Search Results for: label/Ros Hommerson

What I Wore: Statement Sweater

wardrobe oxygen what I wore gray poncho tunic sweater wardrobe oxygen what I wore Stella Dot pendant wardrobe oxygen what I wore MICHAEL Michael Kors poncho sweater
Sweater: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Twill Jeans: NYDJ | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Bag: Isabella Fiore via MYHABIT | Necklace: c/o Stella & Dot (similar) | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Ring: Vintage via Etsy (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

I shared this MICHAEL Michael Kors ponch sweater and my love for it last week on Instagram. And when I wore it everyone I bumped into also shared their love for the sweater. Strangers, coworkers, even Karl remarked on how pretty and cozy it looked. It doesn’t do a damn for my figure but sometimes a piece makes such a statement and is so clearly cozy and awesome it just doesn’t matter!

Shop the Look:

Rose-Colored Glasses

I wore pink. my office mate wore pink. Pimp Daddy Manager, he was wearing pink and the lady I work with in the Purchasing department was in pink. I guess my subconcious got the memo!

Pink merino v-neck from J. Crew. I wore my white ribbed tank (also J. Crew) underneath because my nude bra broke and I only had a black one or a red one clean. Gray trousers, part of a Tahari suit. Black Enzo boots. Gold chandelier earrings from Express. Thin gold bangle.

Makeup is i.d. Bare Escentuals foundation and concealer. Nars Orgam blush. Fawn Pearl shadow from The Body Shop on lids and below lower lash line. Black Zoom Lash mascara from MAC. Maybelline brow powder. Candy pink gloss from Sally Hansen.

Hair being unruly though with a new cut. Used Sexy Straight balm in the hair, a bit of Pantene’s volumizing spray, and Sebastian mud for definition and pieciness which made it just look dry and ragged. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Guest Post: Which Necklace with Which Neckline?

Guest post by Rosana Vollmerhausen

I gave a talk recently about necklaces and necklines. It’s a typical question we get here at DC Style Factory: Go long? Go choker? Go statement?

The easiest necklaces to wear with just about any neckline is a longer one. The length of the necklace clears any v, scoop, drape or boat neckline. Whether you decide to go longer or shorter, you don’t want your necklace bumping up against your neckline. So either select one that is about an ½ an inch to an inch above your neckline or one that drops under your neckline at least several inches.

Longer necklaces, much like v-neck tops, lengthen your neckline, which in general is more flattering. Chokers shorten your neckline, which sometimes can sometimes be a more challenging style to wear. If you are petite, pay attention to how long the long necklace goes. Right below the bustline is good – grazing your bellybutton is too long.

Here is quick, easy guide for selecting which necklaces go best with which neckline.

V-neck Top

Wear with:

what necklace v-neck top

Smaller drop/pendant necklace that flows into v of the top

what necklace v-neck top

Longer non-pendant necklace that clears the v of the top and flows with the draping.

Pass on: Wearing with a choker, which shortens your neckline and counteracts to the lengthening effect of the v shape.


Wear with:

what necklace scoop neck top

A statement necklace that mimics the curved shape of the neckline covers expose neck/chest surface area.

Pass on: A choker that will leave too much empty surface area and not cover enough neck/chest area.

Boatneck Top

Wear with:

what necklace boatneck top

what necklace boatneck top

A longer necklace, which draws attention up and down, and balances the high, horizontal neckline.

Pass on: A choker/collar necklace that will bump up against with the neckline.  A statement necklace higher up on the neck that will grab and pull at the horizontal neckline.

Collared Button-down Shirt

Wear with:

what necklace button collared shirt

A statement necklace under the collar for a “brooch” effect.

what necklace button collared shirt

A statement under the shirt with some color peeking out.

Pass on: A long necklace that will compete with the vertical button placket on the shirt.


Wear with:

what necklace crewneck shirt

A longer necklace that lengthens your neckline since the high neckline of the crewneck top shortens it.

what necklace crewneck shirt

A statement necklace that “creates” a new, longer neckline. Select a statement necklace that covers the top of the crewneck.

Pass on: A collar necklace; it just further shortens your neckline.


Wear with…

what necklace strapless

A shorter statement necklace that leaves about 1/2 an inch of space between the necklace and the neckline, a longer necklace that clears the neckline, or the two together as pictured!

what necklace strapless

Another fun option is to wear with a collar necklace.

There are a multitude of other necklines and variations on necklines, but just remember, you simply want the necklace you choose to make sense with the neckline of the top. If you are fussing with it too much or it just doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t. But selecting the right necklace can really make a difference in adding polish, personality and finish to your look. Happy accessorizing!

