What to Wear With Large Prints

One trend that never seems to go out of style is the print. But that doesn’t mean it works for everyone. The size of the print and the size of the person determine what’s going to look good and what will look lame

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First, who can wear a large print? Most women can if they understand their shape. Petite women, instead of a rule of thumb, should use the rule of fist. If the print pattern is the same size or smaller than your fist, you can pull it off. If it’s larger, leave the item on the rack and let a taller woman have at it. Women with fuller figures need to be careful as well. Large prints can make you look larger than you are. Who wants to look like a floral sofa? A good guideline is to stay under the span of your hand. A print that’s larger probably won’t flatter you.
So how do you wear a large print

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Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but fashion is fair game for critique. Use these tips for a fabulous look!

Boot Guide

Each season brings something special. Winter has the first pure, white snow; spring offers rebirth; summer, sunshine; and autumn brings boots. Fabulous

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, to-die-for boots. It’s worth saving up all summer for a new pair. Maybe two.
But which of the hundreds on hundreds of styles to choose from? There are the old standbys, of course, which never really get old

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. The refined, black leather, high-heel knee boot, or a flat one in brown suede. And the streamlined, neutral ankle boot with a sharp, pointy toe. They’ll never go out of style, and a great-quality boot can last forever.
Other styles, though, are a bit more timely. What’s in for fall 2010 may be out in 2011 (and back in again in 2013). But who cares? They’re boots. We love them. And this season’s styles are knock-outs.
Our look at fall boots begins with the leg-lengthening, mini-skirt-grazing phenom that is the OTK.
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Stuff from the Science Lab Roundup: Sniffing Books and Contemplating Gravity

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Sorry it’s been crickets here on the blog for a little while. We were busy sniffing books, contemplating gravity, observing our mid-digit hair and weighing our souls, of course. Also, Robert’s been gone, trying to stop the lethal flow of Mountain Dew to the Large Hadron Collider. I kid. That gentleman who says he’s from the future and was picked up rooting around the Big Bang machine isn’t Robert at all. Does Robert wear “rather too much tweed for his age”

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Back to book sniffing for a second though, although paint sniffing might be a more appropriate topic this morning, seeing as our HowStuffWorks digs are getting spiffed up with some new paint and carpet. I only bring it up, dear reader and listener, because these renovations will ultimately benefit you. Have you ever heard one of your favorite Stuff podcasts marred by the sound of an aggressive high heel clacking down the hall? Probably not, actually, because our video editors are so darned good. And now, thanks to what looks to be a short, tufted, brown-and-green carpet that’s tough to roll your chair over (according to at least one of the lucky office folks), that prospect won’t loom its loud head again.
I much prefer sniffing books over paint though. And so, it seems, do a lot of listeners. Brigit wrote in to relay a story about an intense Stephen King phase she went through at the tender young age of 12 in which the brand-new King novel she’d gotten fresh from the library stank of smoke, thanks to being No. 2 on her library’s waiting list. Oddly enough, the stink eventually grew to enhance her devouring of the book, making it a “multi-sensory experience.” Lest you think this is a small community, it’s not. There are whole book-sniffing enthusiast sites, albeit meant as a joke. A tip from one such site recommends breathing deep into the spine of the book with the aid of a straw.
Scientists however, like to smell books for more than just the flood of olfactory-triggered memories. They’re in it to figure out the condition of a book. And this was the focus of one of this week’s podcasts. Cristen Conger covered this for Discovery News in the excellently titled story “Old Books Gassier With Age.” And Robert posted about it on the blogs a while back. What can I say? We like to sniff stuff at HowStuffWorks. Even the TechStuff guys do it, although they’re more inclined to talk about packet sniffing than the book variety.
Long live smelly books. Libraries. And iTunes. Speaking of which, why don’t you head over there and give Stuff from the Science Lab a listen.
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Why are women’s clothing sizes so hard to figure out?

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View Transcript here

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Topics in this Podcast: women, clothing, fat

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What is a maxi dress, and how do I wear it?

