Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do You Give Your Body Sincere Compliments? Start Now.

Image via SoulKissesTV


I've enjoyed the book Inspired Style recommended by Pam of Over50Feeling40. One of the essays, by Oreet Mizrahi, encourages the reader to "Love Your Body, Love Your Life." Two sterling ideas, I say.

Of course we want to love our bodies, but we have a lot of negative programming to work through. If you're over 40, you've experienced years of negative self-talk and "perfect" media images. We've lived through decades of comparing ourselves to other women and "falling short". (And women's magazines always astound me with articles about how to lose ten pounds in ten days, juxtaposed with recipes for quick brownies.)

We learn very early to criticize ourselves and to focus on our so-called shortcomings. I hated my fine, curly hair until my 40's! I thought my pale, pale skin was a flaw. I trash-talked my upper thighs. These thoughts never, ever made me feel any better, but they did make me part of The Club.

So I eagerly absorbed the essay by Ms. Mizrahi, an image consultant, and gleaned the following advice. If you want to love your body:

  • Change your focus. Close your eyes and imagine all the different parts of your body. Focus on a feature you really appreciate. (Long, slim neck). Keep focusing on it until you start to feel more positive. Choose, as a result of this exercise, to shift your focus and concentrate on the feature(s) you love.
  • Talk with gratitude to your body. Stand in front of a mirror and say aloud what you are grateful for. Thank your body for all it's done and continues to do for you. Appreciate your body not as a collection of "flaws" in this moment, but as the marvelous vehicle that has carried you everywhere.


  • Use all your senses to love your body. Use color, fragrance, movement, music, massage to energize and please your body. Buy flowers, take a long bath, pet the cat, step away from the computer. Indulge in one perfect chocolate. Treat your physical self like it deserves good things.

There are many other ways we can re-program ourselves to like, even love, our bodies. We can start right now by just catching the negative word before it leaves our mouth, and replacing it with something kind, or at least neutral. "My upper thighs are so . . . interesting."

Bonus: Here is a wonderful article about How to Make Love To Your Body Everyday!

Is this something you've struggled with? Are you doing better with this in recent years? Has blogging helped?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Visible Monday #31: Black and Blue, In a Good Way

Welcome to Visible Monday #31! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

I'm not breaking through any fashion barriers today, am I? I am in familiar territory, with a cozy knit top and black midi skirt. But I felt so good that my confidence made me more visible and I smiled at (almost) everyone. Being visible isn't only about the clothing, of course: it's also in our posture, our attitude, and our willingness to engage.

I love a horizontal stripe on top, and this Old Navy knit is just right. The dropped shoulder makes it a little more stylish, and how about those stripes lining up between sleeve and body? I also like an open neck like this - no itching, and it shows off collar bones (in my 50's, I am very particular about what gets "shown off").

I like to "surrender the waist" some days; thanks to Angie from You Look Fab for that phrase. It's a different look for me but I enjoy the change. The skirt is a recent thrift store purchase. It's by Randolph Duke, whom I believe sells via the Home Shopping Club. It's a nice medium weight swingy knit. Thrifted wedge boots and a leaf pendant from Forever21 are the final touches.



Nothing fancy, but it feels like me.



Odd kitties give silent approval.



I can't wait to see what you are wearing today!


The guidelines to participate in the Visible Monday Link-Up 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, January 28, 2012

Saturday Inspiration, of the Over-50 Variety: Lauren Hutton

Today's pick was another easy one: Lauren Hutton has been a beauty and style icon for over 40 years. She's the epitome of all-American, golden-girl good looks.

Lauren's style feels like California: natural and carefree, exuberant and fresh. She always looks like herself, with her wonderful wavy hair, huge smile and famous gap between her teeth. (She was asked to cover up the gap early in her career, and did so, but I much prefer her natural smile).

She wears a lot of neutrals and solids, mixed with vibrant colors. She appears to wear a light amount of makeup and she embraces "imperfection" - whether in her gap  smile or her now-lined face. Her face looks like it's had a wonderful, exciting life and she doesn't want to Botox or erase it with lots of surgery.

