Friday, April 11, 2014

Seriously, Leggings Are Not Pants

I indulged in some commercial air-travel of late. As usual, the experience didn't disappoint in the people-watching department.

It's a miasma of humanity at the airport. The veteran traveler with a tidy carry-on, buckwheat neck pillow, and appropriately small toiletries. Strictly-business-travelers with all manner of electronic ephemera and a determined, get-there-on-time-dammit attitude. Families with bursting-to-full bags of all shapes and sizes with children risking life and limb on the people movers. It's a good show.

What's not good is the clothing choices by my fellow travelers. (I've ranted about this before!) It is absolutely possible to be comfortable and presentable. On my flight home there were no less than ten female travelers wearing leggings. Leggings as pants.

Technically, leggings could be considered pants because they occupy space on the lower half of the body. Here's why they aren't pants: they're footless tights. Neither the fabric nor the construction of leggings flatter the pelvic area. It may look like your leggings are thick enough to conceal your cute printed panties (and your anatomy) ... but bend over and that fabric stretches to show everything.

Leggings are not pants, even on the most toned backside.
Excellent reference material here.

And if those images aren't convincing enough. Try Googling "Leggings Are Not Pants." You will get almost 49 million related links. That's right, 49 million.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Shoes - Women's Edition

Spring dressing can be complex. While it looks warm enough to trot out a sundress and sandals, it's actually freakin' cold out there. Hypothermia sets in fast with a peep-toe. Winter's black boots and autumnal colored oxfords look drab and heavy next to Spring's light colors and wispy layers. What's a girl to do?

First thing: check your closet. Reacquaint yourself with shoes you haven't seen in a while and get rid of anything that looks tired or out-of-date.

Dust off those metallic flats, brightly colored pumps, and espadrilles that have some miles left in 'em - these are all totally current and wearable. Toss out square-toed anything (it's all about round or pointy right now), hopelessly worn shoes (no matter how much you love 'em), and espadrilles that are unraveling.

This quick chore will free up both closet and brain space for future purchases. Deep breath, now shop.

Light colored shoes in traditional silhouettes are excellent additions to a Spring wardrobe ... and though these are "trendy," they aren't likely to go out of style anytime soon. They're just too darned useful.

A tidy bootie in buff/sand/palamino is an instant update - this is from Piperlime. (I am also obsessed with this one from Rag & Bone.)

This is SO cute with super-feminine dresses. Nordstrom.
Here's a new look for an old favorite - a lady-like skater sneaker! Love the texture here. Vince at Piperlime.

Often it comes down to knuckling under and replacing the shoes you've loved to death. Every spring I replenish flip-flops (Old Navy are my go-to), Chuck Taylors, and a low espadrille. There, lurking in the shadows, are my worn favorites that I'll ... just ... stretch ... one .... more .... season.

Alas, no. They're goners. Here are some just-right replacements.

Black flats. Essential and often worn 'til their bitter end. Upgrade now, before your favorite pair dies. Chloe flats.
Metallic flats are a spring/summer must, and are even spring-y-er/summer-y-er with cut-outs. Shorts, dresses, cropped pants ... everything goes with these. (That's why I wear mine out so fast.)
A chunky, 70's inspired wedge is an instant leg-lengthen-er and super-versatile ... at any height!

Stay tuned ... next I'll tackle Spring shoes for men. (And no, I won't be writing about cleats.)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Men! Let's Talk Pants.

One would assume that buying and wearing pants would be pretty easy for most guys. After all, pants are the bulk of a man's lower-half-of-the-body wardrobe and they come in easy-to-understand waist and length measurements. Not everything is as simple as it seems, however, and pants atrocities abound.

First and foremost, there are the hem problems.

And then there are fit problems.

And sometimes there are style problems.

Hem confusion is rampant. Too short a hem on a man is very awkward (see the photo at the top of the page). I'm not talking about intentionally-too-short, like this:

This is a (now) classic Thom Browne look. Super-clean lines, flat front (always), with a nod to the '60's. This intentionally-too-short hem is definitely a fashion forward choice, sported by gentlemen in creative fields, and those who aren't afraid to dabble in trends.

The Thom Browne pant won't translate for most men, and that's fine. Regardless, hem length is so important that it should be executed with the same intentionality that trendy gentleman in creative fields employ. This is excellent reference material right here:

Men, when a pair of pants fit well you will feel fabric against your thighs. A belt will be a stylish accessory, not the only thing keeping the public from knowing your underwear brand.

Watch for pulling through the crotch and back seam (the fabric will strain horizontally), this means your pants are too tight. Bagging through the crotch, vertical pooches on the backside, and bagginess through the thigh are signs that your pants are far too big. That and having to constantly hitch up your waistband.

