Thursday, September 6, 2012

September Date Night

Cool Fall weather hasn't yet arrived here in east Tennessee, so I took one last advantage of the warm evening to wear a breezy summer look for Wednesday date night with Mickey.

 I would not normally wear heels with Capri length pants but in this case the long white tunic from Chico's paired with the khaki and white pants from Coldwater Creek almost gives the illusion of a dress. I wear a platform wedge shoe with Capri length pants in most cases.

The suede booties are by Nine West. I found them at Ross for only $24! You know I had to wear them right away.

The khaki and white straw bow trimmed clutch was purchased at T.J. Maxx this year.  I often wear silver or white gold jewelry because it is more flattering to my gray hair. The link bracelet and ring were purchases from my travels and are old. I'm sorry I can't remember the designers.

The khaki cord, shell and silver trim necklace is from Belk by Erica Lyons. Small crystal and silver hoops are also from Belk.

Next week is my birthday week! Look for numerous new posts. Mickey has lots of events planned to celebrate.

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

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Last Days of Summer

Hi everyone! It's September already so here in the States that means summer is starting to fade away but the afternoon is still very warm. Yesterday was consumed with preparing for a big family get to together for Labor Day. My cool and comfy daytime outfit includes khaki ankle pants and platform cork sandals both by Adrienne Vittadini from T.J. Maxx.  I'm wearing a white gauze Old Navy tunic over a Coldwater Creek cream tank top worn tucked in only in the front. The over-sized silver and crystal watch, sunglasses and hoop earrings are from Stein-Mart and the gold and silver link bracelets are classics I've owned for many years. The bag is from T.J. Maxx from a couple of years ago.

As Mickey and I walked through the grocery store last night we passed a woman with her twenty something daughter who looked me over and said "Love your shoes!"

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday Date Night!

Mickey and I have a fun tradition of getting dressed for dinner and having a mid-week date night. When he picks me up for our date we leave our stressful first part of the week behind us and relax with a light meal and a glass of wine. We visit with old friends or make some new ones and unwind for a couple of hours. This breaks up the week and relieves some of the stress of running our businesses and maintaining our homes. It also gives me the chance to wear the shoes I might not otherwise wear!

The three elements of my outfit are all from Coldwater Creek in the Peerless Shopping Center in Johnson City. The black and cream sheer blouse has an uneven hem which dips to a curve in the back. The cream tank has tiny straps which are adjustable. The cream linen type pants are the Natural Fit.

 The secret to a happy relationship is to be with the one that makes you giggle!
Hair by Allison at Reflections Salon and SPA in Johnson City. 

Earrings by me. All the components can be found on my web site

Always switch to a small bag for evening. You really only need lip gloss, tissues, business cards, cash and or a charge card. No need to lug your life around when you are only going to dinner. Evening bag by Kenneth Cole Reaction. I layered two fun "diamond" rings for drama.

A pedicure is a great time to relax and make sure you have healthy happy feet. For me those toes are an important summer accessory. The OPI nail polish is the color Dutch Tulips. Danielle at Austin Springs SPA is great at what she does. 

Shoes by Impo.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Celebrating Stylish Friends!

We are a group of friends who love to get together with Rose, the wonderful friend we all have in common. She and her sweet husband Jerry, recently invited all of us along with our significant others over for brunch. I'm so glad my dear Mickey took this picture of us standing on the steps. (When you live on a hillside at the lake, you have lots and lots of steps.) This picture speaks to me on many levels. We are all vibrant healthy attractive normal women from all walks of life and in many stages of life. This is a true picture of women. Why do the 2% that are twenty something, perfectly thin, tall and stunningly beautiful represent all of us in catalogs and magazines? I believe that the day a company decides to use real people in their advertising, their business will skyrocket. I celebrate women who have fun with current styles and yet still maintain their dignity and present a confident appearance that turns heads at any age.

One of the greatest things about this stage of our lives is that we now have some time to get comfortable with who we are, being with friends sharing laughter and the stories of our lives. Whether you are my Facebook friend or one who lives down the street, I'm so grateful to have you in my life.

The style sets that I create on Polyvore are wildly popular. A few of the sets are shown below. Visit FiftynotFrumpy to see more and to find out where all these elements can be purchased.

