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Q. I really love some of this season’s trendy shorts looks, but I’m not sure which styles look best on me. I’m pretty average in height and weight but my thighs are not as toned as I’d like them to be, so I’m a bit insecure. Can you recommend the right shorts for me?

A. There are so many shorts styles out there this season, there’s bound to be a style that works for you. If you are insecure about your thighs, we always recommend choosing a pair of shorts that hits just below the widest (and flabbiest) part of your upper thigh in order to make legs look their slimmest. Here are some basic guideline about which shorts look best for various body types:

Short/Petite Legs
Short shorts look best on short legs. Look for inseams that are about 5 inches or less. Add a pair of heels to further lengthen your legs.

Plus Size/Curvy Shapes
Long, slim Bermuda shorts that hit just above or in the middle of your knee are the most flattering. Avoid pleats, cargo pockets or anything boxy or oversized as these will make you look heavier.

Slim and Straight Shape
You have many options available to you, including short pleated styles, slouchy shorts, cargos, and rolled or cuffed shorts.

Pear Shape/Full Thighs
Look for straight-cut, not tapered, shorts that hit at the knee to lengthen and slim the thighs. A printed top or romantic blouse with ruffles will help balance your shape.

Tummy
Look for clean, flat front shorts to help conceal a tummy. Avoid belts or sashes which will draw attention to your middle.



Soft, pleated shorts add curves for straight and slim figures. Can also help camouflage full thighs on an otherwise slim figure.
Cuffed denim shorts look great on slim or tall figures. A short inseam also works well for petite shapes.
Long lean shorts are ideal for concealing full thighs. They’re also a great silhouette for plus size women.
These shorts hit just below the fullest part of the thigh, offering a flattering look for a variety of figures. Soft cuffs with a wide leg opening can help visually slim legs.



Once you’ve chosen the most flattering shorts for your figure, there are a few things you can do to look your best:

1. Wear heels or wedges. Choose a nude color and avoid ankle straps and you’ll have longer, slimmer legs instantly.

2. Get a faux tan. Sunless tanners are your legs’ best friend. Even a hint of a (faux) tan is enough to make thighs look slimmer. Be sure to shave and moisturize also, so legs are smooth and sleek.

3. Divert attention. Choose billowy tops and oversized accessories, like a statement necklace or large handbag, to make the rest of you look small in comparison.

4. Walk tall. Good posture and confidence will always help you look your best.

Q. I really want to wear the cute skinny belts on top of my cardigans. But whenever I try this look, the cardigan bunches around the belt, hiding my waist, and looking a bit sloppy. How do I prevent the cardigan from bunching? I’ve tried pulling the extra fabric taut behind my back, but it moves back by lunchtime…I would love any advice here.

OscardelaRenta-cardigan.jpgA. We’re big fans of the belted cardigan look, but must admit, it’s not always maintenance-free. Your belt and sweater typically need to be adjusted several times throughout the day, it’s just another way we women suffer for fashion sometimes! Even runway models aren’t immune to bunching as seen in this photo from the Oscar de la Renta pre-fall 2010 show.  

Your best bet for minimizing bunching is to stick with lightweight cardigans that fit close to the body. The bigger the cardigan, the more room there is for bunching. If you’re wearing the cardigan open with the belt, you may actually want to buy a size smaller than you typically wear.
Another trick is to use double stick tape on the inside of your belt, this will help prevent the cardigan from moving and slipping.

Q. I wear a lot of light weight sweaters, mainly cardigans over tees and tanks. I buy a lot of them and no matter the brand or price, they all seem to pill up almost immediately upon wearing. The wear mostly seems to be from my handbags. The wear is across the front if I am carrying a crossbody or on the shoulder and side if I am carrying a tote under my shoulder. It does the same thing whether I paid $20 or $120 for the sweater. What can I do? Thanks!

A. Unfortunately, it is a sad truth that most sweaters will pill eventually, typically from friction. I usually find that finer weave sweaters made of a cotton or linen blend tend to pill less than chunkier sweaters made of cashmere, wool or acrylic.

The best you can do is try to minimize friction as much as possible. Make sure the bags you are wearing have straps that are soft and rounded without any rough edges or seams. Or better yet, choose a hand held satchel instead. Be sure you are hand washing or dry cleaning your knits to prevent any further pilling.

Finally, there are some products you can use to gently remove pills and bring your sweaters back to life including electric sweater shavers, fabric combs and sweater stones, depending on your preference.

sweater-pill-removers.jpg

Q. I have read articles and advice on jean styles for women over 40 that has been stating that women over 40 should not wear jeans that have heavy embellishment or embroidery on them, especially back pockets. I also read that pocket flaps or buttons should be avoided. I am wondering if the style of jean that I wear is considered appropriate. I wear the Levi’s classic relaxed boot cut jeans in a medium dark wash. They do not have any of the above mentioned. The ones I wear also are a mid rise waist since I am a size 16. I have heard that the above mentioned styles should be reserved for 20-somethings. What do you suggest?

askus-52110.jpg

A. I don’t believe that women over 40 are relegated to “mom” jeans while younger 20-somethings get to wear the fun trends. There are exceptions of course, like some of the really destroyed or decorated styles which tend to look very young. More important than embellishment or embroidery is that you choose a denim silhouette which flatters your figure. Your shape should determine your jeans more than your age. While pocket flaps and embroidered pockets are perfectly fine for someone over 40, they are not a flattering choice for many women as they tend to enhance your rear.

The medium rise classic boot cut jeans in a medium to dark wash that you currently favor also happen to be one of the most universally flattering styles for a variety of figure types, regardless of age. If you feel good in them, wear them! Don’t worry too much about the trendy jean of the moment, wear what looks good on you. For more tips on finding the right jeans for your figure, check out our denim fit guide.

Q. I’m going to be attending a wedding this summer that is at an extremely formal/fancy venue. Although they didn’t list attire, I am told by the bride that a long dress would be the most appropriate. Knowing this crowd, the guests will be dressed to the nines so I want to make sure I don’t look out of place. I want to spend $120 or less if possible, but I know it is hard to find an evening dress for that cost that doesn’t look like i’m in a cheap fake satin prom dress. I also don’t want to buy something that I’ll never wear again. I’m 5’3, small chest, tiny overall. Please help!

A. I’m not sure I agree that only long gowns are appropriate for a formal wedding; an elegant cocktail dress is usually appropriate as well. However, since the bride specifically mentioned a long dress, it’s best to accommodate her wishes if possible. The good news? We found several options in your price range that won’t look like you’re wearing a cheap prom dress or a tacky bridesmaid dress. The bad news? There’s a good chance you won’t wear your dress again - at least until you receive another invite for a formal affair.

Our favorite pick from the options below is a simple, classic strapless long dress. We found two options that are under $100 which leaves some extra money for a fabulous necklace and some chic shoes. The silhouette and dark color make even a simple shape and not so expensive fabric look elegant, and you’ll be more likely to wear it again than a more fussy dress.

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