Sunday, July 31, 2011

Visible Monday: A Baby Step Outside My Comfort Zone

No, not rompers or hot pants. I courageously bought (thrifted) a yellow blouse, wore it out and liked it. For a recent Everybody, Everywear challenge, we all wore yellow -- and I griped about it. But a few of you said the yellow was flattering. I was feeling adventurous so I decided to either go bungee jumping or try a yellow blouse. Blouse!

I like this very pale and "cool" shade of yellow against my skin. I also like the cut of the blouse; it's form fitting but not tight. It was very cool, comfort wise, with a light cotton skirt and bare legs. I amped up the Arm Party for the upcoming Bloggers Do It Better challenge. I like the combination of silver and gold tone bracelets along with the chunky bangle I just picked up at the Humane Society Thrift.

I wore this to go to the movies and lunch with my husband. We saw "Cowboys and Aliens," a fun if not momentous movie. Why are aliens always bugs covered in slime? Aren't there any kitten aliens? And why doesn't Daniel Craig live next door to me and do some yard work?


Blouse: Ann Taylor, thrifted, Skirt: Studio West, Belt: Liz Claiborne
 Shoes: Nine West, Cat: King




Bangle: thrifted, Bracelets: local artist; Target; thrifted ages ago


The guidelines to participate in Visible Monday are so simple!
  1. Any Monday, whoever wants to can join in! Just compose a post that includes any outfit, accessory, piece of jewelry, hairstyle, cosmetic or other adornment that makes you feel more confident, alive and visible that day.
  2. Include a link to Not Dead Yet Style somewhere in your post.
  3. Go to the bottom of this post and click on this cute little link:


In the "Next Step", you crop the pic (easy tool) you want to display, and you're done!

Important tips! 1) Choose "Crop" before you choose "Select" -- as soon as you choose "Select", the picture is loaded to the blog. 2) If you don't like the way your picture looks, click on the little red "x" to delete and start over. 



Friday, July 29, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday: My Blogging Nest

This week, Suze of Miss Vinyl Ahoy is hosting Fashion Beauty Friend Friday. She wants to have a look at where we do our best work blogging.

I wish I had a more exotic spot to show you all -- my airy loft in the East Village, or my Petit Studio on the Left Bank of Paris -- but here is my humble and beloved office, from whence I read and write. My husband's desk is right next to mine (and much less neat). I love having him nearby while we both think and try to create good stuff. (He's a software designer who works mostly from home.)



We have a nice street view, and a couple of big oaks to look at.




If I am very lucky I get a cat or two to join me on the desk.

King, the nicest, gentlest feral cat ever. Born in our yard and never left.
And his sister Skinny G, snuggled against him.


My portable blogging device, and a very nice companion:

I heart my iPad



Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday August 1st is Visible Monday, a group posting for anyone who'd like to participate. The simple guidelines are here. Basically, just post something that makes you feel wonderful/visible, and link to it via my Monday post. Easy and fun.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What I Wore: How Sporty Can You Dress for Work?

It's Thrifty Thursday at the Spunky Chateau. If you've read my blog (thank you!) you know I'm a devout thrifter, so coming up with a thrifted outfit is not very hard. I think a head-to-toe retail outfit would be more difficult. I'm not cheap, I'm adventurous!

For today I chose an old standby denim skirt by Lucky. This is a youth-oriented brand but somehow this skirt speaks to me. I love the slim fit, the knee length and the curved seaming. The top is new, from Calvin Klein's "Performance" or activewear line. So I think I'm supposed to go play rugby in it, or at least jog in place. But even though it's casual I love the fresh stripes for work.


Knit top: Calvin Klein, Skirt: Lucky, thrifted, Belt: Guess, thrifted
Necklace: yard sale, Shoes: Naturalizer, Watch: Freestyle, thrifted




I'm working on the multiple bangles look with a new-old thrift find: a cool stainless steel watch. It's big and chunky and I think it functions like a bangle. (Also my old watch is broken.) The brand is "Freestyle," which I'd never heard of. But I found they're a nice medium-level sporty brand. So, after work today I had better plan some SPORTS!


