How to pretend your flats fit

This post comes to you inspired by the wonderful Kelly of Alterations Needed. Kelly had a great post last week, “Faking Fit,” in which she gave advice on how to take items that don’t fit exactly right and make them look like they fit great. They’re genius tips, and simple, too — rolling up long sleeves, pushing up blazer sleeves to balance wide shoulders, putting cardigans over ill-fitting shirts, etc.

I managed to snag a pair of Missoni for Target flats back in September, but after only a few days of wear, the soles broke down and I had to get them resoled. To add insult to injury, the shoes stretched out somewhere in the resoling process, so I have trouble keeping them on my feet, especially when wearing them with tights. I’ve been dealing with it, taking tiny steps and walking slowly so I don’t randomly lose my shoes. But yesterday, inspired by Kelly’s post, I thought, “There has to be a way I can make this better.”

On Sunday, a friend told me that she about stuffs her pointy-toed heels with cotton balls to make them fit better. I wondered if I could pull off the same thing with my flats. I put four cotton balls in the toe of each shoe, and, sure enough, it worked! The cotton pushed my foot back just far enough to make the fit more snug.

Top, without cotton balls; Bottom, with cotton balls. See the difference right at the back?

It wasn’t a totally flawless fix. As the day wore on, my feet slid around a little more because the cotton packed together and took up less space; I’ll probably try five or six cotton balls next time. Also, because the flats are low-cut to begin with and the cotton pushes my foot back, I ended up showing a lot more “toe cleavage,” if you will, than I think is attractive.

"I need to ask you to cover some of that toe cleavage. That's just obscene."

Still, given the choice between “You can see too much of my toes!” and “You can see my entire foot because my shoe just fell off in the middle of the street!”, I will definitely take the former. All in all, this is a great trick! Definitely give it a try next time you’re struggling to keep your flats on. Cheers.


Genius tip: How to remove glitter nail polish

You guys remember the crazy glitter nails I did for New Year’s Eve, right?

They were a pain and a half to paint on, but fun to wear, and I loved them. But, when they finally chipped enough that it was time to take the polish off, I learned an annoying truth: Nail polish that is a pain and a half to put on will more often than not be a pain and a half to take off. Glitter is stubborn! I spent about 20 minutes and 5 cotton balls on one hand, and this was still the best I could do.

The photo doesn’t do it justice; there was shredded cotton everywhere, my skin was dried out from the polish remover and my nails were scratched where I tried, unsuccessfully, to scrape the polish off. That last bit of glitter wasn’t going anywhere. Desperate and out of cotton balls, I tweeted, “Things that are impossible: removing glitter nail polish. Any tips?” Before long, I had a reply from my follower Stephanie (@Sn0wf1ake123): “Douse cotton ball in acetone remover, secure to nail with wrapped tin foil, wait 3-5 minutes, then twist/pull off everything!”

I was skeptical. I had read about this trick before, some sites suggesting variations including felt or straight acetone, but I was hesitant to try it. Just sounded ridiculous! But I trust my Twitter community, so I gave it a try.

I dug felt out of my old craft bin, got nail polish remover all over my sink and sat on my couch watching CSI with my hands looking like this:

Try explaining this one to your dad.

And, you know what? It worked! I didn’t leave them wrapped for long — just the time between CSI commercial breaks — and they turned out like this:

All gone! So, thanks, Stephanie. Next time I wear glitter polish, I’ll definitely do this before I run out of cotton balls. Cheers.

Shoe repairman appreciation post

Remember how I was so happy to get my Missoni for Target flats, but sad to find that the soles had nearly worn through after three days of wear?

There’s a shoe repair place right across from where I work, and the man there is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He fixed a pair of sandals for me last spring and did a great job for a low price, and I guessed he could do the same for my flats. And he totally did! For $20, he replaced the “leather,” aka cardboard, sole with a new rubber one. He also replaced the half-cardboard-half-rubber heel with a full rubber one, for free. They look so much better, and I know they’ll last.

I read a lot of fashion blogs, and I see a lot of posts in which people express their appreciation for their tailors, but I’ve never seen anyone give their shoe repairman any love. Part of this could be because people don’t get their shoes repaired often; I’ve only done it twice. But seriously, if you can find someone who does good work, it’s definitely worth it.

And if you find one as nice as mine, bonus. I dropped off the shoes last Friday and was told they’d be ready a week later, but I was already in the area so stopped in today to see if they were done. I didn’t even have to tell the guy behind the counter what my name was — “my” man had seen me walk in and came over with my shoes! He remembered who I was after meeting me only once or twice before. People like that are special. Treasure them. Cheers.

How-To: A different way to tie a scarf

First of all, remember how less than a month ago I was afraid of scarves and avoided them, and the first time I wore one was a HUGE DEAL? Look at me. Now I’m wearing scarfs on my lazy days and writing tutorial posts. Cheers.

