Showing posts with label after 50. Show all posts
Showing posts with label after 50. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Handbag Search

For several weeks I have been searching for a light neutral handbag for summer such as the style I carried in this outfit photo from Sunday.

I was coming to the conclusion that I might have to pay up to $150 to find a style I liked, when my sister told me to check out the bags at Tuesday Morning. (Really?)

I found the one above by Nine West and another faux alligator skin shown below for about $20 EACH at Tuesday Morning. Thanks Sis!

I also found a lovely woven bamboo texture and cream faux leather combination one earlier in the week for about $35 at Stein Mart

The lighter colors and more delicate fabrications of summer bags means they might not last for more than one season of use. When I know the item I am purchasing is not going to be a long term addition to my wardrobe I cannot justify spending a lot of money for it.

These clutch bags were purchased last year at T.J.Maxx. If I am going out to dinner or to brunch I don't carry a larger daytime bag. These clutches get less use so they last for much longer than one season. Timeless styles that will still work for me in the future are always good choices in clutches.

I store handbags on shelves in a rarely used guest room closet stuffed with tissue and in dust covers if the bags come with them. 

This is another Nine West bag I purchased last year. Each time I carry this bag I use neutral shoe polish to clean and protect it. I like to wear this style of bag with platform sandals and Capri pants. That's an outfit I wear often in the heat of summer instead of shorts (never!). This is a youthful style which balances well with that look. It also can be carried on the arm or on the shoulder.

Your handbag can pull together your look and add that extra touch of elegance that also serves a purpose. A handbag can also make you look silly or sloppy. 

Consider scale and balance when shopping for a bag. For example, if you are six feet tall and weigh a few pounds more than you know you should, a small top handle bag will not be a good balance for your silhouette. Instead look for a larger bag that you carry on your arm or your shoulder if you prefer that type.

If money were no object, I might purchase this bag. (I don't think everything in my wardrobe added together would equal the price of this bag.) This is the Cognac RL Gold Spectator 40 Calfskin Tote by Ralph Lauren. It is $5,030!

You can see how the style, shape and color influenced my choice of bags in the first three images. I often look at the high end designer styles that appeal to me and then I go searching for the version that matches my budget.

I hope that these tips help you to find the right summer bags for you. 

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fitting Pretty

A reader asked for tips for dressing well with petite proportions and an ample figure. Petite means shorter than five feet four inches tall. Some people assume that it means tiny but the term applies only to height.

Solid tops in soft fabrics that hold their shape, have a V neck and sleeves that can be turned up will flatter you more than a floral shirt with long sleeves and a collar for example.  Never tuck in your shirt and wear a belt if you are self conscious of your waistline. A better choice will always be tops that can be worn over the waistband. The hem of your jacket or blouse should stop at or near the top of your hip bone. Allow as much leg length to show as possible.

Pants that are tapered and more tailored will look better on you than wide leg pants, skinny jeans or flared Capris. Many stores now have a petite section where you can shop for classic pieces which can be worn with several other items in your wardrobe.

Avoid horizontal lines or breaks in your look. Each horizontal hem or color break visually shortens you. For example a shorter blouse under a jacket which is a bit longer will make you look taller and neater than when both items stop at the same area or the blouse extends beyond the hem of jacket creating another horizontal line.

Carry smaller bags and look for shoes with a pointed toe. High heels tend not be a good choice for most petite women. A better choice would be wedges or square heels that have a longer more pointed toe area. This type of shoe always elongates the leg and makes you look a little taller.

Smaller watches or other jewelry such as button or small drop earrings will look best on you. Stay away from chandelier earrings, stacks of bracelets and statement necklaces. Bold jewelry and colorful patterns in clothing will almost always overwhelm you. Scarves should be small and worn in a very sleek simple tie or wrap if you choose to wear them. Avoid bulky sweaters and jackets.

Your key pieces should be solid colors that flatter your skin tone and work well together. Find a good tailor and spend the extra money to get pieces tailored to fit perfectly. You will always be glad you did.

I hope these tips prove to be helpful to you. Thank you for reading!

Friday, March 8, 2013

"Some Enchanted Evening"

Have you ever had an evening so special that it made you feel like a princess?

Yesterday marked the anniversary of my first date with Mickey Jilton. He is the wonderful gentleman with whom I have been blessed to share the last seven years of my life.

The day began with me surprising him at his office with a dozen red roses which thrilled him and delighted both my staff and his. (Our commercial buildings in the industrial park are in the same block.)

Mickey arrived at my home to take me to dinner looking oh so handsome in red and black. I was wearing a black fitted dress and black heels with a deep fuchsia jacket which wasn't a complementary color for his outfit. We don't dress to match but we try never to wear outfits that clash with each other. I changed to one of the gray and black jackets he gave me for Christmas.

