Thursday, February 28, 2013

Transition into Spring Tips

A fitted or cinched waist jacket over wide legged trousers can be a flattering look for our mid-life figures.

There are several flattering tips shown here. The white fitted tank top gives you a smooth line beneath the cinched jacket. The V-neckline of the jacket flatters the face and allows space to show off a statement necklace which also draws the eyes up to your face. The pops of color from accessories allows the winter jacket and pants to transition into early spring. At this time of year when you are longing for spring but it is still snowing and twenty-seven degrees you must get creative if you want to stay warm. 

The wide legged pants can be worn with nice flats or low wedges to avoid getting high heels caught in the material as you walk. When wearing black and white or shades of gray it is very uplifting to add brighter colors in a tank top which shows at the neckline and or in the accessories you have chosen. 

Always balance a fitted top over a more flowing bottom or vice versa, a fitted bottom under a flowing top. If you show cleavage don't also show legs. Balance sexy with sedate to avoid the dreaded Cougar Effect. A dignified woman never wants to appear she is on the prowl.

Wearing a fitted jacket allows you to have a feminine silhouette while hiding the tummy. Avoid boxy jackets since they add volume and are dated looking. Rather than hiding your tummy they make you look big all over.

Tomorrow is March 1, 2013 which means I will be announcing the winning follower of the blog. One randomly chosen follower will receive the book "The Best of Everything After 50" by Barbara Grufferman, a long string of large glass pearls from Chico's and gold silky evening bag. 

Good luck!

Thanks for reading! 
I hope you have a great Thursday.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Savvy Shopper has Brunch

The Blackthorn Club is a great place to have Sunday Brunch.

Today Mr. Mickey took me to brunch. I thought it would be fun to see if I could put together a nice outfit that cost me less than $100.

I love to go shopping during the end of season sales. Sometimes I find treasures mixed in with the shopworn sparkly fake fur spandex things hanging there too.

The black knit pencil skirt is old from T.J. Maxx ($16.99). The jacket and tank top are from the current Red Dot Clearance rack from Stein Mart. I had a coupon that gave me an extra 50% off so the jacket was $17.49 and the tank top was $3.47!

The necklace and ring were gifts from Mickey.

The leather (like) clutch is old from T.J. Maxx, $12.99.

The suede and snakeskin shoes are from the current clearance sale at Belk $23.99.

Total cost for the whole outfit including the $8.50 Hanes panty hose ...

Thank you for reading. 
I hope you find some great bargains this week!

Lipstick and the Symphony

Each year I give Mr. Mickey season tickets to the Johnson City Symphony for Christmas. We normally go shopping in the afternoon and then have dinner before the performance.

This was taken earlier in the day at Mickey's home. After I saw this picture I asked him to take me to Merle Norman to buy lipstick.

Elizabeth, the beautiful young woman who helped me had so much patience as we looked through a sea of color and formula choices. I found three colors that I am very happy with. I haven't worn lipstick in many years but lately I've been craving more intense color so I'm giving it a try again.

After the shopping trip we enjoyed dinner at our favorite restaurant, Gourmet and Company, where we shared a chocolate dessert afterward. 

The guest artist for this symphony performance was Bella Hristova on violin. The concert was at the Mary B. Martin Auditorium at Seeger Chapel, Milligan. This program was Beethoven and Bella. Bella gave an amazing standing ovation performance!

I wore a black jacket with white stitching and long sleeve red tee with a red scarf. All the pieces are old and you may have seen them combined differently in earlier posts. It was twenty-seven degrees when we left the concert so I was thankful that I brought along a coat and wore layers.

Thank you for reading. 
Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Nice Legs!

Would you dare to go out in a dress with bare legs?

What's in your sock drawer?

For daytime I always wear pantyhose with dresses, skirts and dressier pants. My own preference is to wear Hanes® Silk Reflections®  sheer pantyhose. The color "Barely There" is very close to my own and they are not super tight or shiny. I always have an unopened package of both "Barely There" and "Jet" on hand. I wear sheer black for evening with black pants and black shoes. If I wear any other color of shoes I wear nude hose. (For example black hose with silver shoes is just wrong.)

Nude means the color of your skin, not the name on the package. You may have to experiment to find the color that is right for you. Be sure to check the color on your legs in natural light. This rule also applies to wearing nude shoes and finding the perfect neutral nude bag. If you match your skin tone you will be able to wear these neutral items with most of the colors in your closet.

These shoes from my closet show the wide variety of tones that could be considered nude. The shoe second from the right happens to be the color that is closest to my own skin tone so it is my perfect nude.

