Monday, September 28, 2015

Mature Fashion: Rocking Denim

Good Day, Stylinistas; 

This post discusses another disagreement I have with a rather common fashion no-no for mature women.  Wearing matching items of denim
 depends upon HOW they are worn together within the context of your body and lifestyle.  (notice how I keep hammering on this theme).

The House of Givency  showed an interesting combination of slim legged denim pants worn with a classic denim shirt and topped with a knee length kiwi green leopard coat and matching denim blue boots (they look like suede to me )in its 2016 Resort Collection (See This combination could absolutely ROCK on a woman of almost any age! 

Of course, I don't have a kiwi knee length leopard print coat in my closet, but I DO have a pair of jeans and a classic denim shirt and similar boots.  I also have a lavishly trimmed shearling three-quarter suede coat that gives the same sort of playful touch as the  kiwi leopard..and a cool leopard bag. 
I re-interpreted Givency's look by replacing the leopard coat with the shearling coat, added a substantial turquoise squash blossom necklace, a saddle stitched deep blue belt with a silver buckle, and the leopard bucket to  the monotone shirt, jeans, and boots.  I love the playful but elegant look; my very own style, but the inspiration was Givency.  

I turned up the volume on a western look by adding camel boots in this year's favorite boot heel and using a hunter green leather bucket bag with a fringed leather cord.   

Look #3 uses next spring styling in its Americana red, white, and blue with white backless tennis skimmers;p big fashion theme in the 2016 New York fashion week shows.

Look #4 makes denim a little edgy with the Chrome Hearts moto "dagger" bag and the black lace up cutout heels.  The argyle silk shirt adds to the look.  

Look #5 is one of my favorites.  I matched dark blue denim jeans with a matching denim jacket to which I have sewn many patches collected from places I have visited.  (I have been doing this for several years and the jacket is quite old)  Each patch is a keep-sake that means a lot to me. I have accessorized with a red and white Breton striped t-shirt and a matching (yes, the purse DOES match the shoes-another current fashion no-no.  How many of you are old enough to remember that it was a no-no if you did NOT match them?) purse with heavy silver toned hardware similar to the heavy silver toned buttons of the jacket.  Patches cover the entire back shoulders of the jacket and the back of the sleeves. (you may notice that the ones coming over the shoulder are just tacked on for placement.  I need to sew them securely before I can wear the jacket)

The last look pairs another denim jacket and jeans with a simple leopard print blouse.  I either add sandals in a similar leopard print or high heel pumps in the same design as the blouse.  I used a simple chocolate leather bucket bag to complete my look.  (I could have used the same leopard bag I used with the shearling coat but I think that much matchy-matchy would be a little "tired".

I love each of my matching denim looks even though this type of matching may be jeered at with phrases like the "Canadian tux" or "Redneck tux". Frankly, I like denim.  I do agree that many times it is not worn in a very flattering manner. It can make the wearer look older than her years, look dated and frumpy, especially if improperly fitted, but that is not the fault of the denim.

I believe THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTE RULES except those I define for myself based on  my unique style, my fashion aesthetic, and the needs of my lifestyle. Every "rule" is subject to what is suitable to the wearer, the occasion, time, and place, etc., etc., etc.  I break these "rules" all the time -(WHO comes up with them?)

After all, every fashion cycle begins with  someone developing a fresh new look to an out of date style. Do you agree?   I am looking forward to hearing from you..


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mature Fashion: Rocking Classic

Good Morning Stylinistas;

Today we are going to talk about Classics and their problem for the mature woman.  The most significant problem with a wardrobe composed of all classics is boredom.

Let's face it; a little black skirt worn with a white shirt and a matching blazer, worn with medium heel pumps, etc., is almost sure to look dated unless something fresh or unexpected is added.  

This year combinations of a mono-toned matching blazer and skirt (or trousers), and simple classic shirts can be fresh and stylish just by mixing the right accessories and a few pieces that you already have on hand.  A simple white shirt and skirt (any color, preferably dark, any shape or length) can rock with the right pair of sturdy shoes or boots, (depending upon the length and style of skirt) and the right mix of unexpected colors.  (consult previous post on rocking color).

I mentioned in an earlier post that I never throw away a classic item of good quality just because I have not worn it for a year or more.  If it still fits, is flattering to my older skin tone, figure, etc. I hold on to it.I have styled several outfits (noted in my style book along with the quirky color combinations I mentioned in an earlier post) using only classics pieces and utilitarian footwear. 
Here are a couple examples:

1) gray herringbone wide legged trousers with a charcoal blazer or men's cardigan sweater worn with a grey herringbone shirt and  a pair of patent pearl gray clogs. Accessories include a Brighton grey alligator belt and a silver omega necklace. All jazzed up with a color blocked rust, silver metallic, and black Makowski purse worn with vintage grey suede cloche hat and red plaid inset black leather gloves.

