Monday, August 5, 2013

Tricky Tops, Half-Tucks and Other T-Words

After last week's confusion about wilderness women in floaty skirts and boots (the focus on boots) I finally remembered that I actually do have some long skirts that might wish to go out and about in warm weather. After digging around a bit, I found a pair of semi-sheer skirts just asking to be reconsidered for summer. ( Yes, my clothes are as chatty as my shoes.) They were purchased a couple of winters ago to wear with soft sweaters, tights and boots, and I had quite a lot of fun wearing them that way.


But I'd tried them the following summer with lighter tops, and I'd just not been able to make the proportions work. Even shorter tops often look long on me ( I'm both very short and short-waisted) and in average length tops, I tend to look like I'm wearing a tunic-length top anyway, no matter what proportions the designer originally intended. The long skirt with a long top just swallowed me whole. Tucking shirts in the traditional way put the waist up around my armpits and made my whole torso and waist look thicker because of the tucked fabric. Adding a narrow belt to the long tunic just looked like a sack of potatoes tied up with twine.


The advent of that fairly recent and very casual styling tool, the half-tuck, has helped me solve this proportion issue. Since I no longer have a waist-line that cuts straight across, it just narrows the look at the waist. (Yeaaaayyyy to THAT!) The other fairly new styling tool that helps is a wider, slightly tougher-looking belt. It results in a less precious look than the very narrow belts that were everywhere in recent seasons. Just a tiny bit of edge. I should note: I do remember that wider belts have been around forever. So have the skinny ones. What's new about them is that we're wearing them just a little differently.






These tricks are trends, of course, but that's become such a dirty word that I rarely use it. Whether you call them trends, or styling tools, or current ideas, sometimes good ideas that solve problems become widely adopted. Another way to look at a trend is a good idea that a whole lot of women are trying, for better or for worse. Clearly, not all trends are great ones, but I'm for anything that makes my old wardrobe work better and longer for me.


And, I'm happy to know that old dogs can sometimes adopt and adapt new tricks to good effect.




I'm pleased to wear pleats today with Perfectly Pleated Patti's Party, Visible Monday .

55 comments:

  1. Patti_NotDeadYetStyleAugust 5, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    yes! the half-tuck is perfection on you! it is indeed a styling tool, I say along with you : > love these looks, and your hair is looking gorgeous too. Thanks for sharing with Vis Monday, and keep listening to your clothes : > xoxoxo

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  2. I love the skirts and I love the tops! As a short-waisted, short person I totally get the thick belts. I actually have several that are as wide as my hand and I find that helps show-off a curvy waist. We have those, they just need lots of attention! So glad you let those skirts out to play ;-)


    Alicia

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  3. This looks great! Love the long skirts :) I'm still struggling with the whole waistline "thing." Especially as my waistline seems to be getting higher (so not kidding) and wider (def. not kidding). I watch it happen to my grandmother, my mom and (sniff, sniff) me. But I like this idea of the half-tuck and wide belt. Might give it a try! Way to go!!!

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  4. I love these looks...especially the first one, where your wind machine blew your skirt back perfectly for the shot : )


    Maxis are the best of everything really. Don't need to worry about shaving the legs, eat as much as you'd like, and they can actually make you look taller ...which is what this is doing for you. I'd say it's a win win win.


    bisous
    Suzanne

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  5. Jan, those skirts are gorgeous! I'm glad you pulled them out of the closet and tried them on again. They both look lovely the way you've styled them - that pink top is a nice pop of color. The half-tuck is certainly a useful tool - I use it on elastic waist skirts.


    I meant to reply to your question about nail polish. I don't know of anything that will stop the yellowing, but I just wear polish until it's time to wear socks so my nails are never bare. It seems like there was something else I was going to reply to, but I can't think of it now.

