the lowdown on cropped pants

by Danielle

As summer quickly approaches I’ve been considering how to balance staying fresh and cool outside with spending a lot of time indoors with heavy A/C on and places where shorts are unacceptable. The struggle to be comfortable is real! Here are some options for those who are in the same boat as me.

ankle

(skinnies and slim)

The ankle pant sits right above your ankle bone, that little bump that we usually only notice when we bang it on the coffee table? As a slim or skinny silhouette, it elongates the leg.

cropped

(flare, bootcut, straight, and skinny)

A cropped or high-waters pant fits somewhere above the ankle but below mid calf. Most often seen as a cropped straight or flare leg (notice how the last two looks seem fitted until the knee and then bell out). The most underrated summer jean, imo – the volume through the leg allows for both breathability and full range of motion for all kinds of summer activities.

clam digger/capri

(mostly slim fit)

Clam diggers end just below the knee, and capris end about 3 inches below the knee, and sometimes flare out just a bit. Just be sure they fall above the mid-calf to ensure good balance of lines. They’re more casual and feature your calves. I love both looks, either wearing them relaxed with a fitted top or close-fit with a tunic-length top to embrace the flowy feel.

big idea

All of these lengths are cute and fun, no matter where you’re taking them. Regardless of which you choose, be selective in your shoe choice. Since your ankles and possibly lower leg are bare, your shoe choice is fully visible. Being intentional about your footwear will elevate your look. Tips:

  • For a cropped pant, try a mid-height boot that covers your ankle or a heel to emphasize height.
  • Make sure the hem of your slim-fit ankle pants doesn’t compete with the opening of your shoe.
  • Keep your clam digger/capri shoes casual – it’s a low maintenance look, so a wicker wedge or flat sandal is perfection!

 

 

spring break travel capsule

My best friend from high school, Meredith, and I both marked our 50th birthdays this past year. To celebrate, we’re going to HAWAII!!! It’s been a bucket list destination of mine, and we leave on Sunday for a week of stunning natural beauty, sunshine, beaches, and VOLCANOES. Can. Not. Wait.

Meredith and I in high school. Let’s just say some of my 80s fashion choices and my fascination with perms were unfortunate and leave it at that.

So, what to bring?

warm weather travel capsule for a carry-on

I like to travel light and not check bags. A travel capsule is the perfect solution.

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1. two swimsuits

At a beach destination, you definitely want two swimsuits. I prefer bikinis, and a lightweight cover-up shirt or a skirt with a tank makes transitions from beach to other activities easy. Flip-flops are a must!

2. sunscreen

Every single thing I’ve read about Hawaii emphasizes how important sunscreen is because the UV rays are so intense there. “A sunburn will wreck your trip.” I bought a 3-ounce bottle of waterproof sunscreen so I could put it in my carry-on and be ready to hit the beach right away. I’ll buy more sunscreen there.

Tip: look for sunscreen with no oxybenzone – an ingredient that stains fabrics and is harmful to coral reefs!

 3. water shoes

I plan to see a sea turtle up close and personal (again, bucket list), and water shoes allow you to scrabble around easily in the ocean when snorkeling.

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4./5. shorts and shirts

This is where I’m most using the capsule approach – I made sure that I can mix and match my shorts and shirts to make multiple outfits with them. One shirt is long-sleeved in case it is a cooler day or evening.

6. comfortable sandals

We’ll be doing a lot of exploring, so I’m bringing sandals that I know will be comfortable for walking.

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7. sturdy shoes for hiking and longer walking

When we hike the volcanoes and craters in Volcanoes National Park, we’ll need more structured shoes. These are super comfy and lightweight, so they’ll be good for other uses as well.

Tip: Wear your bulkiest shoes on travel days to make more space in your carry-on.

8. small backpack, weather gear, and camera

When a vacation includes outdoor adventures, I always bring my small backpack – it’s old, but works great for taking a water bottle, sunscreen, hat, camera, and other necessities to the beach or hiking. It rains almost every day in Hawaii (just a little most of the time!), so I’ve got an umbrella and lightweight rain jacket.

