Shop Your Closet: Pair Bootcut Denim With Off-The-Shoulder Tops


Readers Lauren, Ginny, Maggie and Kendra called me out recently (in the comments section of this article) for always showing so much leg.  Lauren started the chain with this comment:

So many of the looks and trends you feature and recommend are leg-centric. Which look great on lots of ladies, just not me. And, I suspect, on lots of other moms. Any shorts with a less than 10" inseam, booties of any kind… so not working on me. Nothing, and I mean nothing, turns perfectly fine legs into shorty tree stumps like booties.

So…what can you recommend for a little excitement this fall that is NOT shorts or booties?


 It's true.  Sigh. I love me some short-shorts…and some ankle booties.  It's totally where my head has been lately.  But I get that this look is not for everyone – especially Mamas with shorter legs.  

So.  If you are looking for a leg-lengthening style…look no further than bootcut denim.  IknowIknowIknow!  Bootcut denim, one could argue, is the new mom jean.   But don't freak out!  Pretty much anything goes these days (and if you're interested, here is are my full thoughts on the topic of skinny vs flare vs bootcut).

I suspect many of us have a pair of bootcut denim lurking in the back of our closets.  To make them feel fresh again, try pairing them with something a bit trendier on top.  Something that mixes in a decade other than the 90's or early 2000's.   Something like…an 80's off-the-shoulder top, perhaps?? 

(wearing: Rich and Skinny Bootcut denim, Dansko Rhianna boots - almost sold out…these are similar, and an old top from Anthro.  Here's a similar one…or this!  For less!)

I actually pulled this top out of my Send To Goodwill pile.  I was going to donate the thing because every time I put it on (previously only with skinny jeans) I always felt too Flashdance-fabulous.  Like I was one sweatband away from dancin' fo-or my life.  

Take your pass-ssion (spin-spin) and make it happen (big leap then crouch-and-pose!)
Pictures come alive, you can dance right through your life…..

<<inset S's dance solo here>>

For the record:  I do have a whole dance routine for that song.  Choreographed by moi, age 7.  If you are interested, I would be willing recreate on YouTube. (no, you crazy people, NOT really) 

But here's the thing:  The bootcut denim saves the top.  Instead of skinny jeans and legwarmers, bootcut denim actually makes the top feel modern and fresh again.  At least for those of us old enough to remember wearing off-the-shoulder tops the first time around.

Anyone recognize this pose?


All I need to do is lose the pants, add some heels and then…I AM. MUSIC NOW.  My 7-year old self is in ecstasy.  







  1. Gotta say, I prefer the booties and shorts! Booties and anything, really. But, if you must boot, I like mine with a wee more drama to nullify the mom-jean effect. Gaps perfect boot, for example, in a dark dramatic wash. I keep mine long so that I’ll only wear heels with them. Or, in today’s case, booties πŸ˜‰

  2. Excellent, thank you. I’ve been ignoring your advice about skinny jeans and short shorts with everything, thinking “that is definitely not for me!” Though I still haven’t broken down and bought any skinny jeans, your linked articles about their longevity convinced me to at least try some on next time I’m out shopping. I don’t want to have a wardrobe that is all out of date like (shutter) my mom’s.

  3. Thanks, Shana! I did pick up some desert wedge booties over the weekend, which makes me feel a little more confident rocking skinnies.

  4. Thanks, S! I’ve got a pair of dark boots hiding on my closet shelf that I’m going to try and see if they’ll dance right through my life. (Totally get and love that second pic, btw!)
    Past those, you inspired me to rethink denim and I wanted to share my find with my fellow less-than-leggy Mamas: Lucky Brand Sweet n Straight. Yes, I have thighs that look a bit like drumsticks (think turkey, not rockstar) but the Luckies manage to make them look pretty darn good. I eased in with tall boots but have already ventured into ballet flat territory and kinda loved it. I rocked them with leopard ballets, a moto sweater and a brown fedora on a little shopping trip this weekend and a rather fabulous sales clerk told ME I looked fabulous. (!) Not too shabby at three months post partum. Not too shabby.
    So thanks, S, for the kick in the (sorta) skinny but definitely not mom jeans!

