Saturday, May 28, 2016

Mature Fashion: Memorial Day

Although it is important to remember the solemn purpose and original reason for this originally somber day of remembrance, it is now balanced with a holiday spirit that is much like the 4th of July; in fact, many of the decorations, color schemes, foods, etc. have taken on exactly the same flavor.  Many people do not associate the day as tribute to our fallen soldiers who died in battle but do honor the day with with a ceremony of flowers, etc. on family member's graves.
almost all people I know do treat the day as a holiday and/or family gathering, and often, a cook-out.

The annual Memorial Day weekend BBQ at our clubhouse screamed for the red, white, and blue thematics in clothing, but I didn't want to overdo the Stars and Stripes motif; I compromised with the faded old boating shoes from several years ago (I think they were reproduced again this season!!) any rate..if not, they sure are similar.

We had a live band who played in the shady tree lined walk outside the club house; a few of us adventurous souls reprised our more youthful dance steps and certainly kept up with our aerobic activities.  A few of the ladies did line dancing routines to the "oldies but goodies' music; and a good time was had by all. As would be expected, we had far too much food, so the exercise was certainly needed (hamburgers, hot dogs, tri-tip steak, and salmon...countless salads, and Neapolitan and vanilla ice cream sandwiches for all)!!

o fashion note, several of the ladies in our complex attend a jewelry making class once a week and many of them were wearing the red/white/blue bracelets and/or they made last week.  Although I just joined and have made nothing yet, I am really getting interested in this craft because I can see endless possibilities for enhancing an ensemble with my own personal style; I also love the idea of creating something that is uniquely Me.

I am becoming more and more interested in making or adapting existing garments to give them a personal flair. I do not want to be a carbon copy of others: ( I am so over articles that say "how to dress like.." I want uniqueness but a look(s) that is/are flattering and suitable to Me.

Although fashion should be fun (have a bit of wit or whimsy) I personally do not care for fashion whose sole value is in being "outrageous." (No, I am not talking about Lady Gaga, Madonna, or other entertainment figures who rely upon the outrageous to market themselves; they know exactly what they are doing!)...nor do I mean the authentic originals like Iris Apfel or other ladies who have made a particular item  a signature look; one that has become an extension of their own personality.  (who doesn't immediately think of those big round glasses on her  90+ rockin' years!!)  She never looks outrageous......courageous, maybe, but never outrageous...a model for us all.........

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mature Fashion: Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective

 I had the good fortune to be a guest at the "Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective" exhibit at the de Young museum in San Fransciso.  (unfortunately, the exhibit closes on May 30th, or I would make a return visit).  The exhibit was curated by Andre Leon Talley, a life long friend of Oscar de la Renta, and editor at large for Vogue for many years.  Oscar de la Renta is best known for his gorgeous evening apparel that exemplified the modern yet feminine touch in couture. Although born in the Dominican Republic, (didn't know that..thought he was Italian), he apprenticed in first Spain, while attending art school and working at Balenciaga, then in Paris for Lanvi. In spite of his birth and European training, Mr. de la Renta considered himself an American designer, and designed for American women.

Oscar de la Renta came to fame under the fashion reign of FLOTUS Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, and has dressed every FLOTUS, since including  Mrs. Obama. (psst...she was the latest holdout..she publicly wore one of his creations at a White House lecture on fashion). 

He has been quoted as saying "I do not know how to do casual clothes", and is reported to reach Mrs. Obama as a client by chiding her for wearing a sweater to Buckingham Palace when meeting the Queen. (??).  He is  (was) also known as the Sultan of Suede; He is best known for the beautiful evening and formal wear, and the cocoon coat (I thought is was Scaparelli?)  He most lately designed the wedding dress of Amal Clooney as well as the Michelle Obama creation. He is also renowned for giving Mrs. Clinton her signature "pant suit", and designed the inauguration dress for Laura Bush.  His famous patrons include SJP, JLO,Oprah, Penelope Cruz, Barbara Walters, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway, and a host of others.