Tip: if your raincoat doesn’t have a built-in pocket pouch, zip it, fold longways, and roll it into the hood. (Learned this from my awesome outdoor gear expert nephew!)

9. athletic wear for hiking and active adventures

It’s hot in Hawaii (can’t wait to ditch the parka!), so cool clothing will be great for hiking.

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10. sundress and maxi-dress

We’ll enjoy the local restaurants, and maybe even go to a luau, so it’s nice to have a sundress or two.

11. lightweight sweater and shawl scarf

If the evenings get cool, I’ll wrap a lightweight sweater or scarf around my shoulders. This sweater can also be worn with shorts or thrown on over anything, if needed.

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12. utilize all the nooks and crannies of your carry-on

I pack as tightly as possible in my carry-on – filling in every little gap with socks, underwear, etc. And I use every pocket on the suitcase. The side zip-pocket has a pair of sandals in it! I’ll also bring a tote bag to carry my camera, books, purse, and travel sundries.

Visit my Facebook page next week for pics of Meredith and me on our grand adventure!

 Aloha!

add polish to your summer outfit and stay cool too

I find that wearing a lot of accessories in the summer makes me too hot. A big scarf or heavy necklace around the neck, bulky bracelets, or statement belts become increasingly more uncomfortable as the day goes by. In summer, I’m drawn to fine-weight jewelry, skinny belts, and if it’s really hot, no accessories at all.

What to do, when you know accessories add that extra polish that pulls an outfit together and helps you feel your best?

wear a silk scarf in your hair

A small silk square tied as a headband or added to a bun or ponytail has oodles of style!

or elsewhere!

Wearing a scarf in an unexpected way adds intentionality and style to your outfit. Tie a small silk square around your wrist to make a fabulous – and lightweight – bracelet. Use a long skinny scarf as a belt with cropped jeans or to add polish to a maxi-dress or skirt.

Or go classic and wear a small bandana tied as a neckerchief with a casual tee. Be sure to avoid too big a scarf or the volume of fabric will make you hot – a smaller one adds a pop of color, but beats the heat.

make the print the accessory

A bold print summer dress is the perfect antidote to the heat. The pattern is the highlight, so no need for accessories (unless you really want them), and dresses are breezy cool!

wear fun shoes

I firmly believe that shoes make or break an outfit. Adding a fun shoe to a very basic outfit can transform it from “meh” to “fab!” Choose an interesting sandal, espadrille, flat, or sneaker to pull together your outfit. A bright color, bold print, wedge or block heel, delicate straps or laces, or metallic finish can make all the difference.

Step out in cool style and enjoy the dog days of August!

Images (except for my own) via Pinterest

 

1 white linen top 3 ways for summer fun

A basic white linen top can be the foundation for great summer outfits, bumping up the polish from a knit tee and keeping you cool at the same time.

Everything I’m wearing – with the exception of the tassel necklace (a travel purchase), the belt (made in the USA), and the polka dot scarf (a gift) – was purchased new-to-me, including the shoes. Right now is a great time to shop consignment – the summer sales are on! #secondhandfirst

with cropped jeans

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Cropped jeans (with a contemporary raw hem – mine are DIY!) and comfy neutral wedge sandals make a simple, polished outfit for knocking around or casual going out. A long skinny silk scarf as a belt adds a pop of fun.

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white on white

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White on white is bright and fresh for summer, and the gold metallic strappy flat sandals (Stuart Weitzman, unworn, and a steal at consignment prices) complement the monochromatic look. Tie a small silk square scarf into a bracelet for a fashion-forward splash of color and head to your favorite patio for cocktails and dining al fresco.

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with bright shorts

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Feel put together for daytime fun with bright shorts and sandals good for walking. I love the embroidered anchor print on these shorts – I’m a sucker for preppy, throwback styles!  Partial-tuck the top (notice I did this in all three looks for body definition) and add a belt for further polish. Casual, but intentional.

