Archive | December 2012

Fashion Rules to Ignore in 2013

Stamp 2013Only four days to go and 2012 will be over. At this time of the year we are bombarded with articles on New Year resolutions.

Instead of creating resolutions of what to add to your life, today I am writing about fashion rules I believe you need to ignore in 2013 and probably for years after that.

Times change and today’s Baby Boomers and women over 40 do not want to be restricted in their thinking about dressing and life. We are not stagnating into out-of-date thinking or wanting to disappear into stay-at-home babysitters for the grandkids. We are active, visible and embracing new technology while creating businesses and professions that allow us to grow and mentor women of all ages.

So here are my three piece of fashion advice to ignore in 2013.

Cover Up Your Arms After 40

Butterick pattern 5455I read this one often in magazines, newspapers and online. What rubbish! Yet women buy into this and examine their arms for perceived faults they must hide. To me it’s all part of the ‘anti-aging’ monster that is aiming to convince us women that we must stay looking young and perfect forever.

I recently saw a magazine article claiming that ‘36’ is the magic, desirable age for women. Being suspicious, I think it’s because they found a lot of models and actresses who are 36.

Be the age you are and as healthy as possible. Wear sleeveless or cap-sleeved tops and dresses if they flatter your colouring and shape. If you feel confident in the clothes you wear, people will notice this first. Then they will come and talk to your face not your arms. Go for a variety of sleeve lengths to suit your professional and casual lifestyle. Baggy sleeves are dowdy, especially on shirts and jackets. They cover but do not flatter any woman.

Fashion is about confidence. So ignore this one with my blessing.

Every Woman needs a White Shirt

Articles on ‘the 10 essential fashion items every woman needs in her wardrobe’ pop up regularly. And the classic white shirt is always high on the list because you can wear it to the office or casually with your jeans.

I have two arguments with this. Yes, a white shirt may be useful in a corporate office but so many of us over 40 do not operate in that setting anymore. A classic white shirt does not fit our business casual environment. My second argument is that clear white suits only those with a cool colouring. The other half of women find that classic white is too stark for their warm colouring.

Butterick pattern Cream ShirtWhat are the alternatives? Wear a cool white shirt if it suits you. Look for one with feminine, sensual or dramatic touches or add accessories that create a modern look that is unique to you. White suits women with grey or white hair and is as versatile to accessorise as black. If you have warm colouring, search for a soft, pearl white or cream as these are more flattering for you. Soft whites and cream always look feminine and elegant.

Bottom line – If you can find a white shirt that is flattering and versatile, buy it because it works for you not because someone said every woman needs one.

Never Wear Elasticised Waists Over 40

Butterick pattern 4803McCall's pattern 4097I am now gentler about this one than I used to be. Elasticised waists have an image of being worn by women who have let themselves go or who have chosen comfort over looking good.

Not so today as elastic and its uses have changed. Elastic now is used more on smoother-fitting clothes. You can find it on dress waistlines where you cover the elastic with a belt. Elastic is used in straight skirts, slim dress pants, jeggings and jeans. These all skim your body and create a more modern impression than the elasticised flowing, gathered skirts and baggy pants of yesteryear. Wear them with hip-length or longer tops rather than tucked-in shirts. It will be your modern style that others notice not your waistband.

There is nothing like a personal secret to make your confidence soar. Accept the compliments and do not reveal your secret.

Last Words

Fashion rules full of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ may seem like expert advice. Relax! To be more self-confident in 2013, have fun. Rather than adding more stress to your life, bend or ignore old rules to please yourself and fit your lifestyle in 2013.

(Don’t miss out on upcoming articles for Baby Boomer Women. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine and get your weekly info every Thursday.)


Hem Adjuster Snaps

Avon Easy Hem AdjustersI have seen these mentioned in two places – once in an Avon catalogue and once in an Oprah magazine.