DC Style Factory is a personal styling and shopping business based in the Washington, D.C. area. The company creed is that style is for anyone who wants it – regardless of size, age or budget. Clients include high-profile experts in the public eye who need polish for television appearances and stay-at-home moms juggling carpool. Our job is to prepare them to look and feel good for different events in their lives no matter how big or small.

Stylist and owner, Rosana Vollmerhausen, has had more than a decade of fashion retail and styling experience, including owning, running and buying for an award-winning boutique in Washington,D.C. She has styled local fashion events and photo shoots, and has written expert fashion tips for local publications. Her true passion, though, is one-on-one work with clients, building wardrobes that make sense for where they are in their lives. As a wife and mother of three, she is a firm believer that you don’t have to sacrifice personal style because life is busy. If key wardrobe pieces make sense for who and where you are, personal style can be accessible to anyone who wants it.

Learn more about Rosana and DC Style Factory at or on the blog at

What I Wore: Real Red

Dress: Belle c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bag: “Erin” Satchel c/o Fossil | Tights: Nordstrom | Boots: Ros Hommerson  | Bracelets: had forever, Nordstrom (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Coat: Via Spiga

Fossil was kind enough to send me this bag and I immediately fell in love with the color. It’s not cherry, it’s not tomato, it’s not ruby or oxblood or any other fancy terms. It’s as clear and true of a red as a crayon. I checked the bag’s label and it’s called Real Red. I like that, no crazy made-up name, just what is exactly is. This bag is pretty phenomenal, and perfect for a commuter like me. Two side zipper pockets to hold things like farecards and lip balm, and inside there is a zipper pocket on one side, and the other side five different pockets to hold anything from a Smartphone or your keys to business cards and a pack of gum. And in this bag I have my wallet, Kindle (did you enter my Kindle giveaway?), makeup bag, myAgenda, sunglasses, gloves, journal, and two reusable containers to hold my lunch. Impressive! The crossbody strap is adjustable to become a shoulderbag, or it can be removed. I know this bag is going to be used quite a lot this season!

I never understand why street style models and bloggers wear their coats on their shoulders like a cape.  How can they move their arms?  Why not just put on the coat?  Then I realized on cold days I do this very thing – I wear the coat like a cape from the house and over my shoulders until Karl gets ready to take pictures.  This way my outfit doesn’t get as rumpled and I’m less likely to mess up my hair.  Karl got this picture of me in the coat at the beginning of the shoot and it showcases the coat I bought last winter on a whim and still adore a year later (and it’s still available at Nordstrom and now on sale!).

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What I Wore: Peacock Green

wardrobe oxygen what I wore black wide calf boots wardrobe oxygen what I wore green snakeskin bag talbots wardrobe oxygen what I wore green michael kors dress
Dress: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Tights: Spanx | Boots: Ros Hommerson ‘Maryland’ | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Bag: Talbots (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Come fall and winter, I love dresses like this. I have a leopard print dress also from MICHAEL Michael Kors (seen here and here) and find I reach for printed long-sleeved dresses to wear for blogger events, dinner with my girl friends, date night, and other similar occasions. When it’s warm, I wear with bare legs and pumps or booties and come the colder months I pair with thick tights and tall boots.  I’m such a sucker for peacock feather prints, and I thought it would be fun to pair with my green snakeskin bag.


This is my trusty black jersey wrap dress from Talbots, my black leather “Maryland” boots from Ros Hommerson, silver chain from Ralph Lauren, silver cuff bracelet with green stones from Anne Koplik Designs, silver earrings from Treehouse.
Makeup is Laura Mercier Secret Foundation, Estee Lauder Nutritious foundation in Intensity 3.0, Cargo Matte BeachBlush, Maybelline Shine Seduction in Blushed Bass, Body Shop shadows in Slate and Soft Black, Cover Girl LashBlast mascara in Rich Black, Avon Glimmersticks in Midnight.
It is colder today – sure feels like Autumn!  I even took out my green pashmina to ward off chill as I waited for the morning train!

My Favorite Wide Calf Boot Resources

As soon as September comes I start thinking about boots. I can go without sweaters and scarves and pumpkin spice lattes, but I miss my tall boots. For many years, I was jealous of others for they were able to snag great tall boots, and my large calves and shins made it impossible. I purchased my first pair of wide calf boots in 2007 and now I have a pretty great selection. If you’re willing to step outside the shopping mall, there’s a ton of online retailers who offer wide calf, extra-wide calf, and custom sized calf boots made from high quality materials and in trendy as well as classic styles. Here’s a list of my favorite retailers:

This is not your mother’s Naturalizer. I have been so impressed with their recent collections – stylish shoes, on-trend heels, and fantastic well-crafted boots. Naturalizer’s boot shaft circumference varies with the foot size, but their wide calf boots are two inches wider. As an example, a size 9 boot has a 14 and 7/16” circumference, and the wide shaft version is 16 and 7/16”.

