Friday, July 13, 2018

Hello, High-Low

Today was Friday Funday, and that means I was duty-bound to come up with a work outfit that's a little more casual and a lot more playful than what I wear the rest of the week. Of all Fridays, today it was especially important to not fail in this endeavor, because my boyfriend and I were going to happy hour directly after work, and I wanted to impress his friends with my totally laid-back-but-uniquely-chic fashion sense! No big deal, right?

I lie! It's a very big deal! So big that I took a few hours off this morning so I could come up with the perfect work-to-drinks outfit (well, also so I could catch up on sleep, buy myself a little me-time in the midst of a very hectic few days, and pick up some furniture I was unable to pick up last night because of the aforementioned hectic-ness). Those few hours of relative relaxation produced not only a splendid monochromatic ensemble, but also a fine trip down Memory Lane, and a couple of tips & tricks to boot!

Our first stop on Memory Lane takes us back to 2012, courtesy of the skirt, which is a classic specimen of the high-low trend that really hit full steam that year. You might recall, my initial opinion of this type of skirt was unfavorable, but a lot can change in 6 years! For one thing, I decided there was no point in calling them "hi-lo" skirts when there were two perfectly good English words to serve the same purpose. But, more importantly, once I got over my weird idea that high-low skirts make your knees look ugly, I grew to accept and embrace the trend pretty quickly. Good for me, because now that the fashion cycle has run its course, it is possible to buy high-low skirts for next to nothing (I got this one for 1.80$)! That's not to say that they are completely out-of-date yet; you can still find new ones in stores, but they much more often tend to be wrapped, ruffled, asymmetric, or generally more complex than this humble mullet skirt.

Let's now consider the color scheme of today's outfit, which takes us a little further down Memory Lane to February 2015, when I wore basically the same colors for "My Future Valentine," again with a burgundy skirt on the bottom and pastel pink on the top. What has changed? The season of course, but also the length of the skirt. That day in 2015 was, I think, the very last time I wore a skirt that skimpy to the office. I remember feeling very uncomfortable and deciding, once and for all, that I would set a minimum length for all my future skirts.

I feel like I should be able to bend over as far as I want without accidentally showing my undies, so that became my new, and still current, rule for skirt lengths. This is where high-low skirts come in very handy—they enable one to wear a (partial) short skirt (generally more flattering and less dowdy) while simultaneously being able to bend over to my heart's content without revealing anything! This burgundy one is the first high-low skirt I've acquired (though not the first high-low dress), but I foresee them playing a much bigger role in my life as they saturate the secondhand market!

So we've visited 2012, we've stopped off in 2015, what's next? How about 2016, where the legacy of my shoes began? You see, in 2016, I acquired a pair of pink glitter jelly sandals that simply set my heart on fire! I wore them once or twice that year, but the following summer, I took them out of storage to find they had developed a terrible stink. I washed them in every kind of chemical imaginable, but I couldn't get the odor out. Eventually, I washed them in ammonia, which not only failed to get out the odor, but also turned the plastic cloudy and ugly, so finally I gave up. I replaced them with these: slightly inferior, but still pink and glittery, flat jelly sandals.

Since we're traveling forward in time, I might mention that the first time I wore the shirt in this outfit was last summer, but it's not that important. What is important is how I styled the shirt. 
To get it to look good with the skirt, I had to give it the old quarter-tuck. 
"The old what?" you say. That's right, I've never mentioned it in my blog before, but it's an indispensable technique for making a single shirt do double-duty. As it has become one of my most tried-and-true styling techniques (and, as this has already become an irredeemably verbose blog post!) I might as well finally get around to explaining how to use it.

The half- and quarter-tuck

The half-tuck is a simple way to wear your shirt so it's tucked in in the front and loose in the back. There are so many reasons why you might want to try half-tucking your shirt!
  1. It raises your shirt's hemline, thus showing more of your pants, thus adding apparent length to your legs.
  2. It simultaneously allows you to keep a sleek waistline by avoiding the side-pooch that comes with tucking your shirt in at the sides.
  3. It helps prevent your pants from being seen through your shirt, as would be the case if you wear a too-thin shirt on the outside of your pants (that's why I tucked the shirt in this outfit)
  4. It can help define your waist, which might be hidden when leaving a baggy shirt completely untucked
  5. It keeps the bulk of your shirt outside of your pants, thus avoiding any interior bunching, lumps, and bumps, that would come from having a shirt completely tucked.
The half-tuck's edgier sibling is the quarter-tuck, which is basically tucking in only one side of the front of your shirt, usually resulting in an asymmetrical angle to the hemline. I find the quarter-tuck works well on shirts (such as this pink one) that already have some asymmetrical details.

Fashionistas have been wearing their shirts this way for ages—I first tried the half-tuck myself in 2015— but now, as I understand, it has been thrown into the mainstream by being dubbed the "French tuck" on a popular Netflix show. I just call it the half-tuck because I have never watched Queer Eye and don't intend to adopt a new terminology just because someone on that show allegedly uses it.

So now that I have reached the absolute present in my journey through fashion history (and I mean absolute—the word "French tuck" just exploded in the media within the past week!), it is time to bid you adieu. I hope that you have enjoyed this rambling discourse on what was, is, and will be, as well as my undoubtedly valuable instructions on how to wear your clothes...but in case you have not, I hope you at least enjoy this cute picture of a dog!

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