Archive | May 2013

Layering Winter Woolies with Modern Style

How to layer Winter Woolies with StyleAs the cold winds start to blow in Australia, it’s time to pull out the winter jumpers and cardigans. If you live in the northern hemisphere, summer can also bring cold nights (and sometimes cold days) when a light cardigan or jumper is called for.

Your first thoughts may be about buying something new. That’s okay.

I have noticed some new ideas for stylish ways that Baby boomers can layer their winter jumpers and cardigans so that you can look modern rather than dowdy. You may still have to buy new items but they will be cheaper options that extend and revitalise your current clothes. Many women underestimate the versatility of the clothes hanging in their wardrobe. A personal Stylist helps you ‘shop your wardrobe’ before you flash your credit card at new shops. This is a new service I will be offering my clients and readers by the end of June.

Here for you now are my three new pieces of fashion advice for layering your winter woollies with modern style and flair.

Grandpa Makes a Statement

I noted this fashion tip in the June 2013 issue of Weight Watchers magazine. They were actually showcasing the V neck jumper but it was the grandpa shirt under it that attracted my attention.

The model on the top right in the graphic is wearing a centre-buttoned shirt with a V-neck jumper over it. It looks fine and is a classic look. Changing the shirt to the grandpa-style on the left makes you look and feel more modern.

The model on the top left in the graphic is from the magazine and is wearing slightly wider V neck sweater. Under it is a grandpa shirt that is unbuttoned to below the jumper’s V front. This creates a second slimming V shape as well as space to add a statement necklace. A short necklace is better here than a long necklace. Any round neck or open T-shirt would work as the necklace could be under or on top of it. As you are only showing a small bit of the T-shirt or shirt, the white colour will work for everyone even if white is not your best colour.

What a Difference a Belt Makes

I write quite a bit about belts because they are being worn in ways today that make them a modern classic. Stop saying that your waist has expanded. Get over it and embrace narrow belts with a difference.

Open Jacket - Buttterick 5760Jacket with Black Belt - Butterick 5760Notice the difference between the belts on the two models I have featured. They are both wearing Butterick pattern 5760. The model on the left is wearing it a classic way that can easily look dowdy.

The model on the right has only the centre button done up. Over the cardigan she is wearing a narrow belt with an wide, open, ring-shaped buckle. The buckle is your modern styling secret. Because it is metal and open, it breaks up the width of the belt. The result is that your waist looks smaller. This type of belt is a dressing magician. You can wear it over jackets or any cardigans for the same effect.

Four Beltsfrom Chicos websiteHere are some belts in this style currently available  on the the Chicos website.


Three-quarter Magic

I am a fan of three-quarter sleeves. They are so versatile. As well as being a modern classic, they slim you as the lower part of your arms is always its slimmest part. Plus, three-quarter sleeves are perfect for tropical climate winters and sool summer evenings anywhere in the world.

Patons Bluebell Knit pattern CardiganColdwater Creek 2012 Grey Knit CardiganCompare these two cardigans and how they are worn. The model on the left is wearing a beige Patons Bluebell wool knit cardigan pattern. Yes it is unbuttoned to the waist with a long necklace but it screams aging and dowdy. The model on the right is wearing a Coldwater Creek 2012 cardigan. It has just below the elbow sleeves. Under this light grey cardigan she is wearing a soft white or cream skivvy. The loose and slightly open neckline looks more modern than a tight-fitting neck skivvy. The necklace is a darker grey and just above bust height. It all gives an impression of openness.

Tip – If your hair is greying, choose a light grey or silver cardigan. Mid-grey and dark grey, when worn on your upper body, adds years to your look. An off-white or cream skivvy worn with light grey is an unusual combination that works very well.

Last Words

The draped cardigan is still modern and in fashion. For a change, take another look in your wardrobe to see if you can adapt any of these three pieces of styling advice. Otherwise, go buy a new belt or loose neck skivvy to revitalise your existing winter woollies.

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


The Future of Jeans

Do you have one or more pairs of jeans hidden away that are too small for you? Someday you will fit into them.

Throw them out now!

Here’s why. Jeans are a modern classic. They can go from casual to formal. Baby Boomers are changing jeans. It’s an offshoot of the ‘anti-aging revolution’. Women of all ages want to wear flattering and comfortable clothes and retailers are responding to this massive market.

Chicos Slim JeansIn the US, Chicos (on the left) claim their new jeans have special interior stitching from hip to hip for super slimming. Forget the words. They must work as they were named by Oprah magazine in February 2013 as the ‘All Round Best Slimming Jean’.

Chicos - Slimming front SeamSome of their jeans also have flat front seams to slim and lengthen your legs (as seen on the right).

Nordstrom have Second Yoga Straight Leg Jeans that stretch diagonally as we move in all directions as well as a new waistband that does not show your undies as you bend. The reviewers are aged from 50 – 64 which indicates that it’s a modern jean for baby boomers.

