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How to dress your calf size according to your body shape

Since everyone is built in a different way everyone has to follow different rules to create visual balance. So, when choosing the clothes according to your body shape, the size of your calves and the length of your leg line are important features to dress right at the same time. If you don’t get their styling right in combination with your body shape they will make you look visually unbalanced.

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Small calves: The more style details the better

In general the smaller the calf the longer your leg line visually, because the smaller volume has a slimming effect. Therefore you can be more flexible and versatile when dressing – having slim calves will give you more options with hemlines, style lines and details, colours, patterns or fabrics around your leg and calf area, because you can combine various styles with each other. It’s important that your calves look bigger, so opt for style lines and details that will visually create a rounder calf e.g. opt for horizontal rather vertical stripes, floral or animal prints, turnups, Uggs boots, calf or ankle straps.

That means yes to:

  • Hemlines finishing on your calf e.g. skirts, dresses, trousers, coats

  • Cropped narrowing leg trousers e.g. capri trousers

  • Turn ups in your ankle or calf area

  • Colour on your lower half

  • Boots with side details e.g. buckles or patterns or volume

    • Uggs or moon boots

    • Coloured or/and patterned wellingtons

    • Knee boots

    • Calf boots

    • Ankle boots

  • Busy shoe styles such as multicolours or straps

    • Calf straps such as espadrilles

    • Ankle straps such as gladiators sandals

  • Choose a petite to medium heel for your shoes and boots.

  • Patterns in trousers, hosiery, shoes and boots (size of pattern depends on your scale) but in general small to medium will work best for you

Medium calves: moderation is key - choose one rather than two style details

If you have average calves you have to strike a balance between the above advice for small and larger calves. That means you can go for the style lines of a small calf but only in moderation and not in such an excess. You can add one style detail to your calf area rather than two e.g. wearing capri trousers with dark single coloured tights rather than with patterned ones. Otherwise if you go for more than one style line you are adding to much volume and your average calf size will look larger, and appear far less flattering to your silhouette, look and the eye. As long as you keep style details around your leg and calf area in moderation, they will look leaner and proportionally longer. As soon as you overdo it not only will your leg line will be shortened visually but also your average calf size will expand to a big calf size. It’s important is that you combine different styles in the right order !

So, a yes to the following – again as long it is only one or the other!:

  • Hemlines finishing on your calf e.g. skirts, dresses, trousers, coats

  • Cropped narrowing leg trousers e.g. capri trousers

  • Turn ups in your ankle or calf area

  • Colour on your lower half

  • Boots with details e.g. buckles, patterns or volume

    • Uggs or moon boots (ideal if you keep them in darker or neutral colour)

    • Opt more for single colours rather to heavily patterned wellingtons

    • Knee boots

    • Calf boots

    • Ankle boots

  • Busy shoe styles such as multicolours or straps

    • Calf straps such as espadrilles

    • Ankle straps such as gladiators sandals

  • Choose a petite to medium heel for your shoes and boots.

  • Patterns in trousers, hosiery, shoes and boots (size of pattern depends on your scale) but in general small to medium will work best for you

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Big calves - lean and clutter free

Taking the above, this means the opposite for you - the bigger your calf is the more it will shorten your legline visually, because the volume in your calf area has a widening effect, resulting in less versatility and flexibility when dressing your leg line and calves. For you less is more - the leaner and less clutter, the better for your legline and calf size. Otherwise you are only highlighting a feature that is less flattering by drawing attention to it when dressing it with different features. So avoid any style details, patterns, hemlines in that area and opt for a clutter free and simple style. That means a big no to the above for small calves and instead a yes to the following:

  • Hemlines should only finish on your smallest part e.g. just below your knee or below your calf or ankle (if slim) when buying skirts, dresses, trousers, coats

  • Only ankle or full length trousers

  • No style details or volume in your calf area such as turn ups, buttons, narrowing leg

  • Only darker and single colours in your leg and calf area. So, a big no to light colours, patterns or multi washes in your jeans

  • Boots should be in darker colours only and their style kept simple. That means a no to details e.g. buckles or patterns or have voluminous styles such as Uggs or moon boots

    • Wellingtons: single and darker colours only

    • A no to knee boots, ankle and calf boots – these should be worn only under trousers and never made a feature.

  • Keep your shoes in one colour and stay away from any form of straps in your calf, ankle or feet area.

  • Choose medium to chunky heel for boots and shoes. Platforms and wedges are good fashion choices

  • Patterns in trousers, hosiery, shoes and boots (size of pattern depends on your scale) but in general small to medium will work best for you

Clothes Guides: Calves


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