After a long winter, you're definitively ready to toss aside boots and leggings for sandals and short skirts. The question is: are your legs prepared for public display?
If gnarly toes, pasty calves and jiggly thighs are telling you "absolutely not," don't panic. You can get great, gorgeous legs with these easy fixes and tricks.
1. Fake a Sunkissed Glow
No matter how long and lean your legs are, they'll look even shapelier with a sunkissed glow. Drugstore shelves offer a wide variety of self-tanning products for an even, natural-looking tan that will leave your skin smelling great too. Here's a guide to the formula that's right for you.
Wash-off self-tanners These solutions create a temporary color that lasts about a day and washes away with soap and water. Apply one layer for a sheer look; add a second for deeper color.
Tanning mousses and gels Quick, but doesn't dry instantly, so you can correct mistakes. The tint lets you see any spots you might have missed.
Daily self-tanning moisturizers Gradually builds a subtle glow with daily use. Foolproof, these are perfect for self-tanning novices.
Tanning lotion Produces the deepest caramels and bronzers for that "just back from St. Bart's" look.
Tanning sprays The fastest way to achieve all-over coverage. Perfection takes practice; try this out a few times before a big event.
2. Pamper Your Feet
Squeezed into boots and forgotten for months, your feet are likely looking dry and callused, and your toes a bit ragged. Get them ready for their flip-flop debut with a spa pedicure that goes beyond just a file and polish.
Look for a service that offers these steps: a foot soak in a warm bath with moisturizing ingredients like essential oils; an exfoliating scrub to soften calluses and remove dead skin cells; a second scrub with a foot file to banish those calluses and other rough spots; a soothing massage followed by the application of a super-hydrating lotion that's sealed by dipping your feet into warm paraffin or wrapping them in hot towels.
The final steps: shaping your toenails and applying polish. Scott Barnes, a makeup artist for such celebrities as Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce, suggests painting your toes in sheer nudes or a brown hue to make your legs look their longest. Nail stylist Reham Bastawros who prettifies the peds of Renee Zellweger and Miley Cyrus favors a splashier look: eye-catching colors like bubblegum pinks, citrus yellows, watermelon hues or a classic vixen red.
3. Choose Shoes That Elongate Your Legs
Fling aside those 4-inch tottering heels! Shoe designer Stuart Weitzman says this season, '70s-inspired wedges will add height without straining the foot the way stilettos often do. Opt for shoes in nude or tones like blush-beige, khaki, brown or bronze that will trick the eye into thinking your legs and shoes are one lean, unbroken line. Avoid ankle straps -- they'll chop your legs to make your gams look shorter than they are.
4. Tone Your Muscles
Want to rev up the definition of your legs in a flash? Dr. Philip L. Goglia, a Los Angeles nutritionist and trainer whose clients include Kim Delaney, Owen Wilson and Raven-Symone, suggests these three moves:
Wide-stance squats: Do them like a ballet plie, with toes angled outward, and a stance wider that your shoulders. Do five sets of 20 reps daily.
Hill- and flat-walking should be for 30 minutes (good) to an hour (better!) each day. Or, try stair-climbing for the same length of time.
Walking lunges: Great for your glutes! Just make sure that your knees don't extend beyond your feet as you lunge. Work up to five sets of 20 lunges daily.
Alison Singh Gee is a former style features writer for People magazine. She has also written about fashion, beauty and design for InStyle and Marie Claire. She is the author of two books, including an upcoming memoir, The Peacock Sings for Rain.
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.