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Stay cool!

 

summer clearance season has begun!

Consignment stores everywhere have begun their summer clearance sales – now is the time to find amazing new-to-you pieces at astonishing prices. Summer items are marked 50-75% off, meaning that many high quality top-brand and designer pieces are available for less than $10. Sometimes even less than $5. 

This sale season is a great way to explore new-to-you shopping as well as new brands and styles. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

in the twin cities

Check out my resource guide, Earth Day Everyday: A Resource Guide to Shopping New-To-You in the Twin Cities, for the lowdown on the incredible selection of consignment stores here.

Sale highlights:

Clothes Mentor (multiple locations): 50-70% off
Elite Repeat (St. Paul): Official sale begins August 6, but many items are already 50% off
Nu Look (Minneapolis): 50% off
Second Debut (St. Louis Park; sadly, the St. Paul location closed recently!): 30% off
Turn Style (multiple locations): 50%-75% off

fun in the sun redux

My last post featured casual dressing for summer fun. Some reader feedback raised the question of “age-appropriate” summer clothing for 50+ women; namely, “Can I wear that?” To which I answered, “YES!”

“My arms are jiggly.” “My thighs have cellulite.”

“My knees look fat.” “My skin is wrinkly.”

I hear these mantras and more from so many women. I grapple with these thoughts too, but have worked hard (and still am) to see them for what they are: social “rules” that are not only arbitrary, but also ridiculous. Human beings are not robots – we are organic beings that age, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We shouldn’t feel shame about it, and we shouldn’t have to hide it.

I feel that clothing should be context-appropriate rather than age-appropriate and that women should feel comfortable, both physically and style-wise, in what they are wearing. Proper fit and cuts are important, because they contribute to feeling comfortable and confident. But a woman should not think she can’t go sleeveless or wear shorts or sundresses just because she is “of a certain age.” If it’s hot out, why should we have to be miserable?

Some choices of more coverage are made because of style preferences. That I embrace fully. If you like wearing breezy linen tops with or without sleeves, great! If you prefer wearing walking-length shorts rather than shorter inseams because they are more comfortable, by all means do.

When it’s hot, cool comfort is of the essence. Here are some additional choices for summer fun.

fun in the sun redux
Pair walking shorts with lightweight tops and comfortable shoes or sandals. Throw on a hat for sun coverage and accessorize simply with a necklace or bracelet.
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Choose wide-leg palazzo pants or capris in bold patterns or white/bright trousers for cooler days or evenings. Pair them with a tunic or a gauzy blouse over a camisole, or go sleeveless. Add a flat or platform sandal and bring a sheer cardigan if the night gets chilly.

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Wear a full knee-length or midi skirt or lightweight culottes with an oversized linen collared shirt loosely tucked or tied at the waist for definition or a sleeved or sleeveless belted shirt-dress. Throw on some comfort sandals, grab a straw tote and enjoy the sunshine!

fun in the sun

Summer’s in full swing, and it’s hot! Heading to an outdoor festival or biking to the library? Sipping an iced coffee at an outdoor cafe or strolling around a lake? Here are some fun casual outfit ideas for staying cool and comfortable, yet still feeling put together.

fun in the sun

Pair shorts or an above-the-knee skirt with a statement tank or a lightweight linen tunic (partial-tucked or worn long) or a collared shirt tied at the waist. Loosely belt a shirt-dress for easy body definition and throw on a pair of sneakers.

Add some on-trend accessories for polish –  a Panama hat to keep the sun off of your face, a tassel necklace or long pendant, and chunky bracelets all do the trick. Take your pick of sandals – Birkenstocks, gladiator-style, ankle-strap, thong, and wedge – and show off your personal style.

Happy Summer!

summer travel capsule

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Summer is drawing near, and with the fabulous weather comes opportunity for travel. Whether it be to visit family nearby or to explore other parts of the world, it’s ideal to be able to travel light and still have plenty of choices for outfits that are comfortable and you feel great wearing.

