I have a submission for Ask Design Mom. I love dresses, and I have a few that I’m crazy about except that they only come to about mid-thigh, which is too short for my comfort. One of them looks cute with jeans underneath, but the others don’t work so well that way. Any ideas on how to get a little more coverage (knee length or longer) underneath, but still enjoy my darling dresses? (Both are from H&M; one a casual red-and-white knit with a polo-type collar, the other is more dressy, an adorable brown-and-white polka dot with a cowl neck.) All best, Rosalynde
Design Mom Answer:
Great question, Rosalynde. I think your instinct to layers jeans underneath a short-er dress is just right — it’s a look I love, and a look that some of my most stylish friends wear frequently. But I totally understand that jeans won’t always work with every dress.
So another solution that’s right on the money and will solve the short-er dress problem is leggings. Look for something thicker than footless tights, but not so loose that you lose the shape of the leg. And now that the weather is warming up, you can take the legging length from ankle to just below the knee. I like this pair from Delia’s, this pair at American Apparel, or Gap offers some more basic options.
If leggings aren’t quite right, I suggest experimenting with other pants. If your standard jeans don’t work, try a cigarette leg jean. Or maybe a pair of white sailor-cut cotton pants would look just right under your red-and-white knit.
Design Mom Readers, do you have any tricks for pulling off short dresses?
The question has come up in the comments about whether or not you can still pull off the leggings look if you’re 35 or older. It’s a great question and I think warranted an edit to the post. When I think about the women I know in the 35-45 age range and imagine them in leggings, I think Yes and No. If the idea makes you cringe, it’s probably not a good look for you. On the other hand, I can think of many friends that could totally pull it off. I say, if you’re over 35 and you like the leggings look, go for it.
In fact, I just received a Garnet Hill catalog today with clothing geared toward the 30+ set, and they show two totally hip and age-appropriate excellent examples of how to pull it off.