My blog and Facebook page (Fifty, not Frumpy) are dedicated to women who might be over fifty but are still having fun with fashion and enjoying life. Here's to you beautiful ladies! May the second half of your life be even more fulfilling and exciting than the first.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Easy Breezy Summer Afternoons

I'm wearing khaki ankle pants with a soft floral blouse from Coldwater Creek and Nine West shoes. The sunglasses and bangle bracelets are in brown tones and bone with brass accents.

I'm comfortable and casual for hanging out by Mickey's pool in the pavilion with friends.

Yesterday we went for a drive to the mountains of North Carolina. When we arrived in Blowing Rock it was quite a bit cooler than it was here in Johnson City. I stopped in to visit one of my favorite boutiques, The Fig Leaf Ltd where I bought this Damee swing jacket. It is a soft taupe/silver color with a bit of sparkle to it. The classic styling means I will be wearing it for years to come. I love the collar details, the three quarter length sleeves and three large buttons. I'm also wearing black Travelers pants from Chicos and a black tee underneath the jacket. My earrings are large silver hoops with tiny Swarovski crystal details within the hoops.  The platform pony-skin sandals are by Vince Camuto. When wearing a dramatic style jacket such as this I always keep all my other accessories minimal. It is enough of a statement on its own. One must be careful not to over accessorize because that can make you look older and cluttered. 

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Balancing Act

Do you have an inverted triangle body type? Pictured here are two versions of the wrap top which always makes me feel a little slimmer when the heat requires that I not wear a jacket or sweater as a third element. I have an inverted triangle figure which means my top is larger than my bottom half. To balance this, I often wear darker colors on top and lighter colors on the bottom. I also avoid bulky materials of any type in tops as well as breast pockets on shirts or ruffles on blouses.

When wearing long pants, a maxi dress or long skirt I often wear low flat shoes. When I wear a shorter skirt or cropped pants I always wear at least a low heel. I prefer wedges or thicker heels since my calves are short and thick compared to my thighs. If I wore thin stiletto heels the contrast would make my calves and ankles look even larger. 

Thanks for reading! I hope my tips are helpful to you. 

Resources for the items shown here can be found on my Polyvore site at the link below. Click on the set you like and then hover your mouse over the item to see options for finding the site that sells the item. 


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tank Tops to the Rescue!

One item of clothing shows up in my closet in multiples for every season. The essential white tank top is always there in a variety of shapes, textures and fabrics. It is the first layer in many of my outfits. It provides a smoothing effect under shirts worn unbuttoned a bit for a lighter weight casual third element, cardigan sweaters and all sorts of jackets. After my fiftieth birthday I found that three layers in an outfit was very comfortable and appropriate in almost every situation.

Tank tops come in all shapes and types of fabrics. Knit ones with a bit of spandex are great for the smooth line they allow. If the tank top is made from a soft tee shirt knit the next layer will almost always drag across it rather than flow smoothly so they are better worn with heavier fabrics like denim.


Tank #1 has tiny straps that can be adjusted to allow you to move the neckline lower or higher. This is a great tank to serve as a modesty layer simply for cleavage control and a foundation to give you a smooth back under jackets and cardigans. 

Tank #2 has wider straps and a rouching detail at the neckline for a bit of softness. It can be used as a relief layer when your top layer becomes too warm. It covers enough to still be attractive when worn alone while your "private summer" passes.

Tank #3 is a lace number which should be made from silk or rayon or nylon so that it is soft and smooth under dressy jackets and knit cardigans with ornate buttons (think Chanel style knits.) This one has the warm glow of cream white which looks soft and feminine in candlelight.

Tank #4 is a soft tee shirt material which can be worn under denim shirts or sporty knit jackets.

Tank #5 hugs you close and gives you a smoother body under thin jackets and sweaters when you want hold it all in just a bit.

Tank #6 is my necessary cream color tank when white is just too bright as in the photo below. (I now make sure I pack my cream tank when I take this sweater for a weekend get-away.)

 I'm wearing a thin knit cardigan with fringe detail and a silky smooth tank (which should have been cream colored) underneath.

 This is an Austin Reed navy blazer which has a low V-front closure. I always wear it with a white tank and either a scarf or an interesting necklace when we are going out to dinner in the fall.