The exhibit was packed, however, I was able to snap a few pictures.  One hundred thirty garments were on display covering the fifty year span of his designs.  I was immediately struck by the obvious fact that each and every creation I saw was as relevant today as it was when originally designed; seriously, only the addition of currently styled shoes, etc. or other more modern touches in hair and make-up styling.  I wish I had taken more pictures, but it was not possible. Unfortunately the picture of the dress donated by Mrs. Nancy Reagan did not turn out. (unfortunately, neither did a few more)....too dark and too crowded 

If any of my readers have the time, the exhibit is well worth while. Catch it while you can. BTW, an average Oscar de la Renta day dress is approximately fifteen hundred dollars; I have seen two on eBay for under $50.00; unfortunately, both of them are neither my size or have body lines that would flatter my figure....but, WTTW, any size 8 who has great toned upper arms might want to take a look...especially the cream with the black pin stripe and the black gross grain trim...wish I could wear it......BTW, in the nature of artistic work increasing in value upon the artist's demise, I would expect any original Oscar de la Renta design will increase in value.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Mature Fashion: Work Party

A distinct disadvantage many of us older women have is our lack of muscle, strength, and 'know how' to take care of many of the home maintenance duties that just have to be done.  Some of us are lucky enough to have handyman husbands, brothers, or sons who are willing (and physically able) to do them for us.  Many of us do not, or our masculine 'help' just is unable to make the time or the effort.  We inevitably pay to have these tasks done by a 'professional' who charges us an arm and a leg to perform sometimes rather simple but labor intensive and knowledge based chores.

Several years ago two of my friends and I decided to form a threesome 'girls work group' to help each other do some of these tasks.  Each of us have some knowledge in various areas, and I believe one of my friends is a  latent but inexperienced contractor!)

We agreed to meet once a month, choosing a task we believed that we could do as a team in one day, hopefully within 4 to 6 hours collectively.  Naturally, we took turns as to whose chore would be on the agenda. A few years ago, one of the friends dropped out (she has a son-in-law and live-in handyman who barters rent for his construction skills-lucky her!)

This past week-end we needed to prune her mature trees and change the faucets on her guest bathroom.  You can see the old faucet in picture #2, and the one to be installed in picture #3.  You can see my friend tightening some of the hardware. Unfortunately, we were unable to complete the job last week-end, and will resume on Saturday.  As might be expected with our lack of experience, on this type of chore it may take us a while.  (we bought the wrong type of plumbers putty-we also could not complete all the pruning because we needed space in the garbage cans).

Although my friend is a decade younger than I am, neither of us are 'spring chickens' Learning new tasks, keeping ourselves both physically and mentally active, and not "giving up" on what we can or cannot do is vital to 'rocking our ages'.  We are about the same size, takes care of her health about the same as do I, and is re-assured that she is also likely to be able to do the same tasks when she reaches my age.

I am sure you have also noted we take our fashion seriously, even when working.  Both of us are wearing our 'household chore role" clothing. In the top picture I am wearing my drab olive Hanes sweat-shirt over my camo long sleeved t-shirt (it was still chilly outdoors), drab olive narrow pants, and working sneakers.
I used my aged 'Free People" camo boho handbag.   My friend wore narrow navy sweat pants and a short sleeve white v-neck t-shirt. 

When leaving to run the necessary errand and grab a quick lunch, a quick substitution of the gray utility jacket for my sweat-shirt exposed the camo tee. A change to the camo flats instantly made me ready for the public outing. My friend added her matching zippered sweat-shirt and black leather sport shoes for the same effect. She grabbed her black leather handbag on the way out of the house. This up-coming weekend, I will be wearing another of my "household chores" uniforms.

By the way, you have heard me mention several times in the posts the unexpected but always relevant results of the impression we make when interviewing or conducting business, etc.  In addition to personally feeling confident and more self assured when dealing with unknown and often rather thorny problems, I ALWAYS notice that the people who are helping us are more willing to spend the necessary time with the inevitable questions, lack of understanding, etc.  It truly does not take more effort to look good no matter what task or chore being performed; a woman just has to be aware!!  IF YOU LOOK GOOD, YOU FEEL GOOD!!!  

On another note, I am very happy to share with you another tidbit; I am certainly feeling the results of my exercise class; I believe the guidance of the Jane Fonda DVD and the companionship of the other participants has really inspired me.  I find myself thinking about posture several times during the day, etc. I am also noticing a bit more firmness around my mid-section; my area of physical challenge. I have also discovered that I can now use 3 pound weights rather than the 2 pound ones I have used in the past. I am so pleased about this;  Feeling good is necessary for me to 'Rock My Age(s).'

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mature Fashion: Frump into Fashionista

Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down

Having the unexpected week off, I took the opportunity to catch up on reviewing and reading some of the accumulated articles on aging (knowing that many of us would still be in the work force long after the conventional retirement age, I have always been interested in Gerontology while studying Industrial and Organization Psychology)  I wanted to catch up on some of the newest material because I will likely be seeking a new part time job very soon.

Several of the articles I read, (some in professional journals and one or two, to my pleasant surprise) suggested that for job interviews it was important for the more mature applicant to make sure that her handbag was of a more modern shape and that the shoes should not look too "frumpy".  Of course, I totally agree with this concept.  As you may guess, I carefully choose the garments I am going to wear when I am seeking a job.

