How to wear jeggings when you don’t look like a supermodel

I have come very late to the jeggings trend. Jeggings were a huge trend in 2010 and 2011, but it’s waning now. Jeggings come from the words jeans + leggings.

I was given a pair at the height of the jeggings trend, but when I tried them on, I found them very unflattering, accentuating every bulge. I’ve never worn them again, apart from that one time just to try them on. So I had the mistaken belief that only people who are stick-thin, like fashion models, can wear this trend.

I have since learnt that there are 2 types of jeggings. The first type is made of stretchy leggings material while the second type is made of denim or actual jeans material. It was the former type that I first tried on and found unflattering, but I can work with the latter type.

Jeggings can be unforgiving of all kinds of issues like ‘camel toe’ problems in front and rear end problems at the back, but you can hide them. Wear jeggings with long tops that are long enough to cover areas you feel self-conscious. For a dressier look, pair jeggings with a short, sheer dress.

Shih Yen wears jeggings with a short, sheer dress and L.A. gear shoes.

The good thing about jeggings is that they can make legs look longer and thinner. Wear jeggings with high heels if you want to give the illusion of even longer legs. Knee-high boots are very flattering when worn over jeggings. Jeggings also look good with ballet flats. If skin tight is not your thing (because let’s face it – skin tight anything is a difficult style to pull off), you could buy jeggings that are one size bigger than your usual style. When worn, these slightly big jeggings will look more like skinny jeans instead of skin tight jeans.

I wasn’t a fan of jeggings at the start and I don’t like the elastic waistband on jeggings. I think elastic waistbands on non-exercise wear should only be worn by senior citizens or people aged over 65! But I have given jeggings a chance and I am now the (slightly surprised) owner of 3 pairs of jeggings in different colours and sizes.


Different ways to tie your shoelaces and minor acts of rebellion

I had my primary and secondary education in Malaysia. The goal of the Malaysian education system seemed to be to make every student the same – both in the way they look and the way they think. I attended 7 different schools in 3 different cities across East and West Malaysia, so I feel well qualified to write about Malaysian schools. I attended one school that even printed a rule book that stated clearly all the school rules.

All Malaysian government schools have a school uniform which is the same across the country. Even one of the kindergartens I attended had a uniform. School rules were restrictive and didn’t seem to serve any purpose apart from making us all look the same. There were school rules that dictated hair colour, hair length, skirt length, even fingernail length (and yes, they check!). No hair clips, makeup, jewellery or nail polish (not even clear polish) was allowed. There were rules that stated what colour rubber bands you can use to tie up your hair, even rules on the colour of the lenses in your glasses. On top of that, every student has to wear a name tag because there are too many students for the teachers to remember our names. What has all this got to do with shoes, shoelaces or socks? Bear with me, I will get to the point.

Of course there were rules on the colour of school shoes and socks. Both shoes and socks had to be all-white; not even a stripe of colour or a coloured logo was allowed. I don’t know who decided Malaysian students should wear white canvas shoes and socks. They are so hard to keep clean. While the school rules can dictate the colour of my shoelaces (white of course!), none of the schools I attended had rules specifying how I should tie my shoelaces. So, the way I tied my shoelaces was the only way I had to show my individuality at school.

I will now share these different ways to tie shoelaces. You do not need to stick with the usual way of tying laces with criss cross Xs. Back in June, I wrote about LA Gear sneakers, which were the first to introduce me to tying shoes with two pairs of shoelaces. Since it was LA Gear sneakers that first inspired me, I have used my LA Gear shoes here, but all these ways of tying shoelaces can be used with any sneaker or shoe that requires laces. These styles have all been road tested (or should I say walk tested) by me.

These are my LA Gear sneakers with shoelaces as they came in the box.

The picture above is how the shoelaces looked when I took them out of the box. But Xs are so boring! You could try shoelaces tied parallel.

Try parallel shoelaces

Or in a zig zag pattern. The zig zag pattern works best with a pair of short shoelaces.

Or maybe zig zags

If you have two pairs of shoelaces, here’s what you can do:

To achieve a chess/checker board design, start with one pair of shoelaces tied parallel. Then, weave a second pair of shoelace through the first pair to get the desired pattern.

This weaved pattern was my favourite way of tying shoelaces as a teen. Even though I could only use white shoelaces at school, I love the chess board design.

This style works best with 2 pairs of short shoelaces

This shoelace design is one I associate the most with the 1980s LA Gear style of tying shoes with 2 pairs of laces

A zig zag pattern with 2 pairs of shoelaces

Soles, shoe prints and forensic evidence, part 1

I knew the country was mesmerized by a murder trial when I heard the case being discussed while at my hairdresser’s. Recently in New Zealand, there has been great public interest in a murder trial. On 8th July 2010, a 31-year-old farmer Scott Guy was shot and killed in the driveway of his farm. His brother-in-law Ewen Macdonald was charged with his murder, but on the 3rd of July 2012, he was found to be not guilty.

The trial was largely based on circumstantial evidence. I was fascinated by the evidence presented in court, especially of shoe imprints found by the body, allegedly made by the killer. The shoe had a distinctive wavy pattern on the sole and police spent months trying to find out what shoe had made the shoe print. Police trawled through tens of thousands of entries in an Australian footwear database, FBI database and also a Canadian database to match the shoe print with the shoe. I was amazed that such footwear databases even exist. I thought this was the stuff of fiction and TV crime shows like CSI. I also couldn’t believe that it was actually someone’s job to spend hours going through databases to find a shoe print match.

Another aspect of the shoe print evidence that interested me was the method used to determine the killer’s shoe size. The prosecution said that the shoe prints were made by a size 9 Pro Line dive boot, and the accused owned a pair of those boots. I know that determining shoe size is difficult, and instead of measuring the length of the shoe imprint, the defence counted the rows of wave patterns on the sole to determine that it was made by a larger shoe, bigger than a size 9.

When you think of all the millions of different shoes that exist in the world, I question the accuracy of matching a shoe from shoe prints alone. My recent LA Gear sneakers have quite a distinctive design on its sole and yet the soles of my LA Gear sneakers were an exact match to a pair of Chinese AIR skate shoes that I also own. (Not Nike Air, not Airwalk, not Dr. Martens Air Wair – just Air). I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it and I carefully checked each sole imprint, and they were both a complete match. I actually suspect possible intellectual property infringement on the part of the Chinese label, maybe using a sole design from LA Gear. What other explanation could there be?

The soles of my LA Gear sneakers were an exact match to a Chinese brand of skate shoes called Air

Shoe designers need to realize that the soles, or what’s under a shoe, is just as important as what’s on top. For instance, red soles are the signature of Christian Louboutin shoes, and Caterpillar boots have the brand CAT on the soles. My Camper shoes have a very distinctive sole and also have the brand name on the soles.

Camper shoes with distinctive sole pattern and brand name on the soles.

I have a pair of Candy shoes with flying butterflies on the soles. Wearing that pair of shoes always makes me feel happy because I know I have butterflies on the soles of my feet.

Close up of flying butterflies on the soles of my Candy shoes.

Shoe prints leave an impression when people walk in sand, mud or when it’s wet. Unique shoe prints can be just as identifiable and distinctive as a brand or logo.

How to wear legwarmers

I was a bit too young to remember the times in the 1980s when exercise-wear was ‘in’, when headbands, leotards, legwarmers and tights in fluorescent colours were the height of fashion.

Legwarmers are like foot-less socks. They were originally used by dancers to keep their muscles warm. It’s easier for a dancer to injure themselves dancing with cold muscles. Legwarmers were a big craze in the 1980s, but they may be making a small comeback. Legwarmers have been seen on the runway recently at Dunedin iD Fashion Week, showcasing winter 2012 collections in New Zealand. Legwarmers also seem to be trending in Japan and Korea.

Shih Yen recreates a look from the 1980s with LA Gear sneakers and legwarmers. Legwarmers by Golf Punk

So here are some tips for how to wear legwarmers. Wear your legwarmers just below the knee. You can push them down a bit to create some folds in the legwarmers, but you don’t want them to sit too much below the knee. Personally, I think that legwarmers are paired best with ballet flats and a short skirt or dress. But you could also wear them with sneakers, reminiscent of the 1980s. If you want to wear them with jeans, they work best worn over skinny jeans. Have fun!

LA Gear sneakers

Last month I wrote about ballet shoes, which are shoes from my childhood. This month, I thought I would write about LA Gear sneakers, another shoe that had a big impact on me as a child (well, more accurately I was a tween at that time).

I recently bought a few pairs of LA Gear shoes. Yes, they still make them! It reminded me of the first pair of LA Gear sneakers I ever owned. I believe the year was 1990 and I got the sneakers while on holiday in Hong Kong. My first pair of LA Gear sneakers came with 3 pairs of different coloured shoelaces – pale pink, light green and white. In the shoe box, there were also instructions with diagrams on how to lace up the sneakers with two pairs of shoelaces. I spent the plane ride home from Hong Kong puzzling over the diagrams, trying to figure out how to lace up my shoes. Back then, each pair of LA Gear sneakers also came with a plastic tag, similar to a dogtag. The tag was white with pink edges and had the LA Gear logo on it. I kept the tag from my shoes long after I had outgrown the shoes.

Shih Yen’s recently purchased LA Gear Efecta skate shoes

LA Gear is an American shoe company founded by Robert Greenberg, who later founded Skechers. As the name suggests, LA Gear started in Los Angeles, California, specifically in Venice Beach. LA Gear’s signature style were white high top sneakers tied with two pairs of shoelaces in different colours. LA Gear appealed a lot to women and LA Gear had great succes with women’s aerobic shoes. As a brand, LA Gear was huge in the late 1980s to early 1990s. At one time, it was the top sneaker company behind only Nike and Reebok. Celebrities like Paula Abdul and Michael Jackson endorsed LA Gear shoes.

After its heyday, LA Gear sneakers seemed to fade into obscurity from the mid 1990s. LA Gear filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1998. Its journey since then has been long and complex. For over a decade, I never saw any LA Gear shoes, and I had almost forgotten about them until I saw them for sale a few years ago. In some ways, I almost think it would have been better if LA Gear had folded as a company. Then, its fans could keep the memories of its glorydays alive, instead of seeing it now – a shadow of its former self. For the past 14 years, LA Gear has just been limping along trying to avoid bankruptcy. From one of the top sneaker brands that made exclusive, expensive and fun shoes that people wanted, the current LA Gear shoes are just average, and it makes me sad.