2) white BB shirt with A line just below the knee length black textured skirt worn with flat men's style buckle shoes, lacy black tights, a statement belt and classic tote.  I would pair this with a black cardigan sweater or blazer.

3) classic camel colored mock turtle sweater (regular turtle neck would be more fashionable but I have a short neck!) worn with classic camel and wine colored plaid trousers, wine rose and thistle blazer, camel ankle boots with medium low heel and puce purse (same blazer and purse I used as example in rocking textures).  I turned up the volume on the outfit by adding a "loud" Ed/Don Hardy belt in purples and gold and a "rocker" wine and black fedora hat.  I also added camel quilted leather gloves and a vintage Brighton camel structured purse ( I have had that purse for ages!-good purses DO last).

The little things....

I have added metallic and cream tights, some  argyle trouser socks, and a pair of plaid gloves to my wardrobe. These accessories can be worn successfully by women of any age and add a modern touch to 2015 fall fashion. Only the gloves are expected to last more than one season, so I really have spent very little money to get some great looks. (more coming).

fashion tip:  Structured purses are more fashionable this year than slouch styles. Gloves are longer this year and turtleneck sweaters are worn with almost everything.

Personally, I wasn't too happy with some of the runway fashions I saw until I really started mixing and matching in my closet.  Now I am coming up with new ideas every day.....(I still need to find just the perfect long sleeve lace crew neck overblouse and a black skirt with just the right slit on the leg to complete the looks I want for fall....and to "rock my age" ..happy styling...Geneva

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mature Fashion: Rocking Texture & Pattern

Good Day, Stylinistas;  

I have found mixing textures and patterns to be an inexpensive and sophisticated way to update my look, perfect for a mature woman.

I found an ethnic print top at a summer clearance sale ($15.00-originally $49.00) that works beautifully with an ethnic print skirt I purchased last year ($5.00-originally also $49.00)!   The skirt is of a fuzzy cotton blend, and the top is polyester.  I mixed the skirt and top with textured, patterned black nylon tights, peau de soie sling back shoes with patent heels.  To keep from having too much pattern going on, I accessorized with a plain black purse with gold hardware, medium sized gold over/under earrings, two simple gold ring bands, and a black watch with gold metal accents.  I love the look!  It feels modern, energetic,makes me feel fashionable without looking a fashion victim. This look suits my preference for low key elegance in my professional dress, and is exactly right for the climate here in Northern California at this time of year.   It is also exactly right for a mature woman, forty and beyond. 

Although we have had record high temperatures this year, it is always summer weather during September in the Bay Area-Early morning and late evening can be chilly here so I have a black linen blazer to wear later in the day. I know, I  know, linen after Labor Day.(a foolish rule when our temperatures soar to 3 digits in September!). Personally, I wear linen in three seasons, strictly depending upon the weather.

You cannot really see the texture in this picture of the shoes and tights.  The tights are a series of diamond shaped transparent cutouts that show a bit of skin tone yet obscure enough to cover veins.  I am also styling a plaid pleated knee length skirt with a velvet wine colored blazer and a lavender pin stripe shirt  and ankle boots.

A little thing....Textured hosiery is very much on trend this fashion season.  It is a great way to add a little touch of femininity to the menswear loafers, lumber jack boots and ankle boot heels worn by so many designer  models.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mature Fashion: Rocking Comfort Shoes

Good Day, Stylinistas....

Today we are discussing another fashion myth.  Next to elastic waist pants, sturdy comfortable footwear is badmouthed most by  stylists.  I, like many "mature" and/or disabled women have a problem with wearing most of the fashionable and truly lovely shoes available in every fashion season.  I would love to wear many of them, but I simply cannot. I have spent way too much money over the years trying, sometimes having feet that hurt so bad I have to take my shoes off and go barefoot in very inconvenient places. (one of the most, on the sidewalk-in the rain. New Years Eve, several years ago)

I have genetic nerve degeneration in my right foot that became a problem in my early thirties.(40 years ago, but who's counting)  I have had two operations on the foot with no success achieving  relief from pain; I can only mitigate it by alternating at least three pair of shoes a day unless I wear a high quality 'comfort' shoe. Even then, I usually carry at least one spare pair, just in case. Extended periods of foot pain also lead to nocturnal leg cramps, an event that I dread.  