This season Naturalizer has some drool-worthy styles in their boots. Jersey is a classic riding boot, and has an elastic gusset to add a little more comfort for those with wider calves. Available in Banana Bread (warm honey brown) and Black, this is the type of boot that would work over skinny jeans or leggings, with flowing midi skirts, or even a simple shift. I love Britain, a tough boot with a distressed finish and workboot details that would make it perfect with this season’s ‘90s-inspired fashion, or with slim jeans and a slouchy sweater.

DUO Boots
I own two pairs of DUO Boots and find them to be amazing quality, well designed, and comfortable. My first pair is over six years old and I still wear them regularly; I just got my year-old pair back from the cobbler where I had them reheeled and resoled for fall. DUO is a great choice whether you have large or small calves, as they sell the boots by shaft size, measured in centimeters. While DUO is in the UK, they have improved their shipping policies to the US and you don’t have to pay customs and they often have promotions of free shipping to the States. Their customer service is stellar, I highly recommend contacting them prior to an order to be sure the style you desire will fit the height of your leg, the size of your calf, as well as the size of your shins and ankles.

DUO has many classic styles, but updates their collection each season with boots that fit the current fashion trends. I love the Olson in Black, which has a military or even steampunk feel, and would look amazing with dresses as well as a pair of skinny cords and a sweater. Beaumont is very similar to the black riding boots I got from DUO last year, and I find them incredibly comfortable and versatile. And I am loving the croco-embossed leather of Amora, which give a luxe feel to a classic boot; it would look so chic with skinny jeans and a silk shirt, or paired with a simple wrap dress.

Wide Widths
Wide Widths is an online resource for many different brands of wide calf boots. I have found their customer service to be excellent and their prices competitive with other retailers. They have an extensive selection of Ros Hommerson boots, which come in wide and extra wide calf sizes, and are made of quality leather. I bought a pair of Ros Hommerson boots from Wide Widths and find them well made, a classic style, and quite comfortable.

This season, I’m loving the Ros Hommerson Jenny, which is a classic riding boot with boot detail. For those who prefer a deep chocolate brown to the more caramel hues, Jenny comes in a great espresso color that would look amazing with the jewel tones that are on trend for this fall and winter. And there is something so amazingly badass about Ross Hommerson’s Sherlock with it’s slender heel and soft leather shaft that pulls over the knee; I want to wear them with some ponte leggings and a soft cashmere sweater that falls off one shoulder and a ton of kohl liner!
Once I know the fit of a brand, I head to 6pm where I can often find brands like Fitzwell, Naturalizer, and Ros Hommerson for far less. I found a pair of wide calf riding boots there last winter for under $50 and this summer I scored a pair of tall tan boots for less than $40. Sizes and styles are limited, but sometimes you can really score a good deal. On 6pm you can narrow down by shaft width, even by specific shaft circumference.

I’d love to hear from you – where have you found great wide calf boots? What styles and brands have you found to fit and flatter?

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Black and White and Orange

Dress: Ann Taylor (worn without belt) | Tights: Nordstrom | Boots: Ros Hommerson “Maryland” | Necklace:Cameron” c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot | Bracelets: Nordstrom, Sequin, had forever | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Lipstick: Revlon Moon Drops in “Orange Flip”

One day it’s 80 degrees in DC, the next it’s 40. I thought I’d be packing away the tights and tall boots, but with this weather I figure I can eek out a few more wearings! I bought this dress during one of Ann Taylor’s 30% off sale deals several weeks ago, ended up being under $35 (note it’s cheaper in store than online). It’s cute but short with the self belt, but I like it for say a date night with my DKNY super opaque tights, or even with leggings. For work, I took off the belt for a looser silhouette and longer hemline.

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My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Icky icky yucky rainy day in DC. And I am in desperate need of some new boots. I have my Ros Hommerson “Maryland” black leather boots, but the zipper is busted and I want them an inch shorter in the shaft. I have had them in the trunk of my car for weeks and keep forgetting to take them in to the cobbler. I also really want a pair of darker brown boots that are a bit taller than these. So hard with these mondo ankles and calves!

