My Style Challenge: Finding Age-Appropriate Boho Dresses

boho dresses

boho dresses

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Since last fall, I’ve been lusting after a great boho dress of midi or maxi length and not many ruffles or other details.  I envision myself wearing this look with books and a moto jacket or a wide belt in cooler weather and with sandals in the summer.  Of course in my DREAMS, I’m running across a flower-strewn field barefoot with my long hair blowing in the wind.  But back to reality.

The reality is that it is not easy to find such a dress that is really age appropriate, or at least one I’d be willing to wear.  Again my criteria:  sleeves, no prairie ruffles, midi or maxi length, not sheer, modest neckline and somewhat flattering.  I’ve perused Zara (where this season’s fashion is designed to look good only on Kendall Jenner!), Free People (the home of boho, right?), Urban Outfitters (second home of boho), ModCloth, and, finally, Nordstrom (because they have everything current just designed for normal people…).  What did I find?

  • Many boho dresses have a surfeit of hanging ties, fringe and the like
  • There are a lot of elastic waists and designs that are muu muu like
  • Most are still short – even mini length
  • Many have deep v necklines
  • Finding a really pretty print is not easy
  • These dresses often don’t come cheap

To be fair, I did find a handful that I would consider and maybe those odds aren’t bad in today’s fashion marketplace.  See if you like any of my finds!

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What Jeanne Wore: Leopard Print Jacket and Black Ankle Pants

Leopard Print Jacket and Black Ankle Pants | Two Take on Style

Leopard Print Jacket and Black Ankle Pants | Two Take on Style Leopard Print Jacket and Black Ankle Pants | Two Take on Style Leopard Print Jacket and Black Ankle Pants | Two Take on Style Leopard Print Jacket and Black Ankle Pants | Two Take on Style

Ann Taylor jacket (similar), belt via Shopbop (similar), Theory pants (similar), Josie Natori necklace (similar), Nina Originals shoes (similar)

Interestingly, this outfit represents what I see more and more as my “old” look.  Take an interesting jacket, create a waist by belting it, and wear it with the ubiquitous black pants. Probably ten times more sophisticated than what other people are wearing to the office these days, but more of a uniform than I like to wear anymore.

The truth is that I have very few jackets left in my closet and I only keep jackets if I can envision them worn with both good trousers and distressed jeans.  They’ve been replaced by longer sweaters and denim or moto jackets  – altogether much more casual.

With the prospect of retirement looming again, it is difficult to envision returning to a “dressier” look at any point in the future.  But then us “style girls” never say “never”, right?  By the way, the morning I put on this outfit, it never even made it out the door … just not me anymore.

Shop my picks:

See another way I’ve worn this jacket:

inspired by pinterest | Two Take on Style

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What Jeanne Wore: Gilded Ankle Pants and Floaty Top

gilded ankle pants and floaty top | Two Take on Style

gilded ankle pants and floaty top | Two Take on Style gilded ankle pants and floaty top | Two Take on Style gilded ankle pants and floaty top | Two Take on Style gilded ankle pants and floaty top | Two Take on Style

BCBG Max Azria top (similar), J. Crew pants (similar), Zara shoes (similar), Tory Burch clutch via Jeremy’s SF (similar), J. Crew earrings (similar)

Jeanne goes out in the evening!  Where can one go in the evenings anymore where “dress up” clothes are required?  I always consider such an occasion a challenge, mostly because I don’t have many items that can be considered dressy.  However, this asymmetrical floaty top from BCBG looks quite festive with dressier gilded ankle pants and the sparkly shoes, right?

By the way, Kate gifted the shoes to me several years ago and I love the muted sparkle and the shape – very comfortable too.  Bottom line on dressy events for me: separates and a wee bit of sparkle!

Shop my picks:

See another way I’ve worn these pants:

belted cardigans | Two Take on Style

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What Jeanne Wore: Black Tube Skirt and Clover Canyon Top

Black Tube Skirt and Clover Canyon Top | Two Take on Style

Black Tube Skirt and Clover Canyon Top | Two Take on Style Black Tube Skirt and Clover Canyon Top | Two Take on Style Black Tube Skirt and Clover Canyon Top | Two Take on Style Black Tube Skirt and Clover Canyon Top | Two Take on Style

Clover Canyon top (similar), Jean Paul Gaultier skirt (similar), Sole Society shoes (similar), old earrings (similar), old bracelet (similar)

I’ve always been the kind of gal who has the perennial basics covered in her closet.  As a result I always have a basic black skirt and a perfect pair of black pants.  Well, this year and for a number of years to come, the basic black skirt is this wonderful Gaultier item – high waisted, midi-length tube skirt made of Gaultier’s tulle fabric, with polka dots in the weave of the skirt!  AND it goes with anything and everything.  I’d probably even wear leggings underneath!

Wearing this skirt with my Clover Canyon top is a no-brainer.  I love Clover Canyon items – sort of a poor woman’s Mary Katrantzou – and I found this deeply on sale.  Not so much the skirt…

Shop my picks:

See another way we’ve worn this Clover Canyon top:

outfit post red and blue

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What Jeanne Wore: Lime Green Cardigan and Culottes

Lime Green Cardigan and Culottes | Two Take on Style

Lime Green Cardigan and Culottes | Two Take on Style Lime Green Cardigan and Culottes | Two Take on Style Lime Green Cardigan and Culottes | Two Take on Style Lime Green Cardigan and Culottes | Two Take on Style

Ann Taylor sweater (similar), Asos culottes (similar though nothing is similar to these!), Ann Taylor shirt, Banana Republic belt (similar), Louise et Cie boots (similar)

I have chosen today’s outfit for several reasons: 1) as a discipline, bloggers should share the “meh” outfit photos as well as the spectacular ones – this one is a little bit “meh”, and 2) my silly glasses purchased as computer reading glasses but also used generally.

Readers, I look a little like an insect in these!   While I loved the IDEA of this outfit, it fell short in execution.  I was intrigued by the idea of tucking in my lime green cardigan, but I think it ended up looking lumpy combined with the shirt underneath and the baggy culottes.  Happily, the stenciled saying “Not My Problem” on the culottes compensated for these other shortcomings!

Shop my picks:

See another way we’ve worn these culottes:

black turtlenecks | Two Take on Style

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Spring Style Challenge: Off the Shoulder

off the shoulder | Two Take on Style

off the shoulder | Two Take on Style

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The off the shoulder look is hot, hot, hot and will only become more popular as we head into summer. I love this look for tops and dresses – so feminine and carefree, right?  Who wouldn’t love to wear one of these in hot weather?

Right, but probably only for women way younger than yours truly. I happen to think my shoulders are among my best features but I still think this look is often too bare for women of a certain age.  It is, in my opinion, a look for those who still have dewy skin, not sun-damaged skin.

On the other hand, there are degrees of bareness with the off-the-shoulder style.

TOO bare:

MUCH Better:

My bottom line is that everyone can take advantage of the cool “bare shoulder” trend and look gorgeous by following a few tips:

  1.  Stick to more conservative off the shoulder tops that bare only to the clavicle and expose the top of the shoulders; or
  2. Choose off-the-shoulder styles that are elasticized so that you can adjust the top to show less; or
  3. Look for beautiful halter tops or dresses that highlight the shoulders only.

Take a look at the following styles – perfect for any age and oh so cool in the warmer months!

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What Jeanne Wore: Red Pants and Pink Sweater

red joggers and pink sweater | Two Take on Style

red joggers and pink sweater | Two Take on Style

red joggers and pink sweater | Two Take on Style red joggers and pink sweater | Two Take on Style

J. Crew joggers (similar), J. Crew sweater (similar), Sole Society shoes (similar in more sizes), vintage brooch (similar), vintage bracelet (similar)

I love to wear pink and red together, folks.  Maybe it’s the shock value or maybe it is just that these are two of my favorite colors.  And adding one of my vintage brooches was a no-brainer. My red shoes so perfectly match my pants (and you know how much I like matchy matchy).

By the way, everyone should have a perfect pair of red heels just as everyone should have animal print heels.  They brighten up any outfit.  I love many of the Sole Society shoes because they are on trend but of a reasonable height. Beautiful shoes at a good price that one can walk in – what a concept!

Shop my picks:

See another way we’ve worn pink and red:

pink and red

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What Jeanne Wore: Black Culottes with Yellow Accessories

Black Culottes with Yellow Accessories | Two Take on Style

Black Culottes with Yellow Accessories | Two Take on Style

Black Culottes with Yellow Accessories | Two Take on Style Black Culottes with Yellow Accessories | Two Take on Style Black Culottes with Yellow Accessories | Two Take on Style

Asos culottes (similar), Ann Taylor sweater (similar), Asos belt (similar), Banana Republic shoes (similar), J. Crew necklaces (similar), Fossil watch (similar)

Here I was looking to create a black background for my yellow shoes and neon neck adornment.  I have always been fond of this short sleeved cashmere turtleneck – a perfect solution for transitional weather in California.  I purchased these black culottes just before the culotte “craze” hit – they are a wonderful alternative to another black midi skirt, don’t you think?  And everything I am wearing is designed to highlight my pair of neon necklaces from J. Crew.  Pulling together disparate pieces from my closet gives me the most pleasure!