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  6. I love both of these skirts and both looks are great....but there's something about the pink that I find appealing. Congrats on your success of the half tuck. So far I am just finding that no tuck works best for my torso (and HIPS). I never realized how odd I am in that area until I try to tuck and see the photos and then I just think I just look weird and downright disproportionate. ha

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  7. HappinessatmidlifeAugust 5, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    These skirts are beautiful! I love how you can dress up a maxi skirt or keep it totally casual and both ways is just so chic. I have been trying the 1/2 tuck on the weekend to make my outfits a little more casual but always end up feeling a little sloppy. I don't how many times I've people tell me that part of my shirt is untucked and I need to explain that its suppose to be that way.


    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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  8. Oh love the two looks! It's great you got to rework two lovely skirts with something as simple as a twist in how to tuck a tee and a belt - I like your rethink on the word trend too. And you're so right to point out that clever use of a trend can prolong the usability of things you already have by giving you a fresh perspective on how to wear them. You've inspired me to rethink a couple of my pleated maxi skirts! xx

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  9. Love the long skirts with these tops. You have styled them beautifully. You are inspiring me to dig around in my closet, I know I have a couple. I've wondered also if the half tuck was a clever stylists tool.....maybe a gal who dress mannequins for stores? But hey, it's working for you! You look elegant and breezy in these glorious skirts!


    blue hue wonderland

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  10. tHE half tuck works great for me too! And with the high/low 'trends' of skirt waists, it can make an older skirt look young again! ( just like me, lol) xoxo

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  11. You look great. The maxi skirt is comfy and chic. Pink is a good color for your.

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  12. Very tricky! As a fellow short-waisted shorty I may have to try to adopt this myself. I'm just concerned that instead of looking like I'm doing something on purpose I'll end up looking like I forgot to tuck the back of my shirt in. ;)


    Such beautiful skirts, BTW!

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  13. Jan these skirts look gorgous on you! I can imagine how you wear them with a sweater and with boots. But I also like the options you show us. The half-tuck is really a helper. I also tried it with jeans and some blouses. I'm a bit short-waisted and have some other parts in the middle of my body I do not want to be highlightend. Therefore the half-tuck works wonders.

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  14. Tamera Ferguson WolfeAugust 6, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    I'm glad you found a way to wear those FANTASTIC skirts in warmer weather!! I love both ways you've styled them!!
    I'm short waisted but really long-legged so tucking in anything just accentuates my waist is right under my boobs!!

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  15. It will be no surprise to you that I love these maxi skirts, Jan! I try and find ways to make clothes work for different seasons too, and I can imagine the skirts do look fabulous with boots and sweaters. (Show us pics in the winter please!)
    Half tucks? I don't know much about them but if they solve a problem for you, that's great! Now it's interesting to look at trends of HOW we wear items as well as WHAT we actually wear. The what is dictated to some extent by shops and what they stock, but the how is up to us. Good styling ideas which help to extend your wardrobe? I'm all for them!
    Have I said you look beautiful? Well, you do! xxxx

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  16. I knew you could pull of the maxi look, and boy did you ever! Can't believe it took you this long (jk), due to the fact that you totally rock the maxi skirt look. I also have the same issue with being short and short waisted so I love the half tuck trend. It will not be a trend for me, its a keeper as far as I'm concerned.

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  17. So kind, Perfect Patti! Thanks so much for saying such nice things, and again, for hosting!

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  18. Frankly, at my age, with a fair sized rack and a high waist ... poor little waist get's completely covered with out support! Arrgh. I have to admit, too, that everyone seems so comfy in skirts ... to me, they have their own problems, but won't EVEN go in to those!
    You're so nice to say sweet things, and I'm always so happy to hear from you!

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  19. I think the trick is nothing too precious for fabric ... tee shirts, soft knits, and sturdy-ish belts beneath. Like someone else pointed out, 'ya gotta do it like you mean it, or people will be pointing out that your shirt is untucked! But boy, howdy, am I enjoying tucking in a shirt for the first time in years! Good luck, have fun, and thank you so much for dropping by, particularly with nice things to say!