I find the whole look appropriate for my workplace, but obviously not for a conservative office/bank/law firm. At a dressier workplace I could still rock the watch, and maybe even the striped sweater under a blazer and with a more formal skirt. And some closed-toe pumps. And hose?

How sporty do you dress on a "work" day? For those of you who have retired or work at home, do you incorporate "activewear" into your daily looks?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not Dead Yet Role Model: My Boyfriend, Paul McCartney

Some days, a mid-life gal gets a little weary and worn down. Help is on the way. Here is a role model for youthfulness, energy and generally kicking age's ass. This man is 69 years old (well past the need-me and feed-me age of 64). OK, he's one of the world's wealthiest people, but still - he has the passion for music that he had when he was a hungry 20 year old.

Paul McCartney performed in Yankee Stadium about two weeks ago. He sang for two and a half hours straight. Ahhh, wish I had been there. The concert included his first solo performance of this old Beatles song:




Here's a video of the group performing the song, from the 1965 movie Help:



Watching the 1965 video made me ache - in a good, sweet way -  for that time. (Miss you John, miss you George). I was eight years old when The Beatles first performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. I remember jumping around the living room, and my grandmother Lucy saying, "I can't understand the words!"

As I pass through middle life, I hold Paul as one of my models of joyful aging. Keep doing what you love, don't fade away, show some sheer exuberance at still being here.

Who makes you smile with their age-defying energy?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vanity, Thy Name Is . . . Me?

"Vanity" by John William Waterhouse

It's been 98% joy, but I have been a tiny bit troubled by an aspect of personal blogging. (Disclaimer: I tend to be a worrier; I am a thinker to the point of pain; I over-analyze, etc. etc. As I've written before, The opposite of my life's credo is probably, "Well, that's the way it is.")

My sticking point is all the personal photography. I don't mean the revelation of myself to my readers. That took about a day to get over, and you have been to a person nothing but kind, supportive and positive. And we are part of the Visible Us movement and we do want to be seen, heard and noticed. That is all good.

I think the niggling little worry is: the posing and the hair/makeup prep and the wondering "how I'll look" in the photos. I make internal jokes about it, and pretend I'm Madonna for the moment (I'm a little too seasoned to pretend I'm Lady Gaga, but I do love her flair). To get a genuine, non-real-estate-salesman smile, I sometimes think about ridiculous things  - dogs wearing dresses! Austin Powers movies!

But I still do fret over the "lousy" shots and the bad hair days. I don't edit my photos except for brightness, sharpness and cropping. (I use paint.net, a pretty good free program). Maybe if I were a skilled photoshopper I could make every picture pleasing to my eye. But I don't want to go down that road.

I'm a middle aged woman, not a Harper's Bazaar model. I am happy with the way I look. Blogging has caused me to pay a lot of attention to my face/hair, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I love sharing outfits, ideas, fashion philosophies, life philosophies, shopping strategies. I am just a little bit worried about that extra bit of stress I give myself at photo-shoot time.

If I crop my head out, I eliminate the problem. I almost always like the way my body looks with clothes fitted over it. But then I feel a little cowardly. Sigh. I would love to hear from you, regardless of whether you have shared this little tic. Do you tweak photos? Leave out the head (sounds gruesome, huh?). Say damn-it-all and post yourself in all your glory?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Visible Monday! and Thoughts about Labels

Happy Visible Monday! You can participate by scrolling down to the bottom of this post and reading the super-easy how-to's. More bloggers are participating each week (and this is only Week Five). It's a lot of fun to see what other Visible Women are up to.

My VM outfit goes up early so I can get the tech part ready. For Week Five I wore a rather daring (for me) spaghetti strap linen sundress. I layered an ivory cami underneath for modesty. The first necklace I tried seems too big and heavy for me, so I switched to a cluster of stones.

