1. Any kind of trousers, pants, skirts or panti-hose that only come up to the hip. Haven’t we had enough of clothing manufacturers saving money on your back, not to mention Plumber’s Crack? Doesn’t anyone see how ridiculous they look?
2. Animal prints: why did they have to escape the bowling alleys and trailer-parks and migrate into J. Crew? Was there really nothing else to do…?
3. Open-toed and peep-toed shoes, which are strictly for summer. And, of course, forget the sandals and flip-flops.
4. Bare ankles peeking out under what we used to derisively call “high-water” pants, trousers, and slacks. If ankles and parts of your calves are showing, your garment is too short and makes your legs look truncated. For a finished look, if not to protect your feet and shoes. you ought to be wearing some sort of hosiery (knee-length stockings are cheap and plentiful). Unless, of course, you are at a very sultry resort. Even then, I would restrict the bare-foot and bare-legged look to poolside. See my Bermuda Dress Code for elucidation on elegance at resorts.
Clarks offers elegant shoes for ladies with good taste, in comfortable, classic styles. After years of women’s shoes with closed toes being all but extinct elsewhere on the shoe-shopping landscape, Clarks Indigo and Diamond lines persist in showing more style than skin.
See examples of how to dress elegantly, by the writer who brought Classic, Elegant Dressing to you in 2006. In her latest Elegant Dressing blog, M-J de Mesterton gives explanations of style, instructive photographs, and recommendations for accessories, directing tasteful readers to currently-available, elegant clothes.
It’s difficult to find classic, real shoes these days. When I speak of elegant dressing, I often mention closed-toe shoes, which used to be the norm. Sure, peep-toes and strappy high-heeled sandals are all the rage, but I don’t write about trends, except to disparage them and their lack of longevity. Exposing one’s toes and tottering about on stilts are never elegant. This pair of shoes almost represents my ideal for evening. Alas, they are a half-size too small for me. Advice to people approaching middle-age: buy your shoes a half-size larger than necessary, because your feet are about to grow a half-inch (once upon a time, these shoes would have fit me).