Here's some fashion advice from Ms. Hutton, from an interview with People magazine in December 2010: “You never want to look like you’ve spent too much time getting dressed,” she says. “It’s better to look as if you’ve just thrown something on rather than prissed everything up. I like when things are slightly off-kilter, asymmetrical and a little messed up.”

And here's a fun interview with her about personal style, via iVillage. Cheers to you, Lauren Hutton - gorgeous, natural and confident at age 68!


An early ad for Ultima. No gap! Love the doggy's face.



Simple, confident beauty without fuss or frills.



I love, love that natural, wavy hair and makeup.



Again, simplicity and elegance with only red lips as an accent. Perfect!





Join us! Click the Spotlight


Visible Monday Link-Up Reminder:  Monday January 30th 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, January 26, 2012

I Was Tagged! Random Stuff, and What I Wore

One of my favorite bloggers, Ariane of Style Montreal Sud-Est, tagged me as part of a "Random Things" chain-blog event. This fun activity helps us get to know each other better and uncover some deep, dark secrets!

Here are the rules:

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.

So first, eleven random things about me:

I am the eldest of three sisters, by twelve and fourteen years
My natural hair color is now 100% silver
My favorite movie is Witness, with Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis
I won't ride on a roller coaster
I have a blueberry muffin for breakfast nearly every Sunday
I love cheap mystery thrillers
I'm married to a guy who worked on the very first Space Shuttle
My next move will be to a condo with a view of the ocean
I love 7-Eleven coffee, more than any expensive brand
Best TV show of all time, imho: Six Feet Under
I like to burst into song at inappropriate moments (favorite: "I've Got To Be Me")


Next, I must answer the questions Ariane set for me in her post:

What do you think makes you unique: nothing more than makes each of us unique
What is your hidden talent: making up new lyrics to old songs
If you had the choice, where would you live: New York City!
The things you hate to do: hmmmm, change the kitty litter?
The worst injustice: inequality of all kinds
Fast fashion or vintage? Vintage all day long
Red wine or white wine? Red
What makes it that you will be losing your patience? Malfunctioning software
Favorite male actor and why? Gary Oldman - always interesting if a bit odd
High heels or low heels? Low, low, low
Favorite subject in school? French!



Finally, eleven new questions for you (anyone who wants to play) to answer about yourself: Soon we will have carpeted the entire universe with our questions and answers, and there will be no more need for reality television!  : >

Who's the most unforgettable character in your life?
Disco or hard rock?
Female public figure you admire?
What you'll never order on your pizza?
If you could have any profession, what would you be doing?
Best pet you've ever known?
What languages do you speak?
Least favorite household chore?
Who was your first crush?
Swimsuit: one piece or two?
Favorite poet or poem of all time?


Thanks for playing along. Here's a simple, cozy outfit I wore today, featuring a pretty lace scarf gifted to me by my mother. The cotton skirt is by Tommy Hilfiger and the booties are by Tsubo. It's nothing very special, but I really like the feminine vibe of the scarf against the sporty pieces.







Happy Friday eve to all!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't Be Barbie! Be Real!

These images jolted me this morning. A French artist, Jocelyne Grivaud, has created a series of works with Barbie substituted into great works of art. See the whole series here at her website; it is fascinating.




At the Louvre: Isn't she magnificent?


What struck me most is: the actual female form is so much more beautiful, more interesting, more sensual than the idealized Barbie!

We need to love and appreciate our bodies, and stop trash-talking our parts. And maybe we should be giving our little girls Venus de Milo's (with arms) to play with?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Visible Monday #30: I've Got a Peaceful Easy (Knit) Feeling

Welcome to Visible Monday #30! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

Some days you want to be visible and completely comfortable. That's me today. The utter comfort of a vintage knit skirt, paired with a slouchy top and wedge boots -- ahhh.

I see from my pictures that I am breaking the "rules" by not showing leg between my slim skirt and my boot-tops. My skirt should be two inches shorter. I could remedy this next time by just rolling at the waist (I know! Just like when we were 16 years old!).

I added a colorful scarf to brighten up the look, and practiced some techniques I learned from Une Femme's videos (via FabOverFifty). Thanks, Une Femme. I still need more practice but I am improving. The boots are thrifted for about $7, and they are vegan. I struggle with my love of leather accessories while maintaining a vegetarian diet; when I find cute non-leather shoes like these I do snatch them up.


