Friday, September 30, 2011

I can cast a spell.....of secrets you can tell

Top:  Doncaster THRIFTED, Pants:  J Crew , Shoes:  THRIFTED

Shirt: THRIFTED, Skirt:  Vintage THRIFTED, Shoes:  Stuart Weitzman THRIFTED

Silk Blouse:  THRIFTED, Pants: Kenneth Cole, Shoes: on loan

Silk Blouse:  THRIFTED, Pants:  Ann Taylor Outlet CLEARANCE, Shoes:  Stuart Weitzman THRIFTED

After a week of PMS-ing, I felt like it was an ideal time to focus on what I love about being a woman.  I mean when you're having cramps, hot flashes, head aches, back aches, leg pains and intermittent attacks of insanity; it certainly helps to focus on the positive!  So here goes:  Ahem (Throat clearing)

Why I love being a girl!      by Serene

1.  First and foremost, I get to be the pretty one in my marriage!  Now my husband is sooooo handsome and supremely masculine.  But one of the things I love is that he's not PRETTY....I get to be the pretty one.  I get to be the one that takes an hour to get ready, that gets to bat my eye lashes, that gets to look at myself in the mirror several times a day and the one that (most of the time!) smells pretty!

2.  I get to mother!  As it happens, I have 5 children including my stepdaughter.  So I may biologically be a mother, but I've mothered plenty that weren't mine and if you think about probably have too!  On Mother's Day, I give best wishes to EVERY woman because if you're a woman, you've mothered someone whether you realize it or not.  It's in our nature to nurture!

3.  I get to have an ABSURD amount of shoes!  SHOES!!!!  GLORIOUS SHOES!!!!  Oh my!  I love me some shoes!!!!  Most especially heels!  While dancing all this past weekend, I took off my shoes once and quickly put them back on.  It was actually more comfortable for me to dance in heels than bare feet.  Go figure!

4.  I get to wear BEAUTIFUL things!!!  I'm so loving silk lately.  It just feels amazingly like feathers on my it's just barely there.  I come across beautiful stunning prints that I would NEVER be able to wear if I were a man.  

5.  I get to blame crap on hormones!  Am I a bit pissy today?  Oh, I'm's my horror-mones.   I know I'm super sensitive.  It must be these dang hormones!  YES!  I'm really going to eat 2 cheese coneys, a large order of tater tots with a side of jalapeno poppers and gallon of diet coke!   But it's just a snack!  I'll still cook dinner!  Does that sound like a lot?  Hmmmmm....I must be hormonal......

So tell me girlies....what do you love about being a girl, chick, dame, broad, bad mamajamma, shawty, or lady!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We gotta get right back where we started from...

Jacket, leather skirt, & leather pumps - thrifted

This past weekend I went with my sister to her 30 year class reunion!   Since last Friday, it's just been a whirlwind and to be frank, my blog has been far in the back of my mind.  Work has had a lot going on and I've got some personal (all good) stuff in the works as well; so when it's come to what has to take a back seat, it's been my sweet little fashion blog.  And that means that I've been AWOL commenting as well.  For that, I hope you all understand.

This is another outfit that I don't think totals quite $5!  The shoes are leather with a platform heel.  Such a 40s vibe coming off of them!  You fabulous chicky boom booms have a wonderful evening!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My wintertime love to be.....

As of late, this has become my uniform....pencil skirt, sleeveless blouse and heels.  It's just such a no brainer for me that it makes getting dressed quick and easy!

I've been thinking about cooler weather clothes and how I'm going to stay warm this winter.  Last year I experimented WAY too much and was far more concerned with something being "blog worthy" than actually if I really liked it.  This year, I'm having none of that.  It's completely about what I feel good in and what I love.  So here are some things that I WILL be wearing the heck out of this fall/winter:

  • Hose:  That's right.  You heard me.  Panty hose.  I'll be trying out different neutral shades of panty hose.  I'm thinking taupe, browns, blacks, grays and maybe some metallics.  I know there are mixed reviews on panty hose, but frankly.....I'm just going to say it......I like them!  Hose will allow me to wear all kinds of shoes and NOT rely solely on boots.
  • Fishnets:  This may fall under the category of hose, but I stinking LOVE fishnets!  Except this year I'm going to get black ones and flesh colored ones.  The flesh tone fishnets give enough texture without all the color.  
  • Dark tights:  Last year I really tried to embrace the colored tights thing.  I realized, it's just. not. me!  While you won't find me in colored or patterned tights, you WILL find me in dark tights such as blacks and browns.  These just look good with everything!
  • Clogs:  Bring on the clogs!  I've got about 3 pair of really great clogs that I intend to wear the fool out of!  I get really bored with non-stop boots.  And sometimes, it's just too cold for regular shoes.  Enter the clog.  A pair of black clogs with black tights = you're DONE!  Goes with EVERYTHING!
  • Blazers:  I LOVE blazers and have amassed quite a few.  I plan to really get some wear out of them as things cool down.  With blazers, you can just go crazy.  They can be bright.  They can be fitted.  They can be loose.  They can belted (which I intend to do a lot of).  They're amazingly versatile and the thrift stores are FILLED  with them!
  • Colors:  Things tend to get dark when the mercury nose dives; but I refuse to go through the next 6 months or so in heavy neutrals.  I'm going to make sure to keep color in the rotation.
  • Vintage:  At the end of last Winter, I thrifted some AMAZING long vintage coats, a gorgeous sweater dress and some great vintage sweater.  My passion for vintage knows no seasons, so expect to see vintage carry me into the winter and beyond!
So there you have it!  That's what you can expect from me.....but what about you?  What are your essentials for the cooler weather?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I just lap it up like honey, I enjoy being a girl!

I continue to be surprised at my little thrifting adventures!  I saw this dress a few weeks ago at a local thrift store.  I was in a hurry and really didn't feel like trying anything on so I passed it up.  I could tell from the looks of it, that it was a dress that would only work if the fit was just right.  I NEVER expected to see it again because it's pretty current.  (In my neck of the woods, vintage stays on the racks a long time, but more current items move quickly)  So I was quite surprised when I went in last week and saw it STILL on the racks.  Not only had it survived the regular daily perusal, but it also stayed through an entire WEEK of their half price sale which would put this baby at about $1.25!  

So, I slipped it on over my clothes for a quick look-see at the fit and BAM!  PERFECTION!!!!  Like it was made for me and BONUS:  a pegged hem (more fitted at the bottom).  The price?  $2!  RIDICULOUS!  Now, the shoes are another story.  After hitting this same thrift store for a few weeks and coming up nil, this day, I found this GREAT pair of thick strapped black heels for $2!  So that's right girlies.......There's not even $5 in this whole outfit!

And while I know it's somewhat tacky to talk about money, this is pretty much what I blog about: 

 You can be as poor as a church mouse and look like a million bucks!  
(Can I get an AMEN!?!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Some style advice from Mother Nature!

My honey and I have totally fallen in love with hiking!  The weekends find us scouring the internet for new trails and scouring the trails for things to climb!  With all the beautiful sites we've taken in, it wasn't long before I felt ol' Mothah Natchah tryin' to tell me something.  Seems she has some style advice for us and I thought I'd share it with you!  So grab your cup o' whatever, sit back, and see if any of these little gems from nature strike a chord with you.  They certainly spoke to me!

 Wear Red!

Even the leaves know that red makes you stand out!  Don't be afraid of it!  Find your red in a shade of lipstick.  A pair of earrings.  Jeans.  Coat.  You decide, but find the right shade and wear it!!

Allow yourself to be admired!

Hey!  You took some time putting yourself together.  You take care of yourself and are feelin' cute.  So be still and enjoy the compliments.  Part of the art of being a lady is learning to graciously accept compliments.  So don't run from them!  Enjoy them and sincerely return them!

Try some interesting and unexpected color combinations!

It was actually this plant that gave me the idea for this post.  The bright fuschia and orange combination is not one that I would have put together and yet, it really works!  Embrace the color!  You'll stand out and in a GOOD way!

Stick your neck out! & Wear a great print!

Is there something you've been wanting to try but are a little bit nervous about it?  Well, stick your neck out and give it a shot!  You think CoCo followed the herd?  I think NOT!  She knew what she liked and what looked good and went forward with it.  And since she was a woman, like you and me, I can follow her lead and trust my sartorial instincts too!

