I celebrated a birthday recently. I have to say that mostly I tried to ignore it – telling people that I was celebrating the fact that I was born, not how many years I’d been on this earth. But truthfully, in a new town, I didn’t have to worry about too many people bothering me about it. My daughter Kate gave me several thoughtful gifts as did my husband (who is traditionally thwarted by the fact that if I want something, I buy it myself!) It was a good day; I helped Kate with darling grandson for a few hours and then exercised to my heart’s content; dinner with said husband was low key….and then it was, whew, the day after my birthday.
Look – I’m doing very well health wise – medical personnel are surprised to discover that I have a Medicare card – and I live a good life. Aside from the niggling issue of what I will do with my retirement, I am pretty content…except when I think about how old I am and how fragile we all are at this age. So I think low key birthdays will be the way to go in the future – maybe I can find someone else with the same birthday and then I’ll make a fuss over them and draw all the attention away from myself!
And…onto corset belts! I have always loved a very wide belt. I think a corset belt can make a full dress or pleated wide trousers look especially chic. But then my figure is such that a wide belt creates the illusion that I have a small(er) waist, so there’s that. Here are a few examples of when I’ve used a corset belt in the past:
The good news is that corset belts are back in the fashion headlines this fall since they featured prominently in the Prada A/W 16 line. In other words, they appeared on the runway last spring so we would all wear them this fall (hard to keep this couture calendar straight, isn’t it?). Of course, corset belts have always been a feature in renaissance fair and dominatrix fashion and perhaps they gained favor through the Kardashian waist cinching movement this past year. But who cares why? I am just happy they are back. If you’ve never tried one, you should give this fashion accessory a try!
Oh my goodness. Back in the beginning of August I felt certain that I would quickly get back into the blogging groove – in between carrying around my new grandson and putting the touches on our new apartment. It didn’t happen.
Instead I spent my time with my daughter and grandson, fiddling around with apartment decor (and driving my husband mad), and exercising. Oh yeah – and looking at ALL the clothes in my closet and wondering when I would ever wear them again. I dressed up once or twice and even threw a few things up on Instagram. But that wasit!
I am still pondering the “dressing up” question. The non-work world – and even the work world – are super casual and my extensive wardrobe is definitely NOT. What to do? And what is really true to who I am today?
Oh, and by the way, who AM I truly today? I now can see how easy it is to simply drift into retirement. Since I am in a new city, I don’t have any friends to distract me – just the aforementioned daughter, grandson, and husband. I run a few errands, undertake a leisurely exercise session, catch up on blogs and world news, maybe help out my daughter for a bit and…the day is gone. Two months into retirement and I can clearly see how this might be my destiny unless I decide otherwise. I have friends who’ve become artists, fiction writers, and even yogis after retirement. How did they manage to become someone new, I wonder?
The future of the blog is related to how I answer that question for myself. This I DO know. I’ll be back soon to muse a little further on that question – and to share a little fashion with you.
For the past five weeks, I have basically been living out of a growing stack of suitcases and shopping bags. I started out with items suitable for a weekend out of town and then, through a series of mishaps and adventures, never went home. My husband was very nice about sending me a few additional items of clothing that I wanted and I managed to order a few things by mail (so many good sales!). But here’s the big news: I barely thought about how I was dressed or whether I had on make up or cute shoes. I mostly wore active wear and sneakers and occasionally put on casual pants and sandals.
I know that you are curious about how I felt about all this. First of all there were several mitigating circumstances that were preoccupying me:
The arrival of my first grandchild – a beautiful baby boy – at the moment it is more fun changing his diaper than putting together a new outfit. And it makes no sense to change a diaper in good clothes, right? And, of course, baby’s parents have received SO many baby clothes that I cannot even shop for new baby clothes yet!
A bad fall in my daughter’s bathtub (no bathmat!) that kept me sitting on a couch for two weeks while I recovered.
Pretty hot summer weather and the absence of the right clothes for this weather – frankly workout clothes have been the coolest way to dress. Plus I didn’t belong to a gym for this period of time and walking everywhere was my exercise outlet.
A lot of time spent packing up my daughter and son in law’s apartment for their move South – what would you wear for such a project?
Plus my re-retirement started in this five-week period and I was supporting my husband long distance as he packed all our worldly good for a 2500-mile move to the Southeast.
I have missed dressing up and even wearing heels. After all, that is part of who I am and that will probably never change. But I tried to give myself permission to cede personal control as I moved around from someone else’s home to an Airbnb, and then hotels. Emotionally and personally, I am not sure how I feel at the moment, but I’ll try to address that in one more non-outfit post later this week. Then both my husband and my worldly goods will arrive and I’ll be in my own – albeit brand new – home again!
I became a grandmother for the first time yesterday and, of course, I am gobsmacked with adoration for this little boy. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this experience once I recover from my current delirium!
Since Two Take On Style is a mother-daughter collaboration, we’re going to take a short break to adjust to these new circumstances. Rest assured that we’ll be back very soon!
Ugh, it is really summer now and I’m on the east coast. So there is no way to avoid the upper arm dilemma. You know what I mean – the wiggly underside of the upper arm and its companion creepy, crepey arm wrinkles. We all know that, at a certain point, it doesn’t matter how many arm exercises we do, our older upper arms will betray us. There is a plastic surgery procedure to trim off the wiggly underside, but NOTHING will hold back the wrinkles.
So, while everyone else – i.e. the young – is wearing sleeveless tops and dresses in the hot weather, those of us with the upper arm dilemma have to scrutinize our appearance even in short sleeved tees.
What are we to do?
Embrace the elbow length sleeve – look for light gauzy tops with loose, flowy elbow length sleeves, for example, or elbow length tee shirts.
Throw a light jacket or scarf (kimonos are great!) over bare arms and shoulders whenever you can.
Draw the eye away from your upper arms – wear lots of jewelry, a snazzy belt, fabulous shoes or a low-cut top.
Be grateful for our overly-effective air conditioning because it means that a light sweater or jacket is almost mandatory when we’re indoors.
Suffer this indignity through the worst of the hot weather and celebrate when fall comes around and we can wear long sleeves again.
Check out the tops selected below. All are examples of chic tops we can wear during the hot summer months and avoid exposing our upper arms.
There are many mornings when I put on an outfit I selected the night before, take my pictures for the blog, and then change up outfit details before I go out the door. Somehow the process of photographing my outfit makes me re-think the “look” of the day.
With this ensemble, it was only once I got dressed that I remembered the problem with these culottes – fun pattern, great price when I bought them, BUT unflattering with a tucked-in top. Wearing a wide belt helped, but I was still dissatisfied. Just the same I left for work without making any changes. Around midday when the weather warmed up and I took off the jacket, I finally figured it out. I untucked the chambray shirt (long shirttail) and put the belt over the shirt – voila! No pictures of this change, but next time I’ll remember how to wear these culottes successfully!
All I ever do is wear pants! I have to break this cycle but I think fashion and my age are conspiring against me. While you might think this outfit is all about the crazy shirt I’m wearing, it is really the pants with the half-skirt built into the front that I love. Anything that adds interest and spark to a pair of black pants is a keeper in my book. I don’t think I’d like these pants without a tucked in top, but perhaps a more cropped top would work. Hmmm… think I’ll try that next!
Shop my picks:
See another (similar!) way I’ve worn this green shirt:
Remember that great post on packing a wardrobe for six weeks? Well, dear readers, I’ve lost the opportunity to take advantage of my own advice! Because I’m now 2500 miles from my closet, laid up recovering from my fall, and, instead, stuck with a weekend wardrobe for six weeks. Talk about a fashionista disaster, right?
OK, now DON’T judge me just because I take a lot of clothes with me for one weekend. If it were winter, I’d have fewer items, but it is so easy to pack more in warmer weather. But really, it is not a bad collection to mix and match for six weeks, is it? The crisp white shirt has to be professionally laundered and ironed to look good for more than one wearing and I should have included either more workout pants or sloppy pull-on pants for the work ahead – helping to take care of a first-time mother and newborn and packing – but I can borrow stuff from my daughter for this. Oh.. and I don’t have a light raincoat!
But I know I can do this and it will be an interesting challenge for someone accustomed to a lot of wardrobe variety. And if I get really out of sorts, I can always order something darling and on sale and have it sent to me here! By the way, here is a compilation of tips for efficient packing for your next trip.
Some days I wonder where the color in my wardrobe has gone. I can’t help that I love classic black mixed with everything, as well as navy and shades of olive. But it is uplifting to dress in red and white as you see here. There is nothing, in my opinion, better than a true, clear red and these pants qualify. They will be keepers in my summer retirement wardrobe!
I know my readers aren’t necessarily in the same boat as I am right now, but I’m hoping everyone can learn a bit from my experience. I’ll have little to say about fashion per se today – hope that works for you!
In about a week I will be retiring for the second time. The immediate future will be very busy because Kate and her husband are having a baby (you can follow her progress on Instagram) in a few weeks and moving a few weeks after that AND R and I are moving 2500 miles from the Bay Area to Knoxville, TN.
Yes, I am stepping off a cliff. No, I don’t know what the future will look like. R has been retired for a few years and he has been quick to find a million projects to keep him, and more particularly, his brain occupied. In short, he cannot understand why I choose the expression “stepping off a cliff” to describe how I feel at the moment.
Maybe this is the way I should feel – stepping away from a career that I never envisioned in the first place and in which I had way more success than I ever thought possible. I’m still the same person as before, but just one stripped of my professional credentials and accomplishments. It doesn’t bother me that others will categorize me as old because I retired – I dealt with that shock when I first used my Medicare card! But it is more that I call fall in the “former”/”ex” category.
I’ve taken an inventory of who I am today and I am determined to focus on the positive dimensions of the inventory spreadsheet and maybe that’s all I need to do until we get through the baby birthing, the packing and the move. I also have a written list of things I want to do in this new stage of life and I can keep adding to that over the next two months.
So for now I am this: humorous, curious, intelligent, grateful, pretty good partner and wife, lucky all my life, pretty good mom, fit and determined to remain so, well-dressed, interested in the world, travel and many, many topics, organized, full of love, a Quaker in my core values, a lover of beauty, gardens, man made beauty and art. That’s what I’ll hang onto until all these life changes have happened.
P.S. AND the whole process of change has taken a different slat because I took a bad fall last Friday at my daughter’s house. I fell on and hurt my right hip and won’t know for a few days what will be required to get better. Until then, I’m basically immobile and useless. This definitely was NOT the plan.