 Here's another outfit including a silky white tank and the navy Austin Reed blazer.

 This is a black and white jacket that needs just a bit of modesty at the neckline
 so I'm wearing tank #1 here.

 There is a white silky tank #5 underneath this thin gray bomber style jacket.

Tank #4 is under this quilted knit casual jacket worn with dark wash denim and comfy luggage tan booties for a recent trip to the mountains.

Thank you for reading! I hope these tips help you expand your wardrobe and have fun creating different layered outfits with the essential white tank top.

Sources: I find a variety of tank tops in different shapes and fabrics at most department stores including Dillard'sBelk ,Target,  Macy's and Stein Mart.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Enjoy the Journey!

My page 'Fifty, not Frumpy' on Facebook has been a huge hit, with as many as 8,500 views per week. My sets on Polyvore geared to women of a certain age had more than 40,000 views in the first six months of being a member. The feedback and interest shown have inspired me to create a web site and devote my blog to the very popular conversations and pictures we share for those of us who are having fun with fashion later in life. Let's celebrate who we are now and make the most of our assets and have fun with fashion.

The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is women over fifty-five, but style and fashion tips geared toward us are still very few. My goal is to share a variety of outfits with links to similar items if you wish to buy them. I'll provide tips and tricks I've learned to use in making today's looks work for me as a more mature woman.

My outfit for the Tour of Homes in Blowing Rock, North Carolina had to be cool and comfortable for the heat of the late July day but also allow me to keep warm when the cool evening air settled onto the mountains. My option included a very soft knit black maxi dress with wider straps which allowed me to wear a black bra for proper support. I wore a soft knit raspberry colored cardigan with bronze bead trim as a coverup. When I bought it and the clutch bag I'm wearing as a cross-body bag, I thought I would be using them for evening wear, however, they seemed perfect for this daytime dress.

I kept all my accessories simple since I was wearing a hat and sunglasses otherwise my look would have been too cluttered.

The sandals are comfortable and low with embellishments that complement the details on the hat and the bag.

Later in the day when the heat was high and everyone was sporting their wet hair and looking wilted in their damp clothes I still felt comfortable and confident. I was flattered that so many people gave me compliments. One guy even whistled at me! That hasn't happened in many years.

This is my sweet wonderful gentleman friend and partner in adventure, Mickey.

Thank you for reading! I hope the tips and ideas I share with you give you inspiration for making fashion fun again.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Star Style

Meryl Streep has always had great style and grace. Her feminine yet powerful attire is always appropriate for her and seems so effortless. She is my inspiration for today's post.


Tone on Tone Dressing


Wearing the same color in different tones from head to toe is lengthening and slimming as well as projecting elegance and great style. Always wear a tunic over leggings. The hemline should reach mid-thigh (well below your bottom). A bit of heel is better than a totally flat shoe. Wedges rather than thin heels are easier to walk in and also more attractive with leggings. Open your collar and add a silk scarf or an interesting necklace inside the neckline. Turn up your sleeves to just below your elbows to look taller and thinner as well as being cooler. Fabrics that flow and move easily across your body are more comfortable and attractive. Tight clingy fabrics will never make you feel confident.



A handbag or a clutch are usually more attractive since they do not alter the line of your clothes as a shoulder bag does. The proportion of a bag should complement your size. A large woman carrying a tiny handbag looks a little silly don't you think?


Button earrings with a dangle or a drop are infinitely more attractive on almost all women. If you are wearing a bold statement necklace the earrings should not compete with it. Either don't wear earrings with it or wear only small studs or hoop earrings.



Sunglasses should fit your face shape and size. For example square sunglasses frames will look better on you if you have a round face. The color of the frame and the tint of the lens should complement the color of your hair and your skin tone.

Thank you for reading. I hope my tips are helpful to you.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Boutique Earrings

Boutique Earrings

More than two hundred boutiques and galleries as well as several high end Department Stores carried my jewelry line during my career. The biggest selling item ever for me was earrings. I created hundreds of styles such as the ones pictured here with clip backs and lots of dangles. Color was a selling point as well as design. I created styles in denim, animal print, lime green, and every color combination one  can think of. Customers still ask the boutiques for earrings in this style but they are very difficult to find now because designers create those little wire through the ear styles that look great on most younger women and not so great on most mature women.

