Outfit lab: Failed skinny experiment

So, in light of Angie's post this morning, I hereby put up for your (I hope, sympathetic) amusement my outfit fail from Saturday. 

The forecast was for snow. A friend and I were going out for a belated birthday lunch and a play. 

So I chose to try one of Angie's recommendations: 

  • Wear high-waisted skinny jeans with roomy cropped or tucked tops.
The jeans are higher waisted DL1961 skinnies. I tried them with a cropped sweater and roomy untucked shirt. The higher waist means you don't have to belt; the jeans won't pull down even tucked into boots. Win! 

But. I didn't like this outfit at all. The jeans felt too snug. (They are a bit snug after 3 months of no exercise, but mostly it's the fabrication -- a high amount of "structured stretch" for want of a better term.) And I really didn't feel like this flattered me. I felt blocky, thunder-thighed, and not at all fashionable. 

I much preferred an earlier attempt with wide leg trousers -- more fluid and easy. 

But. You know. Snow.

Which explains why I will never stop wearing skinnies and they're a true modern classic.  :) 

On reflection, I think I might have liked this a tiny bit better if I had used this recommendation also: 

  • Tuck them into mid-calf boots.
Instead I went for knee highs and these ones may be too fitted, which contributes to a stuffed sausage look.

Oh well. Next time, right? 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Claudia replied 5 years ago

    Suz, you may have felt uncomfortable, but you look really good in both versions. Not feeling good is a reason not to wear something, but to the observer nothing is amiss here, and both are flattering on you.

  • Tanya replied 5 years ago

    I think the outfit looks perfetly fine on you, no stuffed saudage at all.  It is more how you feel than how it looks, I think.  I have gained lots of weight in the past few months (my guess the thyroid hormone is to blame) so I do not like how any of my pants feel at the moment; so I totally understand.

  • Mona replied 5 years ago

    Yes, you looked awesome in both versions. I am chuckling at thunder-thighs :)

  • Mary Beth (formerly LBD) replied 5 years ago

    I have to second the others: you look super-freakin'-cute in both outfits!  Sort of a ski-bunny look.   And truly, I don't see 'thunderthighs' at all!

    However, I totally get that whole feeling and dislike of 'too snug'.   Are you going to try these jeans again?   Maybe they need to stretch out and relax a little more.

  • Helena (Torontogirl) replied 5 years ago

    I don't know Suz; looks pretty darn good to me with the skinnies ... think you are being hard on yourself. And the wide leg version is very nice too!

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    I think you look great and I see no stuffed sausage, but I completely understand and can relate -- it's got to FEEL good.

    I tried the cropped over long shirt thing last year and I'm glad I didn't invest heavily in it (a cheap F21 sweater) because I just don't feel my most fab in this style, no matter how I style the bottom half. I don't love the way it visually chops me up.

  • jackiec replied 5 years ago

    Suz! This is not a fail at all. I think it looks great! And the wider leg trouser look is outstanding. But, I totally get what you're saying about not feeling great. There is something more flattering about the second look with the wider leg trousers than the skinnies. I think it has more to do with the cropped sweater look than the fit of the skinnies. I think that a more cropped sweater pulls in the button down ever so slightly so that it flares ever so slightly at the hip - right at the same place where skinnies accentuate the curve by skimming the body from the knee up. At least this is what I'm finding on me every time I try a cropped sweater. But for me my button downs are never long enough so that all i can see is a wide-rear end and then I quickly change. I think that your outfit totally works and is fab. But if we are going to break it down, I'd point my finger at the cropped sweater look. But the trouser silhouette works so much better - I think because the leg line is wider and doesn't have that gentle curve outward, rather it points the other way. Hmm. Am I making any sense? I'm just trying to analyze because I really know how you feel. But really I think you look fab, and to be honest I am going to try this again too. I bought an even longer button down to give it another go. Let me know if you get my wavelength. I feel kind of silly even posting this because I don't want it to sound critical at all.

  • replied 5 years ago

    Another who sees no evidence of thunder thighs and blockiness - but I totally understand that feeling it is more important to one's comfort than "seeing" it.  Wondering if part of the blocky feeling comes from the body length being cut up by high boots and a cropped sweater (then a contrasting shirttail showing).  You can absolutely pull off this look where I wouldn't go there in a million years (speaking of looking blocky!) Regardless, I quite like this look for a casual lunch day!  

