The entire TME team was on Zoom, doing our usual weekly meeting.
“Ok” I said. “It’s time to determine our style challenges. Cam’s first. What’s hers? Overalls? Doc Martins?”
There was a derisive snort from Cam, and giggles all around. “I’m thinking….spiked collars and black leather” Laura volunteered. Cam had once referred to her preppy outfits as “edgy” because she was wearing slip-on Vans, and we haven’t let her live it down since.
“Ok, ok, ok” Cam cut in. “FINE. I’ll do edgy. I keep pinning these outfits that are so dark, and edg – NO REALLY THEY ARE!” (as the rest of us burst out laughing) “so yeah – I’ll figure out how to make it feel like me.”
Which is exactly the point of this exercise: to get outside of our sartorial comfort zones….without going into the realm of costume. That’s the trick.
The rest of the team was pretty easy to challenge: Scotti, our makeup artist / glamour girl who has yet to meet a sequin she doesn’t like….MENSWEAR. “I’m not sure I actually know what that is….” she started. “Loafers and a button-down shirt!” supplied Amanda helpfully, while Scotti recoiled in horror.
Amanda, the girl who once (accidentally, she claims) wore slippers to the mall got the hardest style challenge, in my opinion. She’s gotta do something glam, but in a real, comfortable way.
Laura? Will tweak her tomboyish style for something romantic and feminine. “BUT NO STATEMENT NECKLACES!!” she proclaimed, while we all cracked up. “UGH!” Gwen, who does regal and classic like nobody’s business has to try…boho. The last two weeks she’s been resignedly looking over the Free People website….”I do love a pretty pattern” she keeps mumbling into her coffee….”but why are these shirts so….voluminous?”
Jess, our resident artist, typically dresses like a cross between Punky Brewster and Sienna Miller….has been assigned the challenge of preppy. “Bonus points for a polo shirt!” HA HA HA. (Hers will come later – the poor thing was in a car accident and while SHE’S OK, THANKFULLY, her wrist is in tough shape.)
So now we’re down….to me. “What should I do?” I asked the team. There was a long pause. “You’re tough, S” Cam started. “You try out a bunch of different styles already” Laura echoed. “It’s probably why you started this blog.”
Too true. Once upon a time I wanted to be an actress, and the propensity to dress in costume never really left. Only now my costumes range in styles such as “Girl Who Gardens,” complete with a flirty floral headscarf (for that one time I decided to start a container garden) or “Mom Who Picnics In The Manner Of Emma Woodhouse” to “Girl On Fire Goes Grocery Shopping” because there’s no such thing as too much Katniss (a side braid was involved).
As you might imagine, my husband has boundless patience. I’m getting better as I age, though. Discovering Who I Am and all that. #adulting
So I sat there, smugly assuming that my style challenge would be something light, easy. Then Scotti narrowed her eyes. (She’s my sister, BTW. Narrowed eyes never bode well for me.)
“You know what Shana hates?” Scotti started. All heads turned. “She hates regular, black leggings – not faux-leather – but the everyday kind….and she especially hates them with tunic-length tops.”
There were gasps all around. “But that’s pretty much the daily mom outfit!!” Laura cried. Scotti smiled, evilly. “EXACTLY” she said.
Then, like sharks smelling blood, they went in for the kill: “You have to wear plain leggings with a tunic!!” “Your bum must be covered!” “LONG TOPS YES!” “No leggings with rips or faux leather or—” “NO OVER-THE-KNEE BOOTS” Cam finished for them. They were glowing, triumphant.
“Hold. On.” I started. “Why no over-the-knee boots??”
“S,” Cam said in her most patient mom-voice, as though talking to a small child, “you wear them all the time.”
And for the record….I don’t hate leggings and tunics. Everyone I know has worn them at some point, and I’m not sitting here judging anyone for wearing an outfit that is both cute and comfy. It’s just…..they never really feel like me. I think because the styling often skews preppy or girly, or they’re paired with hunter rainboots or tall boots (two styles that I’m just completely over) and…yeah. There’s nothing edgy about this pairing, and any longtime reader knows I like an outfit with a little edge. Something…messy.