In the 1940s, stylish socialites and the hottest Hollywood starlets wore brightly colored dresses with long, full-tiered skirts. Designers drew inspiration for these so-called patio, or squaw, dresses from traditional Native American and Southwestern designs. Though the patio dress soon fell out of fashion, this ankle-grazing dress style was revived during the 1960s when women from all walks of life embraced the colorful, free-flowing maxi dress. Unfortunately, by the late ’70s, these long

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, billowing dresses had once again been relegated to the clearance racks.
After the sky-high hemlines of the early 21st century, the maxi dress gained a whole new generation of fans, as women everywhere sought out a comfortable, low-key alternative to the mini-skirts and impossibly short shorts of the period. However, the maxi dress is no longer the voluminous mound of polyester it was in the 1970s. Today’s designers rely on cotton and other fine fabrics, which keep the wearer feeling cool and breezy, even on the hottest summer days. Modern maxi dresses also offer a much more flattering fit, with plenty of styles to accentuate any figure.
Dressed up with simple jewelry and heeled shoes, these dresses give the wearer a look of casual sophistication that’s appropriate at a summer party or even at the office. Dressed down with flip-flops and some funky bangles, the maxi dress offers the perfect way to stay cool and comfortable at the beach or on vacation.
But what if you’re petite or plus-size? Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a runway model to pull off this look. Part of the fun of the maxi dress is that with the right accessories and styling, this dress can work for bodies of all shapes and sizes.
Ready to add this classic wardrobe staple to your closet? Read on to learn how to choose the best maxi dress and accessories for your body type.

10 Tips for Organizing a Formal Event

Formal events tend to be hit or miss. When they’re done right, they’re smart, fun and sophisticated. When they’re done wrong, well, it’s just a bunch of people muddling around in high heels and penguin suits. If you’re in the midst of planning a formal event, you definitely don’t want it to fall in the latter category, but putting together a successful soiree is hard work and takes a lot of time and effort. However, it doesn’t have to be as stressful as you might think. If you stay organized and follow a few simple rules, you’ll throw the party everyone will be reminiscing about the next time you’re all dressed up and shuffling around in some boring conference hall

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Continue reading to find out what goals have to do with planning your next event.

Knee Injury and Indoor Group Cycling

Indoor cycling is a workout that can be enjoyed by almost any fitness level, age or body type. The high-intensity workout is a great alternative to other workouts, such as running without the impact. Sometimes instructors and participants forget that less impact does not decrease the chance for injury. They often forgo proper setup and preparation, choose contraindicated skills and drills, and neglect recovery and maintenance. Over time, overuse injuries may occur, especially in the knees. Pedaling produces a great deal of force on the knees, so if the seat or foot is not in the right position, the incorrect distribution of load can result in knee pain from general weakness or tightness in the muscles of the lower body, poor bike setup and overuse.
Strengthening and stretching the lower body prior to your indoor group cycling class can help prevent knee injuries. Reverse lunges target the hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves. Begin with your left knee up in front of you. Step back to the ball of your left foot, then kneel down toward the floor, no lower than 90 degrees. Return to the starting position. Complete 12 to 15 repetitions, then change sides. Next, stand with your feet hip width apart. Walk your hands down your legs, then forward on the floor until your hands are in front of your shoulders, pressing your weight into your heels. Hold the hamstring and calf stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then walk your hands back toward the feet and up the legs. Repeat two to three times, keeping the legs straight.
The saddle of indoor cycling bikes may be uncomfortable at first, causing some participants to sacrifice proper body mechanics for comfort. The saddle height should be adjusted so you have approximately 25 to 30 degrees of knee flexion at the bottom of the pedal stroke with a neutral foot. When setting the fore/aft of the saddle

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, visualize a line that intersects the knee, ball of the foot and the pedal¡¯s axle. Set the handlebars at an appropriate height for comfort. You should be able to reach them and feel upper-body support without strain in the lower back, shoulders and neck.
Many indoor cycling knee injuries can be avoided with routine bicycle maintenance, cadence control and correct resistance. Make sure the bike you are using for class is secure. The handlebars, saddle, pedals and shoe cages should not be loose. During class, your cadence should between 80 to 110 rpm on a flat terrain, 60 to 80 rpm during climbing segments. Too little resistance can be just as harmful to the knees as too much. The warmup and cool-down of the class help prevent injury by getting the body ready for the high intensity workout

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, then allowing it to recover safely.
Arrive at class at least five to 10 minutes before class to inspect your bike and set up. Ask the instructor if you are not sure about your body position and let her know if the bike is in need of repairs. Use the recommended amount of resistance for the warm up, drills and cool down. Participate in the stretches off the bike at the end of class. If you do start to have knee pain during or after class, take a day off between classes and RICE — rest, ice, compression and elevation — until the pain from the inflammation subsides. Cross train on alternate days with walking or the elliptical. Consult a sports medicine physician if the knee discomfort continues.

What Are the Treatments for Fallen Arches?

