Thursday, September 29, 2011

What I Wore: Animal Prints are So Hot Right Now

I am out of my comfort zone yet again – blogging does this to one – with a wild and crazy leopard print top. I de-wilded it with a very safe gray pencil skirt and light accessories. Although, looking at it now, I’d like this top with a more colorful skirt next time, to really play up the print. Maybe a red pencil skirt?

I just picked up this DKNY knit top at Ross Dress for Less. It’s very soft and flowy, and it has a cool detail at the back, where my team number can go. I’ve had the To The Max skirt for ages, and I can’t remember where I got it – consignment, I think.


Kenneth Cole Reaction shoes



The blog goddesses are smiling, because I’m able to link this up to Tammy’s “Trends Through the Decades” party, and I can repeat it for Bloggers Do It Better in a couple of days. Animals everywhere, man.

Have you embraced the animal print in a large or small way? All-out with a fabulous dress, or just a touch, with a belt or bag? I would like to get some animal print gloves, even cotton ones, for my NYC trip. That would add interest to my mostly-solid looks.

These zebra print gloves are a fun way to add animal print without too much risk!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Six Piece Wardrobe for A NYC Trip

May I start my boring pre-trip travelogue now?? I'm going to my favorite city for two weeks. Arrggh, I cannot wait, but I want the time to pass slowly, so that when the trip starts, it won't end . . . babble, babble. This trip is Part One of my scheme rational plan to persuade my husband that we could "make it there," nibble on the Big Apple, etc. He loves to surf, so this is not going to be a slam-dunk.

I have been playing with Polyvores for my wardrobe and I like this set for our Autumn visit:

Six Pieces for NYC

Six Pieces for NYC


I got fascinated with the idea of a Six Piece Wardrobe earlier this year. This capsule has six actual clothing pieces, but allows plenty of accessories. I appreciate the casual but polished look of these pieces. When I'm in New York I wear a lot more black than here in Florida, and I feel comfortable with it. The red scarf will give me a shot of color, and a fitted black blazer will go with everything. How I wish I owned a spectacular bag like the one shown, but I have a very nice Anne Klein that will do the trick.

I won't be bringing these exact clothes because I already own a lot of clothes (and most of these pieces are way above my price-zone). But this capsule gives me good mixing ideas. For two weeks' stay, I'll need a couple of pairs of dark wash, straight jeans, and multiples of great neutral tops like the ones above. We'll have access to a washer/dryer so all the washables can be cared for easily. And some shopping will be done, especially at the thrifts and vintage shops I've discovered on earlier visits.

For me, so much of the joy of vacations is the planning and anticipation. We are going happily crazy with our lists of things to see, do, eat, and drink. Our tenth wedding anniversary happens while we're there. The Halloween Parade is not to be missed, I have been told. Wardrobe will be a fun part of the whole experience!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Art and Heart of Self Denial

Usually when we reach A Certain Age, we are able to indulge in a few of the material niceties of life. While far from wealthy, most of us no longer have to "sweat the rent", pitch in with our girlfriends to get gas for the weekend, or wait for Quarter Beer Night to go out for a beverage. (Gasp! Did I used to do that?? Yes.)

I am writing in generalities, of course, and I recognize that my readers span a wide breadth of economic means. For the purpose of this ramble however, I am thinking about those of us who have probably been working for several decades, have a decent abode and a vehicle in the carport. These are some of the trade-offs for youth that I wrote about last week, and that Kathy Bates so memorably declared to the young women in "Fried Green Tomatoes." ("I'm older and I have more insurance.").

So for those of us who have the basics covered: what do we deny ourselves, in the realm of style and fashion, that we could afford? And is this wisdom or excessive guilt? If given a chance to "splurge", might you choose some updated shrubberies, new tires, or dorm-room decor for the kids? Or a wonderful-but-pricey suit/purse/pair of boots you have had your eyes on for months?

I can only truly answer for myself, of course, and hope for your answers in the Comments below. I was raised in a rather restrictive environment, with a lot more "no" than "yes". One of the worst things a person could be was "selfish". If therapy school taught me anything (it did!), it's that early lessons are deeply planted and modified with only the greatest effort.

