Thursday, July 14, 2016

From The Knees Down

Do you know what styles of pants look best on your frame? I once wore whatever was current, not giving it much thought. I know now why certain styles look better and feel more comfortable on my body. 

Since starting this blog five years ago, I have done many hours of research and had thousands of pictures taken. All that has taught me many things which allows me to share helpful tips and suggestions rather than just publishing pictures of my outfits.

The Anne Klein white jeans above and the BCBG bag are old from T.J.Maxx. The top is the Simple Comfort from Covered Perfectly. The flat sandals by Nine West are from last year. The belt is old from Chico's. 

These jeans continue down to just the top of the shoes without bunching. I prefer to give an illusion of a waistline with a hook belt worn low since I have a high thick waistline. You can see from the picture below that I always need to wear a low-slung belt with a slim-fitting tunic.

If you are like me, you want to know why something works for you, not just what pieces to wear. Many times I see something cute on a model but when I try it on it looks nothing like that on me. Proper fit and the right proportions can help us look our best in the clothes we are wearing and that always makes me feel more confident.

Many of you have commented that you can not wear heels anymore. If you wear flats with cropped pants, and you are like me with short, thick calves, your legs will look much shorter, and you will look much wider. To counter this visual effect, I wear slim fitting straight leg long pants with flat sandals. If I wear ankle pants or any other style that ends higher on the leg, I will wear a nude higher heel or wedge heel shoe which visually lengthens my leg.

The tunic above is the Simple V from Covered Perfectly. The bag is by Calvin Klein, and the shoes are by Nine West, both from T.J.Maxx. I no longer have those jeans.

Think about continuing the color or tone in one unbroken line. Even though I got the one tone rule down, I did not get the fit right in the picture above. The boot cut pants were not a good combination because they bunched over the shoes. I need to wear this type of shoe with ankle pants that stop about an inch above the top of the shoe.

You have likely seen many young women wearing the style of black shoes above with a dress. Unless your legs are very long and thin from the knees to the ankles, you run the risk of appearing to have short fat legs when you break up the line of your legs as I did with the look above. I thought I had rolled up that skirt to show enough of my leg but alas, I had not. To give my legs the right proportion with these shoes in a dress, I need to wear only mini skirts. (Not happening!) This would have been a much better look if I had stayed with my long, lean, slim leg black pants which stop just above the top of my shoes.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years are truly the best!

All words, styling, and creative direction are my own.
I no longer accept products in exchange for reviews.


RK said...

Very helpful post. I like the way that you analyze what went well or not-so-well with different outfits.

Unknown said...

Finding my style has been a journey and your blog has helped me make some fashion changes that have given me more compliments than I ever expected. I must admit, pushing through my comfort zone was the most difficult part. But I take my cue from you and stand tall and confident even though I may not feel that on the inside. It works! Thank you so much for all the time you spend on your blog and all the wonderful information you share. I'm in the Foothills of NC and hope one day to attend one of your functions. Have a wonderful day, Susan. You are an inspiration.

Unknown said...

Very helpful. I love that you are confident and willing to share what you see as your flaws to help us think about our best looks.

Anonymous said...

Susan, I actually like the middle picture in that the leg of the pants extends down over the top of the shoe. ( Maybe they could be a tad shorter to eliminate some bunching, which is not that noticeable) Sometimes when the top of the shoe is above the ankle, as in some of your lace up styles, and the bottom of the pants are above the shoe, your legs appear to be cut in thirds. In the middle picture, your legs seem to go on forever! I think it is a very flattering look on you!

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. Your legs appear much longer and slimmer in the longer style jears. .However your taste is impeccable and its whatever you feel comfortable with that matters.

christy said...

This is a great post. I really appreciate all you share with what works and what doesn't making it possible for me to analyze my own outfits. You often mention different makes of jeans/pants but I would love to read your analysis of the different makes you wear with what works and what doesn't. You always seem to manage to look terrific.

Susan said...

Christy, My current favorite pants are the Lior Paris pants I get from They fit well and they have several different lengths to go with different lengths of tops and styles of shoes.

Prairie Poulet said...

Some of the things I have learned from your blog:

I can wear those black cage shoes. High arches work to my advantage in this style. I need a wedge heel for support. I wear them with pants only, and not when I'll be walking a lot.

And that leads me to the slim-fitting ankle pants I wear with these shoes. I can wear them, even with my pear shape, but only with a high waist. I found them in a store that caters to my size. Fit is very important in this style. I would not be able to buy this style in a teenager store. Slim-fitting for my size is not that slim.

And that leads to the tops I wear. I adjust the length and shape of my tops depending on the shape of the pant leg. Longer tunic tops with slimmer legs, shorter, more fitted tops with boot-cut pants. I wear sleeveless tops now, as long as I have a longer waterfall cardigan or shorter jacket: which one depends on the silhouette. A column of color under the cardigan or jacket is best for me.

Whew-- there's a science to this!

One of your commenters said you should wear your heels while you can. I realized there's no time like the present for a lot of style choices.

I also have a teenager in the house to correct my mistakes. "Really, mom, what are you thinking?

Kathy said...

Since following your blog, I've learned that it is ok to wear pants to more dress up events to which I normally would always wear dresses. Since I've retired, I've been trying to decide what direction I want my wardrobe to take and seeing how you create many outfits from some pretty basic pieces is inspiring. Thank you.

After reading today's blog about pants length paired with shoes I have to ask....dd you use a wardrobe consultant (similar to having colors done for skin tone and make up) or are your results simply the result of your own observation and analysis of photos. Thanks for your very nice blog.

Susan said...

I study a lot Kathy. I have not worked with a wardrobe consultant.

Near Horizons said...

It's nice to have the fashion analysis, and I will use it, but I didn't think the things you are identifying as mistakes detracted much from those good outfits!

beccadance said...

Prairie...this cracked me up as I have one of those teenagers!

He looks at me and evaluates and he makes sure I know when the pant is too long over the shoe. I just shortened a bunch of my pants due to his 13 year old, purple haired wisdom.

We're both fans of Fifty-not Frumpy....and he's watched all the episodes of "What Not to Wear" and happens to be pretty good at this sort of thing.

Thanks, Susan...for teaching us what works and making us think. I LOVE going shorter on the pants with heels and flats alike and LOVE feeling able to decide what works and what won't after all I've learned from you !

JulieC said...

I love your style! Do you ever wear a maxi dress?

Susan said...

I have worn a maxi a few times. I wear flat strappy sandals or platforms with them, never heels.

MissLucy said...

I absolutely adore your blog! I'm just a couple years younger than you & I was tired of wearing T-shirts & hoodies, that I think it was having an affect on not feeling good about myself, & being on a loooooong weight loss plateau. I am getting so many tips from you & the fact that I'm built much like you (short, muscular calves...), I've finally found looks that will work for me! Thank you, Susan, for the inspiration!

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting the "dont's". They are just as helpful!

Anonymous said...

I love your style and enjoy your blog. I have noticed that you do not feature dresses. I like to wear dresses for traditional church services. Can you impart some wisdom??

Susan said... is a young woman who wears lots of dresses very well.

Anonymous said...

Susan, so I am one of those with the short legs and large, muscular calves. Do we always have to wear pants? What type of dresses (besides mini-skirts) would work and with what shoes? I am over 60 too, and just found your blog! Love your style!

Susan said...

You might try wearing dark colored tights in the same color as your shoes and hemline. That always makes the legs look longer and leaner.