Fallen arches, also known as flat feet or pes planus, may be present at birth or develop later in life. The midfoot normally exhibits a slight arch, keeping this region raised during walking. Absence of the normal arch causes flattening of the sole. Many people with fallen arches have no associated symptoms, while others experience foot pain or fatigue

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. Treatment for fallen arches depends on the severity of the condition and associated symptoms.
Doctors commonly prescribe shoe inserts, or orthotics, to support the arch. These devices make walking and standing more comfortable for a person with fallen arches, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Orthotics are typically worn with closed shoes. They are available over-the-counter or can be custom-made.
People with flexible feet who develop fallen arches may benefit from foot strengthening exercises, notes the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma. Standing on a towel in bare feet and grasping the material with the toes is an easy foot-strengthening exercise that can be done at home. Standing on one leg while arching and releasing the foot may also prove useful. Doctors may prescribe gentle stretching exercises for the foot and ankle tendons.
Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin can provide short-term relief from foot pain associated with fallen arches, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Doctors sometimes inject the foot with a corticosteroid medication, which acts as an anti-inflammatory, to relieve acute pain. Although medications can provide symptom relief, they do not correct the underlying foot abnormality.
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is a common cause of fallen arches in adults. The tendon runs along the bottom of the foot and up the back of the ankle, connecting to the tibialis posterior muscle in the calf. The posterior tibial tendon is an important support for the foot arch. Overuse, inflammation and tears of the tendon may cause progressive foot and ankle pain and the development of flat feet. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons states that an ankle brace, leg cast or removable boot may be used to temporarily immobilize the posterior tibial tendon, facilitating healing. Physical therapy typically follows immobilization to strengthen the foot and restore normal foot structure and function.
Fallen arches may occur with deformities of the foot bones. Tarsal coalition is a congenital condition in which the bones of the foot do not separate from one another during development in the womb. A child with tarsal coalition exhibits a rigid flat foot, which can be painful, notes the patient information website eOrthopod. Surgery may prove necessary to separate the bones. Other foot and ankle conditions that cause fallen arches may also require surgery if noninvasive treatments fail to alleviate pain and restore normal function.

Fall Shoe Trend Guide

For the fall 2010 season

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, your shoe choices will help define and refine your style. This is a banner year for shoe fashions, with big boot trends vying for your wardrobe dollar against classics like kitten heels and stilettos with high-rise attitude

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If there were ever a year to layer up on leggy looks, this is it. But there are also styles to fit everyone’s tastes – from extravagant to comfy and feminine. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started.

Fastest Way to Get in Shape for Hiking

While hiking can be fun and adventurous, it also is physically demanding and requires you to be in good shape. Depending on your current fitness level and the hike’s difficulty, you will want to give yourself anywhere between two to eight weeks to prepare your body for hiking. Hikes that are longer in length and more difficult in terms of steepness will require you to be more fit than hikes that are more leisurely or shorter in distance. Choose a hike you realistically can complete after a few weeks of focused training.
Engage in cardiovascular exercise five days of the week for 30 to 60 minutes per session. Workouts should be done at a moderate intensity in which you can carry on a conversation but still are breathing heavier than usual and working up a sweat

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. Do cardio that works the major muscle groups in the lower body since the legs are predominately used in hiking. Running and cycling are good options as well as stair-climbing at the gym or the local stadium. Include hills in your workouts to simulate a hilly hike.
Strength train two to three days per week in preparation for hiking. Strength training will build up your lower and upper body, particularly important if you are carrying a heavier backpack with food and basic essentials. You do not need to put on a lot of muscle bulk for hiking as the heavier mass potentially could slow you down. Rather, lift for general strength and conditioning by selecting six to eight exercises per workout for the arms, shoulders, chest, back, legs and gluteals. Choose a weight that you causes fatigue by the 12th or 15th repetition, and complete two to three sets in total.
In addition to a structured exercise routine

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, aim to incorporate more physical activity into your everyday life. Take the stairs at work whenever you need to switch floors and even during a lunch break for extra exercise. Walk to work or park a couple of blocks away. Get out your push-bike and cycle around the neighborhood with family. All of these activities increase the heart rate and get the muscles pumping in preparation for hiking a trail in your future.
Adopting healthier eating habits in the weeks prior to your hike will boost energy levels and fuel muscles for extended exercise. Poor eating habits will leave you lethargic and weak, so avoid foods high in fats, particularly trans and polyunsaturated fats in favor of low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and monounsaturated fats. Healthier eating also will help you drop excess pounds if you drop your overall caloric intake. This will make your hike easier and more enjoyable.