Tag Archive | fashion advice for baby boomers

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.)

Dress Size Insanity

Chicos Sizing Chart

While checking out fashion styles recently, I came across this women’s sizing chart on the Chico’s website – http://www.chicos.com/store/page.jsp?id=45 . There is also a Petite Size chart underneath it.

They are saying that ‘because size is just a number’, they have made it simple to find your size when ordering. Yes, women’s dress sizing is confusing all around the world and we need conversion size charts to buy either from the Internet or when on holidays in another country.

But to me this is just going a step too far. It is sizing gone mad. You will note that their sizing starts at 000. I can’t get my head around that as to me, and maybe you, size 000 is for very small newborn babies. To me, a size this small is not a mark of pride but is saying that you are no size (ie an invisible woman). Maybe young girls want to be that but as I grow older and as a Baby Boomer Woman, I want to be a woman not a girl or a newborn.

I do know that there are certain genetic traits we are born with and that some nationalities have smaller body shapes than others. Part of our challenge as women is to find labels that cater to our particular height and shape as well as offering garments that are modern in style and colour.

To their credit, Chicos does include 3 explanations for each size they offer eg ‘Size 00 (2, XXS)’ for items of clothing. Their Chicos size always comes before the conventional sizing. They do include chest, waist and hip measurements and these are truer indicators of what size to buy than the number or letters before them. For petites, you have the same sizing starting at 000 but just with a letter P after every size (eg 000P). Sounds more like a mistake than a size.

If the sizes at least reflect a range of healthy genetic shapes, that is fine. When they are introduced to allow women to hide being unhealthily underweight or overweight under low numbers, it is encouraging self-deception. What do you think?

PS – I have just smiled as I noticed the Spanx Sizing Chart underneath the normal sizing charts. Now that is another topic.

 (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 a Modern Chanel Jacket

Everything old can be made new again. That’s the basic principle of fashion.

The Chanel Jacket, created by Coco Chanel, has been a legendary timeless classic for 60 years. It has a round neckline that comes just below your neck bone; ends just on or below the top of your hipbone; has full-length sleeves and was a modern style we Baby Boomer women all copied in the 1960s. It is usually worn unbuttoned.

Here is my personal style advice for Baby Boomer women with three ways to modernise the Chanel Jacket.

Version 1:
Chanel Jacket Vogue 8804If you want to wear modernise it a little, read the two-part article ‘A Chanel-Inspired Jacket’ by Rita Camastral in the current Vol 21 No 9 issue of ‘Dressmaking with Stitches’ magazine. Part 1 is in Vol 21 No 8. Rita has made the sleeves three-quarter length and added an interesting top under the jacket. The shell top has a centre open-weave inset that creates vertical stripes to contrast with the horizontal stripes of the jacket. This looks modern over unmatched black pants.

Version 2:
On the Chicos website I noticed two modern interpretations of the Chanel Jacket.

Chicos - Chanel Jacket in GreenChicos - Chanel Jacket in DenimMake it new again by choosing a three-quarter sleeve variation and wearing a longer top under the jacket. On the left is a white denim variation over a white top and jeans. I am not a fan of this much white; so I would change the shell top colour or add coloured accessories to lift the white. On the right is a light open-weave jacket worn over a darker green top. I think that works better.

Version 3:
Both examples have added modern accessories. On the left she is wearing silver necklace and bangle to match the silver stitching on the jacket. On the right she is wearing mid-green earrings and two chunky gold bracelets set with green stones. The bracelets add a little drama and funky edge to a timeless jacket.

There you have it. To make the old new again – Wear the timeless Chanel Jacket with three-quarter sleeves as an unmatched jacket or over a longer top with modern stylish jewellery. Old is now new again.

(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.)

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.)

Wear Your Secret Inspiration

I read this hint in a “Threads’ magazine and thought it was worth passing on.

Inspiring Words on your shirtFor a little bit of secret inspiration, consider adding a symbol or words to an item of clothing that you wear regularly. A blouse or shirt is a good place to do it just below the last button. The example in the article (as seen on the left) had the 3 words – Create, Inspire, Discover – embroidered on the bottom of the shirt.



Inspiring Picture on your shirtI searched for commercially prepared words of inspiration to sew on my shirt (embroidery is not one of my skills). No luck! But I found this star on a rainbow. So ironed it and then sewed it around the edges to make it secure (as seen on the right). A symbol works well as pictures are supposed to be more powerful than words.

If you can machine embroider or have a friend who can do it or even pay an embroidery place to create one for you, it is a great way to wear your inspiring words or pictures. Every time you wear it, you will smile and be reminded of your goals.

At the very least inspiring words or pictures personalise your store-bought clothes. Try it. You may find it delights and inspires you.

(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.)