Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fashion Essentials for a Woman of a Certain Age

I don't know why I do this to myself but despite the fact that the models could be my granddaughters, and I can't afford the clothes and accessories they wear, I can't resist fashion magazines.  I may not have much in common with Gigi Haddid and Kendall Jenner but show me a "Harper's Bazaar" or a "Vogue," and I can't help myself.



But that doesn't mean I am immune to it all.  Reading these magazines brings up all kinds of angst and bile and regret about growing old, not to mention I can't wear or afford most of the featured items.  So at least once a year, I am inspired to rant about fashion magazines and rail against what they say we should be wearing and doing.

So speaking of "Harper's Bazaar," they have a column called "The A-List," where someone famous "shares her essentials."  It's kind of like Nina Garcia's "What Nina Loves" that I ranted about last year ("What Rosy the Reviewer Loves and a Rant About Fashion Magazines.").  Now Nina is a woman of a certain age like myself and she can be forgiven for hawking outrageous items such as Tom Ford soap for $35 a bar and beaded Balenciaga sandals for $1375, because that's her job as a fashion editor, but when a twenty-year-old like Kendall Jenner is telling me what fashion essentials are, I have to draw the line.  I am a woman of a certain age and have pretty much given up on buying designer clothes and pricey soap, but, Kendall Jenner is a fashion icon who has millions of followers on social media and I would guess they aren't women my age.  They are young women who also can't afford some of the stuff she is saying is "essential" either.

Let's see... (and I am quoting here):

"When it comes to tops, I like something simple and easy to re-wear." Chanel sweater, $2050.

If I had a Chanel sweater that cost over $2000 it wouldn't just be easy to re-wear, I would be wearing it every day because it would be the only thing I owned!

"I wash my face a lot, wear sunscreen, drink tons of water and use Estee Lauder Products." - Rouge, $82. 

Uh, $82 for rouge? I just squeeze my cheeks like Scarlett O'Hara used to do and save myself the $82.



"I wear a watch every once in a while, usually a vintage Rolex that I really like." 

I would think she would like it.  It costs $11,000.  I would really like it too.  You notice she says she wears it every once in a while.  For 20-year-olds, a watch is not for telling time.  They have their IPhones for that.  A Rolex would be a fashion accessory that just happens to have a little thingy on it that tells the time.

"I'm a big shoe girl.  Shoes of all types, really, especially if they're comfortable."  Balmain, $1540!

For $1540 I sure hope they are comfortable, because you would have to wear thing constantly to get your money's worth!

"For jewelry, I really love chokers and sentimental necklaces.  And Chanel is always a go-to."  Chanel bracelet, $2200

OK, I can't take any more.  Speaking of chokers, I want to choke her!  Twenty years old and throwing around words like Chanel, Balmain and Rolex.  I can barely afford a sweater at Old Navy.

And I would imagine Kendall's 20-year-old followers can't afford Chanel, Balmain and Rolex either.

So why do we women, especially women of a certain age, read these magazines that show impossibly thin, impossibly young women talking about their essential fashion items that are impossibly expensive for most of us?

Well, I don't know about you, but I do it for the same reason I go to the movies.  For a short time, I can hang out in a different world.  I can imagine myself in Prada and Chanel, wearing a Rolex watch and sipping Veuve Clicquot with the beautiful people.

But more practically speaking, I also like clothes and like to keep up with the trends. I may be old, but I am not out of it.  I liked clothes when I was twenty, and I like clothes now. Certainly I can't afford the high end stuff, but if I know what's on trend, then I can usually put together something that shows I know what's going on. 

We women of a certain age tend to become invisible.  I am not having it.  I will not go quietly into old age and give up my big earrings and my leopard leggings.

And right there, that's the #1 fashion essential for a woman of a certain age.

Your Fashion Essential is YOU!

Don't give up on yourself.  Get on out there and stay there!

We may not be a 20-something Kendall Jenner who can afford to buy whatever she wants and has the best hair and make-up people at her beck and call, but we can still be presentable and look like we belong in the 21st century.

Yes, some days I don't get out of the bathrobe until noon, but at least I do get dressed and when I do, I try to look like I give a damn.

So to look like you give a damn, here are what I consider fashion essentials for women of a certain age who still care what they look like, but who don't have a lot of money to spend on themselves:

 

1. Shapewear.
If you are self-conscious about parts of your body - and who of us of a certain  age aren't? - and that self-consciousness restricts what you think you can wear, buy some shapewear, which is just a trendy name for what we used to call girdles or corsets. It doesn't have to be Spanx, which I find impossibly expensive considering all of the places on my body I need to shape.  You can get good quality shapewear at Penney's or discount places like Ross or Marshall's. Mostly I like to wear it to hold up my pantyhose when I am wearing a dress and boots or in summer to keep my thighs from slapping together when I am wearing a sundress. TMI?



 
 


2. A fashionable hat
Then you don't need to fix your hair.  However, be aware that once you have the hat on you will likely have to keep wearing it because otherwise when you take the hat off you will have hat hair.  So buy a hat your really like in case you can't take it off.

