Q. What kind of shoes can I wear with the new skinny jeans and tapered-leg pants? Are there both casual and dressy options?

A. Ah, skinny jeans — or drainpipes as they’re also often called. Whatever you call them, they’re causing quite a stir and a conundrum for fashionistas everywhere. Who can wear them? What can you wear them with? Will they make me look fat? How long will they be in style? Aren’t they, like, so ’80s?


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Here’s the skinny:

In general, skinny jeans look cute and casual-chic when paired with Audrey Hepburn-esque ballet flats or the very autumn-appropriate riding boots. What’s great about skinny jeans is that you can easily tuck them into your boots, so the days of clumping jeans frustrating you with your every step are over. If you are on the petite side and want to help elongate your legs, try pointy-toed flats (you’ll look longest and leanest in black or dark drainpipes with shoes of the same or similar color). Slouchy boots and wedges also are perfect skinny jean companions and can tow the line between casual and dressy depending on your other accessories. (Whatever you do, don’t wear skinny jeans and chunky sneakers at the same time � unless you’re trying to be ironic. And remember, irony is dead.)


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For a dressier look, sport your skinnies with platform pumps or heeled boots.


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If you want to be a bit more daring and want to completely embrace the ’80s, you can even rock your skinny jeans with ankle boots.


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Do keep in mind that trends should be fun and followed only if they flatter you and you feel great in wearing said trend, so make sure you can be objective or at least have a friend who will tell it to you straight.


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Lastly, there’s a misconception that only skinny people can wear skinny jeans. That’s not quite right. While you don’t want to look like a lollypop (big on top, stick on bottom), even some skinny people can’t always pull off this look — Mischa Barton and Kelly Ripa both come to mind here. Kelly’s maybe 100 pounds soaking wet, but in skintight drainpipes, looks way hippier than she actually is � same with Mischa. Rather, it’s more about proportions.


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Kelly would look trendy AND good if she opted for straight-leg jeans instead (skinny jeans have about a 10″ opening, while straight legs have about a 14″ � those 4 inches make all the difference). Straight-legs look great with platforms and heeled boots, helping to elongate, and who of us doesn’t love that? Another more flattering option than the painted-on rock ‘n’ roll skinny jeans are skinny cords. They have more give, a softer look and are easier to wear.


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