In warm weather I get regular pedicures and wear open toe shoes and sandals but I rarely wear a dress. If I do it is longer than knee length and the shoes are the main focus. 

With jeans or any casual pants, I wear crew socks in the a tone close to the color of the pants. For example navy with dark wash jeans would work best. Crew socks are the best length for me since I have thick calves. If I wear trouser socks the band at the top may show through the line of the pants. The pant leg often drags or clings to the trouser socks as I move so I no longer buy those. 

If you sit down and cross your legs and the pant legs ride above the top of your socks showing bare leg you might want to consider wearing tights instead. Opaque tights are excellent for added warmth in winter. They look great with boots and shorter skirts too!

At this time in our lives bare legs in a dress can be the wrong look for us even if we are toned and tanned. I often see women over forty in the entertainment business being interviewed on some late night show. The ones who show up with bare legs never look quite as polished. 

The skin is made up of 3 layers - the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. As we age the supportive tissue layers become thinner so the upper skin layers sag and become thinner and dryer. We also often have issues with veins that show through thinning skin after forty. 

I feel more confident and well dressed wearing proper foundations including the appropriate legwear.

I hope you have a wonderful Saturday!

Thank you for reading my blog.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wine and Roses

My Gentleman Friend (Mickey) and I go out for dinner a couple of times per week all year long so Valentine's Day and other such holidays often find us sharing a special quite dinner at his home or mine. This year for Valentine's Day I invited him to have dinner with me at my house.

We normally follow an almost vegan diet but there are certain meals we look forward to having a couple of times per year for a special occasion. For this meal I decided to make one his favorites. For the first time I created a dish including fresh fettuccine with Alfredo sauce and lump crab meat. We also had focaccia bread with sun dried tomatoes and our favorite wine. He arrived with roses, chocolates, a card and his wonderful positive attitude which I just love.

Sometimes the most special times are the ones we share over an informal quite dinner at home.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Black Is NOT Safe!

Do you reach for black as if on automatic pilot when getting dressed?

This photo was taken a couple of years before I lost forty pounds. We won't even talk about that hair! I guess I thought a bit of height would make my round face less so.

For several years, I dressed in flowing layers of black. I wore a lot of V-Neck tops with jackets and pants. It was a uniform for me, but I always wore dramatic jewelry such as this necklace which is one of my own designs.

The reasons I wore black were only partially because of my size. Now that I look back on that time there was a much deeper reason for it. Perhaps I felt I didn't deserve to wear color, or I felt I could be more invisible in black.

Our self-image is reflected in what we wear. It's our flag to the world that says "This is me, and this is how I'm feeling today."

I don't pretend to be a Psychologist, but I know I had sadness issues for many years. Wearing black is a sign of mourning in many cultures. I suppose I was in mourning for twenty years, but I won't bore you with that story again.

After I had lost forty pounds, I branched out into wearing wild colors such as white and gray. I'm kidding! It was very difficult for me to stop reaching for black as I was shopping for a new wardrobe after the weight came off.

As we age, our coloring softens and shadows appear near the corners of our eyes and around the nose. When we wear black near our face, it accentuates these shadows, and some of us look older and more tired. Which is also very true if you color your hair all one dark color or wear a lot of black eyeliner all the way around your eyes. It can be a very harsh effect.

The lighting in my breakfast nook is not the best but even here you can see that color near the face makes me look younger, happier and healthier. I am much happier and healthier! This picture was taken last night and the other two were taken a few years ago. It was a rainy day so I did wear black pants and boots. I always wear dark pants on rainy days because the little water spots from walking can permanently stain lighter colored pants.

I love to wear black but it isn't for everyone for the reasons I mentioned above. I still wear black often, but I add a statement necklace or a scarf with white, red, or royal blue. 

Thank you for reading. I hope that you have a colorful week!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Saturday In Abingdon

Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Highlands, Abingdon, Virginia is home to historical attractions, many musical events, fine lodging and dining. Here you will find the Barter Theater, the Martha Washington Hotel and Spa, the Heartwood Artisan Gallery and so much more.

For our day in Abingdon I wore gray side zip pants from Talbots, a twill fuchsia jacket, a white tank top and a chiffon animal print scarf all from Stein Mart. The bag is by Tignanello.

The Heartwood Gallery showcases the work of the finest regional artisans including furniture makers, potters, jewelry designers, fiber artists and many more.

When we have plans for dinner in a neighboring town I usually dress for the daytime activities but take with me other shoes, jewelry, a jacket or wrap and an evening clutch to switch to for dinner.