Part 2 of this is to wear a great print!  I used to shy away from prints, thinking that they weren't versatile and frankly, could be a bit tacky.  But no more!  Great prints are works of art and much easier to be incorporated into your wardrobe than you think.  When in doubt, pair your print with a neutral and let the print be the STAH!

Let them know you've been there!

This was the only place I've seen these.  My husband told me they are called cairns.  Hikers that made it down into this somewhat remote enclave left stone tributes to mark their visit.  There just seems to be something so human about wanting to leave a mark; to say, "I'VE BEEN HERE!"  I find that my own style seems to be the same.  I like to dress to leave an impression.  Good or bad, you know I've been there!

Don't be afraid to stand alone.

Is there something you like that you haven't seen in all the fashion magazines or on your blog roll?  You don't need permission to wear something.  If you like it and feel great in it, then be BOLD!  Are you following rules like "over 35, no mini skirts" and yet, you just can't shake that urge to show off those legs?  Well don't fight it!  My girl, Paula, continues to rock the mini skirts and isn't afraid to stand alone if need be!  THAT girlies, is confidence!  And confidence looks fabulous on EVERYONE!

Be Daring!

You know there's an adventurer in you!  So go on and embrace her!  Wear that outrageously high heel!  Put on that bold animal print!  Try that look that you saw the model in the magazine wear that you KNOW looks completely YOU!  You got this!

At the end of the day, if the paparazzi don't like what you're wearing.... them what they can kiss!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Can't you see....You have....everything your heart desires...

My husband puts such a big smile on my face!!!!

"Those shoes look pretty on you....I wish I could wear something like that.  I'd fall off the heels!"  

I turned to see who was speaking and saw that it was a well dressed older woman looking at me from the end of the shoe aisle in one of my regular thrifting holes.  We struck up a conversation about shoes; both of us agreeing that NEITHER of us needed another pair!  Of course, as we talked we were trying on shoes and gathering up our goodies.  Ms. Unknown said to me, "Oh, I just LOVE shoes!  I have more at home than could fit on these racks!"  I agreed and assured her, that I too, was busting at my shoe seams.  "You know what else I love?" she says.  "JEWELRY!!!"  Ms. Lovely Woman whom I feel like may be my senior doppelganger went on to explain that she loves jewelry because it ALWAYS fits!  BRILLIANT!  That's so true!  And I can certainly share her enthusiasm!

But what I really loved was the promise in her eyes that my love for style probably won't damper with age.  Here she was, probably in her 70s, scouring the shoe section for treasures. I can't tell you how much I LOVE that!  I thought to myself, "That's ME!"  She continues foraging for thrifty treasures because she has a love of pretty things.  I could tell, that like me, she really enjoys being a girl!  How wonderful that that never changes.  That we continue to see ourselves as a young girl, easily excited at the prospect of a new find.  If our children remain our babies in our eyes, regardless of their age; doesn't it make sense that we remain youthful, if not in body then in our mind's eye?

I was speaking with a sweet friend, Joyce, with whom I go to church.  Ms. Joyce is approaching 80 years old and has been married to her husband for 56 years!!  That's AMAZING!  She was relating stories to me of how she and her husband/beau met and courted. She was recounting being a cheerleader and basketball player.  She spoke of it all as if it were just a few weeks ago, when in reality it was basically my mother's lifetime ago (my mother died at 56).  We laughed about how we never see ourselves as old as our age sounds.  In her mind, she is still the same teenage girl who fell in love with a handsome football player.

In my mind, I'm still a goofy 13 year old girl who gets tickled over the most juvenile things.  I still look at others and think, "When will I finally start FEELING mature?  Like I'm a responsible adult with my act together?"  I almost can't help feeling sheepish that I am mother to four kids.....I mean, what in the WORLD made God think that I was (or am now) mature enough to bring them safely to adulthood!?!

The saying is that you're only as old as you feel.  As we age, sometimes things don't move the way they used to.  Stray hairs start growing in odd places and we make all kinds of creaking noises when we move!  So I think of it as, YOU'RE AS YOUNG AS YOU BELIEVE YOURSELF TO BE.  And my Sisters, BELIEVING is a POWERFUL thing!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When a woman sure can be a friend of mine....