Anyway, a few of you have commented on the funky way I tie scarves. I’ll tell you right away that I didn’t come up with it on my own — my roommate showed me, and an old lady at a mall kiosk showed her. But it’s pretty cool looking, and deceptively easy. Ready to learn?

This is what the final tie looks like. Step-by-step instructions after the cut. More

Instant Outfit: The Tank & Necklace Trick

As I mentioned in my first post, my roommate once told me that I manage to look like I’m wearing outfits, not just a top and a bottom. I’ve become good at taking basic items and putting them together in ways that are very easy but still look like they took some small measure of effort.

The absolute easiest way to do this, and the one I rely on most of the time, is the tank and necklace trick. Add a tank under whatever you’re wearing, throw on a necklace, and you’re set.

The basic look:

Start with something easy. I’ve had this shirt for ages — just a plain hunter green waffle-knit shirt from the Gap — but it’s still one of my favorites. It’s comfortable and soft, just what I wanted on a lazy Sunday. I’m sure you have a ton of shirts like this — basic, great for layering, your go-to on a relaxed day. Throw it on with a comfortable pair of jeans and you’re set.

The Outfit:

I don’t think I’ve ever worn this shirt without a white tank top underneath it. I always thought that the darker green on top of jeans was kind of dark, and I love the way the white breaks it up. Plus, even though they’re not always hard, layers always seem to indicate that you tried a little more to get dressed. The necklace hardly matches — it’s a round floral pendant on a long chain — but it adds a little something to the plainness of the shirt.

How can you try it?

Like I said, this is an easy, easy trick, and it doesn’t require anything you don’t already own. You have t-shirts, you have tank tops (or camis, or other shirts) and I’m sure you have at least one necklace.

For the tank, consider what will go best with your basic top. Pick up an accent color, like wearing a yellow tank top under a black shirt with yellow writing. Go with a color combo you like — I’m sure you’ve done the red tank/ blue tee look for at least one Fourth of July celebration. Or, if all else fails, go with a neutral. White, black or gray tanks work with almost everything. My favorite tanks, ever, are Old Navy’s Perfect Rib-Knit Tanks — they’re cheap, long enough to layer and available about a bajillion colors.

The necklace is the optional bonus. If you’re wearing a patterned shirt to begin with, you can skip it. But for plain things that you want to dress up a little, grab your go-to necklace, add earrings if you have a pair that coordinates, and you’re set to go.

(In case you were wondering, yes, I did wear shoes today. Brown wedges. I just have a habit of going shoeless around my dorm at night, and managed to not have any on at picture time.)

Walking Tall

From about October to February, I wanted a pair of tall black leather boots. I thought they were cool when I saw them around campus, I needed an alternative to wearing rainboots every time there was snow on the ground and I was seeing them all over fashion blogs. I hesitated to buy a pair, though. Could I pull off such a “tough” look? Could 4’11” me wear tall boots without looking even shorter? What would people say?

In February, at the near-end of the winter, I was out shopping, already looking for spring dresses, when I spotted the perfect pair. They were simple but had the buckle details I wanted, heeled but not so high that I couldn’t walk in them, “motorcycle boots” but still very much me. After a moment’s hesitation (“Why am I buying winter boots when it’s spring shopping weather?”), I bought them.

This sounds a little crazy, but every time I wear these boots, I feel myself walking taller. I stand up straight, hold my head high, walk confidently. Shortly after I bought them, I texted my mom: “Why did I wait so long to buy black leather boots? They make me feel so sassy!” They’re an instant confidence booster.

I didn’t really have a plan for a post for today, because I spent most of the day wearing a uniform. This evening, though, I got an unexpected Facebook message from a girl I know through a friend. I lost the original conversation, but her question was basically this:

Will I look stupid if I wear my baseball jersey out to dinner tonight? Is it dumb to wear something just because you think you look cute in it?

I was surprised by the question — I’m always the one asking for this advice, not giving it — and followed it up by asking her things like where she was going, what the occasion was, etc. In the end I encouraged her to wear the jersey. “Why not?” I asked. “If it makes you feel confident, go for it.”

It made me think about the things I wear just because I like to wear them, even if it’s not always “practical.” My collection of dresses and skirts that I love to wear, even if I’m only going grocery shopping, because they make me happy. My absurdly long silver earrings, so long that they hit me in the teeth if I turn my head too fast, that I wear because I got them in London. My wonderful, beautiful black boots.

I hate to go with such a cliché for my third post, but it’s true: Wear what makes you  happy. Who are you dressing for? Yes, there are times when you need to dress to impress, and in those cases, by all means, go with norms. But for everyday life? Forget it. Grab that dress that makes you smile, that jacket you’ve loved since junior high, those boots that make you feel sassy. Rock them proudly.