Terri from Rags Against the Machine had suggested stacking bracelets on one arm, and I love that idea. Then I realized I only have a couple of bangle-style bracelets that fit the bill. So I have a thrifting target for this week, thanks Terri!


 
Sundress: Old Navy, consignment, Necklace: Macy's,
Sandals: Talbots.

 

I think this necklace is too overwhelming for me.


Speaking of thrifting, I am a label snob at thrift/consignment stores only. At retail stores, I look for what I like, a good fit and quality construction. Price is an issue of course, and I stick to my budget, give or take 10%.

At thrifts, however, my mentality shifts. Because the item is pre-owned, I want a "good" brand, or at least a reliable one. I am sacrificing new-ness, and the ability to return an item. So I like that bit of confidence I get from purchasing a known quantity. And of course, I love the value of getting an originally high-priced piece for a few dollars.

I can usually trust my eye and my sense of touch, as I run my hands down the racks. As I've written before, I gravitate toward skirts, woven cotton shirts, outerwear and accessories, as these tend to have the best endurance. But I still check labels. I look for names like: Banana Republic/Ann Taylor/Calvin Klein (dresses, skirts), Brooks Brothers (button-down shirts), Anthropologie (skirts, when I'm lucky), Clarks/White Mountain (shoes) and Ralph Lauren/Kenneth Cole/ Michael Kors (handbags).

I don't like the feeling of "label-snob" but I do it anyway when I thrift. In real life, where labels hurt and stigmatize people, I work hard to not use them. Am I thinking too hard about this? Where do you -- thrifters and retail-women alike -- stand on the issue of labels?


The guidelines to participate in Visible Monday are so simple!

  1. Any Monday, whoever wants to can join in! Just compose a post that includes any outfit, accessory, piece of jewelry, hairstyle, cosmetic or other adornment that makes you feel more confident, alive and visible that day.
  2. Include a link to Not Dead Yet Style somewhere in your post.
  3. Go to the bottom of this post and click on this cute little link:


In the "Next Step", you crop the pic (easy tool) you want to display, and you're done!

Important tips! 1) Choose "Crop" before you choose "Select" -- as soon as you choose "Select", the picture is loaded to the blog.  2) If you don't like the way your picture looks, click on the little red "x" to delete and start over. 







Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Remix Challenge; Visible Monday Reminder!

I'm doing a 30-for-July-for-work wardrobe challenge. It's been pretty easy, so one conclusion I have come to is: I have too many clothes. Nah, scratch that. I have way more clothes than I need to properly adorn myself. Having achieved midlife, I give myself permission to own more than I absolutely need, so as to account for moods and flights of fancy, and hot flashes, etc.

The creative and fun part of the wardrobe challenge is remixing. Today I am recycling my off-white cotton jacket with a familiar knit maxi. Underneath is a simple ruffled tee that's almost the same shade as the skirt. So I'm monochromatic again, but I don't mind. Somehow it feels cooler, temperature-wise.

Jacket: JCrew via eBay, Skirt: Urban Outfitters, Tee: GAP
Belt: Guess, thrifted, Shoes, Kenneth Cole Reaction


Are you an enthusiastic remixer? Do you give yourself mini-challenges just for the heck of it? Please share below, I'd love to hear from you.


Good news! We've made Visible Monday much easier to participate in. We added some nifty linking and picture cropping tools that are so easy for the user, you'll hardly know you did it.

Just do your usual post on Monday with something in it that makes you feel wonderful/visible. It could be clothing, shoes, a handbag, jewelry or a lipstick color . . . whatever moves you. Link back to Not Dead Yet Style somewhere in your post, so your readers can find you here.

After you've published your post, come back to my Visible Monday post and click on the cool little linky at the bottom of the page. It will look like this:




Type in the URL of your post, not your general blog URL. Then the name of your blog, then your email (the email will NOT be displayed).

In the "Next Step" you crop the pic (easy tool), and you're done! You can post anytime up till midnight on Monday. I heart technology.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Accessorizing: Are You Minimal or Maximum?

Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, I suspect. It depends on the day, the outfit, or the mood, but usually we have a leaning toward one extreme or the other. We prefer just a couple of accessories or we like to layer quite a few. I am usually on Team Minimal, as my style is fairly Modern/Casual/Trying-to-be-Chic.

I sometimes long to switch to the more accessorized team, because I do like that look.  My blog idols include Audi of Fashion for Nerds, who can make an outfit magical with an unexpected piece or two. A vest, a pair of tights, a scarf -- and the net effect is wonderful. Others who are masterful accessorizers, IMHO, include Sally of Already Pretty and Kasmira of What I Wore 2Day.

Being somewhat less skilled in this arena, I tend to rely on a few bracelets, necklaces, and belts. I don't wear many earrings because my curly hair obscures them. That said, I do have the mop of curly hair as a daily accessory. I am just not great with manipulating scarves, although I will use one for a belt. So I tend to favor a simple, minimal look.

I am trying to improve my accessorizing skills by studying fashion magazines, books, and other bloggers. It's all fun, and no one will get hurt if I make a fashion faux-pas.

Here's an example for today, open to your vote!

I started with a favorite sparkly navy skirt. I added a Breton-striped tee and some cool sandals, and a few bracelets. Here's where I'd usually stop. Simple, pleasing to the eye, nothing too flashy.




Then, for the sake of this post, I added my fake pearls and a leather belt. What do you think? Is it too much, not enough, or just right? I like emphasizing my waist, but I don't like messing with the pockets on the knit top.


Knit Top: Anthropologie, Skirt: Old Navy, thrifted
Shoes: White Mountain, Belt: Guess, thrifted


I eventually went with no belt, and a goldtone leaf pendant (no picture, somebody had to get to work). What would you have chosen, and which team do you play on? As always, thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Everybody, Everywear: Thrift Edition is Easy as Duck Soup

Why is duck soup easy? Hmmmmmm.

Today's Everybody, Everywear's challenge is simple: showcase a thrifted item from your wardrobe for the Nifty Thrifty Edition. (Hey, it's also Thrifty Thursday at Spunky Chateau, check them out). I estimate about a third of my wardrobe is thrifted/consigned. It's one of my favorite hobbies. I love returning bags of clothes to the thrift store as if to the library, only to fill another bag with goodies. I try to use a discerning eye, and buy only what I love. I'm mostly successful, with an occasional goof to keep me humble.

Today's thrift find is a classic white cotton shirt from American Eagle Outfitters. It's thrifted from Goodwill for a couple of dollars and it's a good wardrobe workhorse. The skirt is by Willi Smith, and it was consigned for about $8. I love the sequins at the waistband, so no belt is needed. This is a nice, easy work outfit for me -- very comfortable, if a bit colorless. I can remix these two pieces, though, with more lively items.

Shirt: American Eagle Outfitters, thrifted, Skirt: Willi Smith, consignment,
Boots: Gianni Bini, Necklaces: eBay and JCPenneys, Bracelets: Target

I am sure we'll see a lot of cool and creative looks over at EBEW. Some super-talented bloggers have mastered the art and science of thrifting!

Are you a thrifter too, or a retail kind of woman?


EBEW: Thrift

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Am I Too (Blank) To Wear This?

The lovely Anne of The Frump Factor wondered if her outfit looked too young for her yesterday. It didn't, it was perfect. But like nearly all women over 40, I understand Anne's thoughts.

Most of us have had that moment in front of the mirror:  Am I too (in my case) old for this look? Most recently it was a very pretty tiered skirt, with ruffles and a slightly gathered waist. I eventually decided against it, and went for a "safe" knit midi with a foldover waist. My choice was still flattering and modern, and I felt more comfortable in it. Something about the tiers and ruffles felt like I was trying too hard to rewind the clock.


Not this exact skirt, but similar. I told it "no."