Sweater – Ann Taylor (no longer available)
Navy scoop tee - Banana Republic
Denim pencil skirt - Ann Taylor (no longer available)
Scarf - H&M (no longer available)
Boots - DUO
Silver hoops, cuff, pocketwatch necklace & ring with green stone

I am very excited to be wearing this ring again! Granted pre-Emerson I could wear it on my right middle finger, but it’s nice that it fits on ANY finger again (on left ring finger – holding a place for my wedding set. Speaking of which, I took my wedding set in to a very reputable jewelry shop in DC to get them sized up – haven’t worn since my third trimester. Well they are telling me it will be over $400 to resize the two rings. Is this a normal price? Somehow I feel I am getting hosed…


Oh yeah baby, I found another pair of boots that fit over these calves!  I will be doing a full review very soon, but do know that they are the “Maryland” from Ros Hommerson; they are from Wide Widths, a Web site that offers a fantastic selection of wide calf boots (and also offers amazing customer service!).  Anyway, they are a bit tall for me and I am wondering if a cobbler may be able to hack an inch off the top so they would fit right and be a more flattering height on my leg.  Hrm…

So this is me in my purple print tunic/dress from Ann Taylor Loft, my new black boots, silver necklace from Ralph Lauren and cute silver earrings I got this summer at Treehouse, a store in Rehoboth Beach.

Hair is second day, all I did was brush out any bedhead.  Makeup is Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, Estee Lauder Nutritious foundation in Intensity 3.0, CARGO Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis, Benefit lipstick in Bouquet Dive, Avon Ultra Luxury eye liner in Black and Cover Girl LashBlast mascara.

FYI, I probbaly won’t post tomorrow because I will have to be at work at 6am.  I KNOW!  But hey, the weekend is right around the corner!!! :)

Ask Allie – Wide Calf Boots for Petite Women?

Hey Allie,

I have been liking the equestrian boot with tucked in jeans look, but I don’t know if I can pull it off. All equestrian boots I see online look really tall and I’m only 5’2”, and let’s say the not so slim side. I was hoping you could recommend something that may work for me. Do they make equestrian liked boots that aren’t super tall?


Hi Elvira:

As a fellow petite woman, I understand your issue. I remember a few years ago, found a fantastic pair of tall black boots that actually fit my calves, but had to stop wearing them because they dug into the back of my knees, causing major welts and sores. If the lower half of my legs were only an inch shorter, I would have been able to wear them. I have seen this happen far too many times – if I can find a boot that fits the width of my legs, it doesn’t fit the length.

However, there are some great options out there.

First thing, measure your leg. Most boots describe how tall and wide the shaft is. Then you can immediately cross off certain styles or brands for being too tall or narrow in the calf. You will find not all brands or styles are the same, and some styles do run a bit shorter. Usually a shaft height of 14” or so works best for petite women. Sometimes that which is called “mid calf” will be the right height for your leg.

As for width, there are many chic riding boots out there with elastic gussets. Elastic will help your leg feel comfortable in a tall boot and make it easier to slip on. The Riding Chelesa boot from Frye has a 15” tall shaft that may work for your height (most riding boots are 16”) and elastic gussets that are kind to a wider calf while still looking stylish.

Also if you find the boots of your dreams but they are a tad snug, you can get them stretched. Cobblers can add up to an additional two inches in a boot shaft without sacrificing style or quality. This process ranges in price depending on what part of the country you are in, but I have never heard of it costing more than $50 (usually closer to $20).

I have forever been a fan of Zappos – they have such an extensive selection, free shipping and returns and amazing customer service. I never hesitate to call them for additional information on an item I find on their site. Zappos carries great brands known for wider calves like Fitzwell and Ros Hommerson, and had plenty of equestrian-inspired boots. Today when searching “Wide Calf Boot” I found over 103 styles.

DUO Boots is a UK-based company that specializes in wide-calf boots. You can search their site by calf and shoe size, and then read very detailed descriptions and customer reviews on different styles. I have the Bern which is a similar style to the Frye Harness boot, which comes mid-calf. Just by looking at the images on this site, you can see that some styles are taller, others are shorter. They carry very classic styles that will be on trend for years to come. If you are unsure, DUO’s customer service is quite amazing, they respond to emails with speed and much detail and can help you find a style that will fit your body and personal style. The only downside of DUO is that they are a UK-based company which means shipping and returns are QUITE the bear.

Wide Widths is a fantastic site, one I have shopped from for ages. Their site is nicely organized by heel heights as well as style of boot. When looking at riding boots, I found many elegant styles with a 14” tall shaft. As that is a US-based company, there aren’t as crazy of shipping costs. I have deal with their customer service by phone as well as by email and find them incredibly informative, helpful, and understanding with returns.

Hope this helps!

Readers, where is your place to go for wide calf petite boots?