Diana Ferari Kimberley JeansW Lane Comfort JeansIn Australia, Diana Ferari (on the left) has ‘Kimberley’ – a slim leg jegging with mock pockets. W Lane (on the right) has comfort straight or slim jeans and Jag has high rise (good for women over 40), slim jeans. Slim jeans are the flattering, modern and comfortable version of the Gen Y skinny jeans. Your favourite brand or store has probably got a version of them.

Wear these ankle-length, slim jeans with flatties (a classic look as in the W Lane jeans on the right) or with medium to high heels (a modern classic look as in the Chicos jeans above left).

New styles, materials and shapes are being developed so you can look slimmer without losing weight. Throw out those old saved jeans and embrace the future of jean technology.

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

When You Need to Wear a Suit Jacket

The world of business is becoming more casual and informal. The formal, stiff, 2 or 3 button suit is going out of fashion for all but the more conservative professions and organisations. And even those are loosening up. The power suit can date a woman and give the impression of ‘stuck-in-the-past’ thinking and attitudes.

So the question comes up! What do you wear when you are speaking, being a Master of Ceremonies, receiving an award or attending a more formal networking event? A jacket is called for but what do you choose so that you look a modern 21st century woman.

Here are my 3 tips for you – a Baby Boomer or Over 40 professional or business woman. Let’s apply some modern dressing skills to the formal suit jacket.

Add a Belt

This is a simple solution for those classic suit jackets that are still in your wardrobe.

Stop worrying that your waist has expanded over the years. Wear your belt comfortable but not tight.

Butterick Jacket 5687 with black beltIt is your choice whether you wear a narrow, medium or wide belt. The only way to find out which looks best on you is to experiment. Try it in privacy at home or wear the suit jacket to a store and try on different belt widths in the privacy of a change room.

Butterick Jacket 5720 & black beltThe second consideration is whether to wear a matching or contrasting colour. The best coloured belts for classic suit jackets are black, brown or beige. Red belts are for extroverts. The example on the left (Butterick jacket pattern 5687) is a black, medium-width belt which matches the black shoes and stockings.

On the right is one of the variations of Butterick jacket 5720. The model is wearing a narrow black belt over a patterned, frilled-neck jacket. The classic belt allows the model to be formal while still retaining her femininity.

Modern Jacket Closures

Kwiksew suit 3889 with hook & eye closureJacqui E Purple Hook& eye JacketIf you are looking for a new modern suit or a versatile modern jacket, look at a jacket that has a hook and eye closure at the waist. This keeps the formal look with a modern edge. On the left is Kwiksew 3889 and on the right is a jacket from Jacqui E, Australia) A rounded or pointed hemline also keeps the jacket from looking dated.

Simplicity jacket 1784 - zip frontJacqui E zip suit jacketAn alternative to a waistline hook and eye is a jacket with a zip closure that goes from collar to waist. On the left is one variation of Simplicity jacket 1784. On the right is a diagonal zip jacket from Jacqui E with uneven-sized half collars.

Simplicity jacket 1784 with buttons & loopsA third alternative is a half-revere collared jacket with an odd number of button and loop closures to the waist only.  On the left is another variation of Simplicity jacket 1784 with this design. For a formal occasion, I would look for something witout contrasting zip pockets.

All three styles create a smooth slimming colour across your upper body. They are modern because they all meet in the middle rather than crossing over.




Soft Folds

My W.Lane Red Knit JacketMcCall soft drape jacket 6611Buttonless, draping jackets are today’s modern classic style. For occasions when a suit jacket is required, buy one in a thicker weave material. Also choose ones that create a lapel effect whether from the neckline As in my W. Lane red Jacket) or from just below the collarbone (as in McCall pattern jacket 6611 on the right).

It’s your choice whether the edges meet, are slightly apart or drape down your princess line. Go for whatever looks best on you.

Choose a hem shape that flatters you – either straight or angled. Tip – angled makes your hips look smaller. Keep the length to a normal suit jacket length (wrist length if you are petite or medium height; fingertip length if you are tall).

Last Words

The modern suit jacket can be worn over a dress or with a knee-length skirt or tapered pants.

It’s always handy to have one in the wardrobe for those important invitations. Practise modern jacket dressing skills and know you can choose a belt, a modern closure or soft folds. Out you go now and shine confidently.

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

Sorbet – A Fashion Review

While searching for a new top and doing some research at the Airport DFO, I came across a store I had not found before. It’s been there 7 years. Funny what you don’t see until it’s important to you!

The shop is Sorbet.

At first glance, it wasn’t my style. But I am writing about it because it may suit you. I picked up a catalogue and researched them on the Web.

Sorbet Brand - Blue Stripe TopSorbet Brand - Stripe TopThe two styles I have featured from them show their versatility. The one on the right has a simple grape jacket and multi-coloured stripe top. Note the lower neckline (good for baby boomers and women over 40) and the blue heels (just something a bit different). Grape softens the black pants. The one on the left has the same material from the right as a diagonal feature on the plain-coloured top. It has a black jacket which drapes down the princess line. Same blue shoes.