Something like this feels just fine. Let the clothes do the hard work.
Skirt from Bloomies


Yesterday my beloved "baby" sister (age 41) sent me an email of a tote with Katy Perry's picture on it. Sister is getting it free with purchase at Dillard's. She asked "Am I too old for this purse? Tell me the truth, Pat!" So I told her my opinion: it was a tote for a very young woman, but she should get it if she loves it. And that she is not too old, it's the purse that skews young.

I am slim now so I don't currently suffer from "Am I too fat for this skirt, these jeans, etc". I was a plump child though and heard plenty of it in my head through my younger years. When hip-hugger jeans first came in style, I "knew" I was "too fat" for those. Ditto two-piece bathing suits and short-shorts. It still hurts to recall those moments of body-hate.

I'd like to turn the title question around and rephrase it: does this (garment) make me feel special, beautiful, feminine, proud? (If you haven't already, go read Pam's Foundational Five for more about this concept.) It is now the job of the clothing to do the hard work, because I am not too (blank). If that tiered skirt doesn't make me feel confident, sorry skirt, you are on your way to live at baby sister's house!

It's still a struggle to not fault myself for failing to look good in every outfit. I must remind myself that I have my own face, shape and age. What looks stunning on Kate Moss is, well, stunning on Kate Moss. Somebody's gotta be me, and it looks like it's going to be me.

Image via AnthonyBurrill.com

Have you ever asked yourself if you're too "whatever" to wear "whatever"? Please share your stories, and thanks as always for reading.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Visible Monday: It's OK to Show a Little Skin

I did my photo shoot on Sunday, so I'd have time to get my techy things in place for Visible Monday. It's a casual day today, the highlight of which was watching the Women's World Cup Finals at our favorite pub. What an exciting match! Though I cheered for our U.S. women, it ended with a win for Japan, and that went down easily for me. Japan could use a little good news these days. The game was followed by some vigorous lounging at home.

I chose a fairly-bare sundress for Visible Monday. I often wear a sleeveless tee under this dress, but I felt like baring arms, neckline, knees, and ankles. I'm fifty-something but Not Dead Yet. I added a leather belt and my sparkly thongs, fluffed up the mop of hair, and went out feeling very visible. Pourquoi non?


Dress: Ann Taylor, consignment, Belt: GAP, thrifted
Sandals: White Mountain





The guidelines to participate in Visible Monday are so simple!

  1. Any Monday, whoever wants to can join in! Just compose a post that includes any outfit, accessory, piece of jewelry, hairstyle, cosmetic or other adornment that makes you feel more confident, alive and visible that day.
  2. Include a link to Not Dead Yet Style somewhere in your post.
  3. Go to the bottom of this post and click on this cute little link:


In the "Next Step", you crop the pic (easy tool) you want to display, and you're done!

Important tips! 1) Choose "Crop" before you choose "Select" -- as soon as you choose "Select", the picture is loaded to the blog.  2) If you don't like the way your picture looks, click on the little red "x" to delete and start over. 



Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Casual Friday Outfit and A Visible Monday Reminder

I work in a casual office, and denim skirts/nice jeans are always acceptable. For some reason, I'm programmed to make Fridays just a little more casual than other days. So here's one of my workhorses, a denim pencil skirt. You can't see it too well, but I wore a tank with a sequined neckline! And kept my floral cardi on for day, whipping it off at 5:00 PM for a relaxing glass of wine with the husband.

I didn't add much jewelry because the sequins, belt, and floral print kept the look interesting enough. Just my favorite Target bracelet and some simple drop earrings (not visible because my hair was totally out of control at photo time). I think I'll repeat this outfit in the cooler weather with tights and boots.


Sequined tank: Rue21, Cardigan: East 5th, Belt: GAP, thrifted
Skirt: Lucky, thrifted, Shoes: Naturalizer


Good news! We've made Visible Monday much easier to participate in. We added some nifty linking and picture cropping tools that are so easy for the user, you'll hardly know you did it.