Today, class......we're going to talk about trends (writing T-R-E-N-D-S on a cyber chalkboard).  Your reference?  This post by Danie of No Guilt Fashion.  

Danie, so succinctly wrote about her issue with trends. Describing this issue, she writes, "The problem is that if I dress according to what is the current trend I look like everybody else."  That's right!  And where's the style in that?  

This came up again today when Bella (The Citizen Rosebud) asked via Facebook if anyone had gone to Target to take advantage of the Missoni collaboration.  To which I replied similar to Danie.  I actually think Missoni makes works of art in knits.  Seriously, they've taken the flame stitch to a whole new place.   So I'm a huge fan!  But to purchase this at Target now is sure to leave me seeing myself all over the place.  I lose my uniqueness.  I'm just another woman following a trend.

You see, that's the problem with trends.  They invite crowds, not individuals.  Trends draw others' focus to itself and not to the wearer.  Trends focus on numbers and personal style focuses on one number....ONE.  Trends are those cool girls in high school who require you to wear your hair a certain way or only carry a particular purse in order to "fit in" to their group.  And once your in that clique, you become the clique and lose part or all of what makes you like no other. 

I commented on Danie's post that the women that are known as fashion icons don't follow trends....they set them!  Did Coco Chanel wear layers of pearls because everyone else wore them?  What about Dita Von Teese?  She was doing vintage YEARS before it became popular.  Alexa Chung?  I think most would agree that she drives today's trends, she doesn't follow them.....she CREATED them simply by being herself.   These women stay true to themselves and their aesthetic and are iconized for it.

I think there's a lesson there.  If we all follow our OWN style, our own passion; then we're ALL icons!  I think you make a GREAT style icon!!  And so do I!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why'd you have to go and make things so complicated?

Can you tell what's missing here?  Let me give you a hint....they make a lot of noise.  You guessed it!


This week, we got Netflix streaming and so we basically have a video store at the touch of a Wii control!  I've been watching SCORES of Mad Men episodes!  I'd never seen it before and I'm not going to be shy about saying, "I'M HOOKED!!!!"  Of course my favorite character is Joan Holloway.  I just love the clean lines and the attention to fit.

When I put this on, I thought to myself that there was nothing really "special" about this outfit.  There's nothing unique about how it was put together.  No reinventing the wheel here.  But that's part of  the beauty of it!  When the fit and quality is there, let the clothes speak for themselves.

The other part of the beauty of it, is the price.  I don't think there's $15 in this entire outfit!  I fished the skirt and top out of my favorite thrifting pond.  All the labels had been cut out of it, so I have no idea of the brand or size.  I'm sure there's a message in that somewhere!  I eyeballed it, tried it on, and fell in love with the fit.

"Both Sides were against me since the day I was born" follow-up

Apparently, when sleep fails, inspiration flourishes!  That's been my experience and apparently, I'm not alone.  According to Terri (Rags Against the Machine), "I often compose outfits in my mind as I try to sleep, but sometimes I have to get up and check--not dress, but pair the items together. I can never truly know until I've got it on."  and Joy (Southern Comfort) was right there with her and also mentally redecorates as she tries to fall off to sleep!  "I lay in bed thinking about outfit combinations. It helps me relax. (I also reimagine the living rooms in my friend's houses! LOL)"  And for Kat (A second glance), ideas come to her in her dreams!  "Believe it or not some outfits have come to me in dreams. (Although sometimes they involve really cool stuff that I don't even own). 

Gracey (Fashion for Giants) prefers a more cerebral approach.  Says Gracey, "As for me, when I think of outfits, I actually write them down and then try to make them happen at some point."  And then there's the creative approach that allows the clothes to speak to you!  I LOVE THIS!  Judith (The Style Crone) said, "I usually start with the hat and then whatever memory or my gaze provides."  There's so much value in letting the clothes texture and colors guide you.  And Bella (The Citizen Rosebud), continues with this abstract approach by starting with a single piece.   "My style is usually impulsive. A piece will trigger the ensemble. Everything put together once only, and with a stream of consciousness logic to it. 