What I Wore: Jewel Tones

Dress: Eva Dress c/o Dobbin Clothing | Tights: DKNY | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Bag: Erin Satchel c/o Fossil | Jacket: Halogen (similar) | Cuff: Had forever (similar)

This outfit features two items I received free from blogging, but two things I utterly adore and wear regularly with much joy. I love Dobbin Clothing – their ethics, their style, their quality, and service. This dress has gotten a lot of wear this year, and I wear it often with tights and boots now that it has gotten so cold. I wore it once with this jacket and loved the color combination and decided to repeat it for the blog.

And this bag… oh how I love this bag. it’s the Erin Satchel from Fossil and it’s my new favorite. While I often wear it with the long strap to make it a crossbody, I sometimes remove the long strap and carry it like a doctor’s bag. The shorter straps are still long enough to tuck it into the crook of my elbow and it’s easier in the season of heavy coats with hoods and laptop bags and too much going on around the neck. But this bag is really well made, holds everything, has really intelligent pockets and always brings me compliments. I like bags that look luxe but aren’t covered with logos; Fossil keeps branding subtle and lets the style shine.

I think this would have looked better with wavy/curly hair but it’s a lot faster to do my hair straight in the morning.  A good clue to what type of morning I have had is how curly my hair is.  If it’s curly and looks great, I had a good night’s sleep, thought ahead to shower the night prior, had time for breakfast and am feeling fine.  When it’s like this, I am running late but at least had time for a shower.  When it’s in a messy updo… watch out because mama hasn’t had her coffee and probably forgot her phone at home!

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Friday: Office Pajamas

Top: JANA c/o Gwynnie Bee | Leggings: Rubbish | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Necklace: eBay | Bracelets: Nordstrom (similar) | Earrings: Nordstrom | Lipstick: Revlon Moon Drops in “Orange Flip”

Some days don’t you just wish you could go to work in your pajamas? I can’t believe it, but I’m adopting a trend I wore back in high school – tunic sweaters with leggings. I know, leggings aren’t pants, but this top is long enough to justify it, and loose enough that it would just look dumpy with regular trousers. Thanks goodness for Gwynnie Bee, my latest box arrived when I was past due for laundry day. I love the bright colors, the fun shape, and yes, that this top is as comfy as pajamas!  As a reminder, if you’re interested in Gwynnie Bee, click this link and mention Wardrobe Oxygen for a trial month!

Still learning how to style this hair. I know it’s not drastically different from previous cuts, but I think it’s the difference between having your hair cut by any person and being cut by someone who knows your hair, your lifestyle, your personality. This morning my goal was to let the hair be wavy/curly with a bit straighter bangs. It just looked like a frizzy, messy hot mess, as though I just washed and went. So I brought out the flat iron. Since I had product for waves already in it, it created this messy piecey look which I like since I always like to pretend I am a rock star. A mistake gone good, and a new way to style this ‘do!

I do get a commission on each person who signs up for Gwynnie Bee and mentions me, but I have chosen to partner with this brand because they totally rock, offer a great service, and honestly care about their customers.

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Monday: Insomnia

Dress: White House Black Market (similar) | Belt: Another Line (similar) | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Necklace: Purchased in Key West | Silver cuff

I have been dealing with insomnia off and on since Thanksgiving or so. I know it’s because there’s too much on my plate, but not much I can do about that. Last night I got about three hours of sleep, spent an hour looking at the ceiling and finally decided to go downstairs. Fell asleep on the couch which caused me to run late today. No time to wash the hair, sort of threw things together. My coworker asked how I could have such a rough night and morning and look so put together. It’s easy when you’ve worn this outfit before!

I have had these boots for years, but haven’t worn them for years because a zipper broke and I felt like a pirate. As with most boots, because of my calf width and petite stature, wide calf boots that fit my shins and calves usually poke out at the top of the shaft and look goofy. I finally sucked it up and took these boots to my cobbler, had him taper the shafts like he did for my DUO boots, fix the zipper, and give them a nice polishing and resole-ing. Not cheap ($80 for all of it) but cheaper than new boots, and better than having nice boots collect dust.  It’s nice to have a bit more feminine and sleek of black boots in my wardrobe – far better with skirts and dresses!

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My Wardrobe Today – Thursday

Sweater – Chico’s (similar)
Skirt - Halogen
Belt - Hobo International (similar)
Boots - DUO “Catalonia”
Silver cuff

Last night we took my mom to dinner for her birthday, so I didn’t get home until quite late.  I was excited to see that my husband had picked up my newest pair of DUO boots from the cobbler!  While they fit perfectly in every way possible, due to the weird shape of my legs, they stuck out on top and made me look like a pirate (see here).  The cobbler was able to taper the top of the boots so they better fit my legs, but still leave enough room for skinny jeans underneath.

