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The Chic Shop
by shop girl
issue no. 95

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She She Me Sponsors: Paige Premium Denim & Relastin Eye Silk

Dateline: New York
Headline: What-To-Wear-Where Poll Results Now In: There is No Occasion When Denim Won’t Work

The fashion world has been called fickle in the past. What with hemlines fluctuating wildly from ankle to arse and everywhere in between, and various colors from pink to brown to white being declared “The New Black”, it’s understandable that pinning down a steadfast position from the Seventh Avenue cognoscenti has been a little difficult. But this morning’s report has confirmed that there is one fabric choice that can work for all shapes, pocketbooks, and socioeconomic strata: denim.

That’s right; the sole remaining holdout, one Mrs. Edna Holzapfel (and her living room), of South English, Iowa, crossed the denim threshold this past weekend. “I always maintained that my granddaughters had better wear something nice when they joined me and the family for Sunday dinner, but I realized they’d never show up if I put that kind of restriction on ‘em, so I caved,” said Mrs. Holzapfel. “Now I’m headed down to the Gap for a pair myself; figgered if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!”

In light of the new information, world-renowned fashionista and retail advisor Shop Girl released this statement: “Denim is the great equalizer. We see everyone, everywhere, choosing it as their go-to outfit. It comes in styles and colors to suit every age, figure, income level, and event, so it doesn’t surprise me that denim has finally taken over the world. But beware: there are now so many choices that shoppers who aren’t educated in the fine art of selection can buy denim that would have consequences of catastrophic proportions if worn out in public! Can you imagine your mom in shredded skinnies? I rest my case. Get yourself some good advice before you buy.”

Shop Girl’s statement included this invaluable and comprehensive handbook to purchasing denim, so readers can avoid the dreaded “Don’ts” black-box-over-the-eyes. Please follow instructions carefully, and pass these tips along to those you love who may be in danger of choosing unwisely. The aesthetes of the world thank you.

Denim Look: Trouser or Wide-leg. The best choice for full-figured women, this cut should fall straight to the hemline from the widest part of the hip, elongating and smoothing the line of the leg. Add a pump or platform boot and you run the risk of being described as “willowy”. For a casual office, this shape can carry a feminine blouse and a chain belt and be completely work-appropriate; with a t-shirt and a cute sneaker, it’s a funky way to face the weekend.

Denim Look: Boot-Cut. The most universally flattering silhouette, the boot-cut has a slight 160x600 Static GIF version of Flash Bannerswidening of the leg opening at the cuff. This width visually balances the hip and thigh, and lengthens the look of the leg. Works for petites as well as tall girls, young girls through grandmothers, and can be worn with almost any top. If you lean toward the traditional, choose a uniform mid- or dark wash in blue or black, top with a blazer and an indispensable white shirt and ground with a pair of boots, loafers, clogs or flats. This look will endure for the ages. If you’re feeling a little more progressive, choose a more distressed finish, but steer clear of too-harsh fading or whiskering at the hip, both of which can add width to the hips or thighs (::shudder::). Add a tartan shirt and a menswear vest, or an embellished tunic, with motorcycle or cowboy boots and a hobo for a put-together but casual day look. Boot-cuts in velvet or uncut corduroy (okay, not denim, but still jeans) in black or an elegant jewel-tone can be perfect for an evening out when paired with a silky halter or cap-sleeved shell, jeweled pumps and a great clutch.