Personally, I prefer a flat-front pant for both casual and professional wardrobes. The look is tidy and attractive on pretty much everybody.

And now for the rise. The rise is the measurement from crotch to waist. Typically, a well-fitting pant's waistband settles around the top of the hip bone and the rise has ample (but not too much!) room for the "package." (Apparently this rule changes with age and related weight gain/underwear choices.)

Embrace your style! Explore, try new things, and enjoy. But, for the love of all things holy, DO NOT PULL YOUR PANTS DOWN BELOW YOUR BUTT.

And finally, here are some pants that have been universally flattering on my clients (and my husband).
Joe's Classic Straight Leg Jean. Excellent denim and perfect not-trying-too-hard fit.
AG Protege. A super-versatile jeans-that-are-also-chinos pant that can be casual or dressed up - great fit!
Hugo Boss "Sharp" Flat Front Trouser. No better dress pant, in my opinion. Superior fit, quality, and appearance.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Everyday Sexy

Sex carries baggage. There's judgement, misunderstanding, unbridled joy, spirituality, resentment, beauty, intrigue, animal drive ... I could go on and on. Sex and sexiness is, in a word, loaded.

With sex so ripe for interpretation, there are naturally a bevy of do's and don'ts when it comes to presenting your sexy self to the general public. Most of the don'ts are in regards to age and being "age appropriate." Further constraints include sexiness and occasion propriety (no argument from me - I do not want to see a man or woman all sexy-ed up for, say, a funeral).

So let's forget "age appropriate." How about "confidence appropriate?" This seems a much better guideline for women looking to bring artful sexiness to their sartorial lives. Confidence is sexy. Dressing sexy should never undermine your confidence ... that'd be taking away your sexy. Big no-no.

So, how can a woman be "confidence appropriate" and "occasion appropriate" while sexing up her daily uniform? With tiny tweaks, clothes that fit, and by staying almost in her comfort zone.
  • Push up sleeves so wrists are exposed (even the tiniest bit of skin is sexy!)
  • Add a necklace, a tinkling collection of bangles, or longer than usual earrings
  • Unbutton an extra button and add a camisole
  • Wear the highest possible heel your feet/back/psyche will allow
  • Animal prints in small quantities
  • Invest in a excellent pair of jeans that fit like a glove (no matter the cost)
  • Stand up straight and smile 
Before: sleeves rolled down.
After: sleeves pushed up, foxy bracelet and statement ring added.
Before: a buttoned up look
After: a little leopard and some jewelry.

Detail of blouse and jewelry. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ink Reveal! (ohmygodtotallyworthit)

As many of you know, I went under the needle last Thursday for my very first tattoo ... around my eyes. Yikes, right? Well, read on.

I settled into Erik Bernsten's chair as ready as I'd ever be for an everlasting makeup decision. I looked at some photos of his work (Erik is a pro) as he carefully explained what to expect during our session. I was looking for a "no makeup" look - meaning a subtle line that would compliment wrinkles and age spots. After settling on the color and intensity of my liner, it was go-time.

Erik applied a topical anesthetic, let it stew for a bit, then set to work. (Important note: I would not recommend this procedure if you're needle-phobic, can't abide by someone fussing around your eyes, or just can't sit still for very long.) Erik is as gentle as he can be, but there is definitely a steady pulling, pressing, and scratchy sensation while he applies the ink. When he was done with my first eye, I was ready for him to be done.

The whole appointment lasted an hour-and-a-half, I received detailed aftercare instructions, and was sent forth in to the world. Here's how I looked:

A few hours post-ink.
In the hours after the application my eyes felt pretty irritated, much like a sunburn. Certainly not enough pain to keep me away from the aisles of Fred Meyer or my kids' evening performance at school. Ice packs and ibuprofen were a big help.

Day Two was the most intense recovery-wise. I sported red circles around my eyes and the sunburn sensation peaked. Again, I went about my day with ibuprofen on-board. Day Three the rims of my eyes felt tight and dry (periodic application of Aquaphor made this easily bearable), but I was virtually pain-free. Day Four more Aquaphor and I looked like this:

Swelling is gone and excess ink is beginning to slough off.
'Round about Day Four little bits of ink, skin, and stuff start to flake off and the true line begins to emerge. Here's the end result.

Final analysis: I love not putting on makeup and feeling like I'm still, ever-so-slightly, enhanced. And wow - big time saver! If my experience has piqued your interest, take a look at Erik's site (linked above) and research the process. Here's a link to a Groupon to get you on your way!