 For daytime I wore low wedge comfortable black Alex Marie shoes from Dillard's last year. I had my hair cut again on Friday but I haven't had time to "customize" it yet. Do you do your own texturizing around your face? I invested in a pair of texturizing shears years ago. They are more forgiving if you just can resist trimming the front of your own hair when you are past due for a cut. 

Barter Theatre was founded during the Depression by an enterprising young actor named Robert Porterfield. He and his fellow actors found themselves out of work and hungry in New
York City. Porterfield contrasted that to the abundance of food, but lack of live theater, around his home region in Southwest Virginia. He returned to Washington County with an extraordinary proposition: bartering produce from the farms and gardens of the area to gain admission to see a play. These days they are happy to accept cash or credit cards instead of a pound of potatoes for entrance.

The Martha Washington Hotel and Spa across the street is one of our favorite retreats and places to enjoy fine dining. 

There is a grand piano in the main floor ballroom of The Martha Washington Hotel. I read music but I can not play by ear or memory.  I am in awe of those who can.

I've switched to a different fuchsia double breasted jacket, Ros Hommerson shoes, blingy jewelry and a small leather clutch for dinner. This jacket is also from Stein Mart. 

In front of the fire in the library at the Martha.

More bling and a small leather clutch for evening.

The Spa is world class...
so is their fine dining restaurant "Sisters at The Martha". 


 The first course... lobster fritters and 
a lovely Sauvignon blanc.

Thanks for reading!

I hope you have a great week.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wednesday Date Night

This was a beautiful day! The temperature was so mild that only a light jacket was required and the sky was the most fabulous blue all day. Date night was equally perfect!

The snow is gone now and there was no rain so I could wear my favorite booties from Nordstrom. They are by Vince Camuto and they have sky-high heels with a gold trimmed platform. High heels are still my guilty little pleasure! I feel so feminine and special when I wear them.

Tip: I never wear light colored pants in wet weather since it causes dark little water drop stains on the backs of your pants as you walk.

 The necklace is one of my own designs. The ring is old from Stein Mart. The bag is from T. J. Maxx from a few years ago. I always buy unique evening clutches when I find them. For less than twenty dollars, you can really upgrade your look for evening. 

 I was sold by the belt detail construction on the back of this jacket. It visually cinches in the back for a more feminine silhouette. This jacket was purchased a few days ago at Coldwater Creek from their fabulous end of season sale. The pants are my favorite side zip style from Talbots also from the end of season sale. I'm wearing a sleek long sleeve slim fitting black tee under the jacket. Foundation tees or tanks made from thin silky material are great to wear with jackets when only the neckline shows. I wouldn't wear them by themselves since they hug everything a bit too much but as a foundation they are perfect.

 Since my top half is a full two sizes larger than my bottom half, I often wear a dark color on the top and lighter color on the bottom. This helps to visually balance my body.  

 By the time Mickey arrives for our winter date nights, the only good lighting happens to be in my dining room.

 Dinner was the perfect ending to the day. That's a goat cheese and arugula salad with Pinot Grigio I'm enjoying. We talked nonstop for two hours while we enjoyed our meal at our favorite restaurant in town, Gourmet and Company. When you are in Johnson City be sure to stop there for dinner. The first entrée on their menu is vegetarian and named after Mickey!

 We have plans for a great weekend which will provide much more interesting backdrops for photos.

Thank you for reading.
I hope you have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Snowed in ... again!

Another snowy weekend means I am mostly staying inside and waiting for the storm to pass.

I had plans to wear something much more exciting today, however a pending snow storm changed those plans. I've heard the way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans.

Here I am in my old reliable layers and easy to walk in Clarks shoes with my wet weather faux fur hat. Mickey was taking me out for a quick lunch before the roads got too dangerous to travel on. 

Snow fell for the whole afternoon. I woke up to several inches of snow today. 
It's so beautiful, but absolutely no fun to drive in!

This is my back yard view from the side street after our last snow storm a few weeks ago. 

What do you do when you are snowed in?

On this evening, Mickey and I sat in front of the fire with snacks and Scotch and waters listening to piano music playing the background. (Those are my favorite linen napkins with antique French post card scenes on them.) I don't own a TV so we read, talk, share our dreams, laugh at our silly jokes and make plans for when the warm weather returns.

While we were having lunch in a nice restaurant earlier today I noticed something. How does one instantly know who the hostess, the waiter, the owner, the chef or the busboy is?

....By the way they are dressed of course.

What does your daily way of dressing say about you? Remember fashion is unspoken communication to those who see you but more importantly it can make you feel much more confident in the way you see yourself. You don't need to be the dressed to the nines everyday but do put some thought into your outfit and try to show your personality and look your best. You never know who you might run into today!

Thank you so much for reading.

Have a safe and happy week!