So at midlife, I still struggle with "deserving" and splurging, and allowing myself to spend on myself, commensurate with my income/assets. After all, self-denial is a virtue, isn't it? Look around: self-indulgence is a fairly ubiquitous pastime, and the world doesn't need a whole lot more Kim K's and Paris Hiltons. But I am thinking about balance, a little bit of self-indulgence laced with some hard work, building, sharing, and sacrifice.

Yes, I can always find "similar" for less. But is it okay to skip the comparison-shopping every rare once in a while? To just choose something because it is lovely, and it feels good? I'm still learning the answers, never too late for that.


Dewdrop Earrings - Rose Quartz by Wendy Brandes


Frye Dorado Riding Boots


I've always loved the name


What are your thoughts about self-restraint and self-indulgence? What are you denying yourself, if anything, because you're not sure you "should"?  Or are you looking at this issue from the other side, trying to curb your spending on style?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Visible Monday #14: Polka Dots, Pattern Mixing, General Brightness!

Welcome to Visible Monday #14! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

It's a burst of color and pattern today! I am wearing polka dots (almost - it's actually a polka-starburst) for Tammy at Silverstyle's "Through the Decades" link-up.  Go check it out, and add your polkas to the party.

This lively lime green blouse is thrifted. It's a very soft poly chiffon, by Liz Claiborne. It's much brighter than my usual palette but I chose it because:
  • it pattern-mixes so cheerfully with my vintage 80's herringbone midi skirt,
  • the neckline is low enough to keep the brightness off my face,
  • it feels lovely against my skin, and
  • it's Visible Monday -- no hiding out.



I'm wearing my boots! I laugh at the weather-person,
who predicts a high of 87 today!






Meet Virginia Design




Recycled Fashion




The guidelines to participate in Visible Monday are so simple!
  1. Any Monday, whoever wants to can join in! Just compose a post that includes any outfit, accessory, piece of jewelry, hairstyle, cosmetic or other adornment that makes you feel more confident, alive and visible that day.
  2. Include a link to Not Dead Yet Style somewhere in your post.
  3. Go to the bottom of this post and click on this cute little link:


In the "Next Step", you crop the pic (easy tool) you want to display, and you're done!




Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fab Fall Handbags on a Budget

I love to buy a new handbag in September! It's a hangover from living in the Northeast till I was 30. Back to school, back to college, young professional -- in all my shopping iterations I wanted a new bag for Fall. Now, even though the temps will be in the high 80's for another month, I still crave a nice, Autumn-y bag to replace my bright patterned summer bag.

I enjoy gazing at the "impossibles" that are shown in Vogue and Elle. If I were given a fat check, and knocked over the head to become spendy-crazy, I would own this:



Balenciaga City Motorcycle


Or this:

Tod's G-Bag Easy Secchiello Medio



In my real life, not-broke but far from crazy-rich, I have just a few criteria:

  • Under $100-ish
  • Neutral, but not black: a "new neutral" like olive, deep red, mustard is good
  • Medium large: holds all my essentials, but doesn't resemble an overnight bag, or give me back pain
  • Shoulder-carry-able. I love the look of Mad Men short-strap purses, but cannot deal with them on an everyday basis.
  • At least one stash-spot on the outside for keys and phone.

I have my eyes on these:

Big Buddha  - I love the shape and the color. $99.95

Matt and Nash - Nice hardware, great Fall color. $87


Another Matt and Nash - the trim slays me. No outside pocket though. $96.25



Etienne Aigner - just so classic. $91


There have been times in my life when these prices have been out of reach - and of course I love a bargain any day! So I also comb the following for great Fall handbags:

  • eBay, for gently used, higher-end bags -- there are thousands out there!
  • Consignment stores have great selections at generally medium-range prices ($25-$75 for a "good" bag with a little wear).
  • My hangouts: the thrifts. There is usually a big pile of not-so-great bags, so you have to be patient and eagle-eyed. Ask to see what's behind the glass at the checkout too. There's often a lovely, high quality bag stashed away.




