My mom always told me that horizontal stripes are a definite no – “Why would you wear something that makes you look wider?” she’d say, in the warmest of kvetching motherly ways.

But with brazen stripes all over the blogosphere and spring 2013 runways – from Oscar de la Renta to Marc Jacobs – I think it’s about time we tossed aside all preconceived notions and got to the bottom of that much-dwelled-upon question: Do horizontal stripes really make you look wider?

Despite research by University of York perception expert, Peter Thompson, proclaiming that all horizontal stripes actually make you look thinner, the general consensus across the web is, well, it depends. Because all horizontal stripes are not created equal. (You hear that, Mom?)

Horizontal Stripes

Thick stripes. Wide horizontal stripes are the trickiest to wear – this is because the wider the stripe, the more your eye will slow down and focus on it. They work best on tall, slimmer frames. But that doesn’t mean petites and curvy girls have to avoid them. Just layer them under a blazer or wear them on the smaller half of your body only – a stripy skirt for apple shapes or a striped top for pear shapes, for example.

Thin stripes. Unlike the thick stripe, a thin stripe can be surprisingly lengthening. This is because the narrower the stripe, the harder it is for your eye to focus on just one spot, so you’re likely to look up and down rather than side to side. Translation: Permission granted to wear thin stripes unabashedly this season, no matter your body type.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor

Have a fit tip you want answered? Check our The Fitting Room column every Monday, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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April 8, 2013

There you are, April. (Rabbit, rabbit.) I woke up this morning with springy resolve: I’m going to purchase a new pair of sandals.

That first sandal pick of the season is always a little heart-fluttery. You think about all the places you’ll go in said sandals, or, perhaps more accurately, all the patios you’ll sip muddled craft cocktails on, sandal-clad…

But then reality sets in: blisters. So today, we’re talking blister prevention – a.k.a. how to break in that cute new pair of leather sandals you just scored at 11AM. After plenty of research, I stumbled on this little gem of a tip from Real Simple, which I’ve come to call “The Sandal Plunge.” Read on, try it for yourself, and take the season by storm.

The Sandal Plunge

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

Have a fit tip you want answered? Check our The Fitting Room column every Monday, or tweet us at @ruelala

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April 1, 2013

Put away those puffers – it’s high time for the resurgence of the trench. But before you slip one on and head out into that springy breeze (or, err, April shower), discover these tips for finding the right fit for men and women.

The Fitting Room

Does my trench have to be the same length as my skirt?

The age-old rule is that a woman’s coat should never be longer – or shorter – than the hem of her skirt. In fact, they must match exactly. But in order to prevent the need for fifteen trillion coats in different lengths to match each and every skirt in your closet, look for a trench that’s no more than a few inches longer or shorter than your skirt. A longer trench creates a streamlined, unbroken line (read: it’s slimming!). Wearing pants? The world is your oyster – just make sure the trench is longer than your top layers. Which means no short trenches and super-long cardis.

How large should a men’s trench be? 

The Art of Manliness has this style down pat, noting that trenches should be long (and large) enough for you to wear over a suit or thick sweater. “A good measure,” they note, “is to try on a coat and button it up fully – the shoulders should extend out past your natural shoulder by .5 to 1 full inch (to allow room for a suit jacket)….  Next look at the sleeve length – they should be worn 2 to 4 inches longer than a suit jacket’s sleeves, to about the pinch on your hand.”

Do I choose double- or single-breasted? 

In general, I think single-breasted coats are more flattering across both genders, but in the end it comes down to personal preference. What makes you feel good? For a look at the benefits of both for men, peep our Double- vs. Single-Breasted Guide.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor

Have a fit tip you want answered? Check our The Fitting Room column every Monday, or tweet us at @ruelala

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March 25, 2013

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, which in my book means one thing: It’s high time to start transitioning into springwear. But with temps still in the (insurmountably depressing) 30s here in Boston, that’s easier said than done. So let’s ease into spring slowly, shall we? First up: Taking those peep-toes out from the back of the closet.

Below, five things to know about this open-toed standby, just in time for the cusp of spring.

