Tag Archive | baby boomer fashion tips

Combining Spots and Stripes

Combining spots and stripesYes. You Can Combine Spots & Stripes

Can you wear spots and stripes together? Yes you can.

Here is the way that you, a modern Baby Boomer woman, can wear them stylishly so that you look ‘Wow’.

Basic Rule 1 – Black & white is easier to do than any other colour combination

Basic Rule 2 – Spotted skirt, solid colour in the middle, striped top

Basic Rule 3 – The middle solid colour is always the same colour as the background colour of the spotted skirt

Basic Rule 4 – Small to medium spots and stripes are more slimming and look better than larger ones

Combining spots and stripes - from Trend Report catalogueEASY WAY – The model on the right from the Westfield Trend Report catalogue is wearing a spotted skirt teamed with a white blazer and a striped top. A white blazer has been chosen because her skirt has more a white background. Her striped top has an equal amount of black & white. The secret is in only seeing a small amount of the stripes so that the combinations are in unequal proportions. With no matching colour in-between, spots & stripes together can look ‘clownish’.  You can wear matching black an white accessories. A spot of colour in your accessories eg her yellow ballet flats modernises the look and keeps it from being too old-school classic.

Striped Black CardiIf your spotted skirt has more black than white in it and you have darkish hair, wear black as the middle colour. I once had this black cardigan which has a small amount of black & white stripes at the round neckline. This had the same effect over a dominant black skirt with small white spots as the white blazer and striped top on the right.

Basque design Spot skirt & striped top from MyersHARDER WAY – The model on the left and in the title graphic is wearing Myer’s signature brand (Basque) clothes. Her skirt is a diamond pattern (same effect as spots) and the diamonds get smaller near her waist. The skirt has a medium-width black waistband which matches the dominant black background of the skirt colour and the greater concentration of black at her waist. A medium-width black belt would do the same job. Her striped top graduates from wider to smaller equal colour stripes at the neckline. The pleated neckline breaks up the stripes into an interesting pattern. Note the block colour black & white handbag. This is a harder look to pull off. Buy that total outfit or keep the picture as your guide.

Now, should you choose, you can combine spots and stripes with confidence.

 (Don’t miss out on upcoming articles for Baby Boomer Women. Click here to sign up for ‘The Baby Boomer Personal Stylist’ eZine and get your weekly fashion advice every Thursday from Margaret, the Baby Boomer Personal Stylist.)


How to Wear Accessory Sets the Modern Way

Today I am writing about how to make your accessories give you a modern and ‘with it’ edge.

The old rule of wearing matching accessory sets has gone. It will date you as old and old-fashioned. Wearing each piece separately with other similarly-coloured pieces will modernise your look and expand your accessory options.

But you can break the matching accessory rule.

Here’s how – wear your matching 2-piece set or any two pieces of matching accessories with a third smaller piece that highlights one of the colours.

Imagine your three accessories as a ‘mother, daughter & son’. One piece is the stand-out or larger focus and this represents the mother. This can be a necklace, belt, bright-coloured or patterned shoes, scarf, large earrings or a beautiful brooch. The two other pieces you add are the children. Think of the daughter as matching the colour, design and pattern of the mother but smaller. Think of the son as different and small but still related to the family.

Fuchsia, Black and white necklace & earrings & fuchsia ringFuchsia handbag and ring and olive & purple necklaceHere’s my family set. – On the left, my necklace & earrings are matching (mother & daughter) and my fuchsia ring (the son) is in the same pink family but a deeper colour. A coloured or patterned handbag only counts if you wear it the whole time and you want it to be a ‘mother’ focus. So, on the right, I have paired my fuchsia handbag with a fuchsia ring (daughter) and an olive & purple necklace (son).

Animal print belt and bracelet + black bracelet & gold earrings - from 'Weight Watchers magazine. Aug 2013The photo (from Weight Watchers magazine, Aug 2013) has a lady in a navy dress with an animal print belt (mother), hard-to-see in this photo narrow animal print bracelet (daughter) and a black bracelet & almost hidden gold earrings (sons). Two sons are acceptable if they follow the family colour theme.