Okay, I can't wear a lot of shoes I would love to wear, however, I constantly look for rather plain, classic styles that are comfortable, well made, and do not detract from the rest of my "look". I do this for every season of the year, summer included.

I read an article the other day that flatly stated that no comfort sandal could look stylish no matter what one wore.  I disagree.  It is true that it may take a little thought to style just the right outfits, however, I have always found it possible when I have made the time to do a little mixing and matching.  I have a picture here of one of my outfits I regularly wear during the hot weather and when worn, receive many compliments.  Most importantly, I do not in any way feel frumpish or dowdy while feeling comfortable and cool.

SAS (San Antonio Shoemakers), Clarks, Merrill, Munro, Frye, Cole Haan, Bass, Brighton, as well as many others  make shoes that are sturdy and comfortable.  Less expensive brands such as Aerosoles, Life Stride, and Comfort Plus are can also be very comfortable and easily styled with your garments.  (The sandals pictured are SAS ))

This fall and 2016 Spring offer many opportunities to use my comfort shoes stylishly.
Fashions usually designed for men such as wing tip oxfords, plain or two toned oxfords, buckled flat shoes, and sport shoes of all types are mixed in with office dressing (shirt and skirt), slouch belts, etc.  I am planning on wearing lots of loafers and 'walking shoes' that already exist in my closet.  Looks that are on trend and stylish without spending any money at all; just mixing my accessories in new and fresh ways...(well, maybe I will add a little....retail therapy, you know)

Any suggestions you, my reader, may have for stylish but comfortable footwear will be appreciated......happy styling....Geneva

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mature Fashion: Rocking Elastic

Good day, we are discussing elastic waists;

When I envision elastic waists I still have an instant recollection of most of my older female relatives, comfortable only in wide legged baggy colored elastic waist pants worn with 'comfort' ankle strap sandals or tennis shoes, a short sleeved coordinating blouse, and short permed graying hair wearing no make-up; If they dressed for an important event such as a wedding, they were content with a sleeveless shapeless dress worn with sturdy comfort heels, and maybe a little lipstick. If they discussed their appearance at all, it was with a somewhat smug complaisance that most women expected to "lose their looks"; that being neat and clean was sufficient in middle or old age; in fact, any overt concern with their appearance was unattractive vanity and unworthy of a "respectable woman". ( I have actually experienced one relative within the last ten years who chastised her mother for wearing lipstick "at her age". Unfortunately, I noticed at an early age that this view of aging women was not at all that uncommon.

This view is the stereo-type of the dowdy, frumpy female I  swore I would never become. Unfortunately, I still read articles prohibiting a woman from wearing elastic waist pants. (BTW, I wonder what they think of leggings on older women?)  IT IS ALL ABOUT HOW YOU STYLE YOUR PERSONAL SELF. Clothing that fit your body perfectly, flatter your body type, reflect your personality, suit your lifestyle and the occasion are what make you look GOOD AT ANY AGE. It is not about looking 'young', it is about looking 'good'.

 Fortunately, flattering style and fashion is now available for anyone. It is available for any age and/ or disability. Today, department stores such as Macy's, Penny's, etc. carry several brands with elastic waists that are made of quality materials and have great style. (Karen Scott, Alfred Dunner, Jennifer Moore, Avenue, Lane Bryant, to name a few ) For women who need to wear elastic waists (persons with any disabilities in their hands or nervous systems) and cannot manage zippers or buttons these brands allow them to indulge their desire for flattering style and fashion without sacrificing comfort or convenience. There are a few specialty shops and mail order sources that have garments made specially for disabilities. (More on this later).

I have a good friend who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  Not only does she have to have elastic waistbands for ease of dress, she suffers from loss of motion in one of her legs. She must have the wider leg to allow convenient removal of her pants.  She also has to wear sturdy shoes that have ties or convenient straps to keep shoes on her feet.  In spite of this very debilitating disease she is able to 'rock elastic'  by making sure her clothing fits properly, wearing just the right accessories, and exercising her own sense of style and color.  

Persons who are more comfortable or who have physical disabilities that require them to wear elastic waist pants have a great opportunity to experiment with unexpected color combinations available in their closet.  Personally, I have not reached the point where I am troubled by zippers or buttons but I do suffer from some pain in my finger joints caused by osteoarthritis (old age) and envision the time when I, too, will have to have elastic waists.  I hope I can 'rock elastic' as well as my friend does.  