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Visible Monday Link-Up Reminder:  Monday September 26th is Visible Monday, a group posting for anyone who'd like to participate. The simple guidelines are here. Basically, just post something that makes you feel wonderful/visible, and link to it via my Monday post. Easy and fun.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What I Wore: Fall Colors and My Favorite Silhouette

We're a long way from Autumn temperatures here in Florida, but I am shifting to Fall colors in my wardrobe. Just because! A girl does get weary of summer clothes after six months. But heavy wools and knits are just too hot, so I switch instead to Autumn-ish colors and textures, and away from bright whites, airy cottons and sheer blouses.

Olive is one of my favorite colors, and I am in love with this new silk skirt. I bought it online from Talbots, at a terrific sale price of about $30 (it's now $59). It has a wide smocked waist (really comfortable), side pockets, and it's my perfect length. My all-time favorite skirt shape is the full, gathered skirt, like this one. It feels so good to walk around in. I expect to give it a lot of wear this Fall and Winter.

I'm crazy for the top too (do I need more interests??). It's Vivienne by Vivienne Tam, purchased at Ross for about $8 (similar on eBay). I love the slouchy shape. I realize I could be defining my own shape better than I do in this outfit, but I just plain love slouchy-over-full. And I know I will be just as happy/comfortable at the end of the day as I am at 9 AM.





Brown suede pumps: Coldwater Creek, 2009


How do those of you in warm climates make the transition to Fall? And do you have favorite silhouettes that you find yourself drawn to, time after time?


Note: I am honored to be mentioned among the "Link Loves" at You Look Fab today! Please have a look at all the great links, when you have a chance.


Join us! Click the Spotlight


Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday September 26th is Visible Monday, a group posting for anyone who'd like to participate. The simple guidelines are here. Basically, just post something that makes you feel wonderful/visible, and link to it via my Monday post. Easy and fun.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Will You Never Wear Again? (Hint: Culottes)

Fashion is cyclical, we know that. Styles I had sworn off are now back in my closet: midi skirts, velvet vests, skinny jeans, subtle fishnet hose, and Mary Janes (OK, that one goes back to 1959). I don't have my original skinny jeans, of course. I try to modernize the recycled looks, so I don't look like a bad copy of my younger self.

But every now and then, a trend re-asserts itself that makes me say, "Oh no, not you again." There are some styles that, in my universe, were ugly and unflattering the first time, and the decades have done them no favors. I'm looking at you, hot pants.

Granted, twenty-somethings can sport these recycled trends, and look ironic/hip/chic. Irony is a tough look to pull off in my 50's, and runs the risk of looking plain old silly.

I am seeing a lot of (I choke on the very word) culottes in the Fall and Spring fashion shows. OK, sometimes they are called "divided skirts" or (another gag) "gauchos". These are supposed to give one all the ease of trousers with the flowy femininity of a skirt. To my eye, they give even gazelle-like models a rather stumpy, gym-uniform-gone-wrong look.


Even though I love vintage, I did not love culottes, then or now.
Image via OldPatterns.com

Other trends that I did enjoy the first time around but won't wear again include: 
  • super-low-rise jeans
  • "city" shorts
  • harem pants
  • mini skirts (some of my sister-bloggers rock them, but I don't have the legs)
  • jumpsuits and rompers
  • potholder crochet vests

    I wore you before, jumpsuit, but not this time around!


    I'd love to hear from you: what did you used to love, and now makes you cringe; what recycled trends are you enjoying once again? No wrong answers, we all wear what makes us feel great!


    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    What Does It Mean To Embrace Our Age?

    Note: I'm honored for this post to be mentioned in Already Pretty's Lovely Links today, September 23rd. Thank you, Sally! Please go have a look at all the fantastic links, including Sally's article in The Frisky about why she doesn't diet. Great stuff.


    In some ways, it's a silly question. Our chronological age is not negotiable. Like our gender, race, and eye color, we have no control over what age we are. But unlike the cold hard fact of our age, we have a lot of control over:  1) how we think about it, and 2) how we look.