PS – Black shoes and handbags are neutral and don’t get included in the formula. A coloured or patterned handbag only counts if you wear it the whole time and you want it to be a ‘mother’ focus.

NEW MODERN RULE – For accessories, think ‘mother, daughter & son’ ie large, small, small with two matching and one co-ordinated. It will always work and you will look stylish and modern.

 (Don’t miss out on upcoming articles for Baby Boomer Women. Click here to sign up for ‘The Baby Boomer Personal Stylist’ eZine and get your weekly fashion advice every Thursday from Margaret, the Baby Boomer Personal Stylist.)

Shortening Ankle Zip Pants

Ooh! I Can Wear That Now

Have you ever looked at a fashion style and had to dismiss it because you could not see how it would work for you?

I have walked straight past pants with ankle zips. If, like me, you find all pants are too long for you, this article is for you.

I found the solution to taking up pants with ankle zips from Judith Turner in Vol 21, No 7 in ‘Stitches’ magazine. You can either do-it-yourself or take the instructions to your alterations person.

Shortened Ankle Zip PantsI bought these cheap purple pants from K Mart to try it out. Judith gives professional alterations techniques. I chose the ‘let’s skip a few instructions’ easy way. My method works best on dark colours (one seam) whereas Judith’s version works on all colours as she makes a feature of the seam.

Folding Ankle Zip Pants - by Judith TurnerFind the point just below your knee and fold over until the bottom hem is where you want it. It takes a few attempts to get it to your satisfaction (be aware of where the seam will be when you sit down). Then I sewed up the seam twice for strength on the inside. I cut the folded bit smaller, turned under the edges and zigzag sewed the edges together (about ½” final length). To make the fold less obvious, I hand-sewed the fold edges upward to the side seams.

Voila! You and I can now wear ankle-zip pants. Walk confidently and no-one notices the seam.

PS – Judith unpicks the side seams and ends up with a top-stitched feature seam whereas I just tried to downplay the seam. See her website – http://www.geniecentre.com for more alteration tips and the link to her book ‘Clothing Alteration Secrets Revealed’.

PPS – If you want to try it and cannot find the instructions, click here to email me & I will send you a PDF of the 2-page instructions from Australian ‘Stitches’ magazine.

 (Don’t miss out on upcoming articles for Baby Boomer Women. Click here to sign up for ‘The Baby Boomer Personal Stylist’ eZine and get your weekly fashion tips every Thursday from Margaret, the Baby Boomer Personal Stylist.)

Goodbye, Old Twinset. Hello, the Modern Version

 My inspiration for writing fashion articles for Baby Boomer women come from all sorts of places.

One of my inspirational sources is ‘Australian Stitches’ magazine. In the June 2013 issue (Vol21 No 9), Eddi Franz quoted Lucinda Chambers, the Fashion Director of British Vogue magazine – ‘fashion leads you to think differently about clothes’. Eddie added the point that fashion ideas get you thinking which leads you to something more interesting. Eddi’s article about proportion being the modern difference influenced me to expand and apply variations of this principle to the evolution of the classic twinset.

The twinset is a style that has been around for over 60 years. The style is still popular as they keep it in the pattern books. I have written about how to modernise the classic style with a narrow belt worn over the top of it. (Click here to refresh your memory.) The modern twinset version has expanded to include both stiff and relaxed jackets.

Today’s article is about three proportion and style adaptions for saying ‘hello’ to the modern twinset. You can choose a favourite or play with all of them. Simple variations are ways to keep you happy, smiling and content with your wardrobe.

Read on for my three fashion tips to keep you, a Baby Boomer woman, agelessly stylish and ahead of your contemporaries.

Basic Premise

All three variations are worn over straight bottoms ie jeans, tapered pants or straight, slim or trumpet skirts. These styles slim your bottom half and keep the attention above your waist.