They are plastic tabs that stick on your clothes – one side on the hem and one side at the length you want to raise it to. The Avon catalogue used them to adjust your hem from below ankle length (for wearing high heels) to ¾ length (for wearing flatties). They show a simple 3 step process – peel, place and then snap them together.

Great for those who do not possess sewing skills and, at around $13 for 16 snaps, they are cheaper than paying for an alteration. Not sure how comfortable they would be when you leave your jeans at the long length.

The Oprah magazine credited Melissa George with inventing them. I asked at my local sewing shop and the assistant had never heard of such a product. Avon is the only place where I can find them at the moment.

If you want to take up hems permanently without sewing, try fusible iron-on hemming tape. The hem is stiffer but it saves you hand or machine sewing the hem.

(This Short Image Bite sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 20 December 2012. Don’t miss out on receiving weekly fashion advice for the modern Baby Boomer business and professional women. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

Three Essential Fashion Tools Every Woman Needs

‘Know yourself’ is the rallying call of coaches, preachers, style writers and image consultants.

These two words are great. It is what the experts add after those two words that can inspire or deflate you. Most often they are negative words.

‘Know your body faults and read on for how to minimise or hide them’ is a common theme of many fashion articles.

Not this one.

I believe we women need to know ourselves in a positive way. It is more pleasurable and satisfying to concentrate on our strengths. Then our so-called negatives fade into insignificance and we present as comfortable in our skin and confident in our attitude to dressing and life.

Here are the three essential fashion tools that I believe every Baby Boomer woman needs so that she knows herself positively.

A Pair of Scissors

Blue ScissorsWhy scissors?

Scissors are obviously useful for cutting off price tags. Then you need them for cutting off annoying or prickly tags; those coat hanger straps that can dangle out your armhole; any buttons, bows or added decoration that are not your style; untrimmed stitching on seams and that loose hem thread. We have all been in a hurry and pulled the loose thread. Suddenly the whole hem falls down. Your impatience and mine too leads to Plan B dressing.

If you have basic sewing skills, scissors are also great for cutting off the extra length on clothes or cutting extra pieces to add to too-short items.

A Tape Measure

Tape MeasureI am not talking about measuring your bust, waist and hips. These may change over the years. Once you’ve grown to your full height (and that was probably a long time ago), it is your best lengths that are important. Get these right for you and you present a consistent and modern impression to everyone you meet.

These are the lengths I measure, record and refer to all the time. When I try on a new item, I know where these vital measurements are on my body so that I or my professional alteration person can adjust it to that length. I have found and measured my best short sleeve length, my best three-quarter sleeve length and my best long sleeve length. I also record my most flattering top and skirt lengths. Add to this my inside leg measurements for shorts, jeans and dress pants and it’s always easy to look smart.

These may need minor adjustments according to the fit of the item. I measure, pin and then cut and sew or take the item to my alteration person. Words of warning! Adjust skirt lengths for modesty when seated. I have had hard experience in that area.

When I find a skirt, dress, pants or jeans with a very flattering line, I also record width measurements at certain lengths. Then I taper other clothes so that they are close to that flattering line.

The Word ‘No’

Stop & Say 'No'This one is a mental fashion tool. Time management experts tell us that we are defined more by what we say ‘no’ to, rather than what we say ‘yes’ to. It is the lure of the ‘shiny objects’ and in fashion, we women sometimes find them hard to resist.

Say no to those ‘lust-have’ items and impulse buys that are totally impractical wardrobe-wise and care-wise. It’s much safer to take a picture and drool over the picture rather than spend the money and regret it later.

Say no to unwanted fashion advice – either from family, friends or sales assistants. Learn to understand your personality, colouring and style so others do not intentionally or unconsciously impose their view on you.

Say no to gifts of clothing from family and friends if you dislike the item and will never wear it. Politeness is not always a virtue. Be assertive about who you are and what you want to wear to represent the best of you.

