Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Half of What I Wore: We Had the Shakes!

I like to post an outfit for Spunky Chateau's Thursdays are for Thrifting. It's not hard to find a thrifted piece in my wardrobe! So I chose a favorite skirt by Viola, and paired it with a navy long sleeve tee.

My slightly creative touch was a print cotton scarf (GAP) as a belt/sash, and I love the way the colors mixed with the skirt. All is well, we do middle-age Vogue-like poses, husband takes a bunch of shots, and I'm off to work.

When I get home I see that all the pics are really blurry, as in almost indistinguishable. I had already semi-disrobed following a delicious spaghetti dinner at Pappagallo's Italian restaurant. I was able to salvage half this picture, and "sharpen" it with Paint.Net (free program).

Ah well, I love my photographer, he is handsome and brave. Perhaps too much strong tea for breakfast, for both of us?



Ever have a photo-disaster day?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Going Gray + Going Curly = Too Wild and Crazy?

I have been thinking about this picture since I saw it on the terrific blog That's Not My Age (thanks, Alyson!):



My eyes are drawn to any model who looks over 25, and of course I love stripes and neutrals. But that hair! It's so wild and untamed and natural and to me, it's actually sexy. It's far from the cool, sophisticated styles that dominate most fashion media. I've never seen anything like it at the hair salon, you know, in those big glossy books they leave lying around for us to ogle.

I've often contemplated letting my hair color go natural, although I love being blonde too. Blonde feels fun and youthful and it suits me in many ways. My un-treated hair is nearly silver and would look good with my skin tone. It would also make me "look my age" or older, so I'd have to be mentally ready for that.

I am working my way toward bigger, better curls, via the Curly Girl method. That is, in a nutshell: very little shampoo, lots of conditioner, no heat styling. This model no doubt has had some back-combing and hairspray to get the "natural" look, but I am going for the general look.  I would add some lipstick and blush.

I know some of you will look at this and say ack! Get that woman to a salon, stat! I want to hear from you, as well as those who might like this back-to-nature style. Have you ever thought about going gray (if you are old enough)? If you have allowed the grays to show, how do you feel about it? If you're curly, do you let your curls go free, or smooth them a bit? No wrong answers of course, that's the joy of being in our own skin.


One more look

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Visible Monday #10: Not Sheepish About Mutton-as-Lamb

Welcome to Visible Monday #10! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

I don't wear dresses too often, and here's my second in three days. I also don't own much pink - this might be my only piece. But we are trying new things on Visible Monday and bending old rules, right?

This is a much girlier look than I'm accustomed to. With my not-sophisticated hair (I love it, but I know it's not a "polished" do) and pale skin, not to mention my chronological age (!) I usually avoid pastels and girlish silhouettes, lest I achieve the much feared mutton-as-lamb.

But I gave this Liz Claiborne sundress a chance, because of its simple lines and lack of embellishments. I do like the seamed waist and flared skirt, with its 50's vibe. The length is perfect. I tied on a scarf as belt to brighten the soft pink, and make the waistline more defined. Then I just added a Forever21 cuff, no other jewelry, and nude shoes. I wanted to let the dress stand alone.

Key mutton/lamb avoidance tactics:
  • Simple silhouette - figure skimming
  • Skirt length - here, to the knee
  • Grown-up accessories

The results: Not bad. The color still skews a bit young for my liking, but it's a nice step outside the norm. I would absolutely love this dress in (you guessed it ) gray or navy. But since I bought it at a thrift store for less than $5, I had to forgo the usual buyer's options! It's fun to play with fashion, that's the idea. Hope you are having a great time with it today, and please leave your links below for all to see.



Did you ever wonder, How would I look with my head replaced by the portrait of
my favorite old kitty?  No? Me neither  : >



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!



Saturday, August 27, 2011

The 70's Are Back - Looking More Stylish This Time!

I was between 15 and 25 years old in the 1970's - Wonder Years! I was in high school, college, got my first job in the Big City, got (briefly) married, and generally Grew Up. Wow, what a decade.

My own fashion sense was rather unformed, and of course I was pretty broke. I did put together some peasant/hippie looks, and I had a couple of Big Girl suits for my corporate jobs. Bell-bottoms, check. Skinny striped sweaters, check. Big square-toed boots and chunky, clunky heels, oh yeah. Long straight hair, parted down the middle - sob! Never could do it.

