by Barbara Bartley
January 8, 2011 at 7:43 pm in Fashion & Beauty by Barbara Bartley
I am average-to-thin, age 65, and want to look chic, and not matronly. Anyone have and good ideas or books, etc to help?
41 Comments »
MONAPAINTS said on January 10, 2011
It is a dilemma for all of us baby boomers. Have you searched on Etsy…it is a marketplace for hand made items. Many of these clothes are designed by women our age who face the same problem. I have had a lot of luck finding interesting tops, sweaters and layering pieces by shopping artist/designers.
Alicia said on January 12, 2011
I’ve been stylin’ all of my life; I love clothes and wear what I love….I never wear jeans; don;t like them; I love silky little dresses and ballgowns…I’d wear a gown every day and a tiara if I could.
SassySenior said on January 20, 2011
I googled Etsy and got nothing. Can you expand on this…I design (redesign readymades) and make some of my clothes and it occurs to me that offering them to others and vice versa might be fun.
enjoying new life said on January 22, 2011
etsy.com. I had a store on etsy. Although I know some make money on Etsy, I have talked to many who have had the same experience I have had, that it is difficult to make money on it. Tricks 1) you must take good picture of your items 2) you must post everyday because you need to be at the top of the picture list or you get lost in the crowd. Etsy is not a “swap” kind of thing. It is a collection of artisans selling their products. I have seen some amazingly creative and talented people display their stuff. If you do decide you want to give this a try, the “tags” when you post your stuff you should make sure you use, words like eco friendly, recycled if you are re-designing readymades that might be coming from a re-sale store. I do not want to sound like I am discouraging you from trying.. go for it. In fact, I am thinking of starting up a new store with different products. But do beweare that one of a kind and different sizes requires a “stock”
MONAPAINTS said on January 23, 2011
I also have a store on etsy. The etsy store is in addition to my own retail store, wholesale accounts, and my own data base of over 5,000 previous customers from the years I exhibited at art shows. It takes all of those avenues for me to make a living at selling my own creations. All of my work is one of a kind. It takes me longer to photograph, describe, post each piece for sale and then talk about on social networks and send e-mails to my list of existing customers than to create the piece itself. That said, there is no magic trick for success on etsy. To have success, one must work at it like the job that it is. It is rewarding to have someone else be excited about the things that you create…that and being able to make a living selling ones own creations make all the hard work worthwhile.
If you redesign clothing, do you wear the things you create? Your own creations are probably designed with your figure in mind and I would imagine you being a show stopper in your own creations. I have been designing wearable art for over 30 years. First as a hobby, now it is my main source of income and has been since the mid 90’s. You can see my work if you google monapaints….but I didn’t post here to market my work. I would say 95% of my customers are over 50, with that said…most are over 65. They are women who have careers and many are retired and they come in all shapes and sizes. If designer brand names are not your thing, seek out some independent designers who are baby boomers themselves…we know about spreading middles, hot flashes and all the other changes our bodies go through as we age and design clothing suited for our age group.
SassySenior said on January 23, 2011
Thanks, Mona. I’ll check you out as well as Etsy. I’m otherwise involved in a c0-housing project right now, but thought if I did gravitate toward fashion design, I would limit my designs to either one-size fits all or maybe, Sizes 12-14, which is where most of my friends are. Since the weather has been so dreadful and I can’t walk outside, I’ve been shopping the malls for walking and just to see what kind of “design” is out there and whether it can be used. I found a couple of Vera Wang pieces at Kohls that, while not MY style, definitely fell in the good design category and were cheap cheap. Gosh, I miss Liz Claiborn!
MONAPAINTS said on January 24, 2011
Good luck with your new endeavor! I’m happy to help you if you have any questions. My contact info is on my web site monapaints.com
Marilynne said on January 24, 2011
The area needing a little flair and design work are women who don’t fit one-size-fits-all and who are larger than 12-14. We like color and flair as much as the next woman. There used to be a label called Two-Potatoe that offered flowing gowns of good design.
SassySenior said on January 24, 2011
What a fun place you have! I’m woefully conservative for myself – but I love to see fun and funky…and on raaaaare occasion…don something blingy. I also looked at Etsy, but didn’t see anythere that isn’t similarly produced by any given local arts & crafts community. I learn so much on VN – so glad it’s here fo us.