Last Words

Yes, people judge you on first impressions. When you meet the same people regularly, it is your consistency or lack of it that they remember. Discover and measure your most flattering lengths, use scissors to define your style and say no often. These are three essential fashion tools that I use to know and define myself positively.

(Don’t miss out on upcoming articles for Baby Boomer Women. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine and get your weekly info every Thursday.)


Peplums come into fashion now and again and this is the current time for them. A peplum is a waist frill. A full waist frill looks best on an hourglass figure or slim figures. If that is not you, there is always a variation to try on.

Peplum top - Simplicity 6130

For the over 40s, I suggest you always go for a soft peplum not a stiff one.

The soft one skims your body without adding much weight.

This apricot Simplicity pattern 6130 falls in soft folds and has a waist tie to define it.





Peplum dress - Simplicity 6124


The beige dress  fro Simplicity pattern 6124 has two peplums that go from the side front princess line to the back princess line.

It’s a taste of peplum without adding bulk all around your waist.




Portmans dress - with diagonal frills at waistline

My third suggestion is a variation.

This Portman’s brand dress has three soft, graduated, angled frills.

It will stay stylish whether peplums are in or out of fashion.


(This Short Image Bite sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 6 December 2012. Don’t miss out on receiving fashion advice for the modern business and professional women over 40. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

Sean Connery

What Sean Connery and the Sexiest Men Alive Can Teach You

Sean ConneryTwo years ago, I was just walking into the kitchen when I heard, from the lounge room, a television presenter counting down to the three sexiest men on earth. Of course I had to look and see who they would be.

I am not sure who does these polls but I agreed with No 1 at that time. It was Sean Connery. So I got to thinking about what makes him consistently No 1 and why some people age better than others. Sean has since retreated a bit from the public eye. Whether this year’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ is Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Hugh Jackman or the latest younger male idol, they all share the same qualities.

Here are my views on how we can all learn from these poll winners and start to develop qualities that make up attractive to everyone we meet. It applies equally to women as to men and has nothing to do with your physical shape.

Eyes that Twinkle

As Sean has aged, he has become more comfortable in his own skin. His hair has receded and gone grey and there are more wrinkles. Despite this, his eyes still twinkle and his smile seems genuine. I cannot tell you what colour his eyes are but I am like other women, attracted to that twinkle. Those people who draw you to them – men and women – have the same twinkle. You just expect something interesting to happen when you are around them. If you also wear clothes and accessories that draw attention to your eyes, people cannot help but be drawn to you.

A Voice That Appeals

Of course, there is his Scottish accent. We cannot all have that one but we can, like Sean, soften the roughness in our voice so that we speak clearly but still retain our individual voice and accent. People we meet want to hear our passion. They do not want to struggle to understand the words we say. If I cannot see the television and my husband is flicking between the channels, as men do, my ears will recognise these unique voices. I am instantly attracted to the voice and I ask my husband what he is watching. You can develop a distinctive voice that attracts people to you. As a potential leader, you want people smiling and eager as they approach you or come into the room where you are speaking. Then they are open to what you have to say to them.

Good Health

Attractive people ooze good health. Their hair shines and their skin and eyes look clear. Because they appreciate their healthy glow, their clothes, accessories and makeup they wear are chosen to allow their face to shine even more.

A Sense of Humour

My last secret to attractiveness is humour. You will not be voted ‘The Sexiest Man Alive’ without a sense of fun and the ability to take what you do seriously but not take yourself seriously. The men that are always in the top five stay there because they do not take the title seriously. They have a touch of self-deprecating humour. In public, they are not constantly putting themselves down in a serious, humourless way.

There are a lot of baby boomers who want to keep contributing to the world and are refusing to follow the retirement goals of their parents. They are looking for people with personality, vitality and self-esteem to show them the way. Go Sean!

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 17 April 2010. If you do not want to miss out on reading all about dressing to shine,  Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)