Have a great day.......Geneva

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mature Fashion: Its the little things

Good day, we are discussing little things that make all the difference;

After perusing  my notes on Fall 2015 shows and um-teen fashion magazines, I look for little changes I can make that will be update my style without making any purchase what-so-ever!  These changes may include a few simple changes in the way I wear my hair, my jewelry, and the way I mix my existing clothing and accessories.  

I noticed these trends that work wonderfully for mature and/or disabled ladies; no cost, no matter our existing wardrobe, and for little or no added expense.

Item 1:  Mixing and matching colors.  Fall 2015 is the season for making unexpected color combinations; for example a navy blue classic cardigan sweater or blazer  or vest with matching pants, a collared blouse in a bright color such as yellow, worn under a crew necked sweater such as orange, or a pea green blouse with a collar worn under a China red sweater.  I am letting my wardrobe, taste,  and imagination be my guide. 

Item 2: Rethinking ones jewelry.  The last few years have been all about 'statement' necklaces, bracelets, etc.  This season is all about layering earrings and rings.  I have two holes in each ear so I will definitely  fill them all and wear rings on several fingers on both my hands with many of my outfits.  If I wear necklaces at all, they will be thin chain type, and no more than three or wear one long single strand or one with a pendent or medallion, and not wear them at all if wearing a lot of rings.  I doubt I will be wearing many bracelets.   Actually many ensembles showed little or no jewelry, a departure from the last few seasons.  Minimalism!!

Item 3:  Menswear or comfort shoes.  This is the year that 'nurses' shoes, your old loafers, or any athletic shoe, combined with appropriate wardrobe pieces make a real fashion statement.  Classic pieces worn with comfortable colorful tennis shoes (especially if you dress them up a little) are right on trend!  Clogs, oxfords, rubber cleated shoes, boots (especially ankle length) are worn with practically anything.

Item 4: Hair; there are some wonderful looks in the latest magazines; boufant pony tails, layered buns, wraps, etc. are in vogue.  Unfortunately my hair is too short for most of them.  I have checked my eye makeup for the latest trends in eyebrows, liner, and shadows.  I am experimenting with some white eyeliner and white shadow in slightly different ways to update my look while not emphasizing wrinkles, etc.  I'm anxious to see what I can do...(any suggestions would be appreciated.)

Any or all of the above incorporation into ones fall wardrobe will instantly update the look no matter your age or disability.  

I have taken a few pictures to add to my style book (that way I don't have to figure out later what to wear-especially if I am in a hurry! )  I actually have about 15 outfits that will take me into fall and winter just using trendy color combinations! Camel, grey, and pink, turquoise and coral and lavender,...Happy styling!......Geneva

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mature Fashion: Learning Curve

Well, I'm learning to insert pictures, but I still have a lot to learn...I wanted them in one row.  The middle picture is the one I discussed in today's post.  The other two are me with outfits I styled last winter for Spring 2015.

Mature fashion: Inventory time

Fall is actually approaching and it is time to take my semi-annual inventory of clothing and accessories. I do this only twice a year because here in California's Bay Area , we really have only two seasons; hot and mild.  (it rarely freezes and our chilly or wet weather is confined to a few weeks rather than months).

Although taking a seasonal inventory of our closets is beneficial to anyone who wishes to keep their wardrobes from becoming dated, it is really necessary for an older or disabled woman to know how to best spend her clothing dollars.  Our physical characteristics are subject to sometimes rapid change, our income is likely to be fixed, and our social engagements may change rather drastically.   Personally, I limit the amount of money I am willing to spend on any item to $1.00 per wearing. (In other words, if I spend $14.00 dollars on the item, I expect to wear it fourteen times before its life cycle is passed.(obviously, one time items such as some formal wear does not meet that criteria, but I try).

Inventory always begins with sorting out clothing into three categories: keepers, trash, and "maybes". Trouble in maintaining an effective clothing and accessory inventory usually happens with deciding which is which. In a nutshell,  Keepers should ALWAYS be defined as garments that 'like' you-they must fit well, be comfortable,  be in good condition, flatter the essential you, and you must really like them..."love" is even better. (unless you have a wardrobe of "loves" that do not work well together). Trash should be anything that is not wearable now without spending a lot of time or money to fix it or make it fit.  It is also any item that does not flatter you not matter its condition and it must suit your lifestyle at this stage of your life. (There are many websites, television shows, books, articles, etc. about how to organize your wardrobe.  Most of these will teach you how to maintain your closet effectively).