So last night, I dreamed of wearing them with this skirt, my Banana Republic merino crewneck, and a gorgeous cobalt scarf that Ann Taylor recently sent me.  And then reality struck.  My husband had cleaned up our bedroom last night and the scarf was no where to be found; my black crewneck was in the washing machine (Ack! Luckily I rescued it before it went in the dryer like my watermelon-colored merino v-neck I miss so much).  I found this Chico’s sweater folded up in a drawer and while I don’t like the ribs or the fit as well, it works in a pinch to get the same look.

And the boots – well I really wanted a pair of low-heel riding boots mainly to wear over skinny jeans on weekends, and that is what these are.  Not really the best for this ensemble, but I was like a kid on Christmas Day to get them back and just had to wear them at first chance!  Now that I know my cobbler can taper the calf of boots, I have my Ros Hommerson “Maryland” boots I will be taking to him so I can wear them and not look like Captain Hook – they will be far more sleek and appropriate with my beloved pencil skirts.

Hooray for boots that fit us women with wide calves!

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Wide Calf Boot Resources

wide calf boot online shopping resource

One of the biggest keywords that bring people to Wardrobe Oxygen is wide calf boots. As a curvy cusp to plus sized petite woman with athletic legs, I’ve never been able to walk into a shoe store and find boots to fit my wide calves. But over time I’ve found some spectacular online resources to buy stylish wide calf boots to fit and flatter my figure!

Posts on Wide Calf Boots:

Outfit Posts featuring Wide Calf Boots:

DUO Boots Santana Boot in Brown Leather:

DUO Boots Catalonia Riding Boot in Black Leather (no longer available – similar):

Ros Hommerson Maryland Heeled Boot in Black Leather (I had this boot tailored by a cobbler to narrow at the top of the shaft):

Fitzwell Bit Wide Calf Boot in Black Tumbled Leather:

DUO Bern Boots in Tan Leather (no longer available – similar):

What I Wore: Navy and Black

Sweatshirt dress: Leith | Fleece tights: Amazon | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Bag: Rough & Tumble | Coat: Lands’ End (similar) | Gloves: Nordstrom (similar) | Scarf: c/o Her Fashion Box

With the weather this frigid, my priority is not to look fun or fashionable at work, just to be warm. My desk is surrounded by windows which makes for a sunny workplace, but I’m regularly chilly. No meetings today, so a fleecy-on-the-inside sweatshirt dress with fleece tights. So perfect, I’m rewearing the same darn look from Saturday (see Instagram).  I’ve always loved navy with black and am so happy to see that this combo is being embraced on the runways and the retail stores.

The bag is new, a gift I gave myself for my birthday.  I’ve been trying to shop small, local, with more thought and Etsy is a great place to find such businesses.  I came across Rough & Tumble Bags and fell in love.  Made in Norway, Maine by Natasha Durham, Rough & Tumble Bags are high quality leather, crafted with care, smart, chic, but trend-free.  I’ve always preferred a bag that doesn’t scream a logo, a fashion trend, a designer.  A bag that I can carry now and a decade from now.  I think this bag does just that.  My black leather hobo from Sabina was bought on clearance at a very nice price, it’s a nice bag, but it’s not quite perfect.  I dreamed of a black leather bag with shiny silver hardware that could be a crossbody or a shoulder bag, zip close, be big enough to be my purse for a long flight holding all my essentials, but be a comfortable everyday purse.  A bag that will get worn over the years, but that weathering will just add character.

This is the Rough & Tumble Large Hobo Pack; it’s a shoulder bag, a crossbody, even a backpack.  It zips close with a clean pocket-free exterior, but inside is where the magic happens.  A pocket for an 11″ laptop, a large size zipper pocket like most bags but with a smaller pocket inside, a pocket for your iPhone, a pocket for your passport, a pocket for your business cards, a couple other pockets for other things, a removeable keyfob, a light colored lining so you can find all your stuff.  And with a quick switch this bag can become a backpack, which is awesome for travel!  All this, and the price is far less than what you would pay for a mass retail bag of a similar size and quality, made in the USA, supporting a woman business owner.

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I’ve Got Big Calves and I Cannot Lie…

These are wide calf boots.  Seriously, these are boots that are advertised as being appropriate for wide calves.  I don’t have wide calves, I have monster calves.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this, but I walked on my toes as a kid.  They couldn’t get me to stop, I went to podiatrists, orthopedists, even Children’s Hospital.  They suggested surgery, where I would be in casts for six months to stretch my tendons so I could walk flat.  I had orthotics and big dorky shoes to fit them.  My parents and I eventually gave up, I embraced my nickname, “Tippy Toes” and bought shoes a half size larger to accommodate my fat feet that came from super padded balls of my toes and giant ankles from the built-up tendons.