Thanks for sharing your creative process with me and your fellow bloggers!  It's inspiring and is motivating me to allow myself to be inspired outside of my box!

Guess what tomorrow is?  Visible Monday!!!  The indomitable Patti of Not Dead Yet Style invites all of us over 40ers to  make ourselves very visible on Monday and then show it off on her blog and check out our un-invisible  friends!  Go take a look!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Both sides were against me since the day I was born.....

My outfit ideas start in my head.  Usually, as I'm drifting off to sleep or in the shower, I start mentally removing items from my closet and putting them together.  In my mind's eye I can visualize what it looks like on.  Most of the time, if it looks good in my head, it looks good on.  

That's how this outfit came together.  I was in the shower thinking about what I wanted to wear, and I started out with the shirt.  I got this for a couple of dollars last week at a new thrift store I found.  It's a very light denim that looks like it's from the 70s.  I then decided to go for the whole southwest vibe.  I just love that look!  I can see this with boots (cowboy maybe?) and denim jacket as the cooler temperatures take hold!

I'm do you put together your clothes?  Do you stand at the opening of your closet and start moving things around experimenting?  Does one item go on first and then you start looking around your wardrobe looking for what to put with it?  Are you super organized and plan your outfits for the week?  (I'm in AWE of anyone who can do that!)  I'd love to hear how your creativity works!  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When a man loves a woman......

The beauty of a high waisted pant is that is sits at the thinnest part of the waist.  I've noticed that many trousers now, have such a low rise that they cause women to lose their waists.  It's one of the things that I really like about these pants.  These are vintage mens' trousers and while I know they're not everyone's cup o'tea, they certainly are mine!  I feel like I'm channeling Marlene Dietrich, one of the first actresses to wear mens' trousers.  


You gotta love a trail blazin' woman!  She liked it.  She wore it.  And she OWNED the look!!!  That's called a SIGNATURE STYLE!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Woman, I can hardly express.....

Did you ever see the episode of Sex and the City in which Carrie first sees Mr. Big with Natasha at the barbeque?  The title and theme of the episode was  "Twenty something girls vs Thirty something women" and addresses the subject of insecurities that women have as they age and how they view their younger doppelgangers.

Is there a competition?
I'd love to believe that as younger women, we looked up to and respected our  forebears.  It would also be lovely to believe that now, moving into that forebear role, older women are taking the younger under their wing and helping them to grow into the women that they were born to be.  But that might be a little idealistic on my part.

Just like Carrie and her friends in the aforementioned episode dealt with the harsh reality that, as they aged, they were often pushed aside for younger women, we ordinary middle America women deal with the same thing.  On the one hand, we don't WANT to compete with our younger selves.  We love them.  We want them to thrive and realize their dreams.

On the other hand, let's face it.  We resent being relegated to the back of the shelf so that we can be replaced with the newer and the younger.  We've been where the 20 somethings have been.  At  my age, I've even been where the 30 somethings have been!  We've made the tough decisions.  We've raised kids.  We've found, lost and then found ourselves again.  We realize this life is a journey and the story is IN the journey, not the destination.

So if we love these younger women, why the resentment?
Let's be clear.  The resentment isn't aimed at our younger counterparts.  The resentment stems from societal attitudes that say that once women reach a certain age, they're disposable.  They've served their purpose and now should go "softly into that good night".

Today, I read a post by Darryle Pollack, that quoted a NY Post article in which Alan Wurtzel, president of research at NBC Universal states that as TV viewers reach age 55, they essentially turn invisible.  Marketers don't see them as a viable demographic! THANK YOU!   I KNEW I wasn't going crazy and that this wasn't all in my head!

Unfortunately, I'm seeing the same attitudes in the blogging community.  Advertisers and brands seemingly only have eyes for the 15-25 crowd.  As a blogger ages, is she to become invisible also?  And if she comes onto the scene over 35 or 40, is she even on the radar?  As major fashion houses turn more and more to marketing to women of means by using girls in their teens, where does this leave the mature women who have the purchasing power to stock their closets with these designer duds?

What does the future hold for the mature fashion blogger?  Sacramento, the fabulous voice of Mis Papelicos, recently featured the ever elegant Vahni of Grit and Glamour.  One of the questions she asked Vahni was what wild dream does she have that she hopes will become a reality for her?  To which Vahni responded, "A major luxury brand wills scoop me up and ask me to write or manage a blog for them full-time."