Sweater: GAP; Skirt: vintage, thrifted; Boots: Nicole, thrifted



Two odd kitties approve of my relaxed look



I can't wait to see what you are wearing today!


The guidelines to participate in the Visible Monday Link-Up 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, January 21, 2012

Saturday Inspiration, of the Over-50 Variety: Franca Sozzani

I guess it's cheating to choose an editor of Vogue magazine as a fashion inspiration. After all, it's her job to look fabulous every day, and she has access to every gorgeous piece of clothing in the known universe.

But there is something real about Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Italian Vogue. She does not have a pinched/pulled visage like many wealthy women of her age (61). She smiles a lot. And she chooses outfits that have a spark about them, even a playfulness, that is lovely to see in a fashion icon.

She's very visible with her super-long wavy blonde hair, striking blue eyes and signature smile. Her style shows she values comfort as well as creativity. Her magazine is very daring and cutting-edge, but Franca is more accessible in her fashion choices. She clearly knows what flatters her, and sticks to shapes that don't overwhelm her petite frame.

Franca is not without controversy for us bloggers. She famously wrote about personal style bloggers, "Are they important for Vogue? They don't offer an opinion but only talk about themselves, take their own pictures wearing absurd outfits. What's the point?" Well, I got in a bit of a huff about that. (Absurd outfits? Moi??) But in that article, she went on to say "Personally, I would like to know their opinion to understand a new point of view and not just rely on journalists who have been doing this for thirty years!"

I think her first remark sounds harsh out of context, but she was mainly referring to bloggers wanting front row seats at Fashion Week; she doesn't think that's been "earned" by most bloggers yet. OK, that sound a bit snooty. But while I may disagree with some of her sentiments, I can still adore her style. (See this article for a great deconstruction of Franca's blogger comments.)

And if you want to hear a lovely Italian accent, here is Franca's interview with Arianna Huffington, about fearlessness.



Great smile, and a warm, colorful print.


Her older sister, Carla, is a style icon too.



I think this is a terrific take on the leopard print craze - good proportions
and not too many extras to compete with the coat.



Such a gorgeous color and silhouette for her tiny frame -- and
I would welcome those earrings into my collection  : >





Join us! Click the Spotlight


Visible Monday Link-Up Reminder:  Monday January 23rd 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, January 19, 2012

What I Wore: Layering Under a Dress and Having a Good Time

I am getting a lot of wear from my Karina dress. Before I started studying and writing fashion blog/s, I would have seen this dress as a strictly Spring/Summer piece. I'd wear it only with black shoes and maybe a necklace (was I soooo boring?  : >)

This time, I layered a simple black GAP tee underneath, for warmth. I love the contrast of the black background for the print dress! I added a super-skinny belt, black tights and (gasp) medium-brown booties. I had such a good time in this outfit - covered up but still feminine, neutral but not boring.


Dress: Karina; Tee: GAP; Booties: Tsubo
 

I felt pretty sassy.


Bust out, my friends! Many of you don't need this advice, and you've already inspired us with your creativity. For the less daring among us: take a fashion chance and have a blast.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Moving Away From, Moving Towards . . .

Image via this site

This is an exercise I sometimes assign to my patients: make two lists, one of the things you are moving away from, and the other of things you are moving towards. It helps us see where we are making progress in our lives, how far we have come already, and where we want our goals to take us.

I thought it would be helpful to apply this exercise to wardrobe and style. I don't make New Year's Resolutions! but this is more of a "taking stock" activity, right?  : >  And January is a convenient time for such things. So here are some of my moving ideas:

I am moving away from:
  • being "too cheap" with myself
  • buying disposable, fast-clothing pieces that support unfair labor practices
  • falling back on black and gray for my comfort zone
  • feeling bad about my aging face and neck
  • envy of others' wardrobes/talents/blogs
  • predictability


I am moving toward:
  • budgeting for a few higher-quality pieces to elevate my wardrobe
  • being more discerning when I thrift-shop (just because it's $4, doesn't mean I have to have it)
  • growing more comfortable with my best colors, like green and purple, as staples in my closet
  • accepting the changes in my face and body, while staying healthy and fit 
  • appreciation of my own closet and my own gifts
  • creativity




I am sure there are more, and I'll probably add to this list as the year goes on. I would love to hear from you -- what are you moving away from/towards? Or are you at a sweet spot right now?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Visible Monday #29: Brightening Up Winter Wear

Welcome to Visible Monday #29! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

I was inspired today by my friend Paula of Fashion Over Fifty. She looked so fabulous in her red and pink combo that I wanted to try something similar: hot pink and purple.