Sorbet has reasonably-priced clothes for all women in sizes 8 – 24 and shops in Cairns, Maroochydore, Brisbane Airport DFO, Gold Coast Harbour Town, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide. They feature lots of modern tops and jackets in multi-pattern and texture mixes. They do have colour as well as black. Their website – – is basic.

After studying the catalogue in more detail, I will be back for a second look.

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

Coloured Jeans – Dead, Dying or Must Have

I have resisted writing about coloured jeans because I believed they were a Fad that would disappear after one year.

I was wrong!

They have stayed around for three years. I have done some recent research on them. The cheaper catalogues – Big W, Kmart & Target – only picture earthy and bright red jeans. Mid-price websites – Suzanne Grae & Diana Ferrari – are promoting earthy reds to purple jeans and leggings. Ezibuy has all colours. US website, Chicos, is featuring reds, purples, oranges and greens as it is Spring in the northern hemisphere.

Coloured jeans are on the websites but I rarely see women wearing them. This applies to the young as well. I can count on one hand the number of women I saw in the USA on our recent holiday who were wearing them. There are lots of favourable buyer reviews on the Ezibuy website: so I can’t say that retailers are pushing a dead product.

If you want to consider wearing coloured jeans, here is my guide to help you wear them in stylish flattering ways.

The Provisos

The first three challenges of coloured jeans are your personality, your shape and your colour knowledge.

Diana Ferrari - garnet jean leggingsExtrovert personalities are happy in bright, look-at-me colours like fuchsia, bright purple and green. Introvert personalities run a mile from the bright colours but may consider the dark earth red and deep grape jeans like these Diana Ferrari garnet jeans.

The second challenge is how you feel about your body shape. Coloured jeans, jeggings and today’s leggings tend to be slim-shaped. The last thing most women want is to highlight their lower body shape in bright-coloured jeans.

I believe that the biggest challenge is the universal question – ‘What will I wear with it?’ As girls and women we are not taught how to mix and co-ordinate colours. Websites like Suzanne Grae, Diana Ferrrari & Chicos show you at the most, only one top with their coloured jeans. One choice is not enough to help you feel confident wearing them.

Colour Combinations that Work

Suzanne Grae -Royal Blue Jeans & Black Flecked TopSuzanne Grae -Purple Jeans, Black Top & ScarfSolid black, white or grey tops seem to be the default options. When you wear light and dark colours together, you are using the Power of Contrast as mentioned in the last Ezine. It is always the lightest or brightest colour that draws and keeps our attention. A black top over bright blue jeans like this Suzanne Grae example on the left, draws your eyes to the jeans. If you want to wear a black top, add a scarf or large necklace that includes a brighter or lighter shade of the jeans colour. The attention now comes to your upper not lower body as seen in the Suzanne Grae example on the right.

Another way to keep the attention on the upper body is to wear a white top with cool-coloured jeans like clear red, green and royal blue or a cream or beige top over warm-coloured jeans like earth red, garnet and red-purple. Upper body attention is guaranteed when you add a co-ordinating scarf or large necklace.

Accessories tone down the severity of a black top and lift the classic look of a white or cream top.

Oprah magazine 2011 - Slim Ankle Pants, Striped Top & Checked ScarfSuzanne Grae - Garnet Leggings & Striped JumperStripes and spots work exceptionally well with coloured jeans. Use the following style tip to look great – choose irregular-width stripes as in this example on the rightfrom a 2011 Oprah magazine where the white stripes are larger than the black ones. Add a scarf in the same colours in a check pattern to reinforce the other person’s focus on your upper body.

Tops, blouses or t-shirts that include the jeans colour in the pattern or as a decoration on a plain background are another way to wear coloured jeans with style. On the right from Suzanne Grae is an example of  a tonal coloured-striped jumper over fuchsia leggings.

Chicos - Patterned TopSuzanne Grae - Salmon Cordswith striped JumperOn the left is an example from Chicos website in 2011 of a patterned top that would co-ordinate with green jeans.

On the right from Suzanne Grae is a softer combination for Introverts and gentle women – of pale salmon cord jeans and irregular width stripes in cream, beige, pale green and salmon.

The Future of Coloured Jeans

I am really surprised that coloured jeans are still around. In my view they will never become a must-have item because there are too many emotional and practical hurdles for women to overcome. Advances in slimming clothing technology still can’t persuade you if your body self-esteem is an issue. The darker colours may stay around another year as they are easier to mix with your existing clothes.

Last Words

If you want to wear coloured jeans, learn from me or by studying examples of how to take the emphasis to the top half of your body. Then stand tall and wear them often over the next year. Otherwise, forget them and move on with a smile.

I’ll write the final eulogy for coloured jeans next year.

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