 

5 Peep-Toe Rules

By Joanna Berliner, Editor

Have a fit tip you want answered? Check our The Fitting Room column every Monday, or tweet us at @ruelala

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March 18, 2013

This season, we’re all about high-waisted pants. Yet no matter how many high-waisted dos I see, I can’t shake the image of poor, lovely Jessica Simpson, circa 2009. Clad in ill-fitting high-waist denim cinched with double leopard belts, the fashion tycoon proved that the trend can go mom jeans – fast. So before you take the (leg-lengthening) plunge, read up on how to keep the look effortlessly modern.

High-Waisted Pants

Find the perfect style and fit. When it comes to high-waisted pants, there are three schools of thought: the wide-leg, the flare, and the skinny. I’m a big proponent of the former two for all body types – worn right (à la Kim Kardashian), they make your legs look miles long. Tip: If you’re pear shaped, stay away from pants that pleat or gather at the waist. Also, keep in mind for all body types – pants should hit at your natural waist, not above or below.

Tuck that top in (or crop it). High-waisted pants can make your waist look teeny, so don’t go hiding under a loose top. Tuck a fitted one in (if you’re worried about staying smooth, try a Yummie Tummie or SPANX® tee), or up the dare factor with an on-trend crop top.

Wear chunky heels or wedges. They balance out a wide-leg or flared pair and keep stems looking lean and super long. This season, I’m loving wedges with wooden accents – just be sure your shoes peek out from beneath your pants’ hem.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor

Have other fit tips you want answered? Check our The Fitting Room column every Monday, or tweet us at @ruelala

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March 11, 2013

When it comes to wearing prints, it’s all about what catches the eye first. It’s important to know where to place them in order to accentuate your best features and disguise those trouble areas. As an overall guideline, place printed items on areas that deserve a little extra attention.

First things first – identify your body type. We come in all shapes and sizes, but rest assured – so do prints.

BLG-1314 Fitting Room- Prints for Body Type3

Petite
Height isn’t on your side, so make friends with vertical stripes that will lengthen your silhouette. If you’re not into stripes, keep in mind that patterns with elements larger than your fist will overpower your petite frame.

Long and Lean
Exercise your right to pull off large and bold prints. Monotonous prints will make you appear a little lanky, but a bold print will draw the eye toward the torso and away from limbs.

Pear Shape
This one’s a given: draw the eye upward by wearing a busy print on top. Play around with colors and wear that flattering floral blouse – over and over again.

Fuller Bust
The pear shape’s alter ego. Reverse the advice and choose a printed skirt or pant to offset a top-heavy appearance. Lucky for you, printed bottoms are a hot trend for spring 2013.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

How do you wear your prints? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala, then check out our The Fitting Room column every Monday.

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March 4, 2013

Monochrome Outfit

Spring is all about playing with color, but sometimes, just one shade is enough for an eye-catching outfit. Before diving headfirst into this hue-on-hue trend, check out a few rules of thumb.

Layer, Layer, Layer
With this trend, more is more. Go ahead and wear that poppy-hued sweater over a red blouse and cashmere cable-knit sweater. And while you’re at it, throw on a pashmina, too.

Get Textural
All materials are fair game. Since the depth of color is in disparity, the texture is what pleases the eye. Your leather It bag will soon become best friends with your cotton shirt, corduroy skirt, and silk anythings.

Play with Prints
Have fun with this one. Pair stripes (nautical or textured) with solids or go mix animal patterns with florals – just make sure the base color remains the same.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

What color would you be likely to wear this way? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala, then check out our The Fitting Room column every Monday.

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February 25, 2013

I love a good pump. But deciding which style – and complementary shape – will complete my look from head to toe? Easier said than done. The shape that you select adds personality to any outfit, and here at Rue we always try to put our best foot forward, so choosing a pointed-toe or round-toe pump is no simple task. Below, a guide to both.

Pointy Toes Vs. Round Toe

The Pointed Toe

The pointed toe is more fashionable than practical, but we all know that good girls finish last. Command respect and exude confidence in the office by pairing with a pencil skirt. For a night on the town, I like to balance the look of my modern leather pants with this classic style.