 

3. Active wear
This is just a trendy name for work-out clothes.  At least if you have some cute workout clothes, you might go to the gym...or to the mall.  I include mall walking as a work-out.

 



 

4. Make-up
When we ladies get old, I think the first thing that seems to go by the wayside is wearing make-up.  I am willing to accept that I have gotten old but I am not willing to accept how I look without mascara.  Given that, I am willing to take the five minutes it takes to slap on some make-up so I can fight the battle that is getting old.

 



5. Big Sunglasses
For when you don't want to wear make-up.

 


 

6. Trousers that make you feel good and look good
You notice I don't use the word pants.  That's for my British friends - in the UK "pants" are usually underpants so I am not talking about that here.  Trousers can be jeans or they can be a tailored trouser but they should be your go-to's, the ones you reach for when you want to look fabulous.





 


7. A fabulous coat or jacket
I am addicted to coats and jackets and they are essential to looking good when you are outside when the weather is colder.  They keep you nice and warm, and they can cover a multitude of sins. 

 

8. Black and/or white
Wearing all black or all white is a great look and also makes accessorizing easy.  Or mix the two. Always striking.



9.  A great uniform
Have a great stay-at-home outfit you can pull on without thinking and hang around the house in, but that doesn't make you look like you weren't thinking when you got dressed. You never know...the man (or woman) of your dreams might knock on the door and you don't want to be standing there in sweatpants and a t-shirt that says "My Cat Thinks I'm Cool."  Well, do you?  Even the cable guy shouldn't have to see you like that.


So here's a tip for that: I have just discovered a trick that works really well for looking good every day.  I have a ton of clothes that I have accumulated over the years.  I can basically shop my own closets.  I am not proud of my "collecting," OK, hoarding (I talked about it in May on my post "Confessions of a Clothes Hoarder"), but let's just say I am aware of the problem and am working on it.

But anyway, having so many clothes has its own problems in that sometimes I am overwhelmed with what to wear. When I am riding my stationary bike with the closet door open, I sometimes see items I haven't seen in years and think to myself, "Wow, that's cute. When did I get that?"  Sad.


So I now have this little pile of trousers/leggings and tops that I keep at the forefront of my closet and can just reach for. They consist of a few cute on trend outfits I can put on without thinking.  And I can wear the same thing a couple of days in a row if I am seeing different people.  Who will know but you?


10. Finally, as I said earlier, the best fashion essential is staying in the game.  You don't have to spend a lot to look good but spending a little time to look good will make you feel like a million bucks!

That is the most essential fashion essential: Feeling good about yourself no matter what your size, the size of your wardrobe or the wrinkles on your face.  Don't be invisible! It's your life so live it!



So I will end by sharing with you the fashion trends for fall to give you a little inspiration and to save you having to scout the fashion magazines and hang out with Kendall Jenner and start feeling bad again.

  • Leopard trousers (or trousers in a graphic print)
  • Military coat
  • Modern loafer
  • Puffer jacket
  • Long trench
  • Graphic bag
  • Cross body bag
  • Luxe fabric as in brocade
  • Velvet boots

Clothes hoarding has its perks. Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check... oops.  Yes, I have all of the items on the list including the leopard trousers...but no velvet boots.

I think I need to go for a mall walk!


 
Thanks for Reading!
 
See you Friday
 

for my review of



"War Dogs"
 
and 
  
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

  
and the latest on


"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before  
 I Die Project."
 

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5 comments :

  1. It finally dawned on me the other day that I have been subscribing to InStyle and PeopleStyle for close to 20 years. I honestly don't know who half the "celebrities" are (actresses on some cable show I don't watch, most likely). I have always been able to gather up so much style info over the years I know my subscription has been worthwhile. But the last issue that talked about how to style my long hair (?!) into a fishtail braid, or how to wear platform birkenstocks with my Coachella style prairie dress (are they still called that?!) got me to realize that I have more than likely outgrown this mode of fashion advice. I do not plan to renew my subscription...but I just can't go the way of Good Housekeeping or Redbook either. I do follow a couple of the fashion bloggers you used to recommend (I don't see them there anymore), and I screenshot pictures from their blogs for future reference. I like your idea about the uniform and that it is NOT my sweats and probably does require the wearing of a brassiere. I can't let myself go to hell now! Plus, if I follow some of your other advice about getting out into the world, I CAN'T let them see me without my mascara and lipstick (I hear Gigi Hadid recommends matte eggplant color this year!).....

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    1. I am still trying to process platform birkenstocks! :)

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    2. Oh and thanks for mentioning the blogs I am following section of my blog. Not sure which ones are no longer there but I am going to update that. I just added a good fashion one - Bridget Raes - check it out and let me know what you think.

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  2. You must have had Bridgette Raes on there before. I do follow her. That's the one where I do the screen shots of her great outfits. Glad she's back on your list.

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    1. Oh, good, glad I found the right one. If I had it up before, not sure why I took it down. But I will be updating that section of my blog so stay tuned. I might find some other good fashion blogs.

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