Rose2 said on January 14, 2011
my dilemma is that my lifestyle has changed so much, I no longer know what to buy or wear. From corporate wife in large metro area to a widow in small backward rural area. And now seriously considering moving to Seattle. Add the25 lbs I have gained from sheer boredom, I feel stuck in sweats.
Sherrie Mathieson said on January 15, 2011
You do have options–many–but the real interest has to be there.
You don’t have to have “bricks and mortar” stores if you love to live inn a rural area in this digital age(see my response earlier to Gramma)
Would you consider a visit to http://www.sherriemathieson.com?
The Glam Gals said on January 17, 2011
Hi, Age is just a number and if you are on the thin side you are really in luck! The main thing is to be inspired by women who are dressing age appropriate. My partner and I call ourselves The Glam Gals and we write a fashion blog, called Fabulous after 40 where we post lots of photos and examples of women who are dressing chic and hip, yet age appropriate. JoJami’s mother is 74 and you should see how chic she dresses! We post photos of her all the time!
Here are a few tips:
JoJami and Deborah
Dr. Vivian Diller said on January 17, 2011
Take a look at Kim Johnson Gross’s book “What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life.” A Baby Boomer herself, she offers great suggestions about what works and doesn’t regarding style from a wealth of fashion experience. She is anything but matronly and not only knows style, but when to let go and move on. As a psychologist and Boomer, I read her book feeling she really understood women and their desire to look great at any age.
suegas said on January 18, 2011
I tried to get to your website and there was a message that said “If you are the owner of this website the content is not loaded correctly” so there was no content on the site ??? pls advise. thx
tinkonthebrink said on January 17, 2011
If you don’t have a personal style at this point then you have an opportunity to start with a blank slate. I don’t think I have ever chosen clothes that were age-specific and my body size hasn’t changed much at all so I’ve found it’s possible to develop a style over time.
For a part of my life I lived in an area that was an american “destination city” and I found that I could identify european women without waiting to hear an accent because they always looked so great – nothing over the top at all, in fact, hard to identify what that thing about them was, but I could see it and it infused my own aesthetic from then on.
I think one key thing is to dress to be the person you feel you are all of the time – when you go to sleep (if you wear anything to sleep), when you’re working in the garden, when you go to the market – it’s about what you feel your identity is and how you express that. Make it personal.
Sandy Dumont said on January 17, 2011
My advice: Wear vibrant colors, and don’;t buy into thatsilly idea that as you age you need to wear “softer” colors. No mater what hair or eye color you have, you’ll look good in magenta, fuchsia and cherry red. These are vibrant and feminine colors. Add some royal blue, royal purple and vioet and you’ll wow everyone. Stick to solids rather than prints, because they’re more versatile and more slimming as well.
Above all, wear lipstick. Nearly everyone can wear a soft fuchsia color like Loreal’s “Wild Plum (#640). Blusher also gives a youthful glow to the face.
When it comes to style, keep it simple and tailored. Give up anything that resembles a Daddy Jacket; that is, too big, too long, too baggy. Wear jackets that are tailored. For sportswear, wear straight-leg pants with scoop-neck tops. Then you can dress up your ensemble with a great belt, cjunky necklace and power earrings earrings and knock ’em dead. Avoid clunky-looking shoes; they’ll spoil your entire look.
Go to my website and you’ll see dozens of Before/After photos that can inspire you. http://www.theimageArchitect.com
Marilynne said on January 19, 2011
My favorite color is lime green, followed by raspberry pink and black with sparkles. I simply wear what pleases me. I’m not thin, I’m a big woman, but why should someone else tell me what to wear.
My only advice to big women is not to look like a sausage in your clothing. Buy what fits and looks nice. If you can’t get into it, a charity will find someone who can.
SassySenior said on January 17, 2011
Wonderful information. What VN is all about. Thanks for starting this thread.
victoria witte said on January 17, 2011
Wow can I ever relate to this topic! I live in a small university town and virtually all the stores here cater to the 18 to 26 year age range. There are (and I’m not making this up) only three stores in town that have clothes that look reasonable (i.e. not skinny, low cut, tight and uncomfortable looking) on a 64 year old. Two are ridiculously expensive which leaves me with just one. I find shopping for dresses, skirts and pants difficult from catalogs difficult and am tired of paying money to send things back that don’t fit correctly.