Just do your usual post on Monday with something in it that makes you feel wonderful/visible. It could be clothing, shoes, a handbag, jewelry or a lipstick color . . . whatever moves you. Link back to Not Dead Yet Style somewhere in your post, so your readers can find you here.

After you've published your post, come back here and click on the cool little linky at the bottom of the page. It will look like this:




Type in the URL of your post, not your general blog URL. Then the name of your blog, then your email (the email will NOT be displayed).

The program will automatically take you to a selection of photos from your post - how cool is that? Pick the one you like, crop it using the easy cropping tool, and you're done. You can post anytime up till midnight on Monday. I heart technology.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tim Gunn's Essentials: the Little Black Dress, Revisited

I've written a couple of posts about my very best friend Tim Gunn's Ten Essential Wardrobe Elements. So far I've written about the Trendy Indulgent Item and the Day Dress. Today, as I am lounging in my knit shorts, baggy tee shirt and hair-in-a-bun, I am inexplicably drawn to the top item on Tim's list, the Little Black Dress.

Being a woman of a certain age, I have a history of various LBD's. Looking back with loving but objective eyes, I see that most of them fell a bit short of the elegant ideal I had in my mind: Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Edith Piaf, Victoria Beckham (just to show I'm Not Dead Yet). With my fuzzy hair and wide smile I have never been able to come off as "cool", which seems to be the prerequisite for these glamourous ladies in their LBD's.

Piaf's iconic dress
In my 20's I went through a period of baggy, shapeless black dresses, in linen or knit, with minimal accessories. This was fun and easy, and, being young I could get away with a lot of rough-around-the-edges.

Later I developed, and still enjoy, a passionate love of black dresses from the 50's and early 60's. "Marilyn" dresses, with fitted waists and either slim or full skirts. I found, though, that my lifestyle didn't often accomodate these beauties and I didn't want to change my lifestyle too much. I gave some to the Humane Society Thrift Store, and have kept a few for special occasions. They are flattering to my shape and the quality of construction is still superb. I love the old metal zippers.


I've owned a couple of this era's little black dresses
Image via littleblackvintagedress.com
 

I still love a great black dress and I find my eyes are drawn to them in any photo spread or online store. Here are some I have been watching:

This is denim! From Nordstrom's

Lauren by Ralph Lauren, so chic and simple


I'd wear these mostly to work, and I'd probably dress them down with cardis, blazers, tights, boots, etc. Special nights out with my husband would also be suitable for these dresses, especially in my dream city, New York. I am learning from my fellow bloggers how to make an LBD more versatile, and I'll write more about that in the near future. For now, I'll rest my eyes on this timeless vision:



Do you own/wear LBDs? Do you agree with Tim that they are a wardrobe essential?


Reminder:  Monday, July 18th is Visible Monday, a group posting for anyone who'd like to participate. The simple guidelines are here. Basically, just post something that makes you feel wonderful/visible. Then follow the simple instructions, and sit back to watch the fun.




Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bloggers Do It Better: Maxi Skirt Friday

This is an easy and fun one for me: Pretty Shiny Sparkly is doing a Bloggers Do It Better Challenge, and it's maxi skirts! I used to wear them in the 60's and 70's, all polyester and abstract, with big sashes at the waist. I also loved "granny" skirts, the Laura Ashley look with pretty floral prints, worn with a peasant blouse off the shoulder, and thong sandals. Just add a daisy in my hair and some Crosby, Stills, and Nash on the turntable.


Image via HookedonVintage.com

Now I dress up my maxi skirts, and keep everything a little more sleek and simple. I still love the look and feel of a long skirt sweeping against my legs all day. I wear either wedges or flats with my maxis, and I like both looks. Today it was my sparkly Ralph Lauren flats and I was super comfortable zipping around the office.

This blouse is one of my favorites. It has a cord running through it at hip level, so you can make it blousy or leave it straight. Or sometimes I tuck it into a skirt and it's a whole different look. But I don't remember the maker, and I cut out the tags long ago.

