Faux Pas: The Rules of Early Spring Style

Originally posted by Capital Hill Style

For the third day in a row, the temperatures will climb to the low-70s.  (Please take a moment to do a happy dance.  Finished?  Good.) While I welcome these warmer temperatures and hope the sunshine and low-humidity continues, I find that the appearance of sunny weather leaves many Washingtonians in a fashion conundrum.  Thus, Capitol Hill Style presents the dos and don’ts of early-Spring style.

Put the Flip Flops Away Just because it’s 70 doesn’t mean that you can break out last year’s dirty, worn-out Havianas.  Okay?  Your ugly, calloused, pale feet should not be seen until April 1, at a minimum.  I saw more unshaven, un-pedicured feet yesterday than I have seen in years and the experience is likely to put me into therapy.

If you want to give me the best early-Christmas present ever, you can just stop wearing flip flops to work.  Even if it’s just for your commute, it’s still not professional. 

Today, I saw a woman in a gorgeous red Burberry trench and a navy sheath headed into Longworth.  I was about to compliment her stunning gold statement necklace when I saw the white and pink hibiscus printed, plastic flip-flops on her feet.  It broke my heart. It really did.

If you’re looking for a good walk-to-work shoe for the springtime, try a peep-toe flat or a brightly colored/metallic skimmer.  They’re light enough for the season but won’t make you look like you suffer from premature seasonal release disorder. 

Get a Pedicure I mentioned this briefly above, but it bears repeating: Get a frakking pedicure!!! 

If you’re going to show your toes, paint them or at the very least scrape off the calluses and trim the toenails.  This is basic grooming, I should not even need to post this.

Oh, and don’t ruin a $65 pedicure or a perfect paint job by forgetting to shave the long black hairs off of your big toe.  Yuck, people, yuck.

No, Seersucker. Seriously, I mean it.  Seersucker is not permitted until May.  I’d prefer it if you held out until Memorial Day, but if you can only give me until May 1, I will take it. 

As a co-worker put it, “It’s not even spring until March 21.  No one should be wearing a candy colored striped suit.”  Agreed.  Until the weather is so warm you have to carry the jacket, it is too early for seersucker.

The Spring, Tall Boot Paradox Each spring, I am bombarded with e-mails containing questions about footwear.  The most common question is whether it is okay to keep wearing tall boots in the springtime. 

My take on the issue is that you can keep wearing tall boots until April 1.  Past that, your knee highs need to go into cold storage in your closet.  However, cowboy boots and rain boots (if it is raining) are exempt from this guideline. 

To Bare or Not to Bare Yesterday, was my first bare legs day since October.  Luckily, I had prepared myself with two trips to Hollywood Tans.  (I didn’t want to blind my co-workers with the whiteness.)  But if you want to start going bare legged, just make sure that you shave and apply lotion.  We’re all willing to overlook a little paleness this early in the season, but hairy legs are a cry for help.

Also, if you’re looking for a way to add a little color to your legs, moisturize and apply a light coat of bronzer.  You could even mix a little cream bronzer or liquid foundation in with the lotion.  As long as you don’t sweat much and you’re not planning to wear white, you should be fine.

If you don’t think your gams are ready for the world just yet, you can keep wearing tights for a little longer.  However, try a printed tight or a lighter color (grey and navy would be good choices).  And if you must wear nude hose, go ahead.  I never understood the appeal, but as long as they’re not shimmery or Hooters suntan hose, they’re not faux pas.

The Main Squeeze As you break out your spring wardrobe, you’ll probably find that some of your dresses, skirts, and jeans are fitting a little tighter than you remember.  This is normal.  We all pack on a few pounds during the winter because millions of years of evolution tells us that this is the path to surviving until spring.  However, please do not force yourself into an outfit that is too tight just because it’s nice outside. 

Yesterday, I had to try on three dresses before I found one that fit.  Sure, I could have put on two pairs of Spanx and spent the whole day feeling like a bloated whale wedged into a sausage casing, but then I would have spent a beautiful sunny day completely miserable.  And since we get so few beautiful days in D.C., I don’t want to waste a single one tugging uncomfortably at my clothing. 

Also, wearing clothing that’s too tight just highlights your imperfections.  Nothing looks worse on a woman than a dress that is giving her back fat or a pair of pants causing a muffin top.  It simply doesn’t matter how cute the dress is if it doesn’t flatter your figure. 

These are the fashion rules, I implore you to observe them.  Any that you don’t agree with? Or one that I missed?

*The graphic above is the Fashion Citation tickets that they sell at the Museum of Crime & Punishment gift shop.  Yes, I have one.

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