When I say I have wide calves, it’s not just because I am overweight and petite.  It’s because I have unusually thick legs for my body.  I guess that is why I love my DUO “Bern” boots so darn much, they are the first boots that don’t suffocate my legs by the end of the day.  Even when I was a starved size 4 I had to wear wide-calf boots and they really hurt after a couple of hours and left red gashes and dents in my legs.

So these boots claimed to be wide calf, and I thought that maybe with my bit of weight loss I could possibly rock them come fall.  I carried them home on the Metro and planned my outfit for today – these boots over my NYDJ jeans, my striped black and white tee from Ann Taylor, a scarf looped around my neck.  I got home, tried them on… and this is the result. 

Oh well, I still have my “Maryland” Ros Hommerson boots I got from last year – I need to replace one of the zippers that busted from reining in my big calves, and I think I will have them trimmed down an inch.  Though I was really looking forward to having a pair of riding boots.  If I get a holiday bonus this year, I may consider getting the “Sphere” boots from – if the Maryland fits, maybe these will too!

(BTW the review for these boots pictured, the brand, company, etc. will be posted before the week is through – sorry for the delay, I have been feeling a bit sick this week and trying to catch up on work and then the blogs!)

Wardrobe Staple: The Not So Little Black Dress

I believe in the power of the not so little black dress. While the LBD is famous, the NSLBD is one that can get far more wear and is far more versatile. From the boardroom to the ballroom, a black dress in a versatile fabric and cut can work for most anything life throws your way, and is a smart wardrobe staple for any woman.

Dobbin Clothing recently sent me their Simone Dress and as soon as I put it on I realized what a perfect NSLBD it is. The stretch wool fabric has a subtle sheen and a refined finish that looks elegant and classic. The asymmetrical neckline provides allure and interest without being so unique people would think, “Oh there she is in that black dress again.” The seaming and waistband flatter curves and also add interest without stealing the spotlight.

Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bracelet: Ann Taylor (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Bag: c/o Fossil | Shoes: Ivanka Trump

For this look I styled the Dobbin Clothing Simone Dress for work. The dress is classic, and doesn’t require a bunch of accessories to look polished. I added a wrist of bracelets and a watch for a bit of shine and my own personality, but otherwise let the dress do the talking. This dress looks great on its own; the interesting neckline would also look quite lovely under a blazer.

Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Tights: Spanx | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Scarf: c/o Nepali by TDM | Watch: c/o Fossil | Bracelet: c/o Lulu Avenue

The Simone Dress would also be perfect for an afternoon with friends, having lunch and going shopping. The stretch wool resists wrinkles so it would hold up through a long day or business travel.  The length is perfect for boots as well as pumps; I added a scarf for color and to show how you can hide the neckline of the dress and give it a different life. Using accessories like scarves are great when on travel to make a small wardrobe look larger and more varied.

Dress: c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bracelets: Ann Taylor (similar) | Bag: Aldo (similar) | Earrings: vintage (similar) | Shoes: Nine West

I did say boardroom to ballroom, didn’t I? This dress is elegant enough to dress up perfectly for a gala. Adding sparkly accessories, the Simone Dress becomes black tie. I also can’t resist an opportunity to pull out the wedding jewelry; the tiara made me feel very Holly Golightly and doesn’t look too insane paired with such an elegant dress.

With a dress like this from Dobbin Clothing, you can get a great dress now for the holidays, but know you can wear it later too. Pair with a cardigan or blazer this winter, with nude peeptoes and pearls for a spring wedding, with tan sandals and a wood necklace for a summer Date Night.

Dobbin Clothing on Wardrobe Oxygen
Top row:  1 | 2 | 3 | 4       Bottom row: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I’ve been a fan of Dobbin Clothing for over a year; while there’s posts above with me wearing Dobbin Clothing, I also wear this line on a regular basis off the blog. Sophisticated silhouettes, wardrobe staples that dress up and down with ease, high quality fabrics and construction, and made in the USA. While my other Dobbin dresses are made from ponte knit (and you know how much I love ponte), the Simone in wool is just as comfortable and figure flattering and I am impressed by the cotton used for their trousers. Dresses I got from Dobbin a year ago and have washed a dozen times still look brand new. Not just that, Jess and Catherine are awesome people who care about their product, and their customers.

Dobbin Clothing is offering 30% off their entire shop until Midnight tonight with the code THANKS30. They’d like to thank us for being customers, and I’d like to thank them for great clothes and this great discount!

