit:

  • Dark-wash blue jeans. The dark wash makes blue jeans more formal and less farm-style. Choose from skinny or boot cut based on your body shape, but either way, go long to lengthen the leg and complement your footwear
  • Longer cut, tuxedo-style black blazer. A longer cut blazer is more current, giving the outfit a more formal flair. Shorter blazers that women normally wear as part of a suit look great with jeans, but they give a much more casual vibe – like you are ready for a concert or night out on a date. Plus a tuxedo-style ups the style ante even higher
  • Crisp white shirt. Another classic, the crisp white shirt keeps the look refined and regal. Tuck in your shirt and slip on a subtle belt, like a skinny braided style, in black
  • Statement necklace. Add in a great piece of jewelry at the necklace, something big, bold and with just the right dash of sparkle. And it doesn’t need to be expensive! Just make it interesting and something that enhances the overall outfit.
  • Black boots. When in Black and Blue, do as the organizers do – wear those cowboy boots! Complement your black blazer with a fab pair of black cowboy boots, or a fun ankle boot works as well.

Was it successful? Let’s hear from Steph:

“In my line of work, I often have to go to fundraisers and I get totally stressed out about what to wear–especially when they require finding some kind of whacky outfit or in this case–dressing up for a formal Cowboy event.  Is that even possible?  Stephanie had told me about her new fashion blog idea the week before, so instead of panicking, I picked up the phone and asked for her advice.  She was amazing.  She not only told me what EXACTLY to wear, but was able to include things that I already had in my closet.  I’ve never had so many compliments as I did that night. . .and, I was wearing black and blue!”

Excellent! Case closed.

Have a fashion caper that needs to be solved? Ask put2gether to put you together!

March 24, 2010. Tags: , , . Fashion Files. Leave a comment.