Even in Florida, winter can seem long if I stick to my dark neutrals every day. This floral knit top is cheery, super-soft and in one of my best colors. The black slim skirt is a regular; its cost-per-wear is probably down to pennies. The fun piece is the hot pink scarf as belt, thrifted for $2.

In my old, pre-blogger days, I would have chosen only a "nice" black leather belt to complete this outfit. Times have changed, my friends. Let's hear it for blogging and visibility!


Blouse: Izod; Skirt: Laundry; Scarf: Kenneth Jay Lane; Boots: Gianni Bini






I can't wait to see what you are wearing today!


The guidelines to participate in the Visible Monday Link-Up 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, January 14, 2012

Saturday Inspiration, of the Over-50 Variety: Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore seems so ageless to me. She's looked the same to my eyes for about 15 years. I think it's because of her signature hairstyle and makeup, and her lovely, understated style. She is one of my favorite actresses too; I will watch Children of Men every time it's on, just to see her performance.

Like so many of us women of a certain age, her style has evolved over the years. Unlike us, she's been in the public eye, and has been criticized for some of her earlier red carpet choices. I think she's always looked gorgeous.

She works her colors beautifully. I love a bold green or red next to her pale skin. She highlights her lovely form without going very bare and she looks happy and grounded. (Very handsome husband too, IMHO!) And the woman has some awesome footwear.

You go, Julianne, an inspiring age 51!


Ahh, this shade of green, and the cascading earrings are so flattering.


She took a lot of fashion heat for this look, but I like the quirky one-sleeve wrap.
And the teal is so pretty with her deep red hair.


Cute casual look. Yummy husband.

A simple dress, made special with killer shoes and bag.

Oh, yes, a redhead can wear red.





Join us! Click the Spotlight


Visible Monday Link-Up Reminder:  Monday January 16th 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, January 12, 2012

What I Wore: A Sheer Red Midi Skirt, Why Not??

Well, not sheer-sheer. There's a full and modest lining. But it's still a funky and outside-the-norm skirt for the office. I've worn it before with a solid black top, but I think I like it better with this ruffled print blouse. Tucked in, it shows off the skirt's leather waistband.

To quote my best-guy Tim Gunn, this could be a "lot of look", so I added only my ring, a simple silver pendant, and black Aldo boots. I felt good all day, super comfortable because nothing was grabbing or pulling me. And hey, a swishy skirt is fun. Dressing should be fun (but not hysterical).


Blouse: Anne Klein; Skirt: DKNY, thrifted; Boots: Aldo



The skirt has mini-pleats over a smooth lining.

Have a great evening, and I hope you are wearing something very fun right now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Messages We Send, Refined

By some fortunate confluence of female power, there have been several terrific posts this week about the messages we send with our appearance. Pam has a post about feeling more authoritative in her black and white suit. Serene wrote about young women sending sexually provocative messages with their clothing. And Angie offers a great exercise about what fashion messages we aspire to.

For most of my younger life I didn't give much thought to what my clothes were saying about me. I mean, I cared about how I looked, but didn't focus consciously on my image. Work clothes were professional, predictable and safe. The unconscious message was: you can trust me, I am here for business.

Date clothes were slinkier, shorter and more fun. The message was: I am a fun-loving girl and if I like you, there will be some smooching later. Then there were jeans, tees and sweaters. All clothing was purchased at the mall or in downtown department stores, and yes, I am sure I could "see myself coming and going."

It has been a revelation and a revolution to really dig into fashion in my middle years. After about age 45, I started enjoying clothes in a new way: as a means of expressing myself consciously. I don't mean with a message tee shirt, although I admit to still liking those (they are always on the list of Fashion Don'ts for Women of a Certain Age).


I'd still wear it, fashion faux-pas or not.


