Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Let's All Play: Style Advice in a Sentence!


Apparently, they were real stylists giving free advice. Source

I have read a dozen or two fashion and style books, countless articles, and a bajillion blog pages about style philosophy. I've created a highly valuable file on my PC with scraps of accumulated wisdom - you know, things I wish I'd said - about style.

I don't have credits for many of these jottings, as they're often done in the wee hours. I do have a grateful heart for all the witty writers and thinkers. Perhaps some of you reading this blog now are the very authors I am quoting here - thank you! And please don't sic your attorneys on me.

Here are a few of my favorite mantras about style. It's my fond hope that you will add some in the comments, and we'll have a lovely collection. These can be any style-related sentence (one sentence only) that inspires you, clears your head, keeps you on the good path, or just makes you smile.

  • Your closet is a toolbox, not a junk drawer.
  • Wear your best clothes every day.
  • "Good enough" is not good enough.
  • Go outside in pajamas, and you'll run into every ex you have. -Tim Gunn 
  • Buy less and choose well. -Vivienne Westwood
  • Corollary: Less can be more.
  • One is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress. - Karl Lagerfeld 
  • When in doubt, reach for the black tee and sunglasses (that's my own!).
  • Darling, you don't need that - you have enough already. -Halston

Over to you - do you have some advice to share? I love to hear from you!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Visible Monday #57: A Lazy, Lacy Look

Welcome to Visible Monday #57! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

This is one simple outfit, my Visible friends. I paired an ivory lace batwing blouse with my perma-pleated knit maxi skirt, and done! I'm wearing my twisty fork bracelet and a wooden bangle I just picked up. No other accessories, as the temperatures continue to hover in the mid-90s, and simple is best.


Lace blouse: Democracy; Knit skirt: Willow and Clay;
Sandals: Kenneth Cole Reaction


I look a bit shiny today - I will blame the sunscreen  : >


Now, let's see what you're wearing, Visible Women!!

The guidelines to participate in the Visible Monday Link-Up are so simple!
  1. 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, July 28, 2012

Aging Beautifully: Holly Hunter

I fell for her hard in Raising Arizona, and sealed the deal in Always. Holly Hunter's fearless acting draws me in every time. She's not known for conventional Hollywood glamour, but is confident, natural-looking, and, IMHO, a knock-out at 54.


So cute with Nicolas Cage in Raising Arizona, 1987.

Unforgettable in The Piano, here with Harvey Keitel, 1993

Stunning in her 50's. Love the curls.

Casual and lovely.


Have a wonderful Saturday, and don't forget, Monday, July 30th is Visible Monday! Everyone is welcome to participate!


Join us! Click the Spotlight

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Boyfriend Jeans for Over-40 Rockstars

I really love the look of these jeans, heck with the age police  : >  I like the looser fit at the top, the reasonable rise and the casual cuffing at the hem. I don't love the pre-distressed look or whiskering though.


GAP 1969 Boyfriend Jeans


So I bought a pair of straight-legs at the Daily Bread Thrift (for one dollar!). They've got a similar relaxed fit but a uniform medium wash. I'm going to cut and then cuff the hems. If I'm not happy with the look, I'll make denim Bermudas.

My styling ideas include: Breton-striped tees, like the one glimpsed above, a casual scarf and chunky sandals; I don't care for the nude pumps shown. Something like this:


Boyfriend Jeans




Are you a Yay or Nay for boyfriend jeans?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Be Good To Yourself

 
Source

 Being good to oneself, style-wise, has a lot of layers (no pun intended!). Somehow, there's guilt associated with it. I think it has to do with the underlying fear of being (or being perceived as) selfish.

For many of us women born in the 50's and early 60's, our programming included messages like:

Don't be too flashy, noticeable, vain. Don't call attention to yourself. What will other people say? Remember your place, and blah blah, blah.

So when it comes to our middle years, and dressing ourselves nicely, we sometimes hit a barrier about "deserving". We're not sure it's OK to spend time, effort and money on looking good.

Oh yes, some of my generation have processed this issue differently and fallen into shopping addictions and plastic surgery over-load. I struggle more with, "May I have this, is this alright?"

I'm putting out a call to abandon our fashion fears and liberate our desires, to allow ourselves to break free of self-imposed rules. If not now, when? Being good to oneself in the realm of style is very personal. It could mean, for example:

  • Acknowledging our body size and shape, and dressing to accentuate it, if we so choose. It's not the law that hourglass shapes are the only good ones. Pears, apples and bananas are lovely too.
  • Wearing the same beloved necklace, bracelet or ring every day, because it feels good.
  • Red lipstick, even if those little lines around our lips are not so little any more.
  • Getting a haircut and style at a very expensive salon, by a top-notch stylist.
  • Wearing lovely flats everywhere because high heels hurt. Owning ten pair, if the budget permits.
  • Enjoying navy blue nail polish on fingers and toes.
  • Etc.

