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.
Now I’ve changed my mind. I WANT white heels. To be honest, I want white heels that are like the ones the cool girls are wearing – even slightly older cool girls like Style Nudge! They look wonderful with white, of course, but also with everything else – khakis, faded denim, etc. However, I cannot see myself in white pumps with four inch heels as much as I love the look.
So I’m looking for white heels that convey the same coolness at a slightly lower heel height. Here are some of the beauties I’ve found and you should thank me for finding these – one must comb through a lot of wedding shoes to get to the good stuff!
First, I must get this out of the way: apparently the term “ghillies” is also used for “Renaissance Faire” shoes (ugh) AND the name of a certain kind of three-dimensional camo outfit for hunters! Now please put those images aside and concentrate on the ghillies that are so popular at the moment: pumps or flats that lace up and/or tie at or above the ankle. The term originally refers to soft flat dancing shoes. Here are a few particularly beautiful (and in all cases practically unwearable) examples:
Sigh. Luckily now flat ghillies abound and are available in all price points. Can you guess? I love, love, love them! The flat versions are becoming quite popular – both as flats and sandals. Some of you may say these are hard to wear unless your ankles and calves are perfect – or at least skinny – but I disagree. They actually make the ankle look slimmer. I would personally avoid any versions that lace up past the mid calf but that’s just a reflection of my personal bias. Take a look at the wonderful and affordable versions I’ve identified below – and start shopping for YOUR ghillies.
First of all, we are talking capes here – NOT ponchos or ruanas. For some reason they all seem to get lumped together, maybe because there is some degree of practical difficulty in wearing all of them. Back to CAPES though: a cape has an opening that fastens in the front and has slits on the seams for one’s arms. For me they represent a style challenge. They’re everywhere, people:
Evening dresses with build-in capes! Where are her arms??
Jumpsuits with attached capes! What an ordeal to go to the restroom!
Why, you might ask, do I find them so vexing? I’ll walk you through my pros and cons.
Warmer than no coat at all
Often made of lovely wintery fabrics
Reminiscent of fairy tale royalty or Red Riding Hood
Useful to wear over bulky jackets and sweaters
BARELY warmer than no coat at all
Make it hard to carry a handbag crossbody or even on your shoulder
Fashion for fashion’s sake – kinda like 6 inch heels
OK, OK I’m a curmudgeon. Capes just seem like impractical winter outerwear to me. I CAN see the point of ponchos and ruanas – both are typically more flexible and warmer than a cape design.
There COULD be a few cute capes around – and I’m quite sure not everyone agrees with my personal assessment…
Sigh. I am SO loving over-the-knee-boots. There, I’ve admitted it. Now let’s talk about OTK boots for women of a certain age (WOACA according to AllWays in Fashion). This is a tricky trend for us older fashionistas. Here’s why:
Most of us don’t wear skirts far enough above our knees to show that we are wearing OTK boots.
OK, so then OTK boots look great with skinny jeans. Many of us may wear skinny jeans but is that fact enough to justify purchasing a special pair of boots?
I worry that many of the retail website reviews of OTK boots talk about whether such boots fall down (like, you know, OTK socks!) or whether they are too tight for normal calves.
I’m not sure what’s left for WOACA or actually any typical woman over 25 years of age, but they are still SO cute.
It is hard for me to let go of a trend and thinking about how I can adapt it to my wardrobe. I’ve even ordered a few inexpensive pairs (and returned them all). This is, perhaps, a style I’ll leave to the young. But just in case here are some fairly reasonable versions of this fashion trend.
Argh! It’s that time – to go on the hunt for a chic, but still very warm winter coat. Kate and I have different goals here. Let’s be clear: I already have many coats – each one serving a different temperature gradient….and my mood. I’m always looking ahead to the next style and the latest sale. Kate is considering replacing one out of her collection of coats – it’s always fun to add something new! She doesn’t need the heaviest coat, but she is looking for style and color.
My dream coat:
Yes I want to be Victoria Beckham.
Kim does have some great coats:
Kate’s dream coat:
Bright – check; 3/4 length – check:
Love these details!
But back to reality. Check out some more realistic choices below. My criteria: on sale or priced like it is on sale; full length preferably, a collar preferably. Kate’s criteria: Color or interesting details, probably 3/4 length, style.
