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Q. I have a dilemma. I’ve been searching for riding boots for months! I just can’t seem to find a pair that hits below my knees. They’re all too tall. Are there any options for petite women with normal-sized calves?

A. Several of us here share your plight - many riding boots are simply too tall for women who are 5’4” and under. Boots that hit at or above the knee can ruin the proportion of your legs, making them look even shorter. Your best bet is to seek out boots that have a 14” shaft or smaller (the shaft is the part of the boot that covers the leg, measured along the inside seam of the boot). Or better yet, measure your leg so you know exactly what shaft height you need before you begin your search. To measure: measure the height of the inside of your leg, starting at your instep to below your knee.

We sought out some chic options for you that are 14” or shorter, good luck!


nxna237.jpgQ. I am going to wear a tea-length black dress to a 6:00 p.m. wedding reception that calls for cocktail attire. I’m only 5’3” and don’t want to “shorten” the look of my legs. This being the case, would you advise not wearing a t-strap shoe (or even a shoe with a thin ankle strap)? Would a slip-on shoe be better?

A. Tea length dresses tend to hit somewhere between your knee and your ankle, or mid-calf. Since you are petite, a t-strap or ankle strap shoe will likely shorten the look of your legs. To make your legs look as long as possible, opt for a strappy shoe or pump that covers as little of the top of your foot as possible.

Q. What color/type of shoes do I wear with brown dress pants?

A. Great colors to wear with brown pants: gold, cream, tan, cognac, deep red, bronze, copper. As for what style shoes to wear, virtually any heel will look great with your pants. Without knowing how dressy your pants are or where you are wearing them, here are some suggestions:


Q. Thanks for your site, I find it really helpful! I’d like to invest in a good pair of boots for fall and winter. Unfortunately I have really skinny calves so that most boots that are supposed to fit snugly end up looking like galoshes. Other than wearing two pairs of socks to bulk up my legs, do you recommend any boot styles for girls with skinny legs?

A. First, measure your calf at its widest part and take note of its circumference - this will help narrow down your search to boots that are likely to fit your slim calves. Search sites like zappos.com, shoes.com and piperlime.com which handily list the circumference of the boots and often let you search for narrow calves. Generally, stretch styles seem to fit slim calves best. Alternatively, look for details like buckles and ties which allow you to adjust the width of the boot for a customized fit.

Other than wearing two pairs of socks, try textured tights and tucked in jeans to help fill up the gaps in your boots.

Here are some chic slim options to try:

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1. Vaneli Lindly, $146 at zappos.com
2. Sudini Posta, $229 at zappos.com
3. Type Z Shelle, $243 at zappos.com
4. Naturalizer Women’s Scurry, $119 at shoes.com

Q. I love this feature of your site and will often peruse the archives. While I have always liked the skirt with knee length boots look, I have never been able to wear this style. My problem is that I am short (5’1), have small feet (size 5-5.5) and have thick calves. I have a difficult time finding a skirt that looks good with my chunky legs and a pair of boots that will fit around my big calves. By the way, I live in Los Angeles and want to rock this look either at work or on the weekend. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

A. We will probably catch a lot of flack for this answer but here’s the truth: tall boots with a skirt is probably not the most flattering option for your petite frame and “chunky” legs. It’s always important not to be a slave to fashion and the hot “look of the moment” but to recognize what works for you as an individual. Sadly, there are often trends we love that no matter how hard we try, we just can’t pull them off (ankle boots and tights anyone?)

Rather than pair boots with your skirts, opt for pumps or heels without ankle straps and opaque tights in a similar color to your shoe - this will help to elongate and slim your legs to offer the most flattering silhouette for you. Make sure your skirt hits at or just above your knee. However, if you still want to give the boots and skirt look a try, opt for a skirt that hits above or well above your knee, a slim dark boot with a heel and dark tights.

Here are a few tall boots with heels that should fit your small feet and thick calves:

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1. Fitzwell Norah/Wide Calf, $129.70 at zappos.com
2. rsvp Denisa (Wide Calf), $150 at zappos.com
3. rsvp Derisa (Wide Calf), $126 at zappos.com



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