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Thanks, all...I am glad if it didn't look as "off" as it felt. But I don't think I'll be trying exactly this look again with the jeans. 

    I might try it with mid-calf boots, because, as you say, Lisa, it might not feel quite as choppy with those. It would also work better with slouchy skinnies and the mid-calf boots. I think that extra fluidity is what I craved. 

    Jackie, I TOTALLY get what you are saying, and I agree. The fluid fit of the wider pants just felt better to me and the mirror said the same thing -- it let the eye glide over all the bumps in a different way and even though it's also a bit "square" or "blocky" looking, I quite liked the effect with the wide legs. 

    I think with this kind of skinny, I do better with a longer top (no crop) and/ or a jacket. A slouchier skinny is a different thing and I can wear those more easily -- but they don't tuck as well into the tall boot or stay put. 

    LBD, I will probably keep the jeans around. They are the sleekest tucking jeans I have. They don't get a lot of wear but it doesn't hurt to hang onto them for purposes like this. 

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    (Ah, Suz. I actually meant that you have to expose the high waist of this trendy item - which you're covering up with the shirt. Otherwise you might as well wear regular skinnies and these don't look different. Also, you can belt the exposed waistband - for decorative purposes. Hope that makes sense). 

    FWIW, you look GREAT in both outfits. You might be having a reaction to the high contrast layering shirt. I know that from my own outfits I prefer a low contrast layer between crop top and shirt, or shirt and bottoms. 

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Angie, thank you. That is helpful. I will give that a shot. And you're right about the contrasting top. I wish this sweater were lighter. I don't want to be a column of dark because that makes me sad. :(  I should have considered that in making the crop purchase. I thought navy would be good as it is a key neutral for me and works with denim. 

  • Marilyn replied 5 years ago

    I think you're being too hard on yourself as well.  Like Angie, I prefer a low contrast look with cropped sweaters and shirts. I don't love the choppy look.  But the jeans and boots look really good to my eye.  I actually prefer look #1 to #2.

  • Meredith replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for the thoughtful analysis. As others said, you look great, but your thoughtful evaluation makes it clear this look isn't for you.

  • Karie replied 5 years ago

    Thunder, what thunder? In the sky you mean, since the skies are shaking because you look so fabulous?

    Both versions look good, but I do prefer the second. I don't really care for high waisted pants as they always make me feel big in the belly. I also prefer either mid calf or wider boots with my skinnies.

    Oh and by the way, thanks for sending us this colder air which is bringing us more snow over the next few days. Thanks a lot. :(

  • replied 5 years ago

    Funny - I was madly pedalling away on a spin bike this morning thinking "she has to tuck the shirt in, that's what's wrong here ....repeat, spin, repeat, spin). Rushed to my computer after class - and see Angie clarified. I was so pleased with myself for figuring this out - rarely happens :)  

  • lyn67 replied 5 years ago

    Lisap, LOL:-). 

    For me it still works but Suz, would really like to see the shirt tucked in-would you make  us a favor and modell  what Angie said in the blogpost, as with all these nowadays longer lengths I cannot imagine it in the use This would be so kind of you (and  clarifying:-)).

  • Beth Ann replied 5 years ago

    OK, so I do like the wide leg outfit better, true, but the skinny look is not what I would call a fail!  You are slender in the hip, something I have little experience with myself (hee).  I wonder if slim hips make you feel your thighs are fuller than they are.  Does that make sense?  I think the dark wash makes this look wearable and great for snowy days, but I also crave more fluid fits.  My bootcuts, for example, are not loose enough for me now, and I can't find relaxed fits because the stretch factor in the fabric is too blasted high!

    I've like my mid-calf boots with my skinnies this year -- particularly the ones that are lower contrast.  I think that would be worth a try.

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    Super pretty, Suz!

    I'm gonna be the one to agree with you a bit. You do look great... but I also think these are ghetto-fit skinnies, not something everyone is comfortable with. I also think the knee-hi boots are a little leg-shortening here for some reason. Maybe because the hem of the shirt stands out to my eye.

  • Elizabeth P replied 5 years ago

    Not sure I'd call this a fail Suz, both renditions certainly LOOK good (slight preference for the wider legs though).  The (skinny) jeans don't look stuffed into your boots to me.  But I sure get how jeans can feel icky even if they look good.