So I wasn't aware then of some of the truly lovely and feminine fashions of the times. Now I am watching a slide show in the New York Times and seeing some pretty gorgeous styles!

Here is the link so you can enjoy if you choose, and here are some of my favorite looks:


My favorite: Marc by Marc Jacobs silk dress. Joanie of Making 50 Fabulous wore a similar dress just a couple of days ago, a trend-setter! Do not like the desert boots with this look.

Gucci silk dress. I'd have to make it more modest, cleavage wise, but I love the lines and the wide sleeves - so 70's!

Tory Burch velvet suit. The hot pink bow is so fab. I'd probably break up the pieces, but still, a wonderful vintage 70's vibe, updated nicely.

What do you think? Will you be including any 70's looks in your Fall/Winter wardrobe? Or is it not your preferred decade for fashion? I'm going to try for some flowy dresses, wider sleeves and maybe a touch of velvet.



Join us! Click the Spotlight


Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday August 29th 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, August 25, 2011

What I Wore: Floral, Thanks To You!

I have been a solid, neutrals gal. My insides aren't neutral - I'm opinionated and, well, colorful at times. But until recently, my outfits rarely strayed from my greys, blacks, navys and ivories. And I did wear a black knit top today . . . but with flowers on it! (What's next - a spangled tube top and leather hot pants?)


The shoes, skirt, and top all have floral designs!
Skirt and top are thrift store finds.

Well, you can almost see the flowers here, right?
I do love color and pattern in my house. Baby steps.

Many thanks to my fellow bloggers and generous commenters who keep pushing me (nicely) out of my neutrals comfort zone into more color. I love what you do.


Join us! Click the Spotlight


Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday August 29th 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.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What I Wore: Simple Dressing

A dress is so easy! I am mostly a separates kind of woman. My closet holds only a couple of dresses, but here is a new (to me) one that I like. I bought it at a wonderful consignment store just around the corner, Cottage Rose. It is filled with pretty clothing, jewelry, housewares, china and more. I have consigned some of my own "treasures" there.

This Max and Cleo dress was on sale for less than $10, and it's one of "my" colors, a saturated purple. I often find an under-bust tie a little young for me, but this one is OK to my eye. So easy to get dressed today - I just layered some necklaces (thank you, Debbi from She Accessorizes Well for inspiration), and a new peacock cuff from Forever 21. The shoes are new too, Anne Kleins that I picked up at Macy's at one of their super-sales.

Some days a dress just says it all

Two necklaces that look like more?
The lower one was a gift from Lise at Southern Comfort

I love my new peacock from Forever21 - under $9!
I'm linking it to Visual FBFF at Ashley Getting Dressed

I'm linking up to Thursdays are for Thrifting over at Spunky Chateau. Go have a look at the thrifty finds, if you have a moment.

Do you wear dresses, a little or a lot?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mid-Life Women: We Own The Beach Too! (And Everywhere Else)


Image via Old-photos.blogspot.com


We live in a little beach town not far from world-renowned Cocoa Beach. It's the home of I Dream of Jeannie, and the pubs where 1960's astronauts would unwind after a hard day at the rocket-factory. As we were driving up world-renowned (catching a theme?) Highway A1A, an intersection was clogged with gorgeous young people in tiny bikinis, mini cut-offs and low-slung surfer shorts. Ahhh, youth!

A lone middle-aged woman was making her way across the street. She was soaked from a swim in the ocean, hair plastered. She was wearing a nice, old-fashioned bathing suit with a little skirt at the bottom. She had a bit of a suntan and she looked wonderful to my eyes. There's one of us! I said to my husband, whose eyes were most certainly only on the traffic light at that point.

Seeing a happy, healthy 50-something woman enjoying the beautiful beach day was therapeutic to my spirits. Yes, she was out-numbered 50-to-1 by hard-bodied teens and twenty-somethings. But dammit, we not-perfect bodies have the right to be free and visible at the beach too (and everywhere else). The media would have us think we should hide ourselves, or at least our flesh, from public view after a certain magical age. We say NO. We want to catch some waves, some rays, or just sip an iced tea on the sand.

We all have to find our comfort zones at flesh-resplendent places like the beach. I would not wear a revealing bikini because I don't feel comfortable showing that much of myself to the world. I didn't wear one at age 22 either, come to think of it. But I surely don't have to swim and frolic in a Burka just because I'm 50-something (unless I choose to; I'm looking at you, Nigella, rock on sister).

Life is for living and enjoying, and please, let's not let any artificial "rules" keep us from enjoying the outdoors. Wear a swimsuit of any type you like, swim, fall asleep on your towel (do use sunscreen!), eye-ball the surfer guys if you care to. We're Not Dead Yet.

 Do you have any thoughts about over 40 women at the beach? Please share.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Visible Monday #9: Found in Translation; More Silly Posing

Welcome to Visible Monday #9! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

Part of the fun and challenge of being over 40 is translating current (and often very youthful) looks into more classic and age-appropriate versions. We still want to look modern and on-trend, but well, sequined short-shorts are not for public view any more (a girl can have her memories though . . .).  Can young styles and trends translate to my (very) over-40 self in a dignified way? We'll see. Inspiration Monday at Two Birds blog got me started.

Here's an interpretation of Inspiration Monday's photo, adjusted for the woman-of-a-certain-age-who-does-not-wear-hot-pants. I went with knee-length cuffed capris and a simple black linen jacket over a white linen blouse. I do love the exuberant jacket shown in the inspiration photo, and I believe it can be worn at any age as well. I just don't own one!

I feel great in this simple outfit, as it's youthful without being "too young". Legs from the knees down can be celebrated at any age, I think, and showing some decollete feels fresh.


 Inspiration:



In the following don't-do-it example, I stayed with the sheer white linen blouse, but I am afraid I lost the youthful feel. The shirt is kind of shapeless, which is OK with the fitted shorts. But this long skirt is shapeless too, and the shoes, while pretty, are a bit mumsy. So while there's nothing bad about this look, it's not very fetching either. If I were not such a lazy blogger, and in such a hurry to get to lunch at the Pig and Whistle, I'd have re-photographed this with: a nice chunky leather belt and some strappy wedge sandals.


Looks like Mom is ready to go out to lunch now.


Last week, we had a good time gently mocking some of the more unusual model poses from a popular catalog. I could not rest until I tried the "sprawled" look so many of us enjoyed. Some of you thought it was "sexy" in the catalog shot; I thought it was "I'm exhausted". On me, I'm going with exhausted:


Or: "She just looked at her mutual fund statement."


Now I would love to see what you're wearing. Have a wonderful day.


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!







Friday, August 19, 2011

What I Wore: The Mirror Does Not Lie . . . Does It?

Today was a self-tutorial. My beloved photographer was out surfing (!) so I had to do my own pictures if I wanted to record the daily look. I'm ashamed to say I haven't mastered the camera's timer yet so I was forced to do the mirror thing. The results are not laughably bad (Hope!) but there were some lessons learned:

  • Remove the wrist strap from the camera, lady. Doh.
  • Loosen up a little. I was concentrating on getting my whole self in the picture, and my poses are pretty stiff.
  • Smile, even if your face is covered up. It shows in the eyes. You should see the pics I discarded; the scowls were scary. No head shots were blog-worthy today.
  • Keep the flash off. Enough said.
  • Learn the timer thing, really soon.
  • Fashion note: even on a fairly slim frame, a poofy skirt belted tight at the waist adds the illusion of weight.




On the plus side: I love my Banana Republic ruffled top with this graphic skirt. I felt so feminine all day. And I adore my new bunny necklace, the Ballerina. It's from Forever21 and inspired directly by Debbie from Thrifty Girl Vintage (she has two, I think). Thanks, Deb! The two bracelets are from F21 too.

Please tell me I'm not alone: was there a time when you struggled with mirror-shots too?


Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday August 22nd 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, August 18, 2011

Fashion Beauty Friend Friday: Living and Dreaming the Dream

The Dream by Pablo Picasso


Katy from Modly Chic, the hostess of Fashion Beauty Friend Friday, said she's been inspired by the courage of bloggers (one of them is superstar Sal from Already Pretty) who are quitting their "day jobs" and blogging full-time. These brave moves sparked Katy's questions for the week, about inspiration and aspiration. Here's my take:


1. Fess up - if you could do anything professionally what would it be? 

If I could get paid for being a movie critic or philosopher, that would be most wonderful. I love to think and analyze, and I like to work alone or with one/two other people. No crowds for me, please! But in reality, I have found my dream career, in the mental health field. It suits my temperament and (I hope) my gifts. I love to go to work, and uncover what in the broad sweep of human concerns might face me for the day.

2. What draws you to this? 

To the fantasy jobs: writing, thinking, solving problems and looking at situations from all angles. For my real job - all those things, with a side of helping people and making a difference (again, I hope!)

3. When did you first start dreaming about this ideal?

A long, long time ago.

4. What's holding you back from going all in? 

Nothing! I left a well-paid (miserable, stifling) corporate job at age 37 and started graduate school. I began my second (happy, fulfilling) career at 40 and haven't looked back, even though my current income is about half of my corporate pay.

5. Sometimes the first step is the hardest... what's one step you can take now on the way to realizing your dream?

I am so fortunate to be living the dream in most respects. I live out my fantasy jobs via my hobbies, and by pestering my friends and relations with my annoying ideas.



Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday August 22nd 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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I Wore: Tweaking , Remixing and Posing Funny

I posted about this skirt two weeks ago, and I wasn't completely happy with the overall look. Some of you liked the neutral top, and said it let the skirt shine (thank you!). But I still felt a little blah in that combo.

Today's remix makes me feel a little zingier : A dark tee, with some detail to make it interesting, provides contrast for the skirt. And please, check out these new (to me) shoes: I picked them up the same day as the Bandolino flats, at Goodwill! These are by Euro Soft and they are so comfortable. And cool-looking, if I may toot my own shoe-horn. Don't you love finding shoes that make your fashion goddess smile, and keep your fussy feet happy?





I'm still practicing my poses, and feeling silly. I saved a catalog from Urban Outfitters to inspire me, but I am struggling with some of the shots:


I'm frolicking with my mean face on (right)
This one has potential . . .

Score!


I am linking up with Thursdays are for Thrifting over at Spunky Chateau. Please go take a look at all the wonderful thrifted creations.

Have a wonderful day!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tim Gunn's Top Ten Essentials: The Mythic Trench

I've been writing every now and then about my best friend Tim Gunn's Top Ten Wardrobe Essentials. I've written about the Day Dress, the Trendy Indulgent Item, and the Little Black Dress.

Tim has impeccable taste, and I would never disagree with his fine judgement. But not all his pieces are really essential for all women in all situations.

For example, today's subject: the classic trench coat. Not just Tim, but virtually every fashion book, TV show and professional blog lists the trench as one of the top pieces necessary for a basic wardrobe. And there is no denying the simple utility and timelessness of the coat.

The first trench coats appeared in the British army during WWI, as a lighter weight, water-resistant alternative to heavy wool greatcoats.

British Army Officer in WWI


And wow, did it catch on, for both men and women. Iconic trench wearers include Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman and Katherine Hepburn:

Image via Hotparade.tumblr.com


With this lofty history, and undeniable wearablility, why have I not been able to  integrate the trench into my wardrobe?? I own a cute short khaki trench, very close to this one by Esprit:




And a long, zebra print one, similar to this one from Nordstrom's:



And while both are fine garments, I wear them very little. I think I can blame two things:

  • The subtropical climate. It's mostly warm here, then switches to cool for a month or two, then cold for a few minutes. Then back to warm. There just aren't as many opportunities for my spiffy looking trenches as there were when I lived Up North.
  • My casual/business wardrobe. Most non-work days, my trench seems just a tad too dressy for the rest of my look. On work days, a nice looking blazer or cardi usually completes my outfit, and is warm enough.

So there it is. I still adore you, Tim. Don't lose my number!

What about you? Is a trench a staple in your wardrobe? If not, what are your go-to alternatives?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Visible Monday: Casual and Cheeky

Welcome to Visible Monday #8! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

Today I'm combining my Visibility with Inspiration from Two Birds' site. They host Inspiration Monday and invite us to interpret a certain celeb look, with our own personal touches. (Your own contribution to Visible Monday does not have to relate to this Inspiration).

I love my white jeans, and I don't wear them enough. I think they are perfect for summer evenings, and, in Florida I can wear them most of the year with sweaters, blazers and short boots. I added a funky button down shirt that I thrifted about a year ago. I had to cut off most of the collar; it was huge, like 70's huge, and overwhelmed my upper body! But I fell in love with the back: Cowboys and Angels. I have no idea what that means, but I like it.

I just bought the flats yesterday at Goodwill. They are lovely - Bandolinos that look never-worn, in a classic nude shade. I think I'll give them a good workout this fall. The whole look is funkier than I usually wear, but that's the idea behind Visible Monday - to be happy to be seen.






Inspiration:



Now I would love to see what you're wearing. Have a wonderful day.


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!





Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Can't Live Without My . . .



Well, seriously, we could live without it, but we wouldn't care to. I'm talking about a favorite grooming/beauty product that we would give up only with bitter, salty tears.

I like to view myself as a fairly "natural" looking person, but a brief look at my bathroom cabinet squashed that idea. It's not overly-full, and far from overly-expensive. But it takes a few tubes and jars and bottles to get the "natural" look that I aspire to.

As for the can't-live-withouts, though, I'll allow myself three. Then I am eager to hear from you about your beloved products!

  1. Retin-A. I have been using this since I was about 28. Back then, for acne. Now, I do believe it works wonders on wrinkles and age spots. One of the few skin products that actually has worked, no hype! (And it is not advertised on 14 year old models, promising a "youthful glow".)
  2. Suave body lotions. Mostly the Vitamin E and Firming formulations, though I suspect they are all the same. These are cheap and really do keep my body skin moisturized. I feel all lizard-y without them.
  3. Leave-in conditioner. I love my curly hair. But without a little product, oh boy, it's a snarly mat. Any brand of leave-in conditioner will do, but I like one with a pretty fragrance. Right now I'm using TIGI's Let It Be Almond Cherry.

Honorable mention: Without them, I would be so blue: mascara and blush, and pinky lipstick.

OK, I would love to hear from you. What would you stash away if the grooming sheriff came to confiscate all the goods?



Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday August 15th 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, August 11, 2011

If I Were A Rich (Wo)Man . . .

The song from Fiddler on the Roof will now ear-worm me for 24 hours! If I had big money, of course I hope I would try to do big good with it. For this moment I am just thinking about dreamy fall clothing that I would never pay full retail for . . but would love to see hanging in my closet tomorrow morning.

I picked Anthropologie for my little fantasy, because, well, look at this:


From the latest catalog: deep teal kimono coat, jeweled bib necklace, abstract floral knit dress and Clark Kent's head in my lap. Any questions?

Here are a few pieces that make me smile. While I could technically afford them (I would not lose my house), I would not sleep, thinking about what I could/should have done with the $$$. So in the spirit of looking at Greenwich Village two-bedroom lofts, may I share:


A gorgeous dress from the front, yes?


Look at the back!!


Just the right amount of elaboration

So simple and beautiful
Beautiful things are found at all price-points. But it is fun to cast our eyes on the pricier ones every now and then, and appreciate them  - without having to own them all.



Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday August 15th 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.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What I Wore: Trying New Poses, Feeling Silly, Being Thrifty

It was a minor revelation to me that I could contribute almost daily to the "Thrifty" series on Spunky Chateau (go have a look every Thursday). I've always known I was rather frugal in my wardrobing, but it's come to light that a major portion of my closet is thrifted/consignment. I don't mind, as it gives me the opportunity to try a lot of different looks for not-much-money. I don't want to *look* too thrifty, though. That is, I want to have a fresh, modern, and well-put-together appearance every day. That's the fun and the challenge of it.

Today I chose a well-loved skirt that I purchased new on eBay. It's been worn many times and may be ready for retirement at the Humane Society Thrift. The cotton blouse is newly thrifted, and I like the pattern. I think I am going to relegate it to casual rather than work-wear though; the vibe is just not there for the office. The white linen vest was a jacket (thrifted) that I hacked. It's too big, so I borrowed Sally's (Already Pretty) tips and belted it into shape. I like the wide studded olive belt.

The wonderful Reva (Rags2Roses) had a post recently about trying out new poses, something she does very well. I stuck my baby toe in the water today. In the first pose, it looks like I love myself a little too much - but I am experimenting with showing off my bracelets -- really! In the second, I am but a dim shadow of splendid Sheila (Ephemera), who poses so gracefully on her steps. I look like I'm all feet  : >




I know a lot of my readers are avid thrifters too. Do you ever think about looking "too thrifty"?





Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday August 15th 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.