Total Pageviews

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Mature Fashion: New Website!!

Hello all Stylinistas (and Fashionistas)

RockMyStyling is moving to a sub-heading on the RockMyAges.Info website;  I am SO happy to have only one site.  Now it will be possible to catagorize the subject matter and deal with the pertinent blog all in one place.

As always, I welcome any and all feedback.  I can see from the number of hits that I am getting quite a few readers, but I really would like to have you share your styling secrets as well.

I am still setting it up, but you can find all the information about styling on the new site as I add it.  Until then, you can, of course, view any older posts on this website; it will not be going away.

Have a happy holiday season and please visit the new website...........Geneva


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mature Fashion: More on Curating

As I mentioned in the last post, I curate my closet continually . (However, I ALWAYS do the seasonal thing as explained in earlier posts).  Of course, frequent editing cuts down on the time it takes when I do that seasonal thing, etc.

I put this outfit on the other day when running errands and having lunch with a friend; I am not happy with the fit (losing some weight usually has some consequences for my wardrobe).  As you can see, it is now a bit too baggy and the hem is now also sagging.  Although it is a bit wrinkled from a long bout of sitting, it is apparent that the skirt does not fit properly now.  I obviously did not check my mirror effectively that morning, but the picture says it all.

If this skirt was to be a 'keeper' in my closet, I would invest either the time or money to alter it properly.  I will not do so because the skirt is representative of a 'trend' that will probably be out of fashion soon and the quality of the material does not make the investment worthwhile.  I like the skirt but it is not one that I love so much that I will miss it.

When I undressed for the day, the skirt immediately went into my pile of designated thrift store items. (I already have started a bag of clothes to be laundered and sent on to the thrift store.)  I avoid putting the item back in my closet if I have decided to get rid of it.

Weight gain or loss is one of the major reasons that women of all ages lose sight of styling maintenance.  Although I believe that both the mirror and the camera can be a gal's best friend, (it is never diplomatic, etc.) ..this picture also reminds me that I really must attend to getting more light into my bedroom; I have had this problem before.  In fact, that same day I put on chocolate brown stockings and left the bedroom before I realized they were not black!!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Mature Fashion: Continuous Refining of Closets (Curating)

A nude face palette was not suitble for  this outfit-I did realize it before I left the house;
Although I do a formal curating of my closet twice a year, I am actually working on it a little bit all year long. Two of the qualities I am always scrutinizing are the place the garment hold in my "roles" (exactly how MANY functions do I attend in a year and do I have dresses do I need?)  I find that I usually have too many.  My own personal needs require appropriate seasonal dress for the occasional wedding or other formal or semi-formal occasion.  I do NOT need each of the ones in my closet each season. Contrary to the advice of many stylists, I examine the garment for its suitability for storage and use at a later date.   If I absolutely love each of the excess dresses, they fit properly, and are suitable in every way, etc., I store it properly (NOT in my closet) and "buy" the "new" dress, etc. in a later season.(All too often I have purged my closet of a garment I loved and really wish that I had it a season or two later.) I keep a completely closed storage bin in an outside shed in which I store clean garments that I may want to keep for later, stored with appropriate bug resistors, etc., and rotate some of my 

Having said that, I like to have enough garments  to easily adapt my wardrobe as the styles and trends change. For example, I like to have a flattering A-line and a flattering pencil type skirt in my core colors, as well as two lengths of pants, etc.  As always, classic cuts and clean lines are the most practical in all areas.Overall, I have my own personal challenge of keeping just the right amount of garments for all the catagories I have.  I have been cutting back on the number of core  garments,  (who,-with my lifestyle,- needs five white cotton shirts? six black wool skirts? four charcoal..three navy, etc., etc.)  I am trying to cut back the number off the items but increase quality and versatility.

The area I am concentrating on now is eliminating (or reducing) colors from the closet that do not work as well for me with my "silver" hair.  As I have aged, I also am more "picky" about having shoes in the closet that are comfortable but also stylish rather than a closet of shoes that I can only wear for an hour or two before having to change.  This is one of my most difficult challenges, but I am working on it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mature Fashion: NoFearOfFashion

I am making a new cyber friend on-line with our discussion of fashion and exchanges of styling information.  I have just published a post to  "" regarding "".  That site is owned and published by Greetje Kamminga, a fashion conscious Dutch lady who I believe also rocks her age. I am adding a post to this blogsite because I am dealing with the styling principles involved.

The comments she has made on my blogs already let me know she understands the principles of design fully and the know how to best apply them; As you may know, I use this blog as a reference manual and general styling guide; in other words, a "how to" publication.  I will demonstrate how she has applied that advice in both the use of those principles on her own body type and mine.  Her own sense of style and generosity  have led her to share welcome suggestions that  have contributed to my own personal styling improvement.

case in point:

In my post "the Stylish You"  published July 9th on this blog, I showed the outfit to the left and the raspberry Kors handbag I chose for the day. Although Greetje was very complimentary to my choice of monochromatic dressing, etc and exhibited her styling knowledge (see comments on that post), she kindly suggested that the use of either the yellow or the green might have been a better choice.  When I viewed the photos (remember, pictures are worth a thousand words!) I instantly noted that she was perfectly correct. Either handbag would have provided better balance and proportion to the ensemble.  (I will be wearing this outfit again in the spring, and fully intend to accessorize with the Brighton mustard handbag. )

Needless to say, I am delighted that I have found an accomplished stylist who was willing to share her knowledge and know-how to my personal styling.  This sharing of knowledge is also the main reason I began this blog and to share my knowledge of styling with persons who want to learn how to make the most of their own closets, body types, and love of fashion.