If you decide to create these earrings, here are a few tips to remember. Clip backs with cushions are a must. Create an interesting button top with a filigree or other looped finding as a base. Add an uneven number of dangles which graduate from longest in the center to shortest on the outside. (I've added as many as eleven rows of dangles on one earring. They sold to the first person who saw them.) Always use small jump rings to attach dangles so that the strand has motion and will hang straight. Adding chain as part of a few of the strands keeps the design from becoming too bulky. Use long beads as well as the flatter spacer beads, rondelles and bi-cones to have variety and interest in the design. Pops of color can come from large seed beads.

Look at the color combinations in the stores you sell to. If there is a very popular jacket that combines silver and gray, make some earrings that would look great with that jacket.

Now that I am in my mid fifties I understand perfectly why women my age look for button earrings with or without dangles. We like to hide those earlobes that may be stretched a bit. It's always nice to find a dangle pair of earrings to wear with simple necklines. It draws attention away from a neck that may not be as smooth as it was a few years ago.

I was recently speaking with the owner of one of the boutiques that bought a lot of my work when I was still designing. The owner and staff told me that they have many customers who want this type of earring but they are rarely able to find them. The owner said she looks on Etsy for them! She sells the earrings in her shop for $75 and up.

Don't miss out on a great customer because you don't have any of these earrings to offer. Make a few and see what happens. The feedback you get will tell you if you are on the right track. Always watch for the body language as well as what people actually say as they are looking at your work. When someone smiles and picks up a piece to study it, make a mental note. Even though they may not buy the piece it brought a positive reaction.

Have a great summer!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

You Are Not Alone

One of the best things about turning fifty-five was finding the confidence to dress to please me again. My earlier corporate lifestyle wardrobe was influenced by my peers, meetings and the fashion industry I worked in until my early forties. Later in life experiences and being self-employed took its toll on my appearance. I had gained weight and lost social skills from spending many years working almost around the clock and being alone most of the time. I had become a sloppy dresser who tried to hide all the things I didn't like about my new body. While I knew a great deal about my industry, I had lost all touch with fashion trends and even what was right for my now not so great body. Many women have a similar experience when their children become adults and go out on their own. You've spent so many years devoted to them, you may have lost your "self" in the process. If you are also newly single during this time the journey becomes even more confusing and overwhelming. You are not alone! You will survive this and you will be stronger. 

Being able to get dressed without added stress might not seem very important at this time in your life but I know from experience it is. As someone who has stood in her closet in tears and exhausted from trying on clothes for a special event only to become more frustrated with every discarded piece, I can tell you it makes the difference in showing up and participating in life or staying home and eating ice cream alone.

Today's anything goes fashion trends don't even work for some young toned bodies so they aren't likely to flatter those of us who have had our fiftieth birthday party either.

Some of the hot trends we might not want to try are stacked platform high-heeled shoes with ankle bands. Honestly, I can't think of any reason for anyone to consider these but here is an extreme example for you. High skinny heels tend to make our calves look even thicker. Walking in high heels isn't easy. If you must wear them, be confident in your stride and wear cushioned insoles to help with the pain. When your feet hurt...everyone can tell at a glance.

Another trend that isn't right for most of us is the tiny top with skinny or no straps. Anything that shows too much of our upper arms and waistline may not be a good look for us. Tops are very important to your total look. Spend most of your clothing budget on nice blouses, jackets and lightweight cardigans worn open with a great fitting tank top to reveal only part of your body. I love the variety that comes from owning pieces that work together to create many looks rather than dresses. Prints and patterns are very limiting and memorable. Try solids in colors that flatter your skin tone and can be worn together.

Accessories will allow you to dress up or down that great white shirt and black pants for any occasion  in life. You really don't need to spend a lot of money on a lot of clothes.

Great for evenings!

Out to Lunch!

Strictly Business

Hear me Roar!

Be strong! Be beautiful! 

Be your best you everyday!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fashion tips for us!

