Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Playing Dress-Up At 50-Something

Gorgeous! From Peregrine UK. Flattering collar, a-symmetrical line is nice for larger women, yet it's not baggy. Big buttons are like jewelry.

I love fashion, but I've been feeling fashion-challenged for a while. It's been hard for me to get used to today's styles. The layered, lowered, non-matchy, thrown together look is simply not what I learned from mom. Back in the day you never let your underwear show, always wore solid color bottoms with printed tops (with the exception of plaid skirts), you wore dressy shoes with dresses and casual shoes with jeans. My 40 and 50-something coworkers seem to be able to pull off the dresses-over-leggings-with ballet slippers-look, but when I try I feel silly...like an older woman trying to look like a teenager. How revolting!  So I always revert to my old standard...taylored blouses over jeans with loafers. Boring!!!

But after reading this article http://afemmeduncertainage.blogspot.com/2011/08/dressing-up-working-chez-vous.html in A Femme d'Uncertain Age, I decided that it's high time I pull myself together and join this decade; fashionably speaking. I visited this site http://www.fashionafter50.com/ and took the fashion archetype quiz. (You know I can't do anything without turning it into a research project!) Having determined that my style is somewhere between classic and sporty, with a hint of bohemian, I went shopping in my own closet for some new outfits. There were more nice things in my wardrobe than I imagined...they were just crammed between stuff I hate (because it's too small, doesn't fit, or was a hasty, stupid purchase.) 

I spent a Saturday morning trying different combinations from what I already owned and came up with a very nice wardrobe, if I do say so myself!

Here's the process I followed:

1. Figure out what style you are. I found the quiz in the Fashion After 50 website very helpful in determining what I like and why.

2. Get rid of everything in your closet that you hate. Doesn't matter why. Face it. If you don't like it you're never going to wear it again; and if you do, you'll feel like a schmuck. Like that shiny gold blouse I bought for Christmas 3 years ago. After seeing a photo of myself in that shirt, I never wore it again. I looked like a big shiny mylar balloon in that blouse. Fly away, mylar-balloon shirt!!! If you like it but it doesn't fit, put it in a box marked 'too big', or 'too small'.  And NO! You can't wear a blouse or jacket that's too small opened with a t-shirt under it. It'll feel like a straight-jacket. Geez, would you make your kids wear stuff that's too small? I thought not.

3. Now look at what is left. Start trying on slacks and skirts with different tops. Look at yourself in a full length mirror. Note what looks good together. Add jackets or sweaters. Try camisoles under low cut tops. For myself, I soon discovered that I look best in solid colors with a printed scarf or interesting jewelry. If I wear a printed top, it usually needs to be layered under a nice solid-colored jacket or sweater. I found that my beloved calico shirts look great under jeans jackets. It's especially flattering (with my added girth) to have the shirt drop well below the jeans jacket waistline, covering the fullest part of my hips.  Be sure to try different shoes and boots with each outfit.

Classic Trucker Jacket - Blue Thunder - Levi's - levi.com
Jeans Jacket with calico blouse. Jacket from levi.com
4. Try your t-shirts under jackets or sweaters. I discovered that the most versatile piece of clothing in my closet is a $7 scoop-necked black t-shirt. It is dynamite under a classic white blouse with some silver jewelry!  It looks equally great under jackets and sweaters and is the perfect backdrop for almost any jewelry or scarf. While we're talking about t-shirts, remember that it's nice to have a snug camisole to wear beneath them. It helps to keep those muffin tops from spilling over the waistline of your jeans. (I know some gals wear 'body-shapers'. I refuse. A girdle by any other name is still a girdle in my book! I'd rather face the facts and shed some excess weight than to squeeze my torso into an 'ace bandage'. Had enough of that in the 1970's. But that's just me. To each her own.) The cami will also conceal cleavage in today's low cut t-shirts... if you're like me and prefer to keep 'the girls' covered up.
Do I need to mention that low-rider jeans on anybody past 30 are just wrong? Bad, bad, bad. I once arrived to a community college class late. Most of the seats were filled with young women.  Walking into that room from behind was very revealing...literally. I just have to say this: if you are the slightest bit heavy, that thong under your low rider jeans will make you look frumpy and sleazy. If you're slender, you won't look frumpy...just sleazy. Cracks are for sidewalks, not ladies.

4. Accessories are key if you are dressing simply. The right pair of earrings or scarf can jazz up the plainest outfit. Fortunately, I've always loved scarves, so I have a whole box of them to choose from. My all-time favorite is a beautiful paisley toned scarf in purples, reds, and golds. Its stunning with mossy greens.

5. This is key, girls! Make a list of all the outfits you've tried that you really feel good in. I can't tell you how often I've stumbled out of the shower not knowing or even caring what to wear. One these days its good to pick something off of the list. It's a no-brainer. Sometimes you need no-brainers before your first cup of coffee!

6. While you're making lists, note any additions you'd like to have in your wardrobe. Include anything that would give your outfits pizazz- jewelry, hosiery, shoes, even make-up. Keep the list in your purse. Next trip to the mall you'll be glad you have it. It'll save you from the impulsive urge to buy something that looks great on a mannequin-but doesn't go with a darn thing in your closet.

Chadwicks...these are definitely my colors! Simple jacket and top, printed scarf for interest.

Simple and easy to wear...Chadwicks again. Note the easy white t-shirt that sits lower than the jacket. Scarf rounds it all out.

I don't pretend to be a fashionista, but updating my look a bit has been fun! After all, you're never too old to play dress-up!




Rebecca said...

Debora! This is an AMAZING post. I keep waiting for my weight to drop before I dive in and do exactly what you've described so colorfully here!

I'm waiting for a picture of YOU - dressed in your most "typical" new style :)

Well done, my friend! Very inspiring.

Rhondi said...

Hi Deborah
Thanks for the helpful hints on fashion. I have a hard ime trying to figure out what to wear. I am in my 60s , don't want to look old but don't like the styles these days either. It's a challenge!

Pondside said...

I don't really know how I've arrived at your blogspot - I was googling something on Cape Breton Island, my birthplace, when one of your posts came up. I'm going to follow, as your blog is my kind of place - eclectic and up-beat.

Amish Stories said...

Hi Debora, and there is no way that the models shown in this post are 50 and over. If they are then i say "wow". Richard from Amish Stories.

Curmudgeon said...

My wife is amazing, she subscribes to some fashion tips email, and then goes to good will to get her clothes. My idea of dressing up is to wear my tee shirts with no silk screening on them. Come to my blog and post a haiku! I'm hosting. I think I won because Unk was tipsy. You would be a great contribution! Hope school is going well.

Debora said...

Richard, you are certainly right about the models. Sadly, there are very few fashion magazines that use older models which is too bad, because there are plenty of beautiful women over 50 to choose from! However, I picked those photographs because I believe that the clothing they are modeling would be appropriate on a woman of any age...and would be attractive on most women regardless of their body type. Thanks for pointing out the age thing. We older women are so used to having to look at younger models that often we don't give it a thought...but we should!


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