While this post was sponsored by Dobbin Clothing, they left the text, images, what item/s I featured, and even the topic completely up to me.  I chose to feature this dress because I really do believe in it, and I chose to partner with Dobbin Clothing because I really do believe in them.

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It’s All About the Boots

Tall boots have been in style for years, but this season they seem to be a must-have, be they paired with tiny dresses, pencil skirts, or pulled up over skinny jeans. Daily I check the stats of this blog and what keywords are used on Google and other search engines to arrive at Wardrobe Oxygen. Half the time, the question on the search engine user’s mind is “Where can I find boots for wide calves?”

I wrote a detailed review of Duo boots here. Duo is known for having one of the most extensive lists of calf sizes and their quality cannot be beat. In this post, I wrote about many companies including my experience with Wide Widths, a company that has a collection of several brands of wide-calf boots. And here, I also mentioned wide-calf boots.

Well this weekend I had two more experiences I wished to share with you.

wide calf boot tall suede SilhouettesFirst, I received a pair of tall boots from Silhouettes. Silhouettes is a company that sells clothing for women in sizes 12W and up, and shoes as well that have wide calves and wide widths. They seem to have a few of their own styles, and also offer a few brands that are known for selling quality wide-width tall boots (Naturalizer, David Tate, Ros Hommerson). Many of Silhouette’s style of boots are far more budget-friendly than Duo or Wide Widths, but I was wondering about the quality. Often times cheaper brands are such because they scrimp – the seams are not as strong, the fit is strange, the heel is flimsy, the fabric is obviously man-made and why is it that cheaper brands add so many details and flourishes? Don’t they know that cheesy gold-tone buckle and the purple zipper details make the item look obviously cheap?

The boots I received are not currently available on Silhouette’s site, they are a suede boot with man-made lining; the heel is also suede-covered. They scrunch a bit up the shaft like their pleated ankle boot, but are tall like their microsuede boot. The color I received is a gray-tinged chocolate brown. Though I usually wear a 7.5, these boots are an 8W (it often is a good idea to go up a half a size for boots). The heel is about 1″ (you can see them being worn here).

These boots are quite comfortable. Though I couldn’t pick my calf size a la Wide Widths or Duo, these boots fit my monstrous (we’re talking wide calf styles from J. Crew and Ann Taylor just don’t cut it) calves. No zipper marks embedded into my legs after wearing, no pinched toes and no leg pouring out of the top as though my calves are stuffed sausage. I wore these boots shopping and to dinner (about four hours) without any pain or issues. I did purchase a pair of comfort insoles to slip in, as these boots have no support or cushioning (very flexible yet thin sole), but that is pretty common in lower-priced shoes and fashion boots. The suede looks just as expensive as higher-end boots and didn’t scuff too easily. The man-made lining is a bit spongy which helped the boots stay up and not cut into the skin, but did cause my leg to get a touch sweaty. The zipper is sturdy, same color as the boot so not too obvious. I like that the boot is free of adornment so it compliments your outfit and doesn’t draw attention to the width of your leg or the price of the footwear.

wide calf boot tall leather SilhouettesSilhouettes has a great return policy for the boots, though they only give 90 days for returns, your return during that time period is 100% guaranteed. This means you can actually wear the boots and see if they are comfortable and sturdy. No tip toeing on your carpet, these shoes can prove their worth. If they are like this pair I received, I doubt they will be heading back to the returns department. These are not boots you will own for decades, but if you are looking for stylish wide-calf boots at a very reasonable price, Silhouettes is a great place to check out.

As for my second experience… eBay! We all know eBay as a place to find a great vintage piece, a designer purse at a good price and a goldmine for finding random things you didn’t know you even wanted or needed. Well there is a great selection of wide-calf boots as well. Naturalizer has a boot called the Kiersten that is sold most everywhere. It is a classic tall boot in brown or black leather and when I searched for this boot on eBay, I found dozens in my size, most never worn with the tags still attached. These boots are found around $99 on most sites, but saw these same boots for $35 at eBay. If you know your calf size or have experienced a certain brand of boot, it is worth your time to check out eBay for quality leather boots at a great price.

As I learn about more wide calf boot companies and experience their product and service, I will be sure to report back here. Seeing so much traffic for just my blog on this subject, I hope more companies see this need and adjust their calf widths to be as varied as their shoe widths (also consider smaller calf widths, Dear Companies – there are many slender-legged women out there also wishing to wear tall boot but cannot find a good fit).

Boots shown: Microsuede Boot (on sale for $59), Emily’s Closet Platform Boot (on sale for $89); both available at Silhouettes.