Blouse: I cut out the tag! from Ross, Skirt: Gap Body,
Shoes: Lauren Ralph Lauren, Bracelets: Target and thrifted



I solved my over-heating problem by . . . taking pictures inside! I hope no one is offended by the nude painting over my head. This is our "guest" room, and my closet/dressing/etc. room, and it has the best light in the house.

Are you a fan of maxi skirts too? Happy Friday to all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What I Wore, Wednesday Edition = Rerun

What can I say, I love this skirt. And I included it in my 30-for-July workwear challenge, even though it has a memorable print. I wore it last week and I couldn't wait to wear it again. So here it is, this time with an ivory ruffled tee and off-white linen jacket. The jacket was a good find: it's JCrew, snapped up on eBay for about $12. I probably need to take it to the dry cleaners to get the lapels to lay properly.


Jacket: JCrew via eBay, Ruffled tee: Macy's, Skirt: Viola, thrifted
Shoes: White Mountain, Bracelets: Macy's and Target


After running around trying to get beautiful for photos, then adding the jacket, then stepping outside into jungle-like heat and humidity, I was melting. My photographer had to keep shouting: "think about kittens!" to make me smile with sincerity. (I think I can see the strain in my face). I need the jacket at work, where the A/C is set to meat locker. Step outside, and it's hello, wall o' heat. Are any of you struggling with this phenom right now?

And do you repeat pieces of an outfit in as little as a week? If you love, love, love them?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We Don't Have "Problem Areas"

Image via DollMakersJourney.com

Oh boy, this is a pet peeve. I hear it mostly on the home shopping channels (gulp, if I ever, um, happen to have the TV tuned to one of them while I am, errr, polishing up an article for the New York Times). The cheery host or model points to the latest tunic top (two easy payments!) and delivers the good news: it covers all those problem areas!

I know they mean our midriffs, in this case. Other garments mercifully cover over our problem hips, "derrieres", thighs and upper arms. Sometimes the salespeople make little unhappy faces as they mention the offending body region, or they smile ruefully and pat their own (perfectly nice) hips.

Of course, I don't want to expose all my body secrets to the waking public. What a world it would be. I like to drape garments over my body to make a pleasing line. Because I have a relatively small waist, I like to wear clothes with waists, and/or I add a belt. I don't wear clothing that clutches on to my hips and thighs because it's 1) uncomfortable and 2) unprofessional in my workplace.

My thighs are not a "problem" however! Sometimes my finances are a problem, my cat having allergies can be a problem, and new construction making me late for work is a  . . problem. My pale, slightly dimpled thighs are just mine. My upper arms have lost a bit of their struggle vs. gravity but they are not a problem. They are  . . . interesting. I choose to show them or not, and for work I choose not.

I rarely hear any garments for men, of any size or shape, touted as covering up their troublesome bits. "This polo shirt will not cling to that problem tummy, guys, so grab two!"

We want to dress to look better, or we wouldn't be reading and posting on fashion blogs. It's natural to want to look good, we're built that way. Do I sound grumpy? I'm not. I am a happy woman who objects to the problem-ification of my body parts. Does that mean I have a . . . problem?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Visible Monday/Everybody, Everywear: Leaping into Yellow

A confluence of color events: Visible Monday and (tomorrow) Everybody, Everywear's theme of YELLOW. I don't normally wear yellow, except for a belt, earring, or delightful pair of rain boots. It's one of those colors that, when worn near my face, sucks the life from me. Gold, lemon, sunny pale citron . . . I've tried them all, and haven't found a harmonious shade yet.

But I wanted to play all-out in the Everybody challenge, so I thrifted a bright, bright yellow tee and paired it with a very cheerful midi skirt. I tried to mitigate the yellow near my face with a layered black tee. I feel like I am surely visible in this outfit, but I cannot say that I love the color. My comfort zone = strip off the yellow tee and leave me in my beloved black Gap shirt! Give a sister credit for trying.


Black tee: Gap, Yellow tee: Gap, thrifted, Floral skirt: Liz Claiborne, thrifted,
Belt: Express, Boots: Gianni Bini, Bracelets: Target, Earrings: Handmade by friend




This Week's Visible Monday Participants ~ Go Check Them Out!