This is my final style challenge of the summer and perhaps it is one that I shouldn’t even be considering. Among the good features that I (still!) like to play up are my shoulders. So naturally I adore the off-the-shoulder blouses that abound this summer. But…
Unfortunately I think this style fits into the category of items I could still wear, but shouldn’t. It is an inherently young look — in the same category as miniskirts and crop tops. And then there are the off the shoulder tops that are crop tops! NOOOOOOO!
I don’t want to “dress my age” necessarily, but I also need to know where to draw the line. Yes, my shoulders look pretty good, but that doesn’t mean I’ll look good in a style that basically bares the upper third of my torso. So I’m giving up on this one – and just in time since it is almost Labor Day!
There are some modifications/variations of the off-the-shoulder top that we all might consider however – the one shoulder look, a top with strategic arm and shoulder cutouts and an exaggerated boat neck which bares the very top of the shoulder. Take a look at these!
I was all over the jumpsuit/rompers trend when they first came out. I bought three of them and you’ve seen them here: a Zara olive green from last summer, a khaki number from H&M that cost $30 and a chambray version from Loft that I got on eBay. I was happy, proud even that I had mastered the jumpsuit trend.
Then I wore my jumpsuits…and I learned what a fashion disaster they really were! Just try to run quickly to the ladies room! Sporty jumpsuits (the kind I have) require sporty accessories – wide belts, scarves, you name it. It took ten minutes to undress and redress in the ladies room. This is impractical fashion! I’ll wear mine again but not without gritting my teeth every time I must take a bathroom break. And, I’ll add, jumpsuits and rompers have to be perfectly proportioned to be comfortable; otherwise you will feel like you are being cut in half.
Jumpsuits are certainly age-appropriate but be warned: there is extra work involved!!! You might want to focus on strapless versions with the fewest fasteners and buttons. However rompers, in my opinion, are a non-starter – barely appropriate for anyone beyond the toddler age – usually too short overall or in the crotch. If you MUST wear a romper, test it before you buy – is the leg too wide to be modest? Can you bend over without showing half your lady bits?
OK, OK, I admit that there are a lot of cute jumpsuits and rompers around (not surprising, right?). Here are a few for you to peruse. Just remember forewarned is forearmed!
Let me be perfectly clear: I have NEVER liked fringe. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I was never even on the “fringe” of hippiedom. It always looks to me like a little Davy Crockett, Roaring 20’s and 1960’s protest to me. But this past spring, I was briefly seduced by a simple black sleeveless top with 3 inches of silky fringe at the bottom. I mean it was J. Crew for Pete’s sake! Darling, I thought, with boyfriend jeans or a pencil skirt or with a simple white tee underneath. Since then I have pulled it out of my closet AT LEAST ten times and I have worn it exactly 0 times. Why, you ask?
1. Fringe does not lend itself to a shapely silhouette – unless you want to wear a fringed pencil skirt (I can barely type that because it sounds so awful)
2. Fringe rarely adds anything to the item it decorates – sandals, boots, handbags, scarves ( except maybe the wool scarf you wore last winter), kimonos, suede jackets, earrings. It gets tangled, dirty, etc. And tying beads at the end of the fringe does NOT help!
3. 99.9% of the time fringe looks, well, cheap. I’ve seen a very few couture items that looked good with fringe. See a few of them here:
My style challenges are specific to each season: how to locate apparel items that embrace current trends AND are age, price, sophistication level appropriate.
I like to follow summer trends – dramatic hi-low tops, ankle strap sandal heels, jumpsuits, etc. But it takes work – mostly on a lot of websites – to find items that suit me, are reasonably priced, and chic. So how to get the trends this year? I’ll address a few over the next week or so. Today’s subject is LACE.
Lace – SO many beautiful summery items out there, but few, besides a long sleeved lace sheath, that really suit older fashionistas. I mean, we don’t want to look like this, right?
And don’t get me started on lace short shorts. But here are a few items that embrace the trend and suit us older stylistas.
Lace almost bermudas!!!
Lace – check; sheer – check; stylish – check!
A lace maxi dress that doesn’t look like a wedding gown!