Another case in point is several pictures I pinned to my board NoFearFashion that demonstrates her sophisticated use of color and line to create enormously flattering and fashionable ensembles; a talent that I believe to be a really strong point with her. It is obvious that she really loves color and knows how to use it effectively.

On my board I recommend your viewing of Red Velvet Jacket, Vintage Leather Shorts, Multi-Color Ralph Lauren Shirt, Red Leather Jacket Scarf and Jeans, the Diane Von Furstenberg Wrap Dress, and Golden Boots for superb examples of these design and styling techniques.  I am sure she has more pictures to offer, but those are ones I chose for my own personal inspiration.

I believe that Greetje is several inches taller than I am and has longer legs although I believe she and I share some similarities in body type (It is hard to tell, because her styling techniques are used to present her body in the best possible is our goal)  Anyway, her height allows her to use large areas of color (color blocking) in ways that would overwhelm my smaller frame.  I posted the above references to my Pinterest board as inspiration for some of my own uses of color in the more subtle ways that would flatter my own body type.  I also have to pay more attention than she does to leg length.  (Once again, this is just a supposition). 

I love monochromatic dressing which overall is one of my most flattering looks. because of my lack of height, leg length, and larger middle.  However, too much of one color, like classic lines, if not used wisely are simply boring, even though it may make a woman look taller, thinner, etc.  I have noted that many of my "uniform" pictures when worn just around the house (the look I all too frequently photograph) is sometimes just too much.  Greetje's influence on me has already begun to take effect. I am trying to break up the monotony without losing the line of color; something she does very well.

I heartily recommend to all my readers, but especially those who are somewhat tall, somewhat rectangular or inverted triangles; an excellent source for inspiration. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mature Fashion : Keeping Current

Keeping currant does NOT mean just wearing the latest fad or going out and buying whatever the latest garments delivered to your local department store. It means choosing elements of fashion and applying them strategically to suit your body, lifestyle,  and personality.

Dressing "appropriately" for one's lifestyle can be a bit of a challenge for the oldest members of the +40 crowd; in fact so much more a concern that I am thinking about moving the age criteria on the blog (not that it really matters, fashion styling basics are pretty much the same no matter what a woman's age-it just how often the styling challenge occurs that makes the difference).

I have noticed that so many people in my age group are people who are retired and feel no pressure to keep up with the dress codes of a work place or the business world in general and have

limited social contact with society at large.  In fact, all too many of them fall into the trap of comfortable (baggy) sweats, thongs or slippers for wearing everywhere and all the time, little or no attention paid to cosmetic or hair styling.  Without fail all to many of them also have little conversation unless it is about their ills or family problems.

Of course, not all people who are over sixty fall into this rut, but I must say at least 50% of the ones I observe daily, do.  I have to believe this is a more general condition because I almost always get some compliment when I do general errands such as shopping the grocery or craft stores.  

All of this would just feed the vanity  train EXCEPT it is a known medical and psychological fact that people have better all around health when they pay attention to how they look; it is not vanity, just good sense for maintaining health. In addition, since 90 to 95 % (depends on the source) of all communication is non-verbal;...what you see, is what you get.

Red heels are Isaac Mizrahi; wool felt hat, Dooney Bourke navy handbag.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mature Fashion: Semi Annual Closet Cleanup

Fashion Week for S/S 2017 has just concluded in New York and moved on to London and Milan. I am a little behind because I was unable to watch the runway shows at  (I do not know why they were not available  to me until the shows were over-whether it was a temporary browser problem, or something to do with the website; I have never had this problem before, but all is working well now.).  I sincerely suggest that all stylinistas view several of the runway shows to get a feel for looks they may want to incorporate into the spring/summer wardrobe. (you can wait until Feb/March and view the fashion journals, etc., but I like to get a head start).

I like to view the runway shows before I complete the closet clean up.  In the meanwhile, I am able to remove any item that should be discarded due to wear and tear, poor fit, etc. I will then determine which garments I will keep.  I always keep anything I absolutely love and look for inspiration as to how I can incorporate that garment into the looks I have chosen to wear for the season.  I like to use it in a fresh new way, thereby giving the wardrobe a fresh new look and not allow the same clothing to become "dated". Performing this two-step curating process also benefits my budget.