 


Yellow | Everybody, Everywear

Rules Are For Breaking, So Say The Middle Aged Goddesses

For most of my life I have been a rule-follower. I have never been late with my taxes, I come to a full stop at stop signs, I go out the out-door. My car registration is up-to-date and prominently displayed. I have never parked in a handicapped spot, not even in the pouring rain, when I just needed a quart of milk. My strict upbringing instilled in me the value of conforming to society's guidelines, and the harsh penalties (including Hell!) for Having a Mind of One's Own.


Lives in my head

In my twenties and thirties I outgrew my fear of independent thought, but I have continued to be a strict rule follower in most areas. And in most areas, this is an admirable quality. We can't have middle-aged women suddenly deciding to blast through red lights or refusing to pay taxes, can we? What's next, divorcing our husbands, dying our hair red, and moving to Vegas?

Well, bouts of mania aside, I've been mulling over the myriad rules for "How to Dress Over 40." You have seen them, I'm sure, because you are blog-readers and you care about fashion. There are a lot of reasonable suggestions in these lists, that apply to all ages, like:

  • Don't go about town with your personal parts exposed
  • Short shorts and bare tank tops are best for the beach and barbecues only
  • Same for flip-flops
  • Wear your best colors
  • Etc.

Some other items on the lists are quite limiting and, well, boring. Even at 50+ I find I like to bend and break the rules, and I admire other women who do. My sidebar of favorite blogs contains many bold and beautiful women of a certain age who are not confining themselves to navy blue skirt suits.

Some of the ways I enjoy messing with the rules are:
  • Leggings: love them with skirts and boots
  • Speaking of boots: cowboy boots in the summer, a "young" look that I love for myself
  • Maxi skirts, slim or full, with a big chunky belt
  • Dangly earrings with a sense of humor
  • Going hose-less even though my pale legs are far from youthful
  • Skinny jeans

I love this look, from Manolo for the Brides

I'm not sure all of these things are the "very best" looks for my age and body, but i enjoy them, and I feel great in them. There are many more items I will not wear because I know they don't flatter me and/or they are truly too "young" for me. (The short shorts would most definitely fall into this category).

How about you? Breaking any rules today? Vegas, anyone?


Reminder:  Tomorrow, July 11th is Visible Monday, a group posting for anyone who'd like to participate. The simple guidelines are here. Basically, just post something that makes you feel wonderful/visible, and send me a link to it. I'll post all the pics and links here!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Easy How-to for Visible Monday Link-Up!

Welcome to Visible Monday! I invite you all to participate, it's easy and a lot of fun.



What is it?

Visible Monday started as a response to several posts about feeling like the Invisible Woman (here, and here, for a start). We came up with the idea of a "Visible Day" for us bloggers, in which we post an outfit, accessory, lipstick color, hairstyle, etc., that especially expresses our Joy of Being (Physically) Visible. 

Several other bloggers expressed interest in joining a Visible Monday series. We link to each other's posts and trade comments, if we like, to help promote the gloriously Visible Woman.

How do I play?

The guidelines are so simple!

  1. Any Monday, whoever wants to can join in! Just do a post that includes any outfit, accessory, piece of jewelry, hairstyle, cosmetic or other adornment that makes you feel more confident, alive and visible that day.
  2. Include a link to Not Dead Yet Style somewhere in your post.
  3. Go to my Visible Monday post for that Monday and click on this cute little link at the bottom of the gallery:


In the "Next Step" you crop the pic (easy tool), and you're done!


If only three or four of us participate, that's OK! It's not about numbers but about sharing some positive images of grown-up women. About feeling proud of our physical selves as well as our life accomplishments.


Can I grab one of those nifty badges for my sidebar?

You betcha! Just copy the HTML below and paste it into your sidebar (as a gadget or widget, depending on your blog software).




You'll get a badge that looks like this: