Monthly Archives: March 2013

What is a skinny jean, anyway?

Ah, the skinny jean. Love it or hate it, it’s pretty much here to stay. In the past few seasons, so many different types have been cropping up,  making it crazy confusing to decipher what’s what. Now instead of just plain old skinny jeans, we have ultra skinny, super skinny, jegging, slim straight, super slim straight, cigarette, ultra super skinny cropped cigarette denim legging, and the list goes on. So what the heck is the difference among them all, and how do you know what’s right for you?

The main thing to remember is that the names mostly have to do with fabric type and leg opening. Also keep in mind that there is no industry regulation here, so some companies just do what they think sounds good to their customer base. Much like a Theory 8 is not the same as a Gap 8, you’ll find one brand’s skinny jean is not the same as another’s. But below are general guidelines that can help you better navigate this scary skinny world and find what feels best for you.

citizens of humanity avedon jeans

Jeggings (sometimes referred to as denim leggings)

Jeggings will typically have the most stretch and the thinnest fabric feel. They are supposed to mimic the shape and fit of leggings but in a woven fabric. Sometimes you’ll see 5-pocket knit leggings labeled as jeggings, which is fine too I guess. I consider them to still be plain-old leggings, but it’s not uncommon to call them otherwise. Both Citizens of Humanity’s Avedon and Paige’s Verdugo styles represent a true jegging style.

Average leg opening: 10 to 11″

Best for: Women who love a super-snug fit and second-skin feel from waist to ankle. These also tend to be pretty comfortable since the fabric is stretchy and moves well with the body. Not good for ladies who needs some air circulating around their lower limbs.

JCrew toothpick jeans

Skinny (sometimes preceded by ‘ultra’ or ‘super’)

With a true skinny jean, the leg opening will be fitted around the ankle like in a jegging, but now you’re moving into a more substantial denim fabric. It can still have stretch, but not usually as much. J.Crew’s Toothpick jean is a good example of a classic skinny, although they choose to call it something else. See how confusing this can get?

Average leg opening: 12″

Best for: Women who want a super slim fit to the ankle, but need the feel of a proper jean.

jcrew matchstick jeans

Cigarette or Slim Straight

This may be the most annoying label. A slim straight jean is sometimes called a cigarette. What it’s supposed to mean is a slim leg that does not taper in and hug the ankle. Instead, there’s a slightly wider leg opening that falls straight from the knee. A cigarette jean is often cropped at the ankle, but it doesn’t have to be by definition. AG makes a good cigarette style, as does J.Crew with their Matchstick pair.

Average leg opening: 12.5″ to 13″

Best for: Women who don’t want to feel too constricted in jeans but still want the illusion of a skinny. I recommend this style to clients who are kind of over the whole tight skinny jeans thing but who still want to look current. It offers a more breathable solution from the knees down.

NYDJ straight leg jeans

Straight Leg

Lastly, a straight cut has a leg and calf opening that’s slim, but not fitted at all.  It’s the widest of the bunch. The leg will literally fall straight from the knee down, and the thigh cut tends to be a bit looser as well. NYDJ makes a true blue straight-leg jean. Narrow but not tight.

Average leg opening: 14″

Best for: Those deathly afraid of the skinny but who still want a slimmer leg. If you’re in bootcut recovery, this is a good first step.

Hard to keep straight, right? The good news is you don’t always have to. Each of these will achieve the same visual effect of slimming and streamlining your bottom half. So just choose which is most comfortable. That’s always what matters most anyway. Good luck!

Manday: Should my crewneck be peeking out? (or just my chest hair)


Happy Friday!

Today we tackle the pressing question of whether it’s ok to have your crewneck undershirt peek out from underneath your button-down. This question comes up a lot with my guy clients, friends, and even family members.

It’s an excellent question, with proponents on both sides. My feeling? Mostly no but sometimes yes.

First, the mostly no.

white shirt under button down

Having a white undershirt peek out from the unbuttoned collar of a business shirt can tend to look college (a.k.a amateur). But this doesn’t mean you have to ditch the undershirt altogether.

banana republic v-neck tee

Instead, opt for a V-neck. This will give you a layer of protection without popping out to say hi. And as for color, since the point of the shirt is not to be seen at all, you may want to think about a non-white option whose outline isn’t visible under more transparent button-downs. Women encounter a similar problem when it comes to bras showing through shirts, and my advice for them is to go the route of underthings that matches their skin color. Unfortunately this is not the easiest to find for men, so instead opt for grey or brown.

Now the sometimes yes explanation.

d53f0fb5b825c049141310c85ac507febanana republic mens crewneck tee

Once in a while, the best way to hide something is to make it the center of attention. That way it won’t seem like a mistake, or something that just has to be there. You can do this with crewneck shirts by trying contrast colors underneath your button downs. It will make for a cool pop of color in an unexpected place. I don’t recommend this for someone who likes to play it muted and safe in general, as the contrast color will look out of place. However, if you generally play with layers and textures, donning a green, blue, or heather red tee underneath your button-down can be fun. This could prove especially useful for you guys who are sensitive about too much upper chest hair being seen over a V-neck.

Have a burning question about guy style? Let me know and I may just become a Manday topic on the blog.

And don’t forget to follow my cool guy picks on Pinterest. Hours of mindless entertainment. What more could you want for the weekend?



Short shorts do not a power suit make.

photo from Raydene Salinas ; image from HuffPo

Huff Post Style ran an article this week highlighting the release of Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, with an interesting fashion twist. They used the opportunity to showcase new, updated versions of the power suit. This was annoying. And not because I don’t love a good power suit (I do), but because they opted for the weirdest, most inappropriate choices. Sure, they instruct you to merely ‘take inspiration’ from their looks, but let’s do one better. Here are some fierce power suits that get their ‘power’ from sleek cuts, flattering silhouettes, and colors that don’t blind people.

Instead of flaunting our sexuality or donning look at me! patterns, let’s exert our awesomeness by way of smart, chic, understated choices that highlight who we are. Not just our legs.

Here are my picks for both inspirational and practical takes on the modern power suit.

zara yellow pant suitzara tartan pant suit

By all means, embrace color and pattern. But stay away from anything that offends your co-workers’ eyes. Zara makes freaking adorable pant suits. I own two. They are fresh without being obnoxious. And the tailoring is great.

theory dusty rose suit

I also love the idea of doing a whole monochromatic look with your suit, like Theory’s dusty rose separates. This would highlight a contrast statement shoe beautifully.

LK Bennett tweed skirt suitann taylor skirt suit

If you want to ditch the pants, by all means, do it! An above-the-knee skirt in classic tweed like in this combo from LK Bennett looks contemporary yet still appropriate for work. Or stick to a knee-length and up the color ante to something fresh yet soothing like this from Ann Taylor.

jcrew grey wool suitann taylor grey suit

Most importantly, a power suit doesn’t have to be any bold color or pattern at all. As long as you have a really well-tailored, slim blazer on top, you’re going to look amazing. For added flair, go for an unexpected silver shoe (like J.Crew did) or scrunch up the sleeves (the messier the better) to give the overall look more attitude.

A little metal goes a long way (a.k.a. my fave flats for spring)

While spring is a relative term here in San Francisco (it’s kind of always a cold spring or warmish fall), I still get excited to bust out spring and summer styles come April and May. Lately, I’ve been on a flats kick. Maybe I’m just getting older and my feet are less patient? Or I’m sick of carrying commuting shoes. Regardless, my favorite flats for spring all have a common theme: metallic detail. I love this subtle addition, as it makes the flats instantly appear more edgy and dressy. Two things that flats need in general. All three of the below styles are entirely work-appropriate. And they can actually give evening heels a run for their money.

enzo angiolini danville flats

I ADORE these flats from Enzo Angiolini. White is one of my favorite colors for a spring shoe. It’s neutral in a fresh way. And the silver hardware gives just the right amount of interest. I ordered them and can’t wait to start wearing. They will go with everything. So psyched.

j crew janey patent flats


J.Crew’s Janey collection of patent flats is my favorite shoe of theirs in a long time. The structure and stacked metallic heel make them totally okay for the office, and the color range is darling. I’m partial to the coral, as I can see it amping up more muted clothing, like navy, denim, black, and beige. Keep in mind that warmer colors (reds, pinks) are usually easier to insert into a darker outfit than pops of blue or green. They make more of an impact.

rachel roy metallic flats


For something more traditionally neutral, I’m feeling these ballet flats from Rachel Roy. The thin metallic band is unusual in the best way. These will work with anything in your closet.

Join the flats revolution! Your feet will be so happy.