If you are on the plus side of fifty you may feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to making new choices for your wardrobe. Many of the fashion news articles and store displays seem to be geared to the twenty somethings. Those styles may not be appropriate or comfortable for our bodies so we must make adjustments to create a style that is flattering and comfortable but keeps our look current. It's also a plus if we can use what we already have in our closet and update it with a few key fashion pieces.

I've named the photo set below "Street Style" because it represents my formula for getting dressed for daytime. Layers allow you to be prepared for cooler restaurant temps, a sudden Spring rain or a ride in a convertible. Push up the sleeves of a light weight cardigan in a color that is flattering for your skin tone and wear a body skimming tee underneath. This gives you a flattering deep V neck and pushing up your sleeves to show forearm always adds height and takes away pounds visually. Layering in light weight fabrics allows you to feel confident that you aren't showcasing those extra pounds around the middle that we find so very difficult to get rid of. 

I often wear a hat in summer for several reasons. My hair is not as full and thick as it once was but I also like covering my hair when it is likely going to be stuck to my head with perspiration. (Never a good look!) Some rules will always apply when wearing a hat. Your other accessories need to be less in number and scale when you wear a hat. I like to add a small clutch to my tote bag so that I am not carrying a big bag and wearing a hat at the same time but I still have all the things I need for a day in the country or shopping in a nearby village. The brim of your hat should never exceed the width of your shoulders. I like to add a flowing sheer scarf over the band to relate to another color I'm wearing. If the weather becomes too warm later in the day I can take off the cardigan and drape the scarf across my shoulders. Try on several styles of hats to find the one that is flattering to your face shape. Remember round plus round is never good when it comes to faces and accessories.

Sunglasses in shapes that flatter your face and protect your eyes are a wise investment for anyone. I have several styles and always make sure I have the correct sunglasses and shade of lip gloss before I leave for the day. Lip gloss or lip color of any type should blend with the color of your top. Image a beautiful red blouse with a lip color in the orange tones. (Clash!) I like to wear earrings and bangles in my accent color in hot summer weather. A necklace, earrings, sunglasses and a hat all at once are way too much going on in a small area.

Platform sandals are much more flattering with cropped pants or walking shorts because they visually add length to your lower leg to balance out the fact that cropped pants shorten the length of your leg.  A nude color leather with accents such as jute, straw or cork are great summer neutrals with white or khaki pants. 

I hope you have a happy, healthy, fashionable summer!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happier and Healthier

The person you see in the first photo is very unhealthy and unhappy with her body image on all levels. That's me in the Spring of 2011.

Spring 2011

Fast forward a year to the second photo. I lost more than forty pounds!

Spring 2012

I was about to outgrow size 12 pants in the first photo. In the second photo, I'm comfortably wearing size 4 pants. 

In 2010, I averaged two migraines per week. I rarely have even a headache now and the inflammation of joints that caused pain with every movement is gone. A backache that kept me from enjoying working in my flower gardens is gone. I no longer take medications of any kind. My lab test results are now perfect. 

Everyone who sees me for the first time in a few months is amazed at my transformation. The first question is "How did you lose so much weight so fast?" My answer is always "Read the book "Eat To Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman" to learn what to eat and why.


I am happy to report that I have continued to maintain my weight for more than seven years.


While doing research for the world's healthiest foods, I found that many of them were in what I have for breakfast every morning. This is a hot cereal breakfast that keeps me from thinking about food until late in the afternoon. I'm sharing the recipe along with my story in the hopes that I can inspire you to be a healthier happier more energetic person.

Susan's Power Porridge Breakfast

About 3 cups of unsweetened Almond Milk or Coconut Milk (add more if the mixture becomes too thick cook longer if it is too thin.)
2 Tablespoons of steel cut oats
1 Tablespoon lentils (I add a teaspoon each of three colors)
2 Tablespoons flax seeds (I grind them in a coffee grinder)
1 Tablespoon of amaranth
1 Tablespoon of millet
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds  
2 Tablespoons of old-fashioned rolled oats (Added near the end of cooking time. Needs about five minutes of cooking.)
Optional items to add near the end of cooking time:
1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds and/or sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon of raw organic pepitas (no shell pumpkin seeds)
1 Tablespoon natural raw walnuts
1 Tablespoon natural raw pecans
1 Tablespoon Hemp Hearts (Sprinkle on top or add at the end of cooking.)
1/4 cup of cooked Teff and or Quiona
1 teaspoon of Red Star Nutritional Yeast (This is not brewers yeast.) It supplies B vitamins. 
3 Large dates (pits removed) cut in half
1 Banana or any fresh fruits you like.
Spices you might like to add, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg or ground cloves. 