I also use this time to examine the garments in my wardrobe to analyze or refine my own personal style. For example, I have always loved good blazer type jackets.  As I have mentioned before  in my blog "", my roles have changed significantly over the past few years.  My closet chock full of lovely classic blazers in wool, silk, etc. are slowly being replaced with blazers that are more appropriate for my current and future roles.  I find that I have been adding utilitarian cardigan sweaters rather than wearing the blazers I love.  I doubt I would be making this change unless I went through my usual closet curating process and writing it down in this post. (this is an example of the clothing rut that it is so easy to fall into)

Grey lizard purse is by Michael Kors, silver flats from Sam Edelmann's Circus collections, Grey, wine, and pink BCBG  desert hat.  Grey heels are LifeStride, one of the most comfortable brand of heels that I know. I included the picture of the heels because I did a shoe change when I had a certain errand to run and wanted a little more formal look.
My "signature" hat for the day was this colorful felt that lightened the mood of all that grey, (and of course, covered the hair that I had neither the time or opportunity to arrange in a more flattering style).

Hats have become somewhat of a signature for me because I have both delicate and hard to manage hair, partly because of the harsh coloring process, age, heredity, etc.  My life style does not allow me to spend a significant amount of time on hair styling, and I have a limited budget to pay styling professionals to take care of it properly. Hats and gentle at home hair care environment address those concerns.  Hats fit in admirably with my life style, keep sun damage to a minimum, etc; besides, I LIKE hats......

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mature Fashion: Closet Shopping & Styling

Most of my favorite styling ensembles for this season are just the remix of garments that already exist in my closet.  As always, when I plan to update my styling "looks", I shop my closet first to select garments that I can mix and max to create a certain look. (after I have curated and rid the closet of any item that no longer fits properly, is damaged beyond repair, or has outlived its fashion cycle!! ) Only AFTER shopping my closet will I determine what minor seasonal purchases I may choose to purchase. (very few, and always at the appropriate price point).  My major goal is to make sure I create desirable ensembles that give a fresh new look to my wardrobe and "rock my age".

Of course, shopping my closet has the added and very practical advantage that I have neither shopping time nor expense involved when I simply remix. 

An additional advantage to shopping my closet rather than a shop is I already know the garments in my closet fit me properly, are in colors that I have already chosen to suit my coloring, and in a style that is suitable to my my body type.

Inspiration and imagination is all that is necessary to create desirable ensembles that give a fresh new look to my wardrobe and "rock my age."  Remix means just exactly that; re-arranging garments and especially, accessories, to update the same old items yet give them a new fashion look.

The only thing I have to update is styling techniques in both the use of jewelry, hair fashions, and cosmetic enhancements. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mature Fashion: Building the right wardrobe

In the blog "" , I posted the presentation of oneself throughout any given day could be likened to performing various "roles"  in a stage production called "my lifestyle", or to be more dramatic, "All The World's A Stage", and we, the single actor. parts.

Of course, to be a "costume designer " (stylist), a woman has to identify the different roles, then select the appropriate wardrobe suitable to those roles within the budget allocated by the producer (you).  We also need to quantify how long each role will be on stage, the form and function of the garments required for the role. Because we all perform in a different play; the number and nature of the roles will be somewhat different for each of us.  Defining the roles and the amount of time spent in each is the first step in planning the appropriate wardrobe.

In my personal play, I am now fully retired from work (no need for a "career" wardrobe) and the styling needs for my "costumes"  require approximately 90% of my wardrobe to be somewhat "casual Friday".  The remaining 10% of the wardrobe can cover the occasional formal or business attire, if, and when, the need arises. (I will blend a few skirt and sweater/blazer ensembles to cover the rare occurrences where a business suit would be most appropriate).

Although I live in Northern California, and approximately 70% of my clothing needs to be suitable for a warm weather environment.  I live in a marine climate with sometimes chilly mornings and evenings during the hot summer months.   I do need some clothing for cold and rainy weather during all seasons, especially, early spring.  Consequently, my spring/summer wardrobe must be much larger than my fall/winter seasonal wardrobe. 

I have found this division of "role" appropriate garments and variable seasonal garments to be the most challenging facet of having a manageable, effective, and efficient wardrobe.  

One of my personal styling gains from writing this blog, is the realization that I have too many cold weather winter garments in the rich fall/winter colors that I love and too few of them in colors more suitable for spring.  Consequently, I am slowly eliminating some wool blazers, pants, and skirts in deep browns, charcoal gray, etc., and replacing them with quality materials in cotton, linen, etc., that are more comfortable is the very warm weather of autumn and the chilly evenings of summer.  I am adding some of the heavier materials in wool, leather, etc. in my favored pearl grey and lighter colors of spring to accommodate some really cold temperatures of  February, March, and sometimes, even early April.  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mature Fashion: Continuous Improvement

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I believe my readers will agree.  Let's see what you think?

Several years ago a friend and I visited Paris for our first time; of course, I did the tourist thing and had my picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower (no way was I going up..afraid to death of heights) I love the city and have the framed picture on an occasional table where I see it almost every day.  The problem is I am always irritated when I see myself in this picture because it is really a "bad hair day all over", at least from a fashion flattery point of view. I am not happy with the way I look in the picture and I know what the problem was; it really ticks me off, because I know better, and it was an easy enough problem to fix!!.

When I travel, I always wear only black and white.  Obviously, it makes my packing much easier, and I can always mix and match for appropriate clothing for any occasion. with a minimum amount of clothing.  Unfortunately, I did not pack the right sweater  and you can see the results. (it is long gone, largely, based on my view of self in this picture!!) I have also been become more aware of the importance for me of great fit at the shoulders and hipline.

