Cardigan: Mak (via state fair) | Pants: Rewind via Ross | Boots: Pink & Pepper via Fred Meyer (available at DSW)
A version of this outfit has been my go-to this season. Here are a few trends I LOVE that I really think look good on everyone.
Riding boots. If you don't have a pair of equestrian-inspired boots, I highly recommend them. They're incredibly comfortable, and you can wear them with skinny jeans, skirts and dresses. I actually have three pairs of riding boots -- black, brown and the new taupe ones above -- and two of them are three years old. If you buy boots in classic shapes and colors, you'll never get tired of them.
Buying riding boots for the first time? Here are a few suggestions:
- If you're petite, make sure to buy boots with a shorter shaft so they don't overwhelm your legs or make it uncomfortable to sit down. And IMHO, mid-calf boots don't do anyone any favors (especially with bare legs) because the top of the shaft falls right at the largest part of your leg. Aim for boots that hit just one or two inches below your knees to make your legs look longer.
- Try on boots with jeans on if you plan on wearing them with jeans. Yes, this seems like a no-brainer, but jeans can add a lot of bulk and make boots too tight to wear. Another word of caution: Riding boots are not as wide as cowboy boots, so you'll want to wear fitted or skinny jeans with them so that your jeans a) fit comfortably and b) don't bunch around your knees.
- Look for boots with a padded footbed and a low heel for the most comfort. I like riding boots because I am tall and don't want to add a lot of height to my frame, but if you do want to be taller, boots with chunky heels of about two or three inches are still comfortable.
- Don't feel like you need to spend a ton of money. I bought my brown and black boots for less than $30, and the taupe ones were around $50 with the coupons/gift card I had. However, pay attention to the fabric and the construction. A lot of boots are glued instead of stitched, so visible glue balls are a sign that the boots might not last very long. And boots that are made of cheap shiny-looking fabric won't last long either -- and you probably won't wear them or be happy with them. Bottom line? Spend more if you can, but don't blow a ton of money unless you plan to buy only one genuine leather pair (which I would love to have eventually).
Colored jeans. I have a friend who's around 60 and absolutely ROCKS the colored jeans trend! I really do think this look can work for women of all ages, and it's a great way to get out of the blue jeans/crewneck rut that I used to often find myself in. The trick is to find a pair in the right color and the right cut. Here are a few tips:
- If you're self-conscious about your legs, try straight-leg colored jeans. The friend I mentioned earlier has a pair in navy blue and a deep plum, and they don't hug her legs or have the ultra-skinny fit. Straight-leg colored jeans can also work with flats and boots.
- Buy a size up if you're going for skinny jeans. I hate pants that are really tight on my legs, so I buy jeans that are a bit looser so I'm comfortable. Of course, this also means you have a bigger waist, so make sure you have a belt to keep them up. I'm planning on adding darts to the waist of some of my jeans so they stay up better, but I'm happy with the fit in the legs.
- Go for dark colors if you want to minimize problem areas. Those mint-colored jeans everyone has been wearing? They're great if you have a straight figure. But if you want to camouflage your hips and look thinner and taller, dark colors will do the trick much better. And they also fit with fall and winter colors (plum, forest green, royal blue, auburn).
Fitted cardigan. I have struggled with finding a flattering cardigan forever because I'm busty and can't find fabrics with enough stretch. So imagine my surprise when I found the cardigan above at a booth in the Utah State Fair that a) actually buttons all the way and b) doesn't pill or feel rough after you wear it once. While everyone has a different preference on cardigans (and a different body type to flatter), here are a few tips on buying a cardigan that lasts.
- Stay away from 100-percent cotton cardigans. Yes, they're cheap and available everywhere. But they also shrink easily and lose their shape quickly after washing. Instead, look for one that has a spandex or wool blend. It'll be more expensive, but it'll look much better and last a lot longer.
- Figure out which neckline works best for your body. I bought a mistake of a cardigan at Old Navy a few years ago that buttons right below the bust line. If you are at all busty, DON'T DO THIS. It only draws the eye to this area and makes it look even larger. Instead, look for either a crew-neck cardigan or a V-neck that has buttons well above the bust. It's a more classic look anyway that can work with a lot of different outfits.
- Buy cardigans in colors that flatter your skin but can work with what you have in your closet. The only problem I have with the cardigan I bought is that it's not exactly a great color for summertime (yes, I do wear them in summer; I'm always cold). A classic color like red or navy blue is always appropriate for every season. Had I realized what I find I had when I bought this cardigan, I would have bought another in red.
That post turned out longer than I expected, but I hope it was helpful. What are your staples for fall? I currently want some fair isle tights, but I haven't found the right pair yet.