So. My challenge, then, is how to make leggings and tunic edgy?
First, I turned to The Internets (*cough*Pinterest*cough*) for inspiration. Here’s what I found:
photo credits: ? | 2 | ? | ?
*I’d love to give proper photo credits – if you know where these pics are from (besides Pinterest, duh), let me know!
Ok. Let’s do this.
Sporty All-Black Hoodie + Leggings
I took #2 from above (the all-black hoodie) and ran with it. For me, it’s perfect. I love using a sporty vibe to keep an outfit feeling fresh and youthful, and the all-black, oversized hoodie is surprisingly chic. To keep the vibe firmly in the “Outfit” category (rather than pajamas), I added lipstick and a choker.
I had promised the team that I’d avoid my trusty Over-The-Knee boots….but that’s honestly how I’d wear this outfit, so I included some shots with THE BOOTS. But the cool part about this outfit is that it works just as well with….SNEAKERS!! (Or fashion sneakers, at least.)
And let’s be clear: The hoodie I REALLY WANT is this one. Sold out, but I’m totally on the waitlist for ‘S’.
Lastly….I think it’s important for leggings to hit in the right spot: a good inch or so above the ankle bone. Keeps the line sleek.
hoodie: Topman basic hoodie, size M – At the time, the And Other Stories’ hoodie was sold out (happily it was just restocked), so I had ordered a guys’ that I could share with Mike. I do have a bunch of other options in the boutique below.
leggings: Two by Vince Camuto Back-Seamed leggings, size XS Petite – The last time I had bought regular black leggings…..Raines was a toddler and they were the $5 specials from Forever 21. Needless to say, I don’t recommend them, especially if you’d like yours to last. Needing a pair for the challenge, I picked the Vince Camuto leggings simply based on the number of glowing reviews. I love the back-seam, and the fact that they are nice and thick, and seem to slim the legs. I do, however, wish that the waist was a little more high-rise OR that the waistband was thicker….they’re more of a mid-rise (and I’ve been spoiled by my Lululemon high-rise, comfort waistbands).
choker: Vanessa Mooney Tibi Choker
lipstick: Tarte’s Creamy Matte Lip Paint in ‘so fetch’ – the colors are super intense, and it goes one like…paint. Think: finger painting, but creamy. And manages to feel really good, without any weird smells or stickiness and IT LASTS.
Sweatshirt Dress + Leggings
I wanted to see if I could take this general theme in a slightly dressier direction….without losing the fresh, sporty vibe. Adding a bright leather jacket and a modern ankle boot (or ‘sock boot’) seemed do do the trick.
NOTE: Since I’m so short, I hacked off the sweatshirt dress – I wanted something really mini, for a mod feel- but was overly aggressive with the scissors. It totally works with leggings, but I wish it was a couple of inches longer so I could wear it in warmer weather without leggings. As it stands now, it’ll make a great pool coverup (especially those outdoor hot-tubs apres ski).
sweatshirt dress: LNA Hooded Sweatshirt Dress, size XS
turtleneck: 525 Ribbed Turtleneck Sweater size XS
red leather jacket: IRO, from last season, but this year’s is half off (a darker red, but so gorgeous – I’m wearing a 36)…or try one of these:
leggings: Two by Vince Camuto Back-Seamed leggings, size XS Petite (see earlier outfit for fit notes)
bag: Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack (note that it’s NOT ‘the medium’ Julian, which is quite a bit smaller)
Shop Hoodies To Wear With Leggings
Like the look? Here are a bunch of sweatshirt dresses/longer hoodies that would look seriously cute with leggings and/or a leather jacket. Boots or sneaks? Your choice.
So yeah….that’s my edit, if you will, on how I’d personally wear leggings and tunic-length tops. And now that I own these darn things…..want me to try a few more ways of styling leggings? I can’t make any promises on bum coverage, but I do have a few more ideas up my sleeve. Or any other pieces you’d like me to mess around with? Let me know!
And if you are DYING to see everyone else’s styling challenges…..be sure to follow us on IG (@themomedit). We’ll be doing a bunch of sneak peeks there first.