Shop my picks:

See another way I’ve worn culottes in winter:

Culottes and Gaultier Turtleneck | Two Take on Style

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Dressing for Travel

Dressing for Travel | Two Take on Style

Dressing for Travel | Two Take on Style

Shop similar items: gray jeans, tunic sweater, booties

I spent many years traveling for business, but I never had to “dress for travel”  because I was always in business ensembles.  Because of that experience, I continued to think carefully about what I wore for traveling when that part of my career ended.  I always wanted to look sophisticated and well-dressed – like maybe I was still a road warrior.

Dressing for Travel | Two Take on Style

Shop similar items: vest, flannel shirt, booties

As the years passed, I slowly changed my travel apparel to reflect two things: 1) the fact that most people were dressing down and I stuck out, and 2) the fact that I wanted and needed to be comfortable – you know, i case I had to spend the night on the floor in the airport or really run to catch a train.

Dressing for Travel | Two Take on Style

Shop similar items: faux fur vest, distressed jeans, ghillies

Now I follow some simple guidelines which I thought I would share:

  •  Wear clothing that you plan to wear in some combination at your destination. If I wear leggings, I know they can double as exercise tights once I arrive.  I will wear a duster sweater (bulky to pack) and then wear it later in my trip. This also presumes that I have picked a base color for my travel wardrobe of either black, navy, or a shade of brown.

Dressing for Travel | Two Take on Style

Shop similar items: sweater dress, leggings, booties

  • Wear fabrics that don’t wrinkle or show dirt. I know I’ll want to wear this apparel again later in my trip so it has to be durable.  I also don’t want to look disheveled upon my arrival.

Dressing for Travel | Two Take on Style

Shop similar items: sweater, shirt, leggings, backpack, sneakers

  • Wear cute AND comfortable shoes. Nothing is worse than finding out that your shoes are uncomfortable halfway to your gate.  I used to always wear a shoe with a heel (because I wanted to be taller than everyone else), but I have gradually shifted to certain low heels, cute flats, or sneakers.
  • Organize your clothing layers before you leave. Perhaps, like me, you fly from California to the East Coast in winter.  I don’t need a coat on the front end but I’ll surely need one on the back end.  So my winter coat is packed with gloves or mittens on the top of my bag for easy access after I land.  Then there is the issue of staying warm and comfortable on the plane.  I always carry a big scarf, an eye mask and earplugs.
  • Wear makeup and take the time to look nice! You never know who you’ll meet on the plane and don’t you ultimately just want to look better than everyone else you’re with?

Dressing for Travel | Two Take on Style

Shop similar items: sweater, shirt, loafers

  • Carry a chic carryall or backpack in addition to your handbag.  What’s in mine? Earplugs, eye mask, big scarf, all my medications, my jewelry bag, reading materials, nutritious snacks, water, the newspaper and my computer and mouse.  In the handbag (always!): Kleenex, ID, phone with boarding pass displayed, Ibuprofin, mouth freshener, lipstick, credit cards and cash.

Take a look at these great items for your next travel day.

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What Jeanne Wore: Navy and Colorblock Skirt

navy and Colorblock Skirt | Two Take on Style

Gingham and Colorblock Skirt | Two Take on Style Gingham and Colorblock Skirt | Two Take on Style Gingham and Colorblock Skirt | Two Take on Style Gingham and Colorblock Skirt | Two Take on Style

Anthropologie skirt (similar), J. Crew sweater (similar), J. Crew Factory shirt, Sam Edelman shoes (similar), old bracelet (similar), J. Crew earrings (similar)

I loved how this outfit turned out!  I adore this skirt from Anthropologie, but it is a little difficult to style. The genius is putting the dark block of color at the top of the skirt – it immediately makes me look slimmer! The camel and cream sections of the skirt are tough to match (I’m trying to get over my matchy matchy tendencies but it is HARD!)  In any case, putting my focus on the navy block of color seemed to work.

By the way, you must forgive my “hairstyle” in this pic; I was attempting to make my hair look “spiky”  – change is good, right? It didn’t work.

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See another way I’ve worn this skirt:

colorblocking and polka dots | Two Take on Style

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