The concept of seasonal “wardrobe capsules” has been all over the style and women’s blogs lately. The idea is to put together a set of several tops, bottoms, shoes, and a few accessories that all coordinate with each other to create 10-15 outfits – a minimalist, hassle-free approach to dressing by putting thought in up front to create a set of outfits so that you don’t have to each day.

Clothing capsules particularly lend themselves to travel. They provide many options with relatively few items, preparing you for weather changes and different circumstances. The capsule above provides enough outfit choices for a two-week trip that includes dressing for evenings out and warm or cooler weather.

the basics

When traveling, wearing items multiple times becomes a necessity, but can be done in a way that feels like you aren’t wearing the same outfit every day. The key is that all the tops can be paired with all of the bottoms. The shoes also go with everything and are used to change the level of dress of the outfit. Just a few simple, inexpensive accessories that can be added to any combination of tops and bottoms polish off the ensembles without adding a lot of extra bulk to your bag or creating worry about theft or losing them.

Several lightweight tops – two knit tees and a dressier textured sleeveless shirt here – and a summer sweater to wear on its own or for layering if it gets chilly are sufficient (add another tee, if you worry there aren’t enough) to match with a couple of skirts, a pair of dressier jeans, and a pair of ankle length chinos. White-on-white ensembles with white denim are very contemporary, and bright-colored slim fit ankle pants are a polished alternative. Half-tuck the front of the knit tees or the sweater for a little body definition and to highlight a bright-colored belt.

A knee-length skirt is a more sophisticated way to stay cool rather than shorts and is just as comfortable, if not more so. A knit maxi skirt is an excellent option for a long flight – soft, non-binding at the waist, and coverage for your legs – and serves well if the day is chilly or more modest clothing is required for the day’s activities.

Bring one dress for an evening or two out and to wear to museums or sightseeing during the day. Pack it inside a dry-cleaner bag before folding it for the suitcase, which will reduce wrinkling.  The skirts can also be dressed up for evenings out with shoe pairings and adding the scarf.

A denim jacket is a perfect travel jacket-of-all-trades (forgive the pun – I couldn’t resist!). It goes with every outfit and is easily dressed up or down for a cool day or an evening out. And it’s a great layer for air travel.

 

footwear

When traveling abroad, it’s essential to have comfortable shoes for walking. Classic white leather tennis shoes are all the rage right now here and in Europe – think Adidas, Tretorns, etc. Wear them with jeans, ankle pants, and short or maxi skirts (sockless or with low-cut footies), and you will be both stylish and ready to walk all day!

Comfort sandals and ballerina flats are cooler for hot days and provide a fun pop of color and polish while still providing support for your feet. Throw in a pair of wedge sandals, which can be surprisingly comfortable for walking (the Minnetonka pair above are lightweight and very stable), and some ankle strap dress flats, and you are set for dressing things up a bit.

 

essential accessories

A single large, rectangular scarf is a really handy item for travel. It adds a pop of color to outfits and is easily stowed in your bag. It can also be used as a shawl wrap when the evening gets cool or when your shoulders need to be covered for entering a church or temple (many European religious institutions ask for no shorts and no exposed shoulders) or a highly air-conditioned museum. I’ve been known to use a scarf as a blanket on airplanes as well – even if it is sheer, it adds warmth!

A cross-body purse is essential – it puts less strain on the shoulders and back, is less prone to pickpocketing, and is easy to access when you need something. The bag I included above is Fossil brand, which I particularly like. Fossil bags are well-constructed and durable, and they typically have lots of zippered pockets inside and out, which are great for safely organizing things like passports, phones, money, cameras, sunglasses, an umbrella, and other travel sundries.

have fun

Feeling comfortable and knowing that whatever you pull out of your suitcase will work well together and look polished makes traveling all the more fun, as does traveling light. Wherever your journeys take you this summer, savor every moment.

Bon Voyage!