 (You may find these items on or if they are not available in your area.)

Heat almond milk to a gentle boil as you add lentils and chia seeds, grains, seeds, and then the oats. Stir well and turn down the heat to medium, continue to stir occasionally. Cook for about fifteen minutes until the lentils are tender. You may need to add more or less almond milk to keep the consistency creamy, not watery.

Add the Nutritional Yeast, nuts and dried fruit, stir and cover to simmer only until the dried fruits have warmed. Cut fresh fruit to add on top. 

This recipe serves two or saves well to refrigerate for reheating. I reheat with more almond milk in a saucepan and add the cold porridge to simmer for a few minutes until it is warm.

Packed with high nutrition this breakfast will help you feel satisfied well into the afternoon.

It's been more than six years since I began this journey. I haven't had so much as a cold since I started eating this breakfast followed by a large vegetable loaded salad late in the day. I drink a lot of water and eat fresh in-season fruits and vegetables daily.

I still have desserts occasionally and I still have a glass of white wine with dinners out with Mr. Mickey a couple of times a week. 90% of the time I eat whole real foods that have not been processed in any way other than perhaps being steamed. Mostly I just wash, chop, and enjoy. 

Countless people have asked me how do you continue to keep the weight off? This is my secret!

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Start!

Starting over is always stressful but later in life it can be downright overwhelming. You might think that getting a whole new wardrobe would be great fun but I'm finding that not to be the case. 

During the past year I lost more than thirty-five pounds. That equates to size 12 pants that were too tight to size 6 pants that are too loose in the rear. None of the old familiar favorites that have carried me through in the past will work for me now. Thus begins the monumental task of rebuilding a wardrobe that took years to acquire.

The pieces I've chosen above can be mixed and matched to get the most out of my investment. The exception would be the lighter blue jacket. It is more dressy and would only be worn with the black pants or a black skirt for evenings.  

My goal is to build a core wardrobe of basic pieces which easily move from day to evening and for any event. These pieces can be updated with accessories and layered over tops with interesting details or pops of color to make them current. 

I look for shapes and details that are appropriate for my body type. My upper body is still too thick as compared to my lower half. Instead of boxy large collar jackets, I look for deep V, single breasted closures or no closure at all. Lapels are notched high and upward with smaller or best of all, no lapels. This draws the eye up to my face which is quite round. To balance the roundness I look for lower scoop neck or V-necks in a simple style and sleek material. Showing a bit of skin above the cleavage elongates the face. (At fifty-five, I don't show wrinkly cleavage on purpose.) 

The shape of a jacket or blouse should be nipped in a bit at the waist but loose enough so that the back is smooth. Boxy jackets or ones that are too long will overwhelm me and make me look older and shapeless. My waist has always been thick but wearing a shapeless high neck jacket with a round collar or a chunky knit cardigan makes me appear to have no neck at all as well as no waist and makes my chin appear to rest right on top of my bust.

I always search for pants and skirts with a plain flat front and ideally a side zipper. Even though I don't have much of a behind, I don't want to draw attention to it with flap pockets or embellished details. I still want smooth very simple pockets on my slacks. Skinny jeans are for the very young and very skinny. I put those acid washed, weirdly faded, embellished jeans in that same pile. I look for dark blue jeans, white jeans and khaki pants with a slightly flared hem and smooth simple natural waistline. 

I prefer blouses with the same waist tailoring and a crisp collar that can be turned up for an extra lift to the eye. I really like three quarter length sleeves and always look for those in blouses, summer weight knit cardigans and crossover detailed tops. Showing a bit of skin at the neck and forearm gives you visual lift and makes you look taller and thinner. 

My calves are thick and short so crop pants are always worn with wedge heel sandals (never...ever high skinny heels). I need the added length to keep my legs from looking shorter and fatter. I have not worn shorts for twenty years and don't intend to start now. 

