Tag Archive | style advice for baby boomer women

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.)

Retail Amnesia

                                                                                                  Post No 136

 A Fun Guide to Retail Amnesia

Last week I was in a local gift shop looking for my birthday present. Yes! I have sons & they love it when I choose my own present. All they have to do is repay me and I get what I want. One son even tried to get me to buy my own birthday card. That was a step too far. Now that we are all adults, money changes hands as we all buy what we like within financial limits.

When I told the cashier why I was buying that gift (Extroverts do this), he commented that I would have to practise ‘retail amnesia’ until the big day. It got me thinking how valuable retail amnesia is as a wardrobe tool.

Here’s my fun guide to retail amnesia for the modern Baby Boomer woman’s wardrobe.

What Men & Women SeeIt’s the Same One I’ve Always Had!

This one works Well on men who generally don’t seem to notice fine design details. You’ve replaced old black pants, black skirt, white shirt, red jacket etc with a new one. It is similar in colour but the style and details are different. With a straight face, you can claim they’re mistaken because it’s the same old one. This is ‘replacement retail amnesia’.



Oh! This Old Thing!

Come on! We‘ve all used this one. You buy something. You let it sit in your wardrobe for at least a month. Then when your husband, partner, mother or children notice you wearing it, you say – ‘This old thing! No, it’s not new! I’ve had it for ages.’ This is ‘calculated retail amnesia’.

Birthday VoucherGot it for Free!

It’s your birthday month or you’ve reached a certain spending amount and the store sends you a voucher. For some strange reason it is never enough to cover the full cost of what you choose to buy there. We all love a loyalty bonus and it is great marketing. It’s also great for retail amnesia as you can claim to your loved one that it was free or close to it. This is ‘reward retail amnesia’.


I Only Bought One Thing!

You’re shopping and carrying new wardrobe items in a couple of bags. The next purchase comes in an oversize bag. Great! All the smaller items can fit inside and not be seen. You walk in the door at home and your loved family member thinks you’ve only bought one item. You say nothing. This is ‘conspiratorial retail amnesia’.

Lady Internet ShoppingI Don’t Remember Buying Two!

You’ve been internet browsing and shopping. Unfortunately the parcel arrives when your husband/partner is home. Damn! Suddenly a second pair of shoes or necklