Style Clinic


Where can I buy calf-length leggings for the shorter lady? I’m lucky if I stretch above 5ft and find long leggings make me look shorter.

Sinéad, via Twitter

Your best bet is to look at petite ranges in places such as online at Asos.comand in shops such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Marks Spencer, which will be tailored to the shorter woman and won’t swamp you.

These leggings from Asos (€27.78) come in black and blue and are designed to fit, according to the website, “women of 5ft 3in and under”. They come in UK sizes 4 to 16 and are denim-look, which sounds worrying but actually looks quite nice.

Within Topshop’s petite range (€18), these leggings are described as ankle-length, meaning they cut directly above the ankles and just below the calf muscle. Again, Topshop classifies anyone under 5ft 3in as petite.

You say, though, that long leggings make your legs look shorter; have you tried matching the colour of your leggings to your shoes? That may sound a bit crazy, but if you wear just one colour down the length of your leg – say, all black or all navy – it will lengthen your legs, much like the illusion given by a nude-coloured shoe.

I want to liven up a black-tie suit for a wedding with a floppy bow tie. Any idea where I’d source a nice one?

Cian, via Twitter

I admire your moxy, Cian, and commend your desire to step outside of the black-tie box with your floppy bow-tie efforts. The floppy bow tie is a look most recognisably rocked by one Alber Elbaz, creative director at French fashion house Lanvin, and as such will seem a bizarre and perhaps off-kilter choice to a lot of your less adventurous wedding-goers.

But what care we for such folk? The good news is, the floppy bow tie is an easy-to-DIY accessory – all you need is a scarf or cravat in a fabric you like, and, well, opposable thumbs.

For you, a black scarf may suffice, but if you want to go a step further, you could opt for a printed fabric. A small floral print would work quite well, and a dark colour will not attract too much attention.

The bad news, of course, is that, although DIYing one’s floppy bow tie seems easy, as with all things, the difficulty level is rather subjective. There is a how-to video on The Sewing Studio’s YouTube profile ( that proved not too difficult, even with my rudimentary sewing skills. Try it on some scrap fabric before launching into your final project.

If that all seems like too much effort, you can buy floppy bow ties by Lanvin on eBay, although they will set you back about $85. For the sake of a little grunt work, the DIY option may seem preferable.