Denim Look: Straight-leg. The gold standard and original silhouette from the Gold Rush days, this shape suits best ladies who don’t carry extra energy stores in the thigh or hip/tush areas. Blue, brights, greys, corduroy; they’re all great options for your denim wardrobe. Dress up a dark pair with a silky blouse, a v-neck cardigan, a great belt, stack-heeled boots (in or out) or platform pumps and you can rock this look anywhere you like (except maybe a conservative office on a not-casual-Friday). Dinner out, gallery opening, meet-the-parents brunch… you’re limited only by your imagination and the number of times you’re willing to be seen in the same outfit.  For variety, try an a-line sweater, long boyfriend blazer or soft floral minidress on top, with ballet flats or the stack-heeled boots again. Petites should avoid tucked-in-boots looks, but if you’re leggy, go for it. Designers have finally realized that women come in all heights, not just girths, and many designer jeans (as well as those at and come in an array of inseam lengths (good also for those wishy-washy about their heel heights). When the frosty weather sets in, I’m all over the Aspen look: big woolly sweater, a soft cashmere scarf, and shearling boots. (Not so applicable in the sunbelt states, but this is a geographically equal-opportunity tip list.)

Denim Look: The Boyfriend. This look works best on slimmer ladies, especially with the hems rolled up, but those of you in the middle can rely on this shape to camouflage a weekend of generous eating or a few missed workouts. The important silhouette tip to focus on is the taper: it can emphasize the difference between a slender ankle and a full thigh, but it never makes the ankle look slimmer – it only makes the thigh look fuller. Like an ice-cream cone. If this describes your figure challenge, this is NOT the cut for you. Stick with boot-cut, straight, or wide-leg. For those who jump on the boyfriend bandwagon, just remember to top looser jeans with a slim top, a shrunken turtleneck, or a tank and a cutaway jacket for evening. Love this ensemble with really funky metallic platform sandals, but day looks also work with little skimmers or another bare-ankle shoe.

Denim Look: Skinnies, a.k.a. slim-leg or cigarette or stovepipe. Quite a modern silhouette, and good on a surprisingly large range of body types. Don’t believe the hype: you don’t have to be skinny to wear skinnies. But you do have to know how to balance your proportions. If you carry your weight in the thighs, make sure the hemline of your blouse or sweater hits at the pocket level or above, and emphasize your waist so your hourglass shape is easy to admire. Please choose a pair of jeans that’s not too tight or too low-rise, or you will suffer from the dreaded muffin-top. If you’re more of an apple shape, choose a swingy or a-line blouse or sweater, or create a waistline with a sweet schoolboy blazer or a cardi with a belt. This year’s mandatory shooties are the perfect choice for skinnies, and help make every look with this cut hip and young. Unless you’re spending the day on your feet, in which case grab a great pair of equestrian-style boots or funky motorcycle kicks.

Denim Look: Leggings. The most avant-garde denim look of the season. And if you’re really feeling daring, go with the shredded, bleached, rock-and-roll pairs that graced all the runways for fall. Top them with a leather motocross jacket and a long burnout tee. And as I mentioned last month, these boots are so choice. (And really, any jeans this slim need boots, short or long, out or in. Pumps are too obviously sexy, and skimmers too sweet.) More sedate legging jeans ground tunics, minidresses, long sweaters, boyfriend blazers, and long t-shirts for all times of the day or night. The legging jean works for most body types except the queen-sized, but choose your proportions carefully. The busty must remember to balance their top-heaviness with a flare at the hip, preferably with a jacket or a longer sweater, but make sure to cinch the waist so no one asks “Oh, how far along are you?” Awkward! If you’re going to rock the legging, the most important accessory to carry, whether with a minidress or a sleek evening top, is confidence.

Shop Girl added that whether you shop at Topshop or Shopbop, there is a denim look that fits your shape and budget. The key to finding the best pair for you is trying on lots of different ones until you find what suits you best. “And don’t forget: a tailor can be your best friend!” she reminds shoppers.

Comments from Mrs. Holzapfel’s granddaughters were unavailable at press time (their mother reported they were “gallivanting around campus in their high-heeled boots”), but Mrs. Holzapfel herself was spotted at a local dinner party in a smart cashmere cardigan, skinny belt and sleek trouser jeans. “I feel fifteen years younger!” she shouted to a reporter as she climbed into the back of a limo for a “ladies’ night out”.

Happy Shopping!

Shop Girl

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