Even Cutaway Over Even Over Straight (ECOES)

When you still want to wear or have a jacket and top that are the same length, modernise it by wearing an unbuttoned jacket that has a curved or straight cutaway shape. This is slimming because it breaks up the solid colour across your body.

Diana Frrari Evelyn Drape JacketNatalie Barr as seen in 'Prevention' Magazine June 2013The picture on the right is of Natalie Barr in ‘Prevention’ magazine, June 2013. In this version, her top and jacket are a light and dark variation of the same colour. This is a good idea to follow. Her jacket is angular as it has a straight draped collar and angles away to her side seam. Her cami allows plenty of space for a necklace and lightens her face. If it is very cold, wear a high neck top with a scarf or necklace lower down your neckline to create the same effect.

The picture on the left is from the 2013 Spring Collection of Diana Ferrari and shows the same type of jacket in white, 3/4 sleeves. Looks great over a bright V neck top. You can pass on the printed pants if you like.

Grey jacket over grey Sparkle Tshirt- from ChicosWearing an equal-length straight or curved cutaway in monochromatic variations works well especially if the textures are different. On the left is a Chicos look of a curved wool-type texture jacket over a patterned sparkly top, both in the same colour.

Long over Short Over Straight (LOSS)

This is the most common and a fairly modern variation. The creation of waterfall type jackets whether of stiffer, formal, classic materials or the softer, fluid casual materials have appealed to most women.

The straighter the hem, the more classic and formal it looks. This has been adapted to suit-type jackets where the underneath top is worn over the waist and its hem is lower than the jacket.

Simplicity2148 - Pink Modern TwinsetLong jacket over shorter Tshirt - from ChicosThe more business casual or casual look is demonstrated by this Chicos model on the left who is wearing beige pants, a cream top and a long, aqua pointed jacket. Long over short over straight looks best when your top and bottom skirt or pants are either the same colour (classic) or very close in colour (modern classic) and the jacket is a different colour.

Your top and jacket can be the same colour as in the pattern illustration on the right. This is best when the jacket is a modern style.

Short over Long Over Straight (SOLS)

Jacqui E Purple Hook and eye JacketThis is what Eddi wrote about and which inspired this more expansive article. Short over long over straight is ‘stylishly current’ as Eddi wrote. It is a look that Baby Boomer women tend to shy away from as they feel their lower body shape has relaxed and they grieve their lost slim shape. Not so! You can still wear it because it shows your confidence in wearing what’s current your way.

The simplest way is just a bit shorter over long. This means you only show a little of the underneath top. It’s a good business look as in the Jacqui E black skirt & top & grape shorter jacket on the left.


Sussan Short Silver JacketRhonda B in short Aqua JacketThe more business casual look is shown in the Sussan grey jacket over a white top on the left. The jacket is formal at the front and has a peplum hem at the back (different and modern). I showed this short over long look in my previous short Chanel Jacket article. A casual short over long of printed jeans, white shirt and short denim jacket from Sussan as well as more jacket styles are shown on Sussan website.

I recently styled this look on the right for a client, Rhonda, from her wardrobe. I showed her how to tone it up with her blue shoes or tone it down with black shoes and a scarf.

Last Words

Embrace the modern twinset style look. Remember and play with ECEOS, LOSS and the stylishly current SOLS.

(Don’t miss out on upcoming personal style articles for Baby Boomer Women who want to be agelessly stylish and modern. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine and get your weekly tips every Thursday from Margaret, the Baby Boomer Personal Stylist.)

Go to the Products Page on this Blog for online styling products for the modern Baby Boomer.

Colour Speaks Louder Than You Think

It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words. And a picture of you is made up of your natural colours and the clothes and accessories that you wear.

Those colours are speaking loudly to the senses of others. When you meet someone new, you usually see them first from a distance. Their hair and clothing colours are the areas that reach our sub-conscious first. You judge on the hair colour (and often the hairstyle) and reinforce your first impression with their clothing colours. We all do it without thinking even if you protest that you don’t. Lastly, you use their body language and words to either confirm your first colour impression or feel confused by their conflicting signals.