Fortunately we don’t socialize a great deal and as a gardener usually jeans and a t-shirts suffice but when a dressy outfit is called for I am pretty much stuck and have to go to a fairly close by larger town to find something that will work. I hate to shop and in this situation feel a lot of pressure to find what I need and get on with things and am doing this in a town that I am not familiar with and without knowing which stores are likely candidates.
MONAPAINTS said on January 19, 2011
This is an interesting thread. I have read through all of the comments…all valid. I have seen women in their 60’s who wear funky asymmetrical clothing with spiky purple hair and they look fabulous. i have also seen stately women in their 60’s with beautiful coifed hair styles and tailored clothing. They look equally amazing. I think a woman should be true to herself and wear fashions that make her feel confident and happy and she will glow.
There you are – our clothing and hair should make us feel confident and happy.
Gramma said on January 17, 2011
Yes, there is an author, Sherrie Mathieson, that has been on VN, that wrote a book called Steal This Style: Moms and Daughters Swap Wardrobe Secrets. Forever Cool has lots of pictures of women in our age group, with Never Cool on one side and Forever Cool on the other….Very Helpful. It says Looks that make Hip Classic and Classic Cool. Love this Book. =]
Sherrie Mathieson said on January 10, 2011
I have many clients who are challenged by getting older and wanting to look ageless, modern and youthful (as opposed to young). They are diverse in figure and personality. They inspired my book–filled with real women ages 46 to 86 with their daughters–like you and me.
I also blog and give seminars on this very subject.
Thank you so much for sharing the “good word” on “Steal This Style”
Cara - VN Staff said on January 17, 2011
GrammaBB, here are several makeover slide shows and conversations on VN that are full of great ideas. The first two links showcase makeovers from the books by Sherrie Mathieson that Gramma mentioned above.
Prill Boyle said on January 17, 2011
Sherrie is great–your go-to-gal on this topic.
I found the book forever cool to be quite elementary
MirrorWoman said on January 17, 2011
I’m a huge fan of Charla Krupp’s “How Not to Look Old”. She’s a former Beauty Editor at Glamour and gives great, contemporary advice on fashion, hair, make-up, etc.
Some other suggestions:
– Get your own “personal stylist” at a favorite store. Talbott’s, Chico’s, Nordstrom and others are starting to have wonderfully honest and helpful people on staff, especially at the larger stores and malls. When you see a woman who looks like you’d like to look, ask her where she shops and if she has a favorite sales person. Or find an honest friend who has good taste and take them shopping with you – and try a million different things on. When you see yourself in different styles, you’ll get a much better sense of what works for you. (Order online or from catalogs only when you’ve had a chance to try an item on first. Otherwise we tend to keep items we’ve ordered when they look “okay” but not fabulous!)
– Find the items in your closet that you get compliments on or that you love wearing. Use these as guidelines for your best colors and shapes.
– If you’re in the Chicago area, attend a LifeStyle Workshop that Julie Judd, a certified professional stylist, and I offer every month. It’s great fun and you leave with a shopping list of what works for you. See our schedule at http://www.mirrorwomen.com.
Dolores Hagen said on January 17, 2011
How wonderful that you’re exploring your own style as you reach this amazing age. Many of the subscribers to my blog take advantage of the free seven-day mini-course on finding your style. You can get it at http://www.sixtyandsensational.com.
Margaret Fleming said on January 17, 2011
It does no good to know what you look great in if designers quit doing it. I’m half afraid to wear my 1 pair of good jeans and one pair of great grey slacks because I can’t find others like them in my size ANYWHERE. I wrote to Macys, where I got these two great pairs of pants a couple years ago.
The prez said my problem was a merchandising problem and tossed my letter over to someone else. It’s a design problem–a mistaken belief that all women who want to spend money on pants are the same shape or don’t care how they look.
MaryLorraine said on January 17, 2011
My opinion? Set your own style, not what someone else has to say. Buy what you like, looks good and makes you feel good. By 65 you should know what is “matronly” and what is stylish FOR YOU. I chuckle at some of the makeovers. They take a perfectly good look and change it to look like everyone else, especially the ever popular Alice in Wonderland hair! I don’t care what is “in styple” I care about how it looks FOR ME.
sylvie said on January 18, 2011
I’ve just read all the great advice posted for you, and would like to add a few tips. Get your teeth whitened, work on your posture, find a store that does cosmetics makeovers and get some good advice from them. Also, if you’re wearing a cardigan or a jacket, don’t let it “ride up” in the back – same applies to skirts. These things, plus the clothing and accessories others have suggested should put you on the right track.