    I have written about the tendency in Western society to make older women invisible. There are no plaques or medals given to us for having reached a certain age. No pageants for Ms. Wisdom, Ms. Maturity, or Ms. Got-Her-Act-Together. If we study the advertisements, even products targeted for grown women are only actually shown on teens and 20-somethings.


    Image via Antiaging365.com


    That leaves us to think about how to age, gracefully or otherwise. What is our internal dialog about aging? And what's this "embracing" all about? I think it starts with how we talk to ourselves about ourselves, without competition (see Sally's excellent post), without disparagement, and without bat-crazy delusions (I am forever young!). Below are some of the messages I try to send myself daily about the reality of being an older woman in a youth-obsessed world:

    • There are always trade-offs. The trade-off now is that of wisdom and acceptance for youth. Not really such a bad deal.
    • So long as I have people to love, work to do, books to read, and new ideas to think about, I will be full of passion. Passion makes me feel more youthful than any neck cream.
    • Lots of wonderful adventures still await, if I am willing. I don't know for sure what is around the next corner, even though I have rounded many corners.
    • Live in the truth, not denial -- but choose joy over despair.

    As for the how-we-look part, there are so many interventions we can make to look healthier and prettier, without fixating on looking younger. Don't smoke, don't drink too much, don't bake in the sun. Eat fresh foods, move around a lot, stretch, sleep enough. Get a stylish haircut, go easy on the makeup. And our fashion bloggers' favorite: dress with pleasure! Get into that closet and put on something that makes you feel fantastic. Start a blog!

    Here are some beautiful over-50 women who are in the public eye. Yes, they certainly have the $$$$ to have procedures done, and they can have the top professionals care for their hair, skin and wardrobes. But none of these women looks plastic or has that wide-eyed look that some celebrities get when they seek youth via the scalpel. These women look like they've "embraced" their age.


    Helen Mirren
    Bernadette Peters
    Jane Birkin
    Lauren Hutton


    Do you have thoughts about aging gracefully or otherwise? Any over-40 role models that help you think about aging in a positive way?

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Visible Monday #13: Vintage Dress-Love

    Welcome to Visible Monday #13! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

    Some of my readers have commented that they are vintage clothing lovers, and wouldn't mind seeing some of my vintage dresses, on my vintage self (well, they didn't say that part). So today we'll do Visible Vintage!

    Here is a pale peach 1940's day dress that I have worn to work and to some social events. Somehow, it has grown smaller over the years, as the ghostly closet re-sizers must have had their way with it! So it will soon go to the consignment shop or up on eBay.

    It's a lovely heavyweight, silky fabric, not sure whether it's nylon or a blend. I love the details at the front waist and the metal side zipper; these are classic 40's touches. And the heavy plastic buttons, so retro.The dresses of the mid-to-late 1940's are very flattering to most frames, and the silhouette has been revived many times.


    I love thinking that someone wore this dress before I was born!
    Shoes are Kenneth Cole Reaction
    Linking to Spunky Chateau for Thrifting Day!



    The graphic print is vintage-chic





    Meet Virginia Design


    Recycled Fashion




    The guidelines to participate in Visible Monday are so simple!
    1. Any Monday, whoever wants to can join in! Just compose a post that includes any outfit, accessory, piece of jewelry, hairstyle, cosmetic or other adornment that makes you feel more confident, alive and visible that day.
    2. Include a link to Not Dead Yet Style somewhere in your post.
    3. Go to the bottom of this post and click on this cute little link:


    In the "Next Step", you crop the pic (easy tool) you want to display, and you're done!



    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    In The Mood For Something Beautiful

    I know -- it's time to think about, and dress for, Fall/Winter 2011. But the Spring/Summer 2012 collections have just wrapped up at New York Fashion Week, and a couple of gorgeous pieces have made me swoon-y. So for your viewing pleasure on a quiet (at my house) Saturday evening:


    Carolina Herrera: That scarf with the sweater is so yummy. I'll have to adjust my eyes
    for the very loose trousers, but they do look so comfortable.


    Carolina Herrera: Again, the scarf slays me, along with the pretty print
    and the skinny belt. We could wear this in Florida most of the year.