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  20. Yes, the wind machine was tricky.
    I'm SURE going to have to wear them more it they add height! Thanks, Suzanne ... always lovely when you stop by!

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  21. Thank you, Val! Tickled you like them ... they feel a little uncertain, but I love it when I walk in them. I like the pink, Dan likes the black. What does he know?
    We're right.


    Thanks for trying with polish info... I've never managed bright color on nails, finger or toe, or bright lippy. I need to broaden my horizons there. All of you look so finished, so completely set up with your pretty toes.

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  22. Thank you, Lisa ... yes, me too on the pink. Never say never, and as you are getting so skinny, you might try it yet. It's a tool made for us hippy girls. Your wardrobe might prohibit ... it's a super casual tool, and you're a Lady!
    Never weird, and looking better every week.
    Btw... I really liked your recent look in a tall wedge ... dynamite!

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  23. Here's an idea to keep both you and Dan happy - wear the pink top with the B&W skirt!


    And I remembered what the other thing was. You asked about the reference to armpits - some bloggers have said they don't feel sleeveless is appropriate for work. They don't want to see other people's armpits. I can't say I agree in an office, although when I worked in restaurants I never went sleeveless. I also think news readers look better in sleeves. Not sure I want to see Andrea Mitchell in a sleeveless dress all the time.

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  24. I'm astonished anyone would mention it! Maybe you just have to do it like you REALLY mean it. I have better luck with a tuck in the center than just tucking in an angle on the side. It's at least symmetrical. However, you really don't need the crutch as you look proportionate when you tuck your shirt in just as always. So no pressure!
    Thank you for dropping by and saying such sweet things. As you know, I'm your fan!

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  25. Fabulous skirts, Jan! And you styled them perfectly. Honestly, I never noticed any disproportion about your figure. I guess you just know how to dress yourself the best way :) As always, enjoyed your writing style

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  26. AHeartandSoulStoryAugust 7, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    ha, I love that half-tucked look on you. Definitely gives you an nice waist and super pretty look. I have tried it, but it sadlz hasn't worked that well for me. Might just have to try it again. I really like that first skirt, it looks awesome on you!!!Love the colors, the floral print and the entire combo!

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  27. Don't you just love the half tuck? I do it all the time. Gorgeous skirts and your half tuck is perfect! I just started following you on bloglovin'...I figure since I hop over here all the time to read your posts, I might as well make sure I don't miss anything!
    Debbie :)
    www.fashionfairydust.blogspot.com

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  28. I have never tried the half tuck, but it looks so good on you that I will have to give it a try. Both skirts are perfect for summer and happy that they talked you into an outing.

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  29. There's a certain point, every year, when the stores here just dry up ... what is left is on deep discount, but what's there isn't fun. I'm not ready for fall, but then, neither are stores. So I'm looking in the closet for inspiration to finish off this very hot time of year. The skirts really did holler at me ... they fell off their hangers as I was pawing through. Coincidence, of course. But I prefer kismet. Ha.
    So glad you liked the result ... I'm happy with a wee problem solved. I'm always so happy when you stop by. I really appreciate your kind comments.

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  30. I'm guessing it was a photo stylist, but it would be nice to think it comes from street style, wouldn't it? I'm really happier in pants, but I sure do like to have a change at hand when I want. Breezy ... what a nice word. Glad you think they work that way. Thank you, Ann. I appreciate your comments and especially your visit.

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  31. It makes such a nice change for me ... hope it's a styling tool that stays in use for a while. Gotta make use of what lives in my closet, and I'm happy to have a new feel to an old garment. So happy you stopped by ... I watch your progress with interest!

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  32. Thank you, Zalina. You are one of those women whose understanding of what looks good on them is so fine-tuned ... I'm all admiration. I appreciate your always nice comments. Stop by any time!