This picture is a wonderful example of, and clearly demonstrates the importance of wearing clothes that fit properly and have design lines that flatter a woman's body type.  In the Paris picture, I weighed 125 pounds. Today I weigh 130 when I duplicated the ensemble.

(I tried to duplicate exactly the ensemble I wore that day in Paris.  Fortunately, I had all the same clothes I wore that day (except the awful sweater!)).  

Today, I mentioned I weigh exactly 130 pounds (YES, I FINALLY started losing again!..partially, because of my commitment in writing to getting back to 125) Even though I have gained five pounds since the picture.  I think you would agree that I look taller, slimmer, and more in overall proportion than I did that day in Paris...all because I substituted a sweater today that is designed for my body type, and altered the legs of the capri length pants to fit a bit more closely (I have very narrow hips and most capris are a bit baggy). On my 5'21/2"  inch frame, I cannot carry excess volume in my clothing.

I don't like viewing myself in the picture and wanted to re-take the picture the last time we went to Paris but they were having a terrorist scare and it was closed down, so I have to wait.

One additional change to this ensemble will be made in the next Paris pose; I would substitute the diagonal stripe wide V-neck Camuto overblouse for the horizontal stripe in the original picture. The design lines are much more flattering to my figure type. (forgive the fuzzy picture taken with another ensemble, but I'm sure you get the idea.).

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mature Fashion: The Stylish "You"

We explored various inspirational option for updating our existing wardrobe and planning future wardrobe purchases in our last post; this post is intended to provide a step by step approach to the way I plan my own fashion updates.  I am going to use as my model  a series of pictures I viewed on from Chanel's 2016/16 Fall Couture Collection by Karl Lagerfield (a personal fashion designer Icon...I LOVE almost all his work).   I would love to show you the pictures, but I face copywrite infringement should I do so. You may view them for yourself on the link I have provided.In view #10, the model is wearing  layered sleeves similar to those I am displaying in my costume to your left.  This trend is shown throughout many of the collections for F/W 2016, both in RTW (ready-to-wear) and Couture. I duplicated the high collar trend shown by many of his models (I chose looks 1, 7, and 71 for my stylebook). I also chose the modified cropped flares that are shown throughout his collection. I modified the version of the hair styling used for his entire collection to match my own lifestyle. I am also wearing no jewelry except a gold band and stud earrings. (the wild colors of the blouse and the gold studded buttons are all the embellishment needed.  

I used my own preference for monochromatic dressing and matching my shoes to the hem of the pants. (YES, in this instance my shoes match my purse!!) I have obviously adjusted the materials and colors to suit the hot summer weather we are experiencing. I chose to wear the matching "hot pink" patent comfort heels to add polish, height, and a sense of "dress up" that is just perfect for both my mood and the errands of my day. (BTW, I heartily endorse Payless Comfort Plus by Predictions heels for the mature woman who still love heels but cannot wear the same shoes she used to!!).

As I am sure you are aware by now, I believe that one can be quite fashionable on a limited budget (as are most people in my age group).  To achieve the fashionable look above, I have spent absolutely no additional money; I had everything in my closet; I just had to wear them in a new and different way.  This particular outfit also ideally demonstrates my preference for "high-low" dressing.  The 14K gold jewelry, BCBG shirt and J. Crew pants prices are totally offset by the Wal-Mart long sleeved tee, the Payless Shoe Source Comfort Plus heels, and the thrift store Ellen Gold silk scarf. The Raspberry leather purse is by Tignallo and moderately priced in the $100.00 range.

I would like to make a little observation for the women who believe that Couture fashion is just too outrageous for the ordinary woman to wear.  Remembering that your choice of runway looks are to "inspire", not duplicate, check out Viktor & Rolf  #31 (I was challenged by a friend to "adapt" the look!!)  I plan on demonstrating my adaptation in my next post! I already know what I want to do, and I am pretty sure I can do it with items I already own. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mature Fashion:Wardrobe Basics

Designing a functional wardrobe means first eliminating all garments that do not belong in the closet.  Twice a year, every year, I review every item in my closet to remove "obsolete items," (we will discuss what items you choose to call "obsolete" later).  Items that are worn out or beyond repair or no longer fit and cannot be altered successfully (or economically!!) are obviously the first things to go.  I make three stacks of these items; one for re-cycling to thrift stores, one of items to be altered, and one for the garbage. My ideal is to leave nothing in the closet that does not fit and is not in good repair. It also means I have something to wear for any occasion, and it also means that it looks good on me. 

Although it is time consuming, I also suggest that a woman also take the following two-part "second step" in evaluating the clothing in her closet. Personally, I want every garment in my closet to "add value" to my wardrobe.  The color, lines, and patterns should flatter my body type and personal style, and it must not only fit, but fit properly.  Many times, a pair of pants might "fit", but they would be better if taken in 1/4 inch at the hips, or the sleeve length is just a fraction of an inch off. If a color, line,style, etc., does not flatter my figure, it should be put on the discard pile; if it needs even a slight alteration to improve my appearance, it should go on the alteration pile.  (I am working on this improvement now-I do most of my own alteration, so I have several things in that pile!!).

