I received this awesome question from Leslie:
Hi Shana, I am a long time reader of your blog and I love how you are encouraging moms to be stylish in ways that work for our lifestyle. I am taking your Fall Edit to heart and looking for some interesting jeans and am particularly drawn to flares…I love my skinnies but am ready for a break! But I am having the hardest time figuring out what shoes to wear them! Everyone styles flares with heels, which I love, but this momma needs the practicality of flats for everyday life (parks, play dates, Target runs…). Any styling tips?
Thanks so much!
Leslie, I HEAR YA. My biggest problem with flares is that they look so much better with heels. Like, no contest, heels win hands-down. But like you, I’m most often in flats. So I took this styling challenge to heart to see if I could figure out a chic way to wear flats and flares. After an embarrassing amount of tries over many weeks, I think I came up with something worth hemming for.
(And only one pair of flares were harmed in the process. RIP, Seafarer flares. Thank goodness you were bought on sale for a mere fraction of your usual cost else I would’ve lost my mind. #allinthenameofresearch)
I wanted to style flares with sneakers. I figured if flares could look good with sneaks, they’ll look good with Tieks. You know? So I started by pulling up the old series How To Make Your Legs Look Longer While Wearing Flats. First point? High-waisted denim.
Second point? There’s a world of difference between a stiff flare jean that flares out below the knee and a soft, voluminous flare (also called a wide-leg). When wearing heels, I’m OK with either approach, but in flats? Wide-legs win.
The process of hemming a flare takes away some…flare. And in the case of a true flare (one that starts below the knee) you are basically hemming away the best part, leaving you with a rather boring-looking bootcut jean. However, if you start with a wide-leg jean in a soft denim, even if you hem some of the flare away, you haven’t lost the overall intention of the jean. Also, when hemming flares for flats, I think the jean should ever-so-slightly drag on the ground. This approach works best with a softer fabric. Soft fabric will drape nicely, even if a little long, stiffer fabric will just bunch. (If you are tall enough to buy a pair of flare jeans and not have to hem, then I suspect you can pretty much ignore everything I just said. Lucky girl.)
And a pretty top never hurts, either.
sweater: Nordstrom Collection (old)….but I love Autumn Cashmere’s oversized, black cowl-neck sweater at Bluefly
bag: Kate Spade Lola Ave Plaid c/o
umbrella: MoMA Mini Sky Umbrella
Leslie, I hope this helps!! Thanks for your kind words and great question.