To that I say, this shouldn't even be a WILD dream for Vahni!  This should have already been a reality?  Who better to write or manage a luxury brand blog than a woman of substance who successfully juggles  blogging, job, motherhood, marriage and everything that those responsibilities entail?  Who better  to manage this blog than a woman who already actually purchases and wears these luxury brands ?  Who has proven herself to be a prolific blogger, excellent writer, and adept at bridge building between brands and bloggers.  Frankly, the biggest surprise here is that she HASN'T been scooped up yet.  What a huge opportunity for a luxury brand that has the vision to see the potential and value in a more mature blogger!  

Are aging bloggers simply a novelty?  
Are we just playing Stella trying to get our groove back or do we REALLY have a voice and perspective worthy to be considered?  If we're really invisible to marketers, then how do we react to that?  Are we just beating our heads up against the wall?  How do we shed this cloak of invisibility and should it even matter to us if we're visible or not to those who really don't want to see us anyway?

I am VERY visible.
I know myself well enough to know that I'm NOT going to settle for invisible but I'm also NOT going to stomp my foot and petulantly whine, "LOOK AT ME!!!  NOTICE ME!!"  Frankly, it's not very elegant.  But in my own way, I CAN make a difference.  And here's how I'm going to do that:

~I'm going to be myself.  First and foremost.  No apologies here for being a (month away from) 45 year old woman with adult children.  I'm not going to head straight for the "youngest" and "trendiest" fashions.  I'm going to continue to evolve into the BEST version of myself that I can be NOT the youngest.  

~ As far as I'm concerned, brands that don't see ME are invisible to ME.  If Marc Jacobs or Miu Miu choose to use tweens to model their clothes to me then oops, I'm sorry, they just became invisible to me.  Frankly, we don't share the same ideals.  And it's a bit insulting to mature women that could represent those brands so much more effectively because they are a part of the demographic who can afford those clothes.  One doesn't need to hire a child to play a grown up when there are scores of grown women who can do the job admirably and authentically.  Smacks a little of Old Hollywood hiring caucasians to play the role of hispanics, native americans, or orientals when the REAL thing was available to them!

~I can shine the spotlight more and more on my "invisible" friends and blogging peers.  Visible is in the eye of the beholder!!  I have a very sneaking suspicion that more people want to see mature women than advertisers and brands suspect.  We're just not push overs.  We're educated consumers who want more out of a product than just the status of a logo.

~I can embrace and encourage younger women and cheer for their success!  What an exciting time to be a young woman!  As the mother of a young adult daughter, I want her to dream big and realize those dreams.  I don't want her age holding her back now or 20 years from now.   But I also want her to have respect and deference to those women who have paved a way for her.  I hope that she's the value of letting wisened and mature women mentor her.

~I will see NO woman as competition, but as sisters.  More about The Sisterhood here.   When teams are divided up, count me on Team FEMALE every time!!

To my fellow +40 blogger friends, I say, stand up and be counted.  Our numbers are growing and our voices and true selves are getting stronger.  If you're a plus 40 blogger, be sure to go to The Citizen Rosebud and ask to be put on her +40 blog roll.  It seems to be growing weekly and I'm THRILLED to be a part of it!

To my younger blogger friends, I say, we love you!  We embrace you.  We are your biggest fans.  We applaud your success and your gumption.   We're traveling the same road and we're hoping to make it even smoother for you as you make your way through the wonderful, exciting and adventurous decades of life!

By the way, be sure to check out all the visible ladies at Patti's blog, Not Dead Yet Style!   

Thursday, September 1, 2011

JUMP! For my love.......

Doing the obligatory blogger jump!  Won't be doing that again!!!!
I love these jeans....they're more like slacks.  The length and the fit are just perfect!  I thrifted this blouse a while and feels WONDERFUL!  Instead of just buttoning up the front, I wrapped and belted it for a more accentuated fit.

By the way, I'm still loving red lipstick, but finding that lipliner is a MUST as the red likes to bleed.  NOT a good look....a little just fed vampire look!