  5. I have to say that I think you look taller and thinner in boots than straight/skinny…as does most everyone. Not to say that you look bad in the other styles b/c you certainly do not. You are a thin woman who can wear most anything. However must women cannot and I find skinny jeans to be particularly unflattering on 95% of the women who wear them. They look like walking ice cream cones. Sad that this remains a top trend.

  6. Man, I was obsessed with Flashdance when I was a kid. Love your sense of humor mixed with great fashion advice!
    At the risk of sounding weird, I feel like I know you better from reading this blog than I did when I knew you from UBD – and it makes me so sad you no longer live here. If you did, I’d invite you and your boys over for a dance party!

  7. Fabulous; thank you! I always think you look great, but I can look at that above picture of you and think, “Now THAT I could wear!” I have honestly, truly, given skinny jeans a fair shake, and it’s just not working. I’m thankful for flares, and now I know what to do with bootcuts πŸ™‚

  8. HOL-E SMOKES! I was JUST thinking about this! I have some skinny jeans and booties that look fahhhbulous in the closet but when I put them on together, my legs look positively miniscule!! You ever see the bad photoshopping where the model looks really tiny down below but huge up top? That’s what I look like, BAD PHOTOSHOPPING, only in real time folks. Anywho, I thought about sending in a pic to ask how to fix my outfit but, voila, Lauren, Ginny, Maggie and Kendra literally READ MY MIND(again I say: HOL-E SMOKES). The jeans are a beautiful wine color so I loved them right away and gave them a good home and have been determined to wear them and the booties were a gift from the hubmeister so I HAVE to keep them (long story). I do happen to have a pair of bootleg jeans but was afraid to look too old school. Bravo for this look! How come I never see colored or printed bootleg jeans tho? Would that look too crazy with all the fabric?

  9. Hi S! I have been reading this blog for a while and I think you are an inspiration for moms out there. I was always afraid of becoming shall I say frumpy….and I don’t think I ever will. You definitley inspire me to do different things, and you definitely have gorgeous legs that I wish I had but I have short legs as well as the others and I don’t like skinny jeans with flats, but I do love them as long as I have a heel or a boot over them. And I love them with booties as long as the jeans I’m wearing are rolled up. I think a some type of a heel always makes legs look better. I would never wear booties with a dress but just wondering if these ladies tried the booties rolled with skinnies? Also I think it depends on the type of skinnies as well. Having said I like skinnies I still like putting on a great pair of boot cut jeans with a great heel.
    Thanks for all the great advice!

  10. Um, so this top was in your Goodwill pile? I would have no problem paying the shipping if you wanted to send me the rest of that pile. If the shirt is any indication of what else is in it…no joke:)

  11. OMG – I wear bootcut denim all the time.
    *hanging head in utter shame*
    I literally own ONE pair of skinny jeans and I hate them. I live in bootcut. For real.

  12. This is so funny. Whenever I do boot it or flares these days I try to do a more seventies top because it feels more “on purpose” than “I just woke up and grabbed something from 2003”
    Of course, right now I’m pregnant and have decided that boot cut and a fitted top are still the most bump flattering options. Though im wearing (not sure how well) some drapey tops with skinny jeans and boots.
    I’ve found some skinnies I can wear, but as a 5.4 woman with athletic thighs, I never love my body more than when it’s in a pair of good fitting flares.

  13. Can you recommend some comfortable heels that are cute for work? I am looking for some cute basic black pumps and it has been difficult to find cute ones that don’t hurt. Thanks!

  14. I’ve seen someone wearing wine cord flares that now haunt my dreams. And I have a pair of patterned flares…will bust them out on the blog JUST for you. πŸ™‚

  15. My goodwill pile is the bane of my existence. Sigh. Everytime I try to get rid of something, a reader question comes through and I’m like, “Oh! I need to rescue that shirt” GAH Someday, I’ll be able to actually pitch clothes. And when I do…..

  16. I love all the great styles from your blog! Are boyfriend jeans on the way out? It’s taken me a while to warm up to the idea of trying them. Am I way too late to try them?

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