Are you weary of wardrobe worries? Do you stand catatonic before your closet? Does the fashion rulebook ruffle your feathers? Never fear — Megan is here!
In the August edition of our fashion advice column “Ask Megan,” Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Megan LaRussa tackles readers’ questions about how to assemble an on-the-go outfit, how to master the half-tuck and much more!
Are longer shorts out of style? I am mid-50s, tall and have an athletic build. I cut and rolled a pair of white jean capris into shorts and paired them with a flowy top and heeled sandals. Lots of shorts in the stores are extremely short, for younger and shorter ladies, in my opinion. The others I have seen look a little frumpy and out of style.
Shorts can be one of the most challenging summer items to find, love and wear with ease. And with the shorter lengths and frayed hemlines, it can often feel like the only shorts out there are for 18-year-olds. It’s all about knowing where to look and what to look for with shorts.
The first thing you want to think about when selecting the right shorts for you is finding a pair that hits at a slimmer place on your thigh or where the thigh starts to narrow in, typically mid-thigh. Another flattering hemline example: a short that hits right above the knee is typically hitting at a slimmer place.
After selecting a hemline that flatters your leg, you then need to take into consideration the fit and styles that are most modern and current. If you decide to go with a longer length with hemline right above the knee, or Bermuda short, then make sure the shape of the short is tailored and more fitted to your leg. We don’t want anything flowy or wide-legged. But know that you’re in luck! Many retailers, including J.Crew, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie and Belk, have started carrying shorts of varying lengths.
My day-to-day work look is always the same — black pants and a button-down top. How can I update my look so that I actually get excited when getting dressed?
It’s time to get you out of your style rut! When you spend a majority of your day in work clothes that feel “bleh,” it’s guaranteed to zap the fun out of getting dressed, not to mention the energy and confidence that comes with loving your look.
While it’d be easy for me to say go out and buy some fun, new pieces and start wearing them to the office, that wouldn’t reverse the rut. It would simply cover it up for a few weeks before the rut returned, and then you’re back to square one. Plus, you’ve spent your hard-earned money on clothes that really don’t serve you.
To fix this style rut once and for all, you need to first and foremost cleanse your closet of any items that are no longer serving you — anything that is tired-looking, boring or dated. Once you clear the clutter, it’s much easier to assess what you have and what you need.
Shopping doesn’t have to be challenging, inefficient or a waste of money, but it easily can become just that without a game plan. So, post-cleanse, focus on creating a shopping list. Peruse some inspiration images, and get clear on the image you want to project at the office. From there, grab your shopping list and hit the stores!
To help you kick-start the shopping process, I’d love to gift you my complimentary “How to Mix & Match Your Wardrobe with Ease” guide! It’s full of fabulous work-to-weekend pieces that will put your wardrobe to work for you!
How can I incorporate my orthopedic shoes into my outfits in a stylish way? I stopped wearing skirts and dresses, opting for jeans, slacks or palazzo pants just trying to hide the shoes. How can I stop hiding and start wearing skirts and dresses again? What style shoes should I select?
First, please know you are not alone in your conundrum! I have worked with countless clients who feel limited in what they can wear because of their foot problems and lack of shoe options.
Certified orthopedic shoe options available in shops are often chunky, making you want to find ways to hide them, just as you mentioned. When you’re dealing with foot problems and you have to adhere to your podiatrist’s orders, ask if you can use a custom orthotic insert. These corrective inserts are worn inside the shoe, giving you room to find a comfort shoe that fits your orthotic inserts and your personal style.
If you can wear orthotic inserts in your shoes, it’s important to start with the basics. Every woman needs the following shoes: a neutral summer shoe, stylish sneakers (not for working out), nude and black heels and a neutral ballet flat, which can also be an Oxford or loafer depending on your personal style. When you break it down to the basics before you go shopping, it makes it less overwhelming at the shoe boutique.
When shoe shopping, it’s important to think about closed-toe shoe options that allow for an insert. This means that your summer shoe may not be a thong sandal, but instead a closed-toe woven espadrille. And your version of a nude pump may be more of a wedge for comfort purposes, or it may have a Mary Jane-style strap across the front of your foot if you also have a narrow foot or heel to ensure the shoe stays on your foot.
When browsing retailers that cater to women like yourself — be discerning. Don’t settle! There are stylish comfort shoe brands; you just have to know where to look. And lastly, make sure that your podiatrist approves of the comfort shoes you choose to pair with your orthotic inserts.
How do you know when to half-tuck and when not to half-tuck? And, actually, while I am at it, what is the half-tuck?!
An excellent and oh-so-important question! My clients are always amazed when they learn the half-tuck, because more often than not it “solves” their outfit dilemma.
First, what is the half-tuck? This styling trick is simply where part of the front of your shirt is slightly — and effortlessly! — tucked into your skirt, shorts or jeans. This typically works best when your shirt is perhaps a bit longer and more flowy. By half-tucking your shirt into your bottoms, it helps create a more tailored, polished and all-around flattering look. It can accentuate a waistline by showcasing that there is a shape under that more voluminous top.
A half-tuck doesn’t work if your bottom is a legging or some type of pull-on pant. Your pant or jean typically needs to have a front zipper to be flattering and appropriate. Also, this styling trick doesn’t work if your shirt is too short or too stiff as the half-tuck starts looking awkward instead of flattering and chic. Here is a short and sweet video on my Instagram channel demonstrating exactly how to master the half-tuck.
The kids are heading back to school, and I need wardrobe help, fast! What are some easy things I can throw on while I am on-the-go so I don’t always wear my active wear?
Whether you’re a busy mom or a work-from-home professional or any woman on a laid-back, errand-filled weekend, it’s easy to fall victim to the active-wear trap! As a hardworking woman of any stripe, you make sure to take care of everyone else, so why not treat yourself to a few new “back to school” pieces — or at least take a bit of time to create some fresh, new outfits from what you already own.
Every busy woman needs key pieces in her closet such as comfy and flattering jeans, well-draped tees, stylish sneakers, machine-washable blouses and “third pieces,” like vests, jackets & cool jewelry to tie it all together. Once you have these basics with a dash of personality-packed pieces in your wardrobe, then you can make a wide array of stylish yet practical outfits for those school drop-offs, meetings or lunches, the after-school activities and all the errands in between!
To help get you inspired and started, here are a few of my favorite outfit formulas that I encourage you to try out, based on your unique style & silhouette:
1. Upleveled Tee + Shorts + Sandals
2. T-shirt Dress + Stylish Sneaker
3. Knit Jacket + Jeans + Tee + Flats
Have fashion questions? Ask Megan! Submit your own fashion-related questions for possible inclusion in this monthly column by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Megan LaRussa, or to view style-coaching options, book an appointment or sign up for Megan’s newsletter, visit meganlarussa.com.