I always take inventory after the seasonal runway shows.  This week is 2016 Spring "Fashion Week" in New York.  I wait for the shows (, etc.) because I may make a decision to discard or hold on to a garment based upon wear-ability for the upcoming seasons.  For instance, the fall issues showed several models wearing clogs with skirts and crop pants that are identical to the Dansk clogs I have in my garage. I used them for outside work for many years.  I cleaned them up, gave them a coat of Meltonian shoe cream, and Voila!  I have a fashion forward, comfortable pair of shoes for my fall/winter seasonal wardrobe!

Waiting for the fashion shows before doing inventory also discloses any deficiency I may need to add to my wardrobe. ( When I watched the fall 2015 fashion shows last spring, I noted that loafers and "menswear" shoes were popular.  I have been able to purchase two great pair of high quality shoes for very little money that will work wonderfully with my existing wardrobe.)  Watching the shows also help you select current looks that will suit your taste and figure.  You can quickly pick up ideas for how you can incorporate those looks within your existing wardrobe and select what new items you may wish to purchase.

In deciding what items to discard, one word of note:  I DO  NOT agree with fashion advice that says "if you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it". (The fashion industry would love you to follow this universal principle) Of course, if it no longer fits you, or the color is no longer flattering, etc., get rid of it. If it fits, flatters, is of classic shape (no extreme design), and is of high quality, hold on to it. Providing it fits and flatters, it can feel fresh and new again.

High quality, classic items do not go out of style.  You may have to wait a season or two (or three or four) before you wear the gem.  The secret is learning to accessorize in such a way that your classic clothing does not look dated, and to have in your wardrobe essential pieces that will allow you to keep a modern.  

I actually had this experience this morning.  When taking inventory I noted that I had not worn a pearl grey/charcoal pinstripe pair of capri pants this season.  I matched it with a scoop neck linen lightweight sweater and wound a lovely grey floral silk scarf around my neck.  Pretty but boring...and dated..I tried a similarly styled leopard scarf but it still felt "old".  I decided to tie the leopard scarf as a band around my fedora hat, added snake skin moccassins and a chain necklace with a statement  mother of pearl disc.  Again, voila!  instant style within the current vogue that was flattering, unused in my closet! ( I will upload a picture as soon as I find out how!)

Inventory over....I need to replace a black A-line skirt (needed this coming season-I won't get rid of it until I find the replacement). I got rid of an old belt, three sweaters, 1 purse, and four pair of shoes whose fashion era is now past.  (I bought them for a good price-three of the items met the $1.00 per wearing criteria, three cost between one and three dollars per wearing, one cost five dollars, one was special occasion and cost $29.00, and one was just a mistake and cost $10.00-on sale).

I need to replace a black A-line skirt I already have. I will only be able to get a few more wearings out of it and it will be useful for the fall fashions.  I also need to purchase a pair of low heels with cut-outs, preferably with ties on the vamp for spring 2016 and a pair of red capris for my 2016 look.  I am all set for fall 2015.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mature Fashion: Oops

While reviewing the blog I posted yesterday I noticed I left out a few important details; my name for one.  (My name is Geneva White).  I also neglected to mention the blog is directed to "over the hill" women like myself, not to men.  They simply do not have the same confidence issues aging women do.  (For those who doubt, consider trophy wives, Dos Equis ads, and any California beach!).

Although much of the content may be beneficial to all women, the benefits are directed to older women and to those who have health issues that may affect confidence in their appearance.  Some of these issues may be obesity, joint pain, and impairment of muscular activities.

I plan on an evolving blog improving in format, content, etc. as I learn to use blogger effectively.  Please share any ideas or topics you would like to discuss in the blog as we "rock our ages" together.....Geneva

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mature Fashion: Rocking Mature Fashion

Hello Stylinistas...

I created this blog because I have been distressed for several years over the loss and lack of confidence I perceive in aging and/or disabled women as a result of a decline in their physical appearance. I am especially concerned with the effects caused by this loss, one of the effects being the belief they cannot do anything about the loss, or that it is too difficult to do anything about it.

I am a retired professional woman on the far side of middle age with minimal disabilities who (I believe) presents herself to the world as a vibrant and youthful individual. Although I firmly and wholeheartedly agree that physical appearance is terribly important in determining the world's perception of oneself, I do not agree that a woman , no matter her age, no matter the degree of her disability, cannot present herself to the world at large with the image she would wish to convey.

 I would like to share with you the skills and knowledge I have acquired over the years that allow me to present myself in the positive manner I wish to project. I also solicit you to share with me your own discoveries and tools you have found working for you or someone close to you.  I hope these joint discoveries will provide an even greater "toolkit" in retaining or rebuilding the confidence held when younger or more able. This toolkit  will hopefully assist in reaching that wonderful sense of  an important "self" within each of us.