Once this task is completed, it is time to make a list of what garments must be added to the closet and what must be replaced. The goal is to have a closet containing garments and accessories that can be worn for any occasion, for any season, and of sufficient quantity for each of the personal roles a woman plays. Each ensemble should flatter me, be suitable to the occasion, and I should feel wonderful about myself when wearing it. 

 There is no "right" number of garments, although there are some general guidelines.  Basically, it is my belief that a closet should contain two types of garments; the "core" wardrobe that a woman can wear year after year and form the framework of the entire wardrobe. Choosing one or two neutral colors for basic garments such as good quality pants, skirts, sweaters, and blazer/jackets that can be interchanged to form several different combinations is always recommended.  I try to have one or more of each type of garment in each of my "core" colors, and ideally, in each silhouette that flatters my figure type.  This silhouette variety allows me update a look easily from season to season. (we will discuss this in greater detail in future posts).

These garments are usually the ones called "timeless" or "classic".  They should be simple in design; garments that have minimal detail lines that do not "date" them.. I recommend mostly un-patterned, or if there is a pattern, it is very conventional design such a small or medium houndstooth, etc (based on one's figure type, of course).  

This wardrobe also contains high quality accessories such high quality handbags, shoes, gloves, scarves, belts, etc., all that work with the core wardrobe.  The second type are the "temporary" additions; simple additions of accessories and seasonal tops that are in the modern fashion mainstream.  I never spend much money on these items. In fact, almost always I purchase these items at thrift shops or on sale at department stores.  This is the number one reason I watch the upcoming season's runway shows as soon as possible.  I am already beginning the process for scoping out articles for next spring.  (Although it is two months before S/S 2017, Resort 2017 shows are available on; I believe these shows give valuable hints of what will remain on trend for Spring/Summer fashions and I have been inspired by several looks).

Remember, that wearing the same clothing different ways that reflect fresh fashion trends cost no money at all, and there is almost always on trend combinations within your own closet. You all know that I recommend shopping your closet first before making any expenditures. One of the most common ways to freshen a look is in the mix of colors.  F/W is strongly based on the neutrals camel and gray.  Camel is frequently paired with a strawberry pink or a wine/plum purple.  Grey is in pearl shade and worn with white or other shade of grey and/or camel.  Since I have a lovely camel blazer that I love but does not flatter my complexion, I always wear another color close to my face that does flatter.  I happen to own a lovely pink cashmere scarf that will compliment me personally and update my F/W "looks".  I mentioned in another post that I have been saving for a quality pair of cream white boots for the season.  That is expected to be the only major purchase I make this fall.  All other "temporary" items in the closet have already been purchased, and all for less than $75.00. Of course, every woman makes her own decision as to how many "looks" she wants for a fresh fashion trend.  I usually like five or six "new" looks each season to intermingle with my existing wardrobe.  When I know which ones I will add (or retain) for S/S 2017, I will discard S/S 2016  trendy items.  (I already think that I will eliminate four items from my closet that have an anchor in the pattern.  I have already got my money's worth out of them, and I will be looking forward to a fresh look for next spring.)    

Arrangement of a closet is a personal thing; whether by color, garment type, etc., what ever organizational plan works best for you, is the best one to use.  I wish I could say the closet on the left was mine, but it belongs to a close friend of mine.  I asked her permission to show this closet to you.  As you can see, it is a master of organization, designed (and I might add, built by her) exactly to her personal specifications.) Everything has adequate storage space for her wardrobe, and she keeps it that way.

The "right" number of garments depend upon the woman's needs, closet space, budget, and fashion desires. What is important is that she always has enough of the "right" thing to wear, and the ensembles makes her feel wonderful when wearing them!.  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Mature Fashion: The Style Book

 If you do not have a strong fashion point of view,
or are unsure of yourself in identifying your personal look, you can get a sense of your type  by clipping photos of fashions on models from magazines or take snapshots of models in the fashion sections of department stores. You will quickly be able to identify what fashion style type(s)  you most prefer.  It then becomes a matter of choosing the garments within that type that have the design elements that flatter your own body type!  Voila!!  ..Do not worry if you like more than one; this is one of the ways you will be able to identify the "authentic YOU.  " For example, in home decor, I am a "modern baroque"..defined by me.  In fashion, I call myself a Whimsical Artistic Practical Classic. (A lot of words, but I know what I mean, and it suits my definition).

In addition to the four magazines on your left, I also subscribe to Vogue, Bazaar, and InStyle. I view the pictures in these publications to add to the looks I have already styled for the current fashion season. Many times I do not like the entire outfit, but I like a certain garment, or the way it is worn, and I file it in my stylebook to remind me to give it a try.

I also view on fashion runway shows for the future fashion season and print photos of ideas that inspire me. The picture at the left is one such photo that I have printed.  It is Look #9 from the New York Vanessa Seward collection and viewed on . (Thank You, Vogue!), a practice that I advise for every aspiring stylinista.  I printed this picture because I have a similar denim pair of pants and jacket.  The position of the rolling of the cuffs, the boot style, and way the scarf is tied is what inspired me for a fresh look of wearing garments I already have.  I also have pages that show a new look for the styling of basic accessories that I may need to style my wardrobe.  