    Zac Posen: I love this neckline so much, and the colors are simply
    gorgeous. It doesn't fit my life, but I could love looking at it!


    Zac Posen: And I'd like to thank the Academy . . . OK, I am awake now, but
    this is one of the prettiest gowns I've seen on any red carpet.


    Do you like gazing at beautiful fashion, even when it's (almost) unattainable/impractical/(gasp) out of season? Have a happy Saturday night!



    Join us! Click the Spotlight


    Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday September 19th is Visible Monday, a group posting for anyone who'd like to participate. The simple guidelines are here. Basically, just post something that makes you feel wonderful/visible, and link to it via my Monday post. Easy and fun.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Friend Friday: Words of Wisdom, Thanks Dad! (And George Carlin)

    Image via LindaGravesArtist.com
     
    KatyRose from Modly Chic shook up the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday questions today. She wants to know:  What words of wisdom imparted to you have made a difference in your life? I admire her and her warm curiosity about other people.

    It's such a simple and profound question. In my mid-50's now, I've been given thousands (millions?) of helpful words that helped shape my life. I hope that I am returning the favor to younger people, both in my professional and personal lives. (I still need and welcome advice too!)

    It wasn't difficult to recall some memorable advice:
    • From my beloved father: "Do it! What's the worst that could happen?" Then dad would patiently walk me through whatever the "worst" was, illustrate how unlikely it was, and promise to be there for me if it did happen. I miss him so much. I try to use his advice every day, from the most ridiculous decisions (A new wine to try? Why not?) to the most profound (move to NewYork? What's the worst that could happen?)  Other versions of dad's advice over the years include "If not now, when?" and George Carlin's more profane and hilarious "Take a *#*#in' chance!" (Note: This advice wouldn't be helpful if I'd been the crazy impulsive type. I was quite the opposite.)
    •  More wisdom came from my therapist Anne, when I was in my early thirties. She was guiding me through a very difficult time. I was always trying to find "le bon mot", the perfect thing to say to make everything alright. She told me, "Speak from your heart and you won't be wrong." Lovely, simple, and yes, I have used it many times.
    •  And random, wonderful advice that no woman should ever be without: Put your shoulders back, be very proud of yourself, chin high, you are beautiful, you are enough!




    Join us! Click the Spotlight


    Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday September 19th is Visible Monday, a group posting for anyone who'd like to participate. The simple guidelines are here. Basically, just post something that makes you feel wonderful/visible, and link to it via my Monday post. Easy and fun.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    What I Wore: A Last Gasp of Summer

    Well, not actually a last gasp here in Florida. It's about 86 degrees for the next week or so, then it will "cool down" to the low 80's. But I feel like changing to more Autumn-y colors, textures, and styles, so here is a farewell to my summer look.

    The blouse (thrifted) is super-summery, I think, all white and cotton eyelet. Even the cut says summer, with a loose, airy fit. The skirt has a cool ikat print that I love, and I'll probably wear it through the Florida winter with cardigans, tights and booties. I could have elongated my legs today with some mid-heels, but I felt like sparkly flats instead. I love flats! Even before they "came back" into fashion, I was wearing them all the time and my feet were singing hallelujah.


    Blouse: American Rag Cie, Skirt: Studio West, Flats: Lauren Ralph Lauren


    I'm linking to Recycled Fashion, a very cool site


    Have you said your goodbyes to summer? Are you still transitioning? Australian friends, are you saying hello to spring?




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    Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday September 19th is Visible Monday, a group posting for anyone who'd like to participate. The simple guidelines are here. Basically, just post something that makes you feel wonderful/visible, and link to it via my Monday post. Easy and fun.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    My Rules For Wearing Vintage, When You're a Bit Vintage

    Note: Sally at Already Pretty chose this post as one of her Lovely Links this week, thank you, Sal! Please go to her fab site and check out all the Lovely Links.