I always go in person to the job site to seek information on a position I may want, even when I know I will be told to submit a resume elsewhere, etc.  I find that being dressed 'appropriately' is one step nearer to obtaining my end goal; the job.  Obviously, I am using that initial "first impression" to my advantage.  I find I get a little bit more cooperation from whoever I am speaking with, and, because many of the places I now want to work are smaller and less 'corporate', my application may be accompanied by a favorable referral.

Although the outfit shown above is not one I would wear on an interview, I do want to use it as an example of what I mean by "frumpy" versus "current".  I also want to point out this evaluation only pertains to my body type, age, visual appearance, etc.  These statements might not apply to someone with a different physical make-up or age.  If you notice, I am wearing everything identical except the hat and jewelry.  I originally planned on wearing the cloche hat on the right and the Indian silver bracelet. (I was excited about the hat when I found it in this lovely vintage shop down by Carmel.  It has elements that beautifully reflect the hand made dark teal suede heels)  Unfortunately, when I put it all together, and looked in the mirror, my first thought was 'little old lady'.  It just didn't feel or look right to me. Regretfully, I removed the bracelet, replaced it with two hammered silver rings, and exchanged the hat for the hounds tooth fedora. Voila!!  I had the look I wanted; mature but youthful, energetic and involved.

At my age, it is unlikely I would ever wear a regular business suit (I would wear a pantsuit) to any interview.  I will not wear anything that could ever be construed as "cutesy", too short, too long, bare-footed sandals (bare footed anything) or anything too "girly", or with too much make-up. )I do get the valid criticism that I look a bit washed out in most of my pictures..true, but it is my normal make-up which always photographs less vivid than real life.).  I will probably publish some of the outfits when I am seeking various employments, probably on

As mentioned earlier, these stipulations pertain to me only; every woman must find her own guidelines for what is 'right' for her, and based on the role she wants to play.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Mature Fashion: Capsule Concept Craze

Part of my Denim Capsule
For those you who have been following my blogs, you know I am a capsule enthusiast but I do have a bit of concern for the proliferation of "capsules" that are appearing on the market, or rather, I should say, a caution or two to fashionistas, and certainly, to all aspiring stylinistas.

Firstly, the word "capsule" has taken on more than one meaning in the fashion world.  The traditional term referred to the  "wardrobe" capsule; a collection of  basic garments made of year around fabrics that were coordinated and could be mixed and matched in many ways to serve all purpose "looks". this concept has been around for decades. (My first styling book was written by the Actress/Author Arlene Dahl back in the '60s.) Depending upon the concept model, the capsule could contain as few as five pieces!! (uniform concept).  Nine well chosen pieces create 42 outfits!! (I will have a post on how this is done in  

In the past several years, the "Capsule Collection" has become popular.  Basically, they were marketed by Name Personalities such a Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Madonna, etc., and were a set of interchangeable garments made for and carried by specific department stores, and more recently, by on-line retailers. Designers have now gone one step further and are marketing specific fashion capsules directly to the public.  Retail stores are also offering pre-made capsules from different designers but are styled to work together. Some of the capsules included accessories such as shoes, handbag, etc.; others were just the core garments.

On a positive note, very busy women who are secure that the garments in any capsule will all fit her body type, whose colors and styles flatter her figure, whose lifestyle roles are effectively covered within the collection, may find these capsules very appealing.

On a less positive reflection, I cannot think of any of these collections that could adequately flatter a large number of prospective purchasers.  At best, they would be 'alright'. but certainly not bring out the best of the wearer.  As you know, there is never really "a one size fits all", and often if it does fit, it really can't be successfully right for all body types.  I envision many of the garments in a  premade "capsule" will just sit in the closet; nothing will be gained.  Another negative reaction for me personally would be encountering my styling clone.  Several hundred thousand women wearing the same combination of a limited numbers of garments does not thrill me at all. 

 A consistent criticisms regarding older men and women is their resistance to change;   I am not resistant to the idea of pre-made capsules PROVIDING each woman chooses very carefully the type suitable to her coloring, body type, and fashion style.  We have Blue Apron helping us with our menus now which some of my younger professional friends use regularly.  This option allows one to choose only a few menus for a week, giving the user the option for variety.  Possibly some combination of a core wardrobe capsule plus a seasonal purchased capsule might be a more positive approach.  After all, that is somewhat the method I use each season anyway; trendy purchases to wear with my staples.  I am seriously thinking about this approach for my next "closet collection". (See, an oldie can learn "new tricks" !!..that's what helps me "RockMyAge".)