Can a Cane Change the Way You Think About Style?

Savannah Engel is the co-founder of Palm Creative, an image and branding development agency based between New York and Los Angeles. Her days are filled with the kinds of meetings that require her to get fashion-fancy on the regular; she is almost always in a Full Look. But at night, Savannah — who “goes out” often and with enthusiasm — wears jeans and a tee or a sweater plus sneakers. She can’t handle the thought of one more outfit. On top of that, she shattered her knee this winter. That means no heels, and now that she’s off crutches, a cane.

Canes have become her signature. Savannah purchased quite a few of them from Fashionable Canes in order to work with her work clothes. One features an elephant head; another, a gold tiger. They demand to be dressed around! It’s almost rude to not give an ivory-colored, elephant-head cane the outfit it deserves, you know?

…Which meant Sav was put to the challenge of figuring out how to get dressed for ~*The Night*~ when you’d rather be in a sweatshirt but your cane demands more of you.

Dress It Up

Savannah May 2017 Man Repeller-4740

Markarian-NYC dress, Converse shoes

A friend once described the coolest girl in her class to me by explaining that she was “the kind of girl who wore Converse sneakers with a gown and gets away with it.” I totally get the image, but here’s the thing: anyone can get away with it. Savannah didn’t go full black tie, but paired sneakers with the type of dress you’d normally look at and think “heels.” Voila — instant going-out outfit that you can really dance in.

Find Middle Ground

Savannah May 2017 Man Repeller-4633

Pixie Market top, Redone jeans, Michael Kors Collection loafers

Consider this the perfect-porridge temperature between Savannah’s casual extracurricular fallback and her work-ready get ups: a “top” (heavy on the ruffles) rather than a tee and after-dark loafers to stay grounded. You’ll also note there’s no cane. Now that Sav’s getting stronger, she’s starting to leave her cane at home when the occasion calls for more sitting than standing and thus, the impetus to match aesthetics with a gold tiger isn’t quite as intense.

Sleep On It

Savannah May 2017 Man Repeller-4658

Michael Kors Collection silk pajama shirt, silk pajama pants, and sneakers

When in doubt and going out, silk pajamas will help you get down without letting you down. (Sorry, an alien legit took over my brain while writing this, so I apologize.) Sneakers work just as well in this scenario too, by the way. All you need to do is roll up the sleeves and keep a button undone to show a bit of skin — this helps you look more evening than bedtime.

Grab a tassel bag before you head out the door (or an ornate cane), smash some lipstick on real quick and breathe in the night. It’s time to party! And you look great.

Check out Palm Creative and follow on Instagram @PalmCreative. Follow Savannah on Instagram @savannah_engel. Photos by Edith Young.

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  • Cynthia Schoonover

    If I had to use a cane, I would have a collection, too, to go with different outfits and occasions. I consider them an accessory. My brother had to use a cane because of a work injury, and he had a whole collection, and my daughter had to use one for a while and she ordered the flame cane like Dr. House had on his tv show. She got a lot of compliments on it. I liked the way Savannah wore the Converse sneakers with a dressy dress. It really worked!

  • Good lord I’m having cane flashbacks…. I chipped my tibial plateau, tore my ACL, MCL and meniscus two years ago and was cane-ing it up for close to 18 months.

    Unfortunately I did not think to google for “fashionable canes” so I rocked the institutional metal w/ foam handle look. Which is “a look” in it’s own way….

  • Rheanonn Perez

    aw, feel better savannah!!! if i ever end up on crutches or with a cane ***knocks on wood*** i hope to make it fashionable too!

  • Kay Nguyen

    I have never had to use a cane but I can see if you have too use it, may as well make it a part of your outfit <3

  • Ashley

    Ugh I’ve been on crutches and in a boot for MONTHS. I have days were I feel shlumpy and like there’s no hope for the way I look because it’s ruined by a big clunky boot. But some days the boot makes me throw my hands in the air and say ayo because I already look weird, so why not push the sartorial limits? Basically being temporarily cripple is an emotional rollercoaster.

  • Kattigans

    Savannah is beautiful!! I love the cane haha and her outfits are all impeccable!

  • TinySoprano

    Is it just the planets on the dress or am I getting seriously good Carrie Fisher vibes from the first outfit?

  • I didn’t even notice the cane at first. Each one looks so right with her look!

  • the second outfit is so super chic, loving her style!

  • Jolie

    yes thank you for this!! i have a herniated disk that causes constant lower back pain and sometimes, in order to do fun stuff like “sit in a chair” or “take the subway,” i need to bring a lumbar support roll or pillow, which is……..not a Great Look for someone in their twenties! even though i don’t think there’s a way to style my lumbar accessories, i HAVE tried. and my pillow is v soft and in my favorite color, silvery grey, so this article makes me feel like maybe it isn’t as uncool as i always make it out to be.

    • rachel

      These sorts of back problems are so much more common for girls in their 20’s than I realized until it happened to me. My situation is a bit different (bone pain brought on from chemo plus degenerative disc disease and osteoporosis), but once I started talking about it SO MANY of my friends came out of the woodwork talking about osteoarthritis, bulging discs, sciatica and more. I know it’s been five months so I hope you are feeling better/found a way to make that support pillow stylish 😉 Actually, if you’ve found a way to make a roll pillow outfit work, please let me know…

      • Jolie

        yes, that’s been exactly my experience too! when i mention it to people they almost always have/had a similar issue. it’s so strange because i talk about my back problems openly but plenty of people don’t discuss them at all. i’m sorry you’re going through this too! 🙁 i have DDD as well, i like to say that my back is even more of a degenerate than i am. hahaha, since fanny packs are all the rage lately (hi gucci) i might have to strap my roll to my back and just wear it over all my outfits. at least it’d help me get a seat on the subway!

        • rachel

          Love the fanny pack pillow idea, please update with pictures 🙂