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Cankle Camouflage

You: Help! I have cankles (thick calves and ankles), and with spring coming, I can’t hide in my tights and boots anymore. What should I wear?

Nancy: There is no reason to shy away from a dress or skirt, especially with our Texas heat. You can still stay covered up and comfortable. The key is knowing how to style your outfit to make you look like you’re tall with thin legs.

First and foremost, choose the right shoe. A V-throat or U-shaped throat on the shoe gives your ankle or leg a slender appearance (picture a V, beginning at your toes, keeping your foot bare). You don’t want anything chocked up close to your ankle or strappy. Heels are also crucial to achieving your illusion. Beware, a kitten heel or closed-toe mule gives the appearance of being too delicate to balance your foot. Opt for open-toed, chunky heels or wedges that whisk the focus away from your thick calves and ankles. Try the Cole Haan leather platform slingback wedge and a pair of Pliner open wedges. You can find the Cole Haan at the Cole Haan boutique in Dallas and a great selection of Pliner’s at Nordstrom’s.

Pair your shoes with an A-Line skirt or dress. The width of the skirt balances your thicker calves and ankles. It’s all about illusion. Banana Republic and H Hilfiger both offer great A-line cotton skirts this season.

Also, try one of the new “patio” dresses. These are long, to-the-floor dresses made for casual wear, usually in cotton or silk. Nothing flatters (read: hides) big claves and ankles better than a long dress or skirt. And these long dresses are so much fun to wear. Elements sports a large selection, as does the contemporary department at Neiman Marcus. My personal fave: the Designer Trina Turk line.

Never wear tight, cropped pants, skinny jeans or leggings. This will only exaggerate the problem. Choose a full-legged capri style – again, Trina Turk shows off a great one in white or black (available at Elements and Neiman). And go for jeans with a wide leg — check out Citizens of Humanity and Paige.

Learn what looks good on you, add a few pieces at a time, build your confidence and watch your style develop. You should walk out the door every day knowing that you look fabulous.

Nancy Klompus, owner of Buy Request; www.nkbuyrequest.com, is a 25-year vet of luxury retail and a D-FW wardrobe stylist who specializes in ramping up what you’ve already got. Got a fashion question or just want to chat with Nancy? Shoot her an e-mail: editorial@dallaschild.com.