This look works especially well with a colorful cap-toe. The splash of color serves almost as an accessory, adding unexpected pop. For those with larger feet, this trend can still work. Just opt for a flared jean and remember to leave some room in the toe – going smaller is not a comfortable experience.

The Round Toe

Also known as the almond-shaped toe, this style conveys dependability. If comfort is your main priority, the rounded toe that typically adorns the platform stiletto will bring you to new heights. Paired with a trusty sheath dress or casual pant, this shoe rounds out your look.

There are really no rules for the round toe, as this is the most classic of styles. This shape is flattering for larger feet, making them appear much more compact. Just be careful with loose-fitting slacks – the toe can get lost when your pant leg is too baggy. Skinny jeans or fitted pants – and, of course, skirts – are the best way to go.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

Which toe shape do you prefer? Check our The Fitting Room column every Monday, or tweet us at @ruelala

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February 18, 2013

The Fitting Room

This weekend marked the biggest snowstorm New England’s seen in years, so naturally, I’m in full-on spring-dreaming mode. I’m just waiting for that moment I can put my wintery boots in under-the-bed storage, pack away the mittens, and whip out the very essential spring standby: the skirt.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s review some essential skirt rules. Because, after all, there’s potentially nothing worse than winter-pale legs and a too-short hemline. Except a spring snowstorm. Of course.

Mini
In terms of length, I’m a firm believer in Grandma’s golden rule: if you put your arms down straight and your fingertips are longer than your skirt hem, your skirt is too short. Regardless, this look is best for nighttime. To err on the side of caution, wear with opaque tights. And if you do end up with a too-short skirt? Peep these what-to-do tips.

Above the Knee
If you ask Project Runway guru Tim Gunn, a skirt or dress that hits just a few inches above the knee is the most versatile of the bunch – this look works anywhere from dinner with the boyfriend’s parents to your 9-to-5. It’s also one of the most widely flattering. Wear with flats for day then transition (with ease) to heels for night.

Knee Length
Perhaps the most conservative of all hemlines, the knee-length skirt is best for fancy midday affairs and boardrooms. Stay away if your gams aren’t your best asset – the length can cut them off at an awkward point – and choose instead a look that falls an inch or two above or below the knee. (I love this petite-friendly guide to finding the most flattering hemline length.)

Floor Length
Maxi dresses aside, this floor-sweeping hemline is best kept to black-tie galas, proms, and your (fingers crossed) red-carpet debut. When choosing length, pick a gown that hits an inch off the floor when you’re wearing heels. Not ready to take the long-dress plunge? Go tea length, which hits between the knee and ankle and can be just as fancy when done right.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

Have other fit tips you want answered? Check our The Fitting Room column every Monday, or tweet us at @ruelala

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February 11, 2013

I love me a good belt – just peek inside my closet. But I always find myself stumbling upon the same frustrating problem: What on earth do you do with that pesky bit of extra belt?

The answer? Get creative. Below, four ways to tame a too-long belt:

4 Ways to Tame a Too-Long Belt

1. Knot it up. There are a bajillion ways to knot a belt (peep these ideas), but the “classic knot” above is my standby. Simply pull the end of the belt through the buckle, loop it under, then pull it back down taut through the loop you create.

2. Try a hair tie. Who knew hair ties could be so versatile? Loop one around a similarly colored belt to keep the end from flailing around aimlessly.

3. Play with Velcro. It’s not just for kids’ sneakers anymore. A piece of self-stick Velcro adhesive is a surefire way to keep things in place. This works wonders on belts in patent or leather, which are thick enough that the adhesive doesn’t peek through. (Avoid suede and other textured belts, which can get ruined.)

4. Employ a cobbler. Most belts can be cut – but instead of doing it yourself (I’ve tried, to no avail), hightail it to your local cobbler. They’ll fix it in a jiffy – and punch more holes in it, too, if you’d like.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

Have other fit tips you want answered? Check our The Fitting Room column every Monday, or tweet us at @ruelala

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February 4, 2013