When we arrived at our favorite restaurant (Gourmet and Company), the Maître d' smiled and proceeded to our usual table which tonight was adorned with seven perfect red roses to represent seven perfect years. The French inspired pitcher was a very special touch. I learned later that Mickey designed this arrangement and carefully chose each element. He knows I love all things French and I have a small collection of special pitchers. There was a beautiful card already at my place-setting. Even the music was carefully chosen by Mickey. Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra crooned in the background throughout the evening.
After our wine arrived our server, Kenn, announced that he would be back in a moment. I assumed to take our dinner orders however when he arrived he was carrying a beautifully wrapped package on a silver tray. I peeled away the elegant heavy white paper to reveal a timeless pair of sterling silver hoop earrings. Mickey always finds the best gifts! I will enjoy wearing these with many different looks for years to come and they will always remind me of this magical evening.

Our amuse-bouche for the evening was spectacular! It included croissant, triple cream brie, granny smith apples, black garlic and other tiny bits which resulted in a most amazing combination of flavors in perfect harmony.

An amuse-bouche is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are done so for free and according to the chef's selection alone. These, often accompanied by a complementing wine, are served both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef's approach to the art of cuisine.

This is the restaurant's vegetarian entree named after Mickey. Tonight it was especially wonderful and included lots of roasted fresh garlic.

On many of those first dates we would share a wonderful meal and then move into the lounge area or out onto the patio to have an after dinner drink and visit with friends who often stopped by to chat. As we have done so many times in the past we again sat together talking and laughing with friends.

Thank you for sharing in our special evening!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Evening Attire

Last evening I walked the red carpet with Mr. Mickey by my side. The cameras were flashing and there was an adoring crowd. 

OK it wasn't THAT red carpet but it was fun!

We attended the 'Spirits of the Season' gala for the American Cancer Society after which we attended the November performance of the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra. The evening's events gave me the opportunity to view all ages and sizes of ladies in their evening finery. 

Please remember that if it isn't appropriate for your age and body shape or size during the day it doesn't magically become so after dark. I saw dresses that were too small, too short, too plunging and too shiny for the women who chose to wear them. There were ladies who seemed to be wearing every single piece of bling they owned and if that wasn't enough they also wore glittery eye shadow. Oh my! It was difficult to maintain my composure at times.

Many of my friends who attend these functions on a regular basis were also at both events I noticed that there was a common thread uniting all of us. We were dressed in attire that was devoid of excess glitter, extra bling or plunging necklines. There wasn't a bare back or arm among us. I dare say none of us rushed down to local Pageant Boutique to by a special dress for this event. We looked attractive, comfortable and appropriate for any evening event.

Dressing well includes being comfortable. If you look silly in your skin tight satin dress without the benefit of proper foundation garments at home, you will not look better when you get to the event. 

I strongly believe that you should be able to combine the clothes you already own to make them work for any occasion. You have seen some elements of my recent looks before, which proves I make investments in clothes and shoes which can be worn many times in different combinations to make them earn their worth. 

Your attire at any event should reflect a woman who is confident, well dressed and comfortable in her own skin. I would prefer to look as if I've been here many times and it's no big deal instead of "I'm wearing my daughter's slinky prom dress with four inch heels I can't walk in. Don't I look ridiculous?"

You may also be attending parties and special black tie events this season so remember these tips when you do. Be comfortable. Maintain your dignity. Be true to yourself. Look special and elegant. Have fun!

Thank you for reading! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Breaking Rules

You may have heard the saying, "You must know the rules in order to break them effectively." With my soft contrast cool coloring, I should not wear brown or warm animal prints... but I love both! 

Last night for date night I wore an animal print tunic from Chico's Traveler's Collection. I layered it over a sleek long sleeve tee with spandex and Lycra, also from Chico's last year. The slim black pants are from Stein-Mart last year. The high heeled booties are by Vince Camuto and they are from Nordstrom. In spite of their high heels, these booties are comfortable and easy to walk in.

The little evening purse is one of my favorites but it must be fifteen years old. The silver and clear rhinestone hoops add a touch of cool tones next to my face.

The tunic is a little too large but I would prefer anything which buttons to not fit too tightly across my bust. I often go up a size in tops for that reason. I will also be able to wear this light weight tunic over summer clothes with the sleeves turned up.

The key to this outfit is the balance. I would never wear these slim leg pants with anything but a long tunic and I would never wear this tunic with anything but slim leg pants or a pencil skirt. Never wear two pieces that visually add width together. Always balance flowing boxy pieces over slim fitting pieces or vice versa. (For an opposite example: a slim tank top over a flowing maxi skirt.)

Thanks for reading. I hope the rest of your week is wonderful!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wearing Tights

I love the look of chunky booties with tights and a pencil skirt for daytime in the cooler months. When the proportions are right for you and the skirt isn't too short you can still turn heads in a good way. 

Proper fit is always important but especially so in a skirt. If the skirt is too tight or short you will not be comfortable or appropriate. Wearing a skirt with tights during the day in the cooler months is a great fresh look. Tights are opaque leg wear that allow us to get away with so much more than sheer stockings would. I normally wear sheer black stockings for evening only. Wolford makes top of the line tights which are well worth the investment. (They create lots of other fabulous items we need too!)

Here I've paired a graphite skirt with a loose fitting graphite long sleeve tee and a scarf. The scarf brings in the other colors to add. Burgundy is the color for us! It's very flattering to the face and can be worn with all the neutrals so well.  Add a few gold tone bold accessories and you can seize the day.

If you would like to shop for the exact items I've shown here you can visit my Polyvore page where I create wardrobe and outfit ideas. I normally list only items that are less than $100. I don't shop for high end expensive items but I do want to look current and attractive. Those are the tips I share with you here and on Facebook

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you have a wonderful day.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Beauty Routines After 50

Many of you have written to ask for tips on makeup and hairstyles that respect our changing faces. I am sharing my step by step routine with you here.

Permanent makeup, fillers, and plastic surgery are not options I am considering. I don't mind the character and expression lines that my face has developed over the years. I firmly believe that healthy eating, lots of water and regular exercise are the best beauty routines one can follow.

After fifty, some things became easier and for me, a hairstyle definitely falls into that category. I stopped coloring my hair after my fiftieth birthday and found a great stylist who gives me a softly layered angled bob cut that frames and slims my roundish face. Ask your stylist for a cut that works with the natural tendency of your hair and one that complements the shape of your face. A good stylist will also consider if your style is complementary to the size and shape of your body. For example, a petite woman peering out from a huge bush of long hair is not in balance with her proportions.

In the photo above I have just returned from my stylist. She gives me low lights about twice a year which keep my hair from appearing to colorless and dull. The chrome glaze she adds every five weeks gives it a nice shine.

As for styling products, I don't use anything but a gentle sulfate-free shampoo about three times a week. I sometimes just rinse my hair in the shower and then reshape it for the day, but skip the products entirely on most days. My thinning hair and dry scalp do not respond well to most products. A build up of styling products adds too much weight making my hair flat. It also gets trimmed about every five or six weeks. I don't allow my hair to get too long or get it cut too short. Both extremes add years to my face.

Warm water and a gentle skin cleanser remove makeup in the evening. Liquid Neutrogena in the pump bottle is my choice for a cleanser. I splash some warm water on my face to rinse it and then pat dry. I find that eye creams add puffiness and night time moisturizers cause me to break out so I skip those. One of my all time favorite moisturizers for my whole body is Coconut Oil.

My makeup routine has also been streamlined. In winter, I use a heavier moisturizer but in summer, I use only a tinted moisturizer or very light foundation that is appropriate for the texture of my skin. I apply the foundation mostly in my T-zone. (The T-Zone is the center of your face from your forehead down to your chin where most of us were a bit oily when our hormones were plentiful.) Use a small makeup sponge or brush to blend gently away from your nose and skip the area around your mouth so that you don't emphasize lines. This technique of starting your makeup in the center of your face and blending away helps to avoid the dreaded line of demarcation where your makeup stops and your neck begins.  

Here is a blog post including a makeup video.

I use makeup brushes rather than sponge applicators. They allow for better blending and less tugging on the skin. I use a liquid eyeliner applied into and under the base of my upper eyelashes (on the waterline). I don't apply liner or mascara to my lower lashes because this looks very harsh on me. My eyeshadow is always the same in varying degrees of depth of color for the day versus evening. The palate includes soft beige, a very pale shell pink, gray and rosy browns that complement my cool skin tone. I start with the darkest brown in my lash line and just above it. In the crease of my eye and just above it I blend a medium brown. I blend the lighter colors up to my brow and then blend. 

For more definition and drama, I add a smoky gray color at the outside corner of my eye. I use a blonde eyebrow pencil to fill in my thin brows, but I'm careful to blend and brush that out as well. I use a brown/black mascara and that's it for eyes. 

I brush on a bit of blush in a rose tone high on the cheekbones, the bridge of my nose and under my chin. If your skin is very dry cream blush might be best for you. Once again blend, blend, blend! Note: Do not smile and put blush on the apple of your cheek as we were taught when we were younger. When you stop smiling the blush will be lower than you want and not have the effect you want at all. 

I apply a lip liner over my whole lip and then a very similar color of lipstick. After blotting, I'm finished with my daytime makeup routine. During the evening, I may wear a brighter lip color but I apply and blot it several times while I am applying my make up so that it stains my lips rather than sliding around on top. I will use a similar color lip balm to touch up during the evening.

I almost always wear sunglasses when I'm outdoors and if I will be in the sun for more than a few minutes I also wear a hat. Skin cancer is no fun and I hope to never have it again. 

Thank you for reading!
I hope these tips prove to be helpful to you.

Susan Street is the President of