Hopefully as you, a Baby Boomer woman, get older and learn more about different personalities, you give others the time and attention to read their more subtle clues. BUT colour is the first thing that speaks very loudly to your left-brain senses.

Colour can have different meanings in different countries and cultures. In this article, I am concentrating on it from an Australian view which is 95+% compatible with most western cultures.

Also I am concentrating on the positive messages of the following seven colours. I want to help you subconsciously shout out loud positive colour signals.

Be aware that different shades of colours give different messages. These below are general descriptions.

The Primary Colours

Happy Woman in Yellow Floral DressYELLOW – Yellow colours are eye-catching as it takes longer for your eyes to process yellow. In general yellow relates to the sun and it sends out a bright, cheerful and happy signal. That’s why we generally associate blondes with being happy women. Yellow is also the colour of learning and logic.

RED – Red colours are active, romantic, sexy and fiery colours. Quite often we believe that they look best on brunettes but this is not true. Medium red suits every woman. On its positive side, red is a go-getter, confident colour. Red has been deemed the colour for Baby Boomer women in their 60s, probably relating to a time to let loose and really be yourself.

BLUE – Blue colours usually relate to communication. Dark blue has long been associated with business and sends a trusting vibe out to others. Men relate to women dressed in blue as being easy to talk to.

The Secondary Colours

GREEN – Green colours are a mixture of yellow and blue. In general, greens are balancing colours as they are the opposite of the red skin tone of most women. Mid green is an eco-earth colour used to signify caring for the planet. Turquoise (2013 Colour of the Year) in a strong shade projects a commanding Extrovert presence and in a soft shade implies a quiet-achieving Introvert energy.

 Orange Burnout Blouse - from Chicos 2011PURPLE – Purple colours are a mix of red and blue. It has always been a spiritual or royal colour that was once hard to find. The Woman’s Movement adopted purple as one of its logo colours and now purple represents a more refined, elegant, female power colour. In its magenta shade it is a colour that supports the confidence of business women.

ORANGE – Orange is made from red and yellow. Once regarded totally with ‘cheapness’, it has updated its image. Orange is a warm, lively, people colour. Wear a deeper orange and you project a down-to-earth, easy-to-relate-to aura like this 2011 orange burnout blouse from Chicos.

The Seventh Colour

White Shirt from Chicos 2013WHITE – White is my last colour because a white shirt is touted as a woman’s must-have basic like this 2013 white
shirt from Chicos website. Be aware that when you wear white, you shout out an image of purity and complete confidence in your ideas and opinions. You know what you are doing; where you are going and why you believe it is the way to do it.


Last Words

If you own a TAIC or any brand Colour Palette, read the colour descriptions. Use them and these general comments to dress to express how you feel or how you want to feel that day. Notice how a particular colour changes your body language and your words. Then use it to read others with empathy and tolerance.

(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.)

For More Reading on Colour Messages

Go to the ‘Colour Articles’ on this – http://thefashiontranslator.wordpress.com/colour-articles/

‘The Complete Book of Colour’ by Suzy Chiazzari

The Modern Midi

In 2013 the Midi is being claimed as a fresh new look both in the USA in Oprah April magazine and in Australia in Dressmaking with Stitches magazine.

The Midi is any length from just below the knee to mid-calf. It is a length than can easily label the Baby Boomer woman as old-fashioned and dowdy depending on the style and material. It can either restrict you to very small steps or need a long, possibly revealing split at the back for general living.

The longer Midi best suits tall women or those with a long body.

Lace midi from 'Dressmaking with Stitches' magazineJ Crew Midi outfit from 'Oprah', April 2013 magazineTo look modern, choose a Midi in slim-fitting skirts or dresses with a bit of stretch in them. Then add a little something extra like this black & pink belt on the J Crew outfit on the right from Oprah, April 2013. Or choose a Midi in a textured material like this lace skirt on the left from Dressmaking with Stitches magazine and add similar-coloured accessories. I think that the pink striped skirt is the better Midi length for women of any height and body shape as it ends just before the widest part of her calf. It is slightly longer than knee length, modest, easy to walk in and definitely not dowdy.