I also highly recommend the fashion blogs.  There are several that I visit once a week (I follow them because (1) I want to hear what they have to say, (2) I may find a particular styling that I admire as a work of art.  The StyleCrone (Judith Boyd) always has imaginative ensembles that I would usually not wear because of my lifestyle and the roles I play (3) some of the blogs (NoFearOfFashion) have several examples of garments I might wear as inspiration using my own wardrobe.  The same principle apply as above; if the print option is available, copy it to your style book or Pinterest if you have a style board and can capture the picture. Some of the others occasionally have a styling that I know will work with both my look and my existing garments.

These photo reminders also make it possible for  me to look for bargain prices on garments or accessories before I need to wear the inspired outfit. (you can view looks for F/W 2016 on for accessories I have already chosen to wear  F/W 2016.) (not all of them are posted yet)   Knowing ahead of time what I will be wearing also prevents me from eliminating a garment from my closet that I may want to wear for another season. It is very practical for me, and allows me to make the most use of my closet space and wardrobe investment buys.

It is extremely important to remember that the pictures are for INSPIRATION, not duplication.  The model wearing the above outfit in my stylebook is about six feet tall, and probably weighs no more than 100 pounds. I am 5'3" (on a good day, and at 7:00 a.m.!) ..and weigh 131!!...and am 73, not the < 25 age of the model!.  Needless to say, even if my clothing pieces were exact duplicates, I would not look the same as the picture even if I wanted to!  I will drop the roll of the cuff a bit, add a hairstyle that adds the appearance of greater height, etc.  and wear touches that make it my own.  The picture is to aid in remembering looks I want for myself.  Most of the time it only takes re-thinking of the use of pieces already in my closet and/or the inspiration to choose a simple, inexpensive, but trendy final touch or two. 

One of the most important elements in keeping the closet "fresh" is choosing the appropriate accessories to complete a new "look".  Often the accessories are the "look". This is when and where a basic neutral classic ensemble can be quickly elevated from a boring, tired, dated look to a smashing fashion success within your lifestyle roles. (one such example is Look #3 on where I will use only the color spotted fur clutch to represent the entire "look".  I will wear a solid white top and bottom (uniform) as the background for the colorful and trendy purse; a very simple ensemble, quick, inexpensive, and  a very fresh look for garments I have had for a long time in my wardrobe.  

I find inspiration everywhere; in fact, too much.  My niece introduced me to Pinterest, a social media venue on the Internet.  I also automatically receive wonderful fashion inspiration daily from other bloggers, etc; more than I can ever use.  As I mentioned above, I also receive a weekly feed from the (Judith Boyd is one of the most imaginative and talented stylists I have seen.)  I can't wear most of the garments she models in her blog because the roles in my life do not support that type of garment very often; (if I did, she would be one of my models!  She demonstrates how wonderfully one can play with a fashion trend, and adapt it to her garments. She frequently wears the same basic garments but always has such a delightful twist and original accessories. 

Fashion icons are another marvelous way to refine and identify personal style.  Helen Mirren is mine; I have an entire board on her at Pinterest because our ages are about the same. Her styling reflects my taste, age, and over-all fashion "attitude."  She expresses my spirit. Who is your fashion icon?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Mature Fashion: Why "Styling"?

Personal style is the way a woman looks at her own unique world; not the eyes of her trendy friends or the latest "how to wear..." from fashion merchandising professionals.  A woman's personal style expresses her external personality and what makes her unique from all other women. She expresses it in the way she wears her clothing, arranges her hair, applies her cosmetics, and in her carriage, posture, and "attitude"; an attitude that tells the world she is secure in where she fits into that world.  Just as most things of value take thought, work, discipline, and desire, so does having great personal style. 

Styling this "attitude" is one of the most frequently neglected area of a woman's life even though she may spend hours of time clothes shopping, make-up application, skin care, etc. Frequently there is no overall plan what-so-ever for handling the details to produce a specific result.

A woman who is aware and who wants to project her "personal best"  at all times needs to address styling the same way she handles her budget, maintains her living space, or other practical, day-to-day living skills.  She identifies the elements of her life style; the different "roles" she needs to play for her lifestyle. She recognizes what she wants to project within those roles. She then creates the costumes she loves that meet the needs of those roles. I call these women "stylinistas", much in the same manner as one would describe a professional aesthetician -a stylinista creates her own credentials. 

Personal style begins by a woman understanding her own body type, specific figure assets, the areas she wishes to camouflage, what design elements work for her and the ones that do not.   It also clarifies what makes her feel great when she wears it. 

This first step is essential to understanding that however much she might love a certain design, it may be difficult for her to wear; notice I do NOT say she can't or should not choose it!  For example, I had a friend who is very short (5' tall) and rather big boned.  She absolutely loved bold over-sized floral prints, especially those with fussy design details, and frequently wore them with little success.  Every styling rule that existed at the time told her she could never wear clothing with loud, large patterns and fussy large design details would overwhelm her.  She was advised to wear smaller prints which she did NOT LIKE but were more in scale to her body. She was not happy about this advice, but she felt she needed to follow the "rules".