  • Alassë replied 5 years ago

    You look good in both, but the 2nd one does have a certain elegance to my eye that makes it my favourite.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    I know that wearing too much dark does not make you happy. But Suz - if you can manage it - lets see the high-waist jeans with a fluid tucked top. That combination has great potential. xo

  • Marilyn replied 5 years ago

    I'm sticking to my original comment.....I think the jeans and boots looks fab on you and so does the shirt.  I don't see any lumps, bumps or thighs. I might try swapping out the cropped sweater for a little jacket or cardigan.  It would change up the proportions and give a nice vertical line. I know that wasn't your intended experimental look though.

  • Sal replied 5 years ago

    It is fun to try these different things.

    I have outfits other people have complimented but that I don't love.  And jeans that feel a little too snug can make me feel off all day.  

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Thanks, all! I will try what Angie and a few others suggest -- tuck a fluid top, or try the cropped top (or a different one) with the jeans. Maybe after a few more rounds on my own spin bike, LOL.   :) 

  • Vicki replied 5 years ago

    You're never a "fail" in my book, Suz, not that I have a book, and I commend you for playing in the lab and sharing, because that's how we all learn.

    I am so glad Angie commented, because I paused over one of your sentences, not quite understanding it and hoping for clarity:  The higher waist means you don't have to belt;

    I would love to see some of these adjustments Angie mentioned.  Your idea to pair these with mid-calf boots is an excellent one, and if you return to the outfit lab, it would be great to see what you've got up your sleeve this time.  Hope the lunch and play were fun; sounds like a perfect day to me.

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    Not a fail to me but I like Angie's idea of keeping the tops low contrast

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    Hard to add anything here. You really do look very good in both options, but the first one did not please you and that is the point. I will be happy to see you try out Angie's suggestion (of course!).

  • Firecracker replied 5 years ago

    Well, failure never looked so good! You look great in both outfits. I will say I prefer the second one, as you do, but only in comparison. If you had posted only #1, I would have said it was great, period. All of that said, I am learning from the discussion here, re: new silhouette and style for skinnies, and level of contrast on cropped-top looks.

  • Deborah replied 5 years ago

    Suz, I hear you and no one can negate how you felt in the outfit, but honestly you look smashing. I love the layers and the jeans look great on you.

  • anne replied 5 years ago

    Suz  - I can so relate.
    I took a pic of myself today (haven't posted yet) and ALL I can see is my thighs!  As Beth Ann says, it is partly because you and I have relatively slim hips. It does bother me that that widest-hoizontal- line on the bottom half of my body is below crotch level.

    And I am REALLY struggling to like most cropped top looks, not just this one.Very easy to look blocky. I mostly only like cropped over fitted, I think with possibly a few exceptions

  • fuzzylogic replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for posting this, Suz, even though you didn't feel 100% awesome.  That takes great courage and confidence!!!

    I agree that the wide leg jeans were on the money!  

    Perhaps if the shirt was a little longer it would work with the cropped jumper and the skinnies?? I think this issue concerns proportions......

  • unfrumped replied 5 years ago

    Great outfit lab questions!
    I agree it's partly the cropped top which I think isn't shown to advantage with the skinny jean look.
    And partly the shift toward jeans with more ease is affecting the " eye".
    Playing with proportions may do the trick. Where does the waist go, where does the boot top hit, where are the color transitions or columns.

  • approprio replied 5 years ago

    I'll throw in a personal preference and say I've tried a cropped sweater over a long shirt and I always feel a bit wrong with all those miles of shirt tails flapping about. Can't say why when the look seems to work on paper. I think it's to do with what Anne says about blocky proportions.

    And I think we always wince a bit when we look at pictures of ourselves and our attention is drawn to one or other body part we feel self conscious about. You know the rest of the world almost never notices. 

    Anyway, you look lovely. I think you could look well dressed in a bin-bag. (But maybe not in a butt-vest...)

  • catgirl replied 5 years ago

    Whatever you felt, I wish I looked like you in this outfit!  It's interesting to contemplate our "look vs. feel" balance, which I think is personal to each of us.  I think I look best when I feel good in an outfit, but pictures don't always reflect that.  And conversely, this picture says nothing to me about how you feel - if it stood alone, I would have expected a high happiness factor.  Fascinating!

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