During my middle years, I am having much more fun with clothing, experimenting and evolving. Now I often think about the messages my look may be communicating. And now my clothes are so much more personal, often found at resale shops and boutiques.

While I never dressed very provocatively, it would feel so strange now. My sexuality is much more personal, not for public view. Think more Diane Keaton, less Courtney Love. So one of my messages is: I am a woman, but not available for consumption!


I like this message: "I'm covered up but still feminine."


Another message I hope I am sending is: I am comfortable in my skin. I am not trying too hard, I don't have a need to impress so much any more. Of course I want to look attractive, that's natural, but not at the price of being stuffed into clothing that belongs to someone else.


Not comfortable in his skin. Love you, Ralphie.


I am all grown up now, and my wardrobe communicates that message. I am a woman to be reckoned with at times, not a little girl. I am feminine, but not on display. I hope my clothing says that I am approachable too, not snobbish or stiff.

If my dress could talk, I'd like her to say: "Let's have a chat, woman-to-woman, about something fascinating!"

How about you? What would your clothing say if it could talk?? Has the message changed over the years?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Visible Monday #28: Menswear, a Thrift Score, and an Almost-Suit

Welcome to Visible Monday #28! If you want to participate, it's so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

I don't wear much menswear-inspired clothing. I usually lean toward a more feminine, flowy vibe. But I had to try an outfit built around my new/thrifted vest. Because it's by Comme des Garcons! Yes, we faithful, slogging thrifters are occasionally rewarded with a fashion treat.

The vest is beautifully constructed and the wool fabric is divine. It's a bit too large for me, but hey, for $3, was I going to leave it on the rack??? (that's a rhetorical question  : >). So I paired it with a feminine cotton blouse by Ralph Lauren (also thrifted) and a simple wool skirt from Tahari (yes, thrifted).

To avoid a too-corporate look, I added blue tights, booties, and my husband's tie as a belt. He has sworn off ties forever, so I have free rein of his collection. I like the resulting almost-suit -- not too stiff, but doing justice to the finely tailored vest. I'll wear the vest in the future with my jeans, and with more feminine, floral skirts in the spring.


A man's tie makes a cool belt, I think.

Should one button or unbutton one's vest?


I can't wait to see what you are wearing today!



The guidelines to participate in the Visible Monday Link-Up 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, January 7, 2012

Saturday Inspiration, of the Over-45 Variety: Kyra Sedgwick

Well, I must admit, this is a lot about the hair! I have adored Kyra Sedgwick's glorious curls/waves for many years, and I feel a bit sad when I see her hair straightened. She has a lovely, feminine look that can go from bohemian to very ladylike. And she dresses up a pair of jeans and a tee beautifully.

She looks very comfortable in her skin, and appears to have a happy personal life with husband (and fellow genetically-blessed human) Kevin Bacon, and children. I haven't watched her television show The Closer, but I hear she is a fun actress to watch too. You go, Kyra, natural and confident and very fetching at age 47!


Red carpet glamor in a curve-hugging but simple cobalt gown.
She knows her colors.



I adore the loose waves, and again a simple bold color near her face is so flattering.


Very cute in cuffed jeans, wedges and a boho blouse. Kevin looks a bit rumpled!


Another stunning fitted dress, with simple jewelry. And gorgeous hair.




Join us! Click the Spotlight


Visible Monday Link-Up Reminder:  Monday January 9th 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, January 5, 2012

What I Wore: Animal Prints Again!

Am I in a rut? I really only have four animal print pieces in my whole wardrobe, but I am wearing them a lot. Did you see the movie Cat People? Is it possible I am morphing . . .

Anyway, here is a simple, comfortable way I wore my new skin leopard print tee: I added a gray knit slim  skirt and the usual tights-and-boots. The skirt's a bit of a puzzle. It is a medium weight knit, finished very well, but with not a single tag. I thrifted it for a couple of dollars, so I don't know the provenance. It could be as old as the 60's when two-piece knit dresses were very a la mode.


I like my newly thrifted knit skirt - it's totally comfortable with all-way stretch




I think this outfit falls into the category of: "I like it and I don't care terribly much if I'm working this look too hard!" Who knows, in a few weeks I may be excited about something completely different. That's why fashion is so much fun.  : >



The skirt reminds me of this kind of 1960's two-piece dress.