Wish me luck as I continue my search! I hope sharing this with you has helped you in your search for updates as well. Try writing down what you are looking for and why. It helps narrow the overwhelming choices when it comes to choosing what is right for you. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Grand Petite Possibilities

She is five feet two inches tall and carries a few extra pounds. Her bottom half is a bit rounder and fuller than her top half. This is the silhouette of many women. If this description fits you, then you already know those runway models who look like twelve year old boys in a growth spurt have little in common with you.

The styles shown as the example we should emulate for this season often will make you look even more round and short.

This image shows you some of the styles that might not be the best choice for your body type.

Shapeless cardigan sweaters in a dull color really don't flatter anyone. This one appears to stop at the widest part of your hips. That's something you should always avoid.

Bulky sweaters in bold color combinations with horizontal patterns or strips will break your body into even smaller wider portions.  The same rule applies to bulky stiff jackets and fluffy faux fur, as well as quilted parka type jackets. You should look for sleek, supple textures in colors that complement your skin tone and blend with the other colors in your closet. One color in different hues will literally add the illusion of height and less volume to your shape.

A dress with too many patterns, layers or details can add pounds and make you look even shorter. Look instead for a simple sleek line of one color in a fit that flatters your shape and wear it with accessories that lift the eyes to your face. The hem should be at the smallest part of your leg. In most cases the most flattering hemline will be just below your knee.

Your shoes and boots should also be sleek and simple with a low heel. Chunky shoes and boots will always add pounds. On the other end of the mistake scale is the too slender high heel worn with thick calves. Always consider proportion and fit when investing in new footwear. If they only look good when you are sitting down with your legs crossed, they might not be a good investment.

Wearing socks with a dress and heels is not flattering on anyone.

Shown below are some selections that will more likely flatter your petite frame. The lines are simple and classic. The accessories are scaled in proportion to your body. The pieces can be mixed and matched to get more from your wardrobe. Good things do come in small packages!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Never Give Up!

At a time when my personal life was starting to fall apart, making jewelry became my passion. At first, it was a hobby. My mind overflowed with ideas and techniques I just couldn't wait to try. After a few months, people would stop me in the mall wanting to know where I got my earrings, so I started to do small craft shows. Within a year I was selling to several boutiques in my area, creating styles geared to the clients of that particular shop. I did trunk shows at Nordstrom and in beautiful galleries on the grounds of world-famous resorts.

Creating even simple designs still brings me joy.

For several years I produced collections which included more than one hundred items. Seven sales reps carried storyboards of product and a framed color board with examples of the colors the products available. The line was shown in five major apparel markets and sold in more than two hundred boutiques and galleries, but success came at a price. 

There were times I drove three hundred miles to do a presentation to a boutique owner, who didn't even show up for the appointment. I've sold thousands of dollars worth of inventory to boutiques only for their check to bounce. It wasn't an easy path to keep trying to follow.

My health and creativity suffered from the grueling schedule and mundane act of recreating the same products again and again, so I switched gears.

Ten years into my career I hired a well-known sales rep who specialized in high end one of a kind fashion items in her beautifully appointed showrooms. I was thrilled to be making wearable works of one of a kind art once again. A significant market date was approaching, so I worked day and night to ensure the showroom was well stocked with a vast selection of products for my potential clients. Past show history suggested this would be a very successful show. Days after the show, no payment had arrived. Phone calls were not answered in the showroom or the home of my sales rep. Other artists who exhibited with her also started to call me. We discovered that this woman had taken all of our remaining product and all of our revenue from the show and left the country. The showroom was cleared out overnight. The devastation from this loss was a massive blow to my business and my spirit.

Time passed, and I continued to create. I slowly rebuilt my business, but my faith in humankind was forever changed.

I share these stories from my past with you in hopes that you will be inspired to keep following your dreams, even when the path you've chosen threatens to swallow you up into a black hole. Each of the negative things you experience along your journey will teach you to prepare for the next event in your life. Perhaps someday you will share your story, and it will, in turn, help others.

A few years ago, my hands became so weak from all those years of overuse; I can barely hold a bead cap to thread it onto a head pin. That's just part of the reason I'm so grateful for a chance to share what I've learned with others. I can still be a small part of the design process even if I'm only your supplier. I enjoy seeing what you've created and hearing about your success. 

Never give up!