These don't constitute style advice! Just some ways we can be good to ourselves and bask in the individual beauty we own.

Over to you: is this an issue you've pondered, the "deserving" of good things in your style-life? Are you comfortable treating yourself well? (I hope so). Anything you'd like to add to the list of How You're Good To Yourself? I love to hear from you.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Visible Monday #56: Full Over Full

Welcome to Visible Monday #56! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

I usually go for fitted-over-full, or full-over-fitted for my silhouettes, following the traditional wisdom of the fashion gurus. Today I chose a very flowy blouse over my much-worn full silk skirt (soon headed for clothing heaven, see here). I think I pulled it off because the top is so sheer and light.

The blouse is by Buffalo David Bitton, and I found it at Marshall's for under $8 on clearance, a very good buy for that brand, I think. Old faithful skirt is from Talbots, and the comfortable studded sandals are by White Mountain.

The hair's been an ordeal in the extreme humidity, so I wrapped it in a silk scarf and walked around feeling much less fussy than usual. I do love my curls, but some days they turn to frizzy, stubborn balls, and we are not amused.


Light and breezy, and Visible, in soft florals.


I like the asymmetrical hem of the blouse.


Now, let's see what you're wearing, Visible Women!!

The guidelines to participate in the Visible Monday Link-Up are so simple!
  1. 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, July 21, 2012

A New Skirt, On Sale, Tempts Me

I have been shopping very little lately, working on refining and editing my wardrobe. I've been repeating lots of looks and feeling happy about it. With this new strategy, I find some of my favorite pieces are actually in need of replacement - what a shock! I used to get bored of my clothing well before it started looking worn.

Online retailer and clothing customizer eShakti sent me an email about their end of summer sale, and offered an extra 10% discount - you can use it too. (I'm working on ignoring the multitude of emails from retailers, but I allow a few to sneak through).

So, paragraph #1 plus paragraph #2 above = shall I purchase this adorable red skirt to replace my beloved green silk skirt? Greenie is looking tired after many wears.


It's so "me". Under $30 after the extra 10% discount code. Shop here.

And this one's not going in my cart, but I want to share its loveliness with you. Under $40 after the extra discount:


A yummy sundress that can be worn through cooler weather
with a cardi or jacket.


 The discount code for all to use is PAN5XNS. Disclosure: If anyone uses the code, I may receive a small compensation from eShakti.


Have a fabulous Saturday, and don't forget, Monday, July 23rd is Visible Monday! Everyone is welcome to participate!


Join us! Click the Spotlight

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Eccentric Glamour

I just finished reading Eccentric Glamour by Simon Doonan, "creative Ambassador-At-Large" for Barneys New York. It's a light-hearted, witty read. There's not much real fashion/style advice here, but a lot of entertaining tidbits from the (self-described) glam eccentric Doonan.




I do recommend the hilarious chapter "Frenchwomen Don't Know Diddly", subtitled "Vive la vulgarite!" He skewers the sacred Coco Chanel's line "Elegance is refusal," by asking "What the hell does it mean?" He goes on to explain that it's the French who need to learn taste from the "vulgar" Americans. They need our beef jerky and our Cheetos! (His cheeky opinion, not my own  : > )

Doonan includes profiles of several women and men he deems glam eccentrics. Some are familiar to me: Iris Apfel (fun interview), Tilda Swinton and Hamish Bowles. I had not heard of author Amy Fine Collins, one of Doonan's profilees, but I really like her style:

Two different earrings, a pile of necklaces, mini-pixie cut,
it all works with that confident smile. Image.

So cool and chic in cream, tan and brown. Image.

I'm crazy for this color. With designer Richard Lambertson. Image.

And from her interview:
Q: When did you first realize that you might in fact be a glamorous eccentric?

A: When I asked my grandfather to polish the scuffed soles of my Buster Brown black patent Mary Janes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Moving Past Comparison

I found this quote somewhere in my serendipitous internet wanderings (maybe Facebook? Sorry for lack of attribution). I began a meditation on comparison. Comparing myself to others, and finding myself less-than, was a common theme of my early life. I worked through it, though.






  • I got over wanting to be the models in Seventeen magazine, even in Glamour and Elle, by learning to appreciate my own brand of beauty.
  • I got over wanting to be taller, blonder, have perfect teeth and skin, by recognizing that those things are not part of my reality, and are not equivalent to happiness.
  • I got over wanting to be a "better" employee than so-and-so by recognizing that I am uniquely skilled to do what I do. I'm far from perfect, but I care and I work hard at my craft.


I still live with a compare demon.  I'm not yet "over" being not-young any more, and sometimes I  compare my place in the cosmos with those 20 years behind me. Rats and rats! I'm supposed to be past this now. (But judging the judging is not helpful.)

Must. stop. comparing. And keep focusing on the reality of mid-life, my real life, and it's a damn good one. Must keep my head out of my navel, look around and see what needs to be done, and do what I can do about it. A 57 year-old woman can bring a lot to the party when she's not wasting time comparing.

So here's to owning the present, savoring the wisdom and perspective of age, appreciating the zest and beauty of youth without longing. Not Dead Yet, after all!

Has comparison ever been an issue for you? Have you worked though it? I love to read your remarks.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Visible Monday #55: A Fabulous Fair Trade Top

Welcome to Visible Monday #55! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

This breezy cotton tunic is a new favorite. It's from MarketPlace, a fair trade, not-for-profit group that offers Indian women an opportunity to sell their products and make a meaningful living. The tunic actually curves in at the waist, has perfect pockets and can be machine washed and worn without ironing. Oh, yes, no ironing for an all-cotton blouse! I'm wearing it for a casual work look here, but it would be cool with white jeans, or over a swimsuit.

I added just a basic camisole, my black pencil skirt (Laundry) and ankle booties (Soft). I feel visible and comfortable, and very "me".


The beaded necklace was created by a friend.


This tunic actually has a bit of a waist - love that feature.

I think I need the tunic in white too.


Now, let's see what you're wearing, Visible Women!!

The guidelines to participate in the Visible Monday Link-Up are so simple!
  1. 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, July 14, 2012

ISO: The Perfect Ballerina Flat

For the past few weeks I've been ISO (In Search Of) the perfect-in-every-way ballerina flat. Oh yes, I am on a French woman kick. Other items on my ISO-Paris list include an Hermes or Hermes-like scarf, and the ultimate slouchy cotton tee. (BTW, I still have not chosen the striped knit jacket that I've been ISO, and I fear it will be hopelessly outdated by the time I do!)

To be perfect for moi, the ballet flat has to have a bit of support in the arch, and that's the major limiting factor. There are so many adorable versions are out there, including these:

Drat! Even these classic beauties (around $600) don't offer much support.



Love the simple design and the price is pretty good . . .


. . . but they are truly "flat" in the insole and therefore not wearable for more than an hour or so.

I'd also like my new flats to be fairly unadorned, in a good leather, and with a very small heel. To keep me on the straight and narrow, I recite "Audrey Tatou" or "Ines de la Fressange" when I contemplate a pair.

Here are a couple of contenders:


I want to like these Naya flats more, but I'm not crazy about the cut-out
adornment. Great reviews, though.


These Vaneli's have a lot of the qualities I'm looking for.


We may have a winner with these Born flats: they make a very
comfortable, unadorned shoe.


Do you have a favorite? Or do you like this look at all? Shall I wear Converse instead (also a French favorite) and call it a day?  : >  Have a groovy Saturday, and don't forget, Monday, July 16th is Visible Monday! Everyone is welcome to participate!


Join us! Click the Spotlight

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What I Wore: White Dots and Black Cat

This outfit has just the slightest touch of pattern mixing: the skirt has a fine stripe, almost a solid neutral. The blouse is a bold polka dot. The rest of me looks rather pallid, with barely-there make-up and a couple of bracelets.

But! I couldn't pass an opportunity to include our beloved Stinky in a photo. She's been under the weather, with allergies and a delicate stomach. She's feeling much better today, after a visit to Dr. Rex, and a steroid shot. Yay!

Healthy cat = we don't care so much about hair and make-up today. Priorities, I has them.




Hope you all are well, and I wish you a joyous Friday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Agonizers

I just read a fairly old, but still relevant style article, Killer Fashion: Looking Good Never Hurt So Bad. The author writes about the pain we suffer for the sake of "beauty", specifically super-high heels, tight jeans, and suffocating shapewear.

For as long as recorded history, women have suffered pain for cultural standards of beauty. Chinese women bound their feet until the early 20th century, crippling themselves to have sought-after narrow, dainty feet. And for centuries women wore corsets that could deform their internal organs* (myth! see comments below) and restrict their breathing -- but give them an hourglass shape.


You want me to do what with this?

We have moved beyond these rather overt restrictive garments to more subtle ones, still in the quest of "traditional" feminine beauty. For example, even though most women's bodies are rectangular or pear-ish in shape, we're told the hourglass is the ideal, so we still buy and wear "shaping" garments.

Some modern shapers are said to be cooler and more comfortable than the vintage versions, but I wouldn't know: never owned a piece. Too squeeze-y, and way too noticeable for my comfort level. Here's a fairly disturbing anecdote from the Killer Fashion article:

Renate Raymond, another 33-year-old woman . . . developed an abusive fashion relationship with her slimming BodyShaper. “The first time I wore it, I had bruises all over my body where it had cut off my circulation,” she says. “But even with the bruising, I put it right back on so I could look good in my clothes. I’m like a battered wife.” 

Just wow to that sentiment. People, we don't have to be bruised to "look good in our clothes." No payoff to "looking good" seems worth this agony. And I don't want to have to "get used to it."


While progress has been made, this modern girdle doesn't appeal to me either.


Ultra high heels can be another sort of agonizer. I just finished gorging on several books about Parisian style. One advised, "Always wear heels; it makes you walk more beautifully." (To be fair, many other books recommend chic flats and flat boots for the French wannabes among us.)

When I wear high heels, my feet hurt, my calves ache, I can't walk quickly and I don't feel powerful, beautiful, or confident. So, not for me.


So pretty, but they're agonizers to me. Buy them here if you dare!  : >


Another young woman quoted in the article said this about high heels:

“After years of heels, I’ve become almost exclusively dedicated to flats,” she says. “Let’s face it, there’s nothing like walking around in really sexy, fabulous shoes, but if you can’t hide the grimace of pain or oozing blood or swelling toes…” 

Mmmm, oozing blood -- never seen on the cover of Vogue!

I have not given up on looking stylish in favor of comfort! I don't wear all-elastic-waist pants or athletic sneakers to the office. I still try every day to look attractive, authentic and modern. But the days of suffering for style are behind me.

What say you all? The case could be made that even coloring our hair is suffering for beauty (chemicals, odors, time . . . ) or wearing hose, or even bras. Is there a line of "agony" you won't cross? Love to hear your thoughts!

* As Trystan and Megan have pointed out, well-made corsets did/do not cause bodily damage.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Visible Monday #54: Florals Brighten the Day

Welcome to Visible Monday #54! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

This easy outfit is a variation on my loosely defined "uniform". Today I chose a fitted, rather than full skirt, with a floral blouse and personality-shoes. I'd like the shoes better if they had a back - there's something about slip-into shoes that always makes me feel a bit house-bound. But these do have a cool design on the wedge.

My mind-of-its-own hair is one accessory on these steamy hot days. I kept the rest simple, with just my favorite WendyB "G" ring and a new bracelet. I really like it: it's a twisted fork, found on eBay for under $10 (similar). I am choosing more unusual handmade jewelry lately, and eschewing "fussy" pieces.


Skirt: To The Max; Blouse: Anne Klein, thrifted; Shoes: Nine West (similar)

A J. Crew linen jacket is more professional when working with clients.

My real WendyB ring, real fork bracelet, and faux Picasso  : >


Now, let's see what you're wearing, Visible Women!!

The guidelines to participate in the Visible Monday Link-Up are so simple!
  1. 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, July 7, 2012

Aging Beautifully: Emmy Lou Harris

She has a voice like an angel. I love to watch her perform; she looks so at ease on stage and within herself. And at age 65, Emmy Lou Harris is gorgeous and confident.

Her signature silver hair makes her shine. She has some signs of a life well lived on her face. Cheers to you, Emmy Lou Harris, a radiant grown-up woman.


Beautiful in her youth, naturally. Source.


Stunning in her 60's, with a calm confidence that comes
right through the photo. Source.


Looking like she loves her work! Source.



Have a fabulous Saturday, and don't forget, Monday, July 9th is Visible Monday! Everyone is welcome to participate!


Join us! Click the Spotlight

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Leather and Lace

While I like a Romantic style -- ruffled blouses, full skirts, loose hair and soft colors -- I like to see it roughed up with a few tougher pieces.

One of my favorite looks is a feminine, floral dress or skirt worn with either a) a classic jeans jacket; or b) chunky boots. I think it keeps me from looking too "precious" or girlish, neither of which is a great look for a fifty-something professional.

I like a lacy blouse or scarf worn with classic jeans, a velvet blazer with a tweedy skirt and a chunky fisherman's sweater over a frothy, feminine skirt. My taste in jewelry has gotten more textured as well, and I avoid very girly pieces in favor of simple silver or stone jewelry.

Here are some mixed-mood looks I really like and find age-appropriate (ack!). As always, I love to hear your opinions. Do you like to stay consistent in mood within your outfit, or cross boundaries?



Feminine dress plus broken-in denim jacket. Polyvore.


Love this lace top with casual denim, via The Coveted.
I'd add a nude cami, just me.


Blogger Fashion Banana shows how to do a pretty floral dress with
a cool motorcycle jacket.


This feminine skirt would look great with a soft blouse, but I
love the chunky sweater for a bit of contrast. Source.


And I really like a menswear watch like this one, to balance out
an otherwise feminine look.


What say you all? And have a happy Friday!