My T-Shirts Have Shrunken After Too Many Washes—Can I Still Wear Them?

Today’s installment tackles how to make the most of shrunken tees, tricks to look long and lean (minus heels!), and poncho styling tips for petites.

Can you still wear T-shirts and dresses that have gotten just a little too short with repeated washes, or should you admit defeat? —Leigh

Breathe easy, Leigh: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Those shrunken tees can be repurposed as layering pieces, especially with the season’s popular high-waisted skirts and flares. If the material hasn’t deteriorated, the tee may work over a chambray button-down (jewel tones are also foolproof for fall!) and your go-to statement necklace. Have a sleeveless dress from summer? Wear the tee over it and finish with a leather jacket and chelsea boots for an easy weekend look. Finally, the quickest (blogger-approved!) fix of them all is to tie a denim jacket or flannel shirt around your waist to cover any unwanted midriff exposure.

While short dresses can be preserved by wearing tights during fall, the functionality should come first. Are you able to comfortably walk? Does it still flatter your body like when you first bought it? If the answer is “no” to either one of those two questions, then it may deserve a spot in the “donate” pile.

What are some tricks to look long and lean without heels? —Dana

How do you feel when you wear heels, Dana? Whether it’s confident, bold or polished—or a combination of all three—you probably stand taller, with your shoulders back and some pep in your step. The key is to shop for tailored separates that give off the same authoritative vibe of six-inch pumps. (Think pencil skirts that stop just above the knee or crisp trousers nipped at the ankle.) Then anchor the look with a pointed-toe shoe, a silhouette that magically elongates your leg—stiletto not required!—and cool-girl accessories like a saddle bag or stack of rings.

How can petite girls pull off the poncho trend without being swallowed up? —Caitlyn

Ponchos used to be optional, but these days it seems no outerwear wardrobe is complete without the garment (blame last fall’s Burberry’s monogrammed version). Since I stand six-foot-three-inches tall, however, I wisely rolled my desk chair on over to Jane, our Lucky Breaks editor, for her petite-styling tricks.

First, realize that all ponchos aren’t created equal, and shop for styles that are more structured than the loose, cardigan-like variations better suited for your long-limbed counterparts. Don’t be afraid to embrace prints, as long as they’re in moderation like this color-blocked style from Closed; a brand our editors swear by. “I also like some height,” Jane says. “A shoe with a heel or platform helps.” And we both agree you should stick with a streamlined base of skinny pants and a thin, long-sleeved T-shirt or turtleneck.

But if you deploy these tips and you’re still swimming in a sea of fabric, then cinch the poncho with a belt in a complementary color.

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