I would add that if you are well exercised, you’ll look better in your clothes, your skin will look healthy, and you can have the walk of an athlete.
Jody Nixon said on January 22, 2011
Sylvie, Your suggestions are exactly right, and I would just add one more: a good solid (underwire) support bra is essential at our age – and then add good posture and it’ll make anyone look more youthful.
medley said on January 19, 2011
It helps to be slim, and wear colors and styles that are becoming. I love boots in winter with shorter skirts and layers with long sleeves, short, and even though scarves aren’t so “in” it softens the neckline and compliments face and hair colors.
And I like skirts, all lengths, even mid calf, if you are tallish…I keep older clothes, and mix and match with newer items, colors, and am not a big shopper…I usually feel I look pretty good….smile a lot helps unfixed face…Good luck from Louisville on the great Ohio R.
Gramma said on January 19, 2011
The main thing I got from your response is the “smile a lot helps unfixed face”….Very important! A smiling face is so much more approachable , and beautiful at any age….and we can all do it, no matter our size…=]
azul said on January 20, 2011
Great thread! Thanks for starting it!
Gramma said on January 20, 2011
Yes…I love talking about color and style choices….=]
Yolanthe Smit said on January 12, 2012
O.K. women of all ages, take a look at these women and allow yourself to be inspired by them. http://youtu.be/nWKTfqivbRQ
Advance Style. Lots of good points here.
SassySenior said on January 14, 2012
Gosh. Fun to read what I wrote a year ago; also good (I guess) to know that my thoughts are consistent. One of my NY resolutions was to clean out the closets and fill back in as needed. In the process, this year I fixed big boxes for my adult married children of all THEIR stuff still taking up room in my house – my daughter’s cheerleading uniforms, wedding dress; my son’s and husband’s dress military uniforms; and Mother’s old mink jacket. They had fun going through the boxes and I gave them permission to discard as they wished.
That helped ALOT; but my own things needed paring down as well. Like many of you, I’m just not seeing attractive age appropriate clothing at any price. So, I stick with the basics: a few good skirts; an array of separates; a couple of suits and dresses, and a scant few formal things. Chicos remains my affordable choice for casual updating.
If you have a friend whose wardrobe stays updated, see if she will spend an afternoon with you while you try on EVERYTHING in your closet. Give each piece you love your best shot – try it on with shoes and accessories and take a photo. If it doesn’t fit, is really outdated, hanger-weary, stained, or generally passed over for the last few seasons, put it in a give-away or garage sale pile. For what’s left, the things you’ve photographed, decide what keeps them from being among your usual choices – needs mending, needs a new top or bottom, too short or too long, etc. I sew, so sometimes things I really like can be updated or at least refitted. Rather than discard my favorite St John suit whose skirt has been too short for about a decade, I sewed it to a new camisole top which dropped the length about two inches; got new buttons for the jacket; and am hunting the perfect new blouse. I’m short, so wide-legged pants make me look heavier and shorter; but at 70, leggings aren’t great either – so I bought a pattern for slim leg slacks and am in the process of recutting several nice lined wool slacks. Grey or white hair has changed what colors I can wear and as someone above said – vibrant jewel colors look great with grey hair so don’t pass over those fushias, oranges, limes, and violets. That doesn’t mean you can do the same with makeup (lipstick or nails) – garish makeup just doesn’t do much for even the sexiest seniors. The last trick is simply to make sure your clothing is comfortable and chic – and then WEAR it. Especially in the winter, I just want to keep on my old sweats, socks, and fur-lined slippers; but I feel more special when I dress to go out. So that’s my 2012 2 cents worth. Just get that friend and do it – it’s FUN.
SassySenior said on January 15, 2012
Update: Well, it took a good 8 hours to recut and re-assemble the lined wool slacks. They do fit and I will again enjoy them…but this wouldn’t be an option if I was paying a seamstress by the hour. In all fairness, I have a new computerized machine and the learning curve (advertised as simple and fast) has taken a few full circles…
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