We were attending the same styling classes and addressed this issue ( a legitimate problem-most of her large prints DID overwhelm her and made her look like the clothes were "wearing her")  in an off-line girl gab fest with a few other students.  Our friend decided that she would over-come the challenge.  She chose styles with the simplest design lines, monochromatic "uniforms", and limited her still very large patterned prints to one or two "statement"  motifs on the garment (s); i.e., a single large flower on the bodice and another on the lower pant leg.  She also made sure the garment background was neutral and the fit and silhouette were perfect for her body type. She had to be very careful with design lines, texture, and proportion.

For many years my friend wore this design combination.  It was often difficult to find but she managed; it became her "signature" look, and she loved her self when she wore it.  It was an authentic, personal style, and she always looked wonderful.  She hunted out accessories that balanced the motifs; she felt wonderful-and made her own fashion rules. 

In order to successfully style oneself, a woman must thoroughly understand her  own body and how to work with it.  She needs to understand her likes and dislikes from the fashion world and choose the clothes and accessories that reflect her personality and roles.  She needs to define the message she wants to send  and develop an assurance that she is sending the message that SHE is comfortable with.  She must know that her styling is appropriate for her  (her "rules") and the occasion.  She must have the level of confidence to develop the "attitude" that will almost always accomplish her goal. 

"Personal Style" is the whole package; it is the clothes and accessories and how they are worn; It is the hair, cosmetic application, posture and self-confidence; it is a healthy "attitude" of self assurance that will appeal to almost all people.  As Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner says, "You Are What You Wear", and you will be judged accordingly. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mature Fashion: Body Shape, Hour Glass

this blur isn't on me!..hasn't photography improved!!
Courtesy of FanPop
In the tradition of most writing, I have saved the most desirable and easiest to style of all the body types for last. It is also the least common type (It is said that less than 5% of females have an actual "hour glass" shape)  Each figure type, including the hour glass has it challenges.  The woman with this body type should carefully avoid "box like" garments that would conceal her shapely body, and possibly make her look heavier and more matronly than she desires.  She must consider carefully her choices of material and design lines in the garments and accessories she wears.  This body type (Marilyn Monroe, with her reported 36-24-36 measurements) is considered "sexy" by all, and unintended consequences can be attached to her styling choices.  Flimsy, flashy, and poorly designed styles may give the appearance of "cheap".  It is usually in her best interest to provide an instant impression reflecting  "expensive and elegant."  As one long time friend of mine with this body type once said to me, " if I am judged to be a 'hooker', because of my shape, I want to send the message that it would be expensive:" it will cost a thousand dollars a night!".  My friend was not ashamed of her body, but she truly understood the danger of her figure (and its advantages!!  Obviously, the same logic applied to her shoes and other accessories-cheap looking jewelry is never advised for anyone.

One additional challenge can occur with this body type that is often not addressed in much of the style literature.  It is often assumed that because a woman has the perfect proportions for her "horizontal" body type,(triangle, oval, etc.)  she can ignore her "vertical body"(upper and lower body lengths) .  I have mentioned before that each body type must be multiplied by two based on a long upper body or a long lower body.  If she has a short upper body, she will usually have minimal difficulties unless she has unique upper body features that of of concern.  If, however, she has a short lower body, she must consider the same design and styling options as for any of the other body types. (over time I will post a lot more about this-my lower body is shorter than my upper, so I try and master all the tips and tricks of master camouflage-these usually are only necessary for the shorter lower body).

Mature Fashion: Body Shape, Oval

We are going to spend a little more time and space on this body shape than on the others because there are more things to consider and greater styling challenges to face for this body type..

A woman with an oval shaped body is more likely to be body conscious than any other type and is more likely to not like her body very much. By definition, an oval body type has her largest vertical width right where she does not want it; at the mid-section.  The general guideline for this body type is to avoid belts or anything else that focuses on that area and to choose tops that are large enough to skim over the midriff and narrow at the hipline.  I point out this guideline  because it is a perfect example of adapting the guidelines to suit your personal body.  I have learned to wear belts very successfully, providing (1) the material is thick enough to drape attractively over the belt,(2) is thin enough to not add bulk to the waist (3) the belt is the proper width to match the styling lines of the garment.  I can almost always also wear a belt providing I have layered the ensemble  with a top that is open in the front and gives the illusion of a narrow midriff.

 Clothing details that draw the eye to your upper body and face or on your lower body below the hips is usually your most effective strategy. Within the oval body type who usually has somewhat heavy arms can be a buried "barrel" , shape.  If the arms are large but well tone, the oval shaped woman can bare her arms very successfully, offering a few more more styling possibilities.  The more common example, however, is the mature "apple" who has heavy and rather flabby arms. (I relate to this example very well-I am between a an inverted triangle who is almost a rectangle or an oval at the waist -depending upon my weight-or as I call myself, a "fat carrot".) 

Finding flattering clothing can be very challenging. Finding tops that fit my shoulders are all too often too tight around the midsection or upper arms.  Tops that fit the midsection are too large at the shoulder and can make  me look frumpy, especially because I have a short neck and short arms!. Fussy details around the neck can make me look too much like a clown, clingy or bulky materials of any sort emphasize the midsection. Unless we are able to find a suitable shift (no seams or darts in the front) one piece garments are very hard to find  because the waist will be too tight. Even if we do, the dress is likely to be sleeveless. In addition, unless we have long legs,(I don't) tunic designs make us look top heavy, and an empire waist designs too often make us look pregnant! ......As I said, "  challenging."........but we can do it!!