    I love vintage clothing! Love it. (My definition of vintage, and I realize it is fluid, includes clothing and accessories from the 1970's and earlier). For a couple of years I collected and sold vintage clothing on eBay, and became pretty knowledgeable about the defining styles of the 20th century. I have a real love affair with dresses and skirts from the 1940's and 50's. I adore that feminine silhouette, the emphasis on waist and hips, the graceful lengths and the drapey fabrics. I still shop at a few eBay stores that sell very nice quality vintage at good prices, including DexterDoggie, DeniseBrain, and Floozee's Vintage.

    Today I still own a few of my former beauties, like this one:

    A fab 1950's party dress that can be made to look very current

    I just sold this gorgeous 1940's bias-cut velvet gown

    And every now and then I will wear a favorite fitted sheath from the 50's, so long as I haven't gained six ounces. I still thrill to the fine construction, the wonderful old labels and the attention to detail. I find I stand and walk with extra attention to form when I am wearing these dresses.

    I don't dress in head-to-toe vintage any more. It now feels too costume-y to me. If I wear my beloved black sheath dress, I wear modern jewelry and shoes, and I forgo a vintage style hat or gloves. That combination is a beautiful look, but at age 56, I feel like I am trying too hard. I will enjoy vintage jewelry any day of the week with my modern clothes, and a vintage leather handbag is a big yes, anytime.

    Here are my not-too-hard-and-fast guidelines for wearing vintage over A Certain Age (your mileage may vary, and there are some 50+ bloggers who absolutely own head to toe vintage!):
    • When wearing vintage dresses I wear my usual modern(ish) hairstyle and makeup. No 40's-style rag-curls or bright red lips.
    • If wearing an extreme vintage piece, like a circle skirt, I pair it with a contemporary blouse, belt and shoes. I avoid a kitten-ish sweater (a good rule for me any day) or a vintage checked blouse, for example.
    • Similarly, I'll wear a sheer nylon vintage blouse with a current pencil or A-line skirt, a modern belt, tights and boots or booties.
    • Vintage accessories are cool any day of the week, especially necklaces and bracelets. I have a wonderful mini-collection of these and wear them often. See Debbi at She Accessorizes Well for some glorious vintage jewelry pieces.
    • I'm not a big scarf person, but vintage scarves can be gorgeous, and a true bargain in the thrifting world. Look for real silk, and interesting old labels.
    • Perfect for vintage scores: gloves, in leather, cotton or silk; and handbags of all sorts - leather, straw, velvet, embroidered, whatever strikes you. 
    • Not too many vintage shoes fit my modern feet, so I often choose modern shoes with a vintage vibe, like these:
    Great with a dress: Naturalizers, via Zappos, $89.00


    So cute with a casual skirt or jeans: Dirty Laundry via Zappos, $39.99 on sale

      Vintage clothing and accessories add so much fun to my wardrobe, and I love the sense of history they convey. So long as I am careful to avoid the costume look, I'll continue to enjoy hunting down and wearing vintage. What say you?




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      Visible Monday Reminder:  Monday September 19th is Visible Monday, a group posting for anyone who'd like to participate. The simple guidelines are here. Basically, just post something that makes you feel wonderful/visible, and link to it via my Monday post. Easy and fun.

      Tuesday, September 13, 2011

      EBEW: Red Jeans, About Which I Changed My Mind

      I wrote not too long ago that colored jeans were not my cup of coffee. Well, I was wrong. Times change, old girl, I said as I eyeballed these Liz Claiborne jeans at the Molly Mutt Thrift Store. Colored jeans are a welcome change, a wake-up call for the eyes, from my medium and dark wash denim.

      Why not wear colored jeans in our 50's? And any 30-something could wish to look as great as Terri of Rags Against the Machine her bright greens today!

      This is a non-office look, of course, but perfect for the movies with my husband, lunch with my sister, or a nice long afternoon thrifting. The shirt is a summery weight floral and the shoes more autumn-ish, so I am doing a seasonal transition today.

      Pants: Liz Claiborne, Blouse: Lucky Brand, Booties: Clarks


      Now head over to Everybody, Everywear and feast on all the gorgeous colored pants. Have a colorful, happy day.



      Everybody, Everywear | Colored Pants