Other ways to wear Midi length are in a slightly flared trumpet hem or a dress or a skirt with a pleated, flared or slightly gathered flounce at the hem. The Midi looks best with high slim heels. Avoid thick or chunky heels with this length.

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

The Power of Contrast

Dressing well is simple but not easy.

Having said that, most women fret and worry about what to wear and usually end up either going too simple or too over-dressed. The middle road is the stylish woman who looks put together whatever her budget.

One of the problems is that girls are not taught how to dress well. Fashion magazines are often no real help because they only show you how to put one or two outfits together. The result is a wardrobe full of single-combination clothes and accessories. It is easy then to fall victim to spur-of-the-moment fashion buys that you later regret.

While there are many tips and tricks to help you dress well, there is one that, if you learn and apply it, you will always feel great, look fabulous and receive lots of genuine compliments.

That key tip is CONTRAST. You can dress well all your life by following this one tip. And it allows you to really enjoy dressing and fashion.

Here are three ways to tap into the power of Contrast.

Past & Present

Have you ever harboured a secret desire to copy the ‘Mad Men 50s Look’ or go Vintage or Retro but are scared that you will just look silly? Fear no more!

Simplicity pattern 1777, Retro 40s fashionTap into your stylish side by using the power of Contrast. Go all Retro, Vintage or any TV fashion style and you will look costumey like this model dressed in 1940s retro style using Simplicity pattern, 1777. Her classic accessories reinforce the costume look. This works for the young. For the rest of us, especiall Baby Boomers,  take a leaf from cosmetics founder, Poppy King, and wear past fashions with obvious, modern accessories to tone down the look. Choose very modern shoes instead of basic court shoes and you show your modern attitude rather than your desire to relive the past. A modern jacket, trench coat, handbag, necklace or hairstyle will have the same positive contrasting effect.

An alternative way to mix past and present fashions is to wear modern clothes and add one Mad Men 50s, Retro or Vintage accessory. The accessory needs to be large enough to be obvious like those mentioned in the paragraph above.

It is the unequal proportions that make both these combinations work. Never go half and half.

Cheap & Expensive

Contrast is also very effective when you have bought a cheap item and are not sure how to wear it so that you look and feel great. I am not talking about a quality brand name bought at a heavily discounted price. Quality brands will always look quality. Just never reveal the price you paid.

I am talking about a no-name brand item that suits you and you want to wear it with confidence and style.

The secret to making cheap look expensive is Contrast. Wear the item with quality accessories. That means wearing a quality pair of shoes or boots, skirt or pants and quality matching or contrasting accessories. It is amazing how good a cheap chain store item can look on you when the eyes are drawn to your accessories rather than your clothing. I know from experience, past and present, that it works.

Two Plus

Now to the one area where most women struggle when it comes to dressing – how to wear two colours so that you feel fabulous and shine confidently.

Black and White Obi BeltAny colour goes with an all-black outfit. BUT the colours that make you shine are those that provide a definite contrast to black. Any light or shiny colour will provide the most powerful contrast because they stand out against a dark background. Light colours or mid-range colours in a shinier fabric or metal make the light-dark contrast more intense and pleasing to you and to others. Gold, silver or white accessories look great with black. The contrast is more effective when one of your accessories has black and the other colour in it (eg this black and white obi belt as featured in a Threads magazine or black and white shoes or necklace).

When your clothing consists of two plain colours, use the power of Contrast by wearing jewellery or an accessory that combines the two colours in unequal proportions. As most of today’s clothes are a flat matt texture, adding a shiny metal or textured necklace, a silk, woollen, chiffon or lace scarf or textured or patent shoes is a very simple way to add a colour and texture contrast that makes you shine with confident self-assurance.

Last Words

In the world of fashion and dressing, Contrast is a simple and powerful word. Use these tips to remind you to think ‘Contrast’ every time you get dressed to go out. Then play and see how many other ways you can apply Contrast to your dressing.

(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.)