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  33. You know, as I think and look more, I'm convinced that it's a trick best applied to very casual wear. And another thing about this little idea is that "careless" and "unconscious" is part of what this is meant to achieve. I think it implies that we just ran out of the house with a lick- and-a-promise, and are chic even when we are not trying to be. Not something I manage to attain. My problem is that I am a pretty careful and calculated dresser. Like all "effortless" chic ideas, I usually manage to end up a "don't" rather than a do. I persevere, though, 'cause when I can get it to work, it solves a big, long on-going issue for me. I want to tuck in my blinking shirts!
    So happy you dropped by! Thank you.

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  34. Hey, Sabine! Oh, yes ... those "other parts" (and when did those appear?!!!) need a little camouflage sometimes ... and the casual drape that happens with the right fabric works wonders!
    Hope you enjoyed your vacation ... I've loved your travel photos!
    Thanks for your kind remarks, and for stopping by!

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  35. That must make it hard ... but you're looking so good these days that you should just be enjoying your own reflection in the mirror! But never complain about long legs ... I'd be so happy to have them. .
    Our Lizzy (white chihuahua, bigger than most!) is having to spend extra hours outdoors with our Australian Shepherd, Daisy. They play, guard the yard against the world, and bark at our horses. Otherwise she sacks out next to me for too long ... but she's getting her girlish figure back. Such good creatures, our dogs. Can't imagine life without dogs. Or cats, for that matter.

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  36. Thanks so much, Curtise. Did you hear us toasting your health? We did. I'm always frustrated by the local lack of selection. I'm an old lady in a Junior world here. Tried doing some business with the one of the few Big City consignment shops. Not a great experience ... no real pros here. So I stagger forth.
    But doing the best for yourself with what you have is one definition of personal style ... and I try not to buy anything that won't go with at least two or three other pieces, somehow. My favorite situation is when I've stopped shopping (which I don't really enjoy much, actually) and start living out of the closet I've put together.
    Hmmmm ... feel a post topic developing here...
    See what other bloggy friends can do for inspiration? No wait ... you just said that!
    Thanks, kid! Hope you are having a very groovy time!

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  37. Hey, Trina! Yup, long skirts will always be with us, in one form or another. May as well try ways to make them work. It's interesting to remember that it was our grandmother's generation (or mine, anyway ... probably your great-grandmother's generation) that started raising their skirts along with their consciousness! Long skirts were the rule for centuries. So, yeah ... they're classic by anyone's definition.
    As you can tell, I'm not completely comfortable in them. I'm happier in pants or s sleeker skirt or dress at the knee. Gotta get out of that comfort zone, at least sometimes, yes?
    So happy you had time to stop by ... always tickled when you do! Thanks so much for your sweet comments!

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  38. Sue @ A Colourful CanvasAugust 9, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Oooooh, I love the black print skirt with the black tank. You really do look tall and willowy. And kudos to you for experimenting with different belts and tuck options. Your half tuck rates a perfect '10'. I really must give the maxi a go. At least wear one long enough to snap a few pics to review. Sometimes, you never really know until looking at a photograph.

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  39. Sorry to be so far behind, Olga ... so glad you stopped by! Thank you so much for your kind comments. Glad you didn't notice! That makes me feel better about it!

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  40. Nice of you to say! I'm not entirely comfortable in them yet, but I'm glad the consensus seems to be that they work better than I think! So glad you stopped by ... I'm always glad to hear from you!

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  41. Oh, thanks Debbie ... for all! I usually only have time to post once a week, so I shouldn't take too much of your time. Glad you like the result of my experiment!

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  42. If I could just tuck in a pretty blouse or skirt and not have my waist look like it was right under my bust, I wouldn't mess with it. You can tuck any way your want with your lovely, proportionate frame! But I'm glad you think it works alright, Judith ... and I'm so glad you had the time to stop by. Always!

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  43. Hello, Gorgeous! Wow ... never had a tall, willowy moment, and still skeptical, but so glad you think it lengthens my stumpy little frame. I'm sort of surprised you haven't worn maxis much, but will look forward to seeing what you do. You could, after all, whip one up ... I have one I might show one of these days. I made it for winter (again) and it might work for summer. Hmmmm. As always, you inspire.
    I know you're jammed-up busy. but so happy to hear from you. Thanks for popping by, Sue! Will be in touch soon (crazy busy weekend, this one!)

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  44. Interesting trick to use on a top!

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  45. Two great looks although the pink shirt is very summery, light and brings up a smile befitting your own lovely one. I love the way you write so nicely and with so much ease about trivial matter such as tucked shirts and wide belts, I am always grinning while reading your posts. Its a real gift!
    Sara

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  46. Jean at Dross into GoldAugust 12, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    I grinned from ear to ear reading this. Yes, the half-tuck and lower-slung belt are a godsend to us short-waisted ones. I can attest. I love both these outfits, too. The skirts are lovely and breezy, and you look absolutely beautiful. XXOO

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  47. Your skirts are so pretty, I love the half~tucked idea. I like maxi skirts, but I'm afraid most of them will swallow me up. I'll have to give your look a try, you look great!
    Laurie
    Thank you for your sweet comment you left on my blog!

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  48. I am going to try the half-tuck now! It looks great on you. Belts have never been my friend due to The Bloat, but I recently worked out the cause so can actually keep a belt on all day...

    I love your long skirts, are they a paint-daub pattern? Very nice indeed xx

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  49. Sorry it took me so long to say thank you ... weirder and busier summer than ususal ! So, thank you! Glad you stopped in!

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  50. I'm very slow to answer and extremely sorry that I'm behind! The good thing about my switch to Disqus is that I get there eventually! I'm always so happy when you stop by, Sara. Your posts are about everything that interest me ... and I very much hope you're having a wonderful time in Greece. Your photos are spectacular.
    I'm so happy you like my experiments ... I'm such a little shortie that proportions are always a challenge.
    Looking forward to your next adventure, in travel or just a new outfit.

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  51. Such kind words from one of my favorite fashion icons ... thank you so much Jean. I'm so glad you stopped by. Sorry I'm so late in getting back to you, but I'm distracted by business-busyness.

    I've always tried to tuck in my shirts because I really like that very pulled-together (literally) look. Not a complete solution, but works for the casual.

    Even in your absence, I'm inspired by your work. I'm going to try some remaking and alterations that I wouldn't have without your example. Stay turned!

    So glad that, by this writing, you are home and feeling a bit less shell shocked. Our love to you both.

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  52. So happy you stopped by, and I'm sorry to be so slow. At least with Discus I get to see comments on less recent posts as well, so I can get there eventually.
    I'm not as thrilled with maxis for summer as everyone else, but I thought I'd give them a shot. Gathered skirts always swallow us little ones, but pleats seem to help narrow the lines and keep the bulk to a minimum. Not all pleats are created equal ... deeper ones use a lot more fabric and that always shows on the hips and waist!
    Enjoy the rest of your summer, and thanks so much for your nice comments!

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  53. You are one of the people I really miss keeping up with. So how do you manage The Bloat and belts? The skirt print is of leaves, sort of abstracted, of course ... the same print on both skirts, actually, just different color schemes.
    Thanks so much for your always nice remarks ... 'preciate it! Hope the half-tuck (sounds like the name of a highboard dive, doesn't it) works for you, lovely girl!

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  54. Thanks for writing back on all this. Sorry to be so slow getting back to you (the restaurant is making me crazy right now.)
    Really? Grossed out by underarms? My concession to that is to keep them extremely tidy and well groomed and odorless. I just can't do sleeves in the summer here. But neither can anyone else, it seems.
    Poor Andrea. Have you discussed this with her?
    I just love you, Val. You're always, always interesting.

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  55. I think you haved solved the problem as I think these outfits look very good on you. Especially the pink outfit is my favourite.
    Greetje

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