Drawing attention to the lower body or upper chest is often effective as I have demonstrated  A perfect fit in the shoulders and arms is a must, and frankly, you must kiss a lot of toads before you find the prince; been there, done that!!

Skirts that drape smoothly over the hips usually work well, but rarely a zip front.  Flat front pants are usually the most flattering, especially ones with a smooth, wide ELASTIC waist. Avoid zippers except side zippers, often the hardest to find.  Choose tops that come just to the area where the belly bulge appears and no longer.  Remember, every woman's body is a bit different; you need to identify the "sweet spot" for blouse length.  Hem the bottoms if necessary.  (after writing this, I find I have some altering to do, myself-I know a few of my tops should be shortened.)

If you are a mature woman who also sews, designing and altering your own garments is a blessing.!! For you, it is simply a matter of mastering the design elements and adapting the clothing to get your perfect fit.  If you can do this, you are one lucky woman!!  I have attempted sewing in the past to create my ideal garments and am in fact, sewing a skirt as we speak. (I created this blog in part to keep me on track with my own personal styling, and it is working!.... I found I had become much too complaisant about my own wardrobe.)

I have the shoulders and upper arms of an apple, the waistline, shoulders, and hip line of a rectangle, and the small legs of an inverted triangle; as I said before, a "fat carrot", and I dress accordingly. (one of the greatest advantages to me in writing these blogs is the ability to refine my own styling by viewing the many pictures I have produced.  I have viewed myself in the mirror over the years, but I find I can use the pictures to greater advantage for improvement and analysis-I have become more knowledgeable about my own styling techniques and the realization of what I have been doing-and can improve upon)

I love the fact that my design lines, color, proportions, textures, patterns, and balance have been used to make the most of my physical assets. I also love the fact that I can see future improvements (for instance, what about a black and silvery "bug" or witty pin right where my shoulder and neckline meet?-or the new neck ornament I just made for this coming fall? (pix on ) ?...or maybe not...I'll have to try it to find out.

So far we have addressed issues that deal with fashion styling and design. One of the frustrations for the oval shape is the health considerations that must be dealt with; not just for wearing the latest fashions; people with our  figure types are at far greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.  Basically, both fashion wise and health wise, it is "wise" for us to keep that "oval" as close to a rectangle as possible.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Mature Fashion: Body Shape, Rectangle

The definition of the  "rectangle" body type is where the shoulders, hips, and waist are about the same. Although I am not technically a rectangle, the outfit I am wearing gives the illusion I might be. (the texture of the material of my pants and the busy pattern add bulk to my legs all the way to my ankles, and my waist is almost as thick as my hip width) so I have used it as an example) The picture below does show a truly rectangular figure.

If the dimensions are somewhat narrow, the only illusion you may wish to define is a more narrow waistline, giving the impression of an hour glass (the inverted triangle over a triangle, to speak in geometric terms).  It is, however, not necessary.  Unless you are very tall or very short, the straight up and down appearance gives the impression of a trim and balanced shape for a mature woman. Most sporty or "preppy" looks have a lot of rectangular silhouettes.  Unisex looks and boyfriend looks love this type of figure.  It is also marvelous for the more aged mature woman who often loses some of her youthful body mass.  The hour glass look is desired more by women who love the romantic and dramatic fashion styles. The rectangle almost always portrays a youthful vibe. 

Many dresses sold currently actually create an hour glass shape using color and lines to draw a curved shape narrowing the midriff and waist. The dress must leave enough room in that area so it skims the body. In the picture on your lower left (Thank you Butterick, I have taken the liberty to modify the sketch of pattern B5998 to show a model with a larger midriff and longer sleeves than in their original pattern sketch)

I am actively looking for a dress similar to the drawing for my own wear-(I may have to make it-hence the pattern) I would have to make it with longer sleeves because I wish to disguise my own upper arms as well as the midriff: Note: (that is why I have shown the sleeves longer; the shorter sleeves hem ends right at the point on my midriff where I am creating the curve.  I want the horizontal line to be drawn at the hip area, not the midriff.

Most rectangles look good in narrow pants and skinny jeans, depending upon the shape of ones legs.  Pockets on pants, especially ones that curve toward the waist give the illusion of a waistline; boxy pants usually give the illusion that one is hefty and should be avoided, unless one has very slim legs. Most rectangles want to avoid short tops whose hemline end right at the waist as it draws attention to a somewhat thick looking waist unless the woman is very thin.  As usually recommended, each woman needs to take stock of her assets and determine what body parts she wants to accentuate. 

A rectangle shape must avoid too much bulk unless you are very tall.  Generally, she also wants to avoid heavily textured or large patterns in her fabric choices.  The vision to keep in mind one wants is a trim "up and down" appearance; a longer rectangle, not that of a square.  A rectangle also needs to be wary of too much monochrome dressing or too many vertical stripes if she is very tall. She also does not want to look like a pencil.