Monday, March 10, 2014
The Short Rules
I'm a rule follower, most of the time. Often, there are great reasons to have at least a few rules. I obey the laws that keep us all stuck together as a culture. I'm a fan of laws that keep us from accidentally or deliberately killing each other and ourselves. I respect the basic social niceties. I try to be kind to everyone's kids, at least cordial to other adults, and respectful towards my elders (whose numbers are growing fewer every year. Yikes.)
But, as a child of my generation and one influenced by an especially feisty political era or two, I understand that civil or social disobedience can be justified. This applies particularly to fashion rules that are applied specifically and often arbitrarily to us petite flowers, the short women.
I've been thinking about proportions for short figures quite a lot lately. And when I start thinking a lot about something I begin reading a lot about it. If you are tall and don't care about this subject, I won't mind a bit if you click through to a more pertinent blog with issues that interest you. I wouldn't blame you a bit. Speaking of tall women, a lot of you are my favorite people, so please don't think that I hold your height against you. Lucky you, damn it.
In reading about proportion and all the rules regarding proportions, nowhere did I find a rule geared toward making tall women look other than ... tall. I hear you tall ones have your own style challenges, or so I'm told along with all the other urban myths. (Oh, boo hoo.) But overall, TALL, it seems, is good. Short must be bad, then, because there are all kinds of rules devised to make us look not so short. Designers use models of various shapes, colors, nationalities, creeds (and recently) cup size and waist circumference. But I don't see any shorties stomping down the professional runways. These days, a young girl can (and should!) aspire to be anything she desires, but should a she be a genetic shortie, then she is is gently steered away as early as possible from the naive and hopeless desire to be a fashion model. ( I admit there are myriad reasons to discourage a daughter from a career on the catwalk but I'm talking the difference between "perhaps you shouldn't count on it, sweetheart" and "no way, short-stuff, never happening, hahahahaha!" )
It's not that everyone (or anyone) should want to be a model, but it's always seemed unfair that short womens' shoulders are not considered worthy enough to hang couture upon at all when trying to sell it to women who are sometimes short. Almost always shorter than the model. Nor is this a plea for more short models, but for the understanding that short women live different lives with their wardrobes.
So, as both a rule obeyer and a short woman, I've done way more than my share of hemming up and taking in and considering how to make a particular shape or silhouette work on my frame. But this year, I'm going over the fence, running amok, and with premeditation and malice aforethought I'm going to break some of the rules that are there for my own good and designed to help poor little me look taller.
I'm NEVER going to look taller. EV-ER. Maybe in a photo with teeny-tiny props, but in real life everyone I meet is going to know I'm short no matter how I dress. The concept of proportional dressing promotes some great ideas about how to look good, and how to make your choices work in that mysterious way that only the wisest aesthetes can define, but nothing is really going to make my legs look longer or give me an extra inch in height. Except a good pair of honest high-heeled shoes, and I have that wired.
This outfit demonstrates my current resistance to some current short-girl discrimination.
For years, pants cut at the ankle or just above were unfashionable because they made everyone's legs look short (see?) Now they're hot again and, amazingly, no one minds that they still have that truncating effect on legs generally. But we little 'uns must take great care 'lest our already short legs look that way. What?
We are encouraged to wear only shoes with tones that are similar to the color of our legs if we don't want to look short, yet we just came out of a season where flat-finished black leather was pushed hard for the sake of minimalism. Nobody's legs are that color, so we wore black tights. And to complicate things further, black leather shoes are great for spring, only this year they are d'Orsay-delicate with darling, daring and fresh-looking ankle straps. Which I shouldn't wear because ... well, you know.
No long tunic shirts that "cut you in half visually"... I'm sorry, but this shirt doesn't look bad. I love this shirt in all it's hummingbird-print springy-ness. And I love these boyfriend jeans that really need to be rolled up a bit to be fun and look like something other than the dreaded Mom Jeans. Worse yet, I am in complete, passionate love with these little ankle-strap shoes ... they are navy and not black, and that makes me adore them even more.
You will be seeing more of these ankle straps making my legs look short this season, 'cause it's True Love, and we get a pass because we don't choose with whom we fall in love. Please don't faint when I wear them with midi skirts. You know why I'm not supposed to wear them, but get ready 'cause here I come in them. It'll be okay, 'cause I already know I'm short. I think they're pretty and that I look nice in them. Or, if I am honest, that they look nice on me. If anyone is mean enough or brave enough to tell me otherwise, I say bring it on.
I'm going to have some fun this season.
I'm linking up late with the Balletic Yet Work Appropriate Patti at Visible Monday
and the Detail Conscious Seeker at Tres Chic Style Bits
Come see what all the fuss is about!