My summer fit-n-flares

I love fit-n-flare dresses but they tend to make my legs look too skinny. Ones with narrow skirts look best...sort of a sheath with waist definition.
Here are some I wear in summer. All are knee length on me. In finds I also included my mules that go with everything and a silver bag, although I have a better matched bag now that needs a Find. I wore the white dress this week with white D'Orsay flats and a long white vest. Items are shown in finds.

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.


  • Becky replied 1 year ago

    Nice dresses. I especially love the polka-dots. Your comment about the width of the skirt changing the appearance of the legs made me think maybe I need to gravitate more to a wider skirt to make my short and muscular legs appear more slim . . .

  • Angie replied 1 year ago

    Joy, I think it's a question of LENGTH. I have narrow lower legs and the longer lengths look best. It seems to add volume to my legs. Or at least I convinced myself of that ;) - See pics. 

    Cute looks here, of course. Want to see fab you sport them. 

  • Cardiff girl replied 1 year ago

    They look like very nice Dresses Joy,l bet you look lovely in them.

  • Barbara Diane replied 1 year ago

    Nice collection Joy. That is a better silhouette on me also, for completely different reasons. :)

  • anchie replied 1 year ago

    Would love to see them in action:)
    And Angie’s light blue dress with red shoes is just stunning.

  • Angie replied 1 year ago

    Awwh. Thanks, Anchie.

  • Suz replied 1 year ago

    Joy, I think Angie might be onto something. A wider skirt would look brilliant on you at a longer length.

    I think you and I discussed the A-line and fit and flare issue some time ago and agreed that for some reason we had trouble with them. In my case, it's not my leg shape. (My legs are, ahem, far from skinny!)  

    Instead, something about being rather straight-shaped makes some A-lines and fit and flares look ... sad? on me. And then, at my age, especially with grey hair, some fit and flares look and feel too youthful, even silly. 

    But I've made a happy rediscovery this year. First, A-lines will work if they are a stiffer, crisper fabric. A knit (and even a light woven) sort of hangs pitifully. Whereas a crisper fabric lends structure and definition and works with my own angles.  

    Meanwhile, a fit and flare with a wide skirt will look great if the length is sufficient. Too short = too youthful/ off-balanced/ ill-proportioned on me. Midi length = elegant. For me, it has to be below the knee and longer. 

    Angie, that striped dress is just as great as the navy on you! Wow! (Plus is that the loft I spy? And, can I just say how jealous I am of your cute mules and flats! I wish I could find the versions that would work for me.)

  • Jules replied 1 year ago

    Joy, I got stuck reading Angie’s post on elegance because I couldn’t really decide what the word meant to me. But reading this post it struck me that you are the definition of casual elegance!

  • Joy replied 1 year ago

    Angie, at my 5'3" height, I feel stumpy if dresses are too long, but maybe I need to experiment. My ankles and lower legs are especially thin. If a skirt hits just above the curve of my calves, it seems to add a bit of bulk. Suz, good points. I used to like A-lines when I was younger and more pear shaped. I think I was traumatized in the 50's with the full skirts and dresses made for an hourglass figure. On me, just sad.
    Cardiff girl, Angie, and Anchie need to start getting WIW photos again. Thank you for the encouragement.
    Thank you, Barbara Diane and Becky. Jules, you made my day. I would love to think I could achieve casual elegance.

  • Angie replied 1 year ago

    My dear Joy, I echo the wise and wonderful Suz 100%. It's a length and crisp cotton fabric thing. YES, to hemlines hitting you just at that calf sweet spot to give you some bulk in the area. I am not curvy either - yet fit & flares work well. They work the best, actually. And you can ABSOLUTELY wear a midi as a petite. My 4ft 9 friend rocks midis. Enough said.

    Suz, thanks for the kind words. I LOVE THOSE DRESSES. Wow. What a lucky last minute NAS purchase that I can wear right away - and have. Workhorses. I'm not precious about the dresses - I just wear them - with flats - and get on with my day. Why the heck can't I just wear those dresses! We only leave once. 

    Suz, not at the loft in that pic. At a client's house after a long closet edit and review, and she snapped a pic as I was about to leave to send to her Mama. 

    Have you seen this post about mules - maybe you need a narrow?

  • Katerina replied 1 year ago

    Joy, you have such beautiful summer dresses. I love the pictures of you in the black and white patterned dress - gorgeous. The outfit with the white dress, the pumps and the long white vest sounds great, very interesting. Your outfits are always stylish, Jules is right about you being the definition of casual elegance.

    Angie, the light blue dress is super fabulous on you, just as the navy one!

  • Angie replied 1 year ago

    Thanks, Katerina. You're sweet. 

    Joy, I LOVE the way you wear flats. You are inspirational. 

  • jussie replied 1 year ago

    Joy I really like all four of these dresses, and can see why they’re workhorses. And the shoes are simple and perfect. In fact they’re somewhat like the type of dress that I like to wear.
    I also don’t fare well in true fit and flare. They hang and flop on my bust and legs.... then are bursting tight on my tummy.... oh dear.
    Thanks for sharing Joy!

  • replied 1 year ago

    Looks like a good capsule to me! My favorite is the dotted dress :)

  • Karie replied 1 year ago

    Fantastic dresses! I especially like the dotty one.

  • Joy replied 1 year ago

    Angie, I believe that the right fit and flare dress style is out there for me. In you blog post today the 3rd and 4th dresses with less full skirts might be good. A full skirt also makes me feel flatter on top. I do not have the contrast of a small waist. Thank you for the flats compliment. It was easier to give up heels than I thought although I have met several older women who feel heels are youthful, but flats do not need to look like sensible shoes to be comfortable.
    Thank you Katerina. You are a sweetheart.
    Jussie, you point out another problem I have with fit and flare dresses. They mostly seem made for hour glass shapes with a bust that can fill out the top and a small waist for contrast, not a rectangle.
    Thank you, suntiger. The dotted dress is a favorite that looks great with a pearl necklace and white shoes.

  • Joy replied 1 year ago

    Thank you, Kari. The dotted dress is a cotton, navy with white dots falling. It has a belt that is meant to tie in a bow like Angie's blue stripe. Suz is on to something with the fabric although all of these dresses are different fabrics, both the dotted one and the black are crisp cotton

  • Suz replied 1 year ago

    Joy, you wear flats with the best of them and always look elegant! That dotty dress is so pretty on you. Don't you love how a print that includes white does wonderful things to tie an outfit together with silver and white hair? It's one of the things that makes me happiest about having gone grey!

    Angie, thank you. I did read that post, yes. I don't think I can wear narrows. My feet are regular width at the toes. It has something to do with the shape of my instep/ arch. But I will keep trying! Eventually the right one will come along. Never say never. :)

  • Joy replied 1 year ago

    Thank you, Suz, for your kind words. I hope you find your mules. I think you will enjoy the style if you can find the right fit.

  • anne replied 1 year ago

    As someone who is a rectangle between the chest and the hips, I can relate to Jussie and Joy on this. I do feel these dresses look better with a top half that can fill them out.

    Unlike them I have a pearish bottom half (9-10' between bust and widest part (thighs) so if I wear fitted bottoms you can see some shape, but that is lost in a fit and flare.

    My bust measurement, thanks to some recent weight gain is about the same as Angie's, but much of that is chest, not bust and my waist is quite big at the moment - only a 6 inch difference.

    I do have a couple of fit and flares that seem to look all right, (2 black dresses, thought the shorter one is very tight around the ribs) but this orange one makes me feel very blocky in the torso. ETA - I can't find a pic of the orange dresses, having scanned several years worth of pics) I may find it later.

  • Joy replied 1 year ago

    Thank you, Anne. I used to be wide in the ribs, but something changed. I don't know how or when. But I understand that they can affect fit. I like the second dress best of the two, but feeling tight in the ribs can be annoying and uncomfortable.

  • Angie replied 1 year ago

    Joy, flats are THE trendy shoe. And you always look elegant. 

    Suz, YES. Eventually you'll find the right mules :)

    Anne, I LOVE your fit & flares. 

  • anne replied 1 year ago

    Joy, wow! When did that happen?

  • Joy replied 1 year ago

    I'm not sure. I just realized one day that my ribs were no longer a major fit problem. It was probably during menopause and had something to do with losing my waist, which once was very small.

  • Beth Ann replied 1 year ago

    Love the dresses with the flats!  The black and white keep the silhouette crisp and elegant.

  • Sal replied 1 year ago

    These are lovely Joy - it is nice to have movement and breeze in the summer.

    Your shoes are very trendy too!

  • Mainelady replied 1 year ago

    Joy, I love your fit and flares. Like you, I am short and find that dresses that hit just above the curve of my calf look best and don’t make my legs look too skinny. I have scrawny ankles and don’t like to showcase them.
    You have an amazing collection of flats! You ARE casual elegance. Always.

  • Bijou replied 1 year ago

    I can only imagine how beautiful you look in these dresses. They are timeless and so classy, just like you! the D'Orsay flats and shite vest make an incredible support act.

  • Joy replied 1 year ago

    Thank you Beth, Sal, Mainlady and Bijou. Beth Ann, good point about black and white. Sunday morning, church was a sea of coral. I felt like I did not get the memo. Next summer I want to add coral and hope it is available
    Sal and Bijou, shoes make a huge difference in how an outfit looks, something learned from Angie and Fabbers. Breezy in summer is good. I like summer dresses heavy enough not to need a slip.
    Mainelady, thank you for you kind comments and understanding. You always look lovely. I try to chose flats carefully, following what Angie says seems to be trending as long as it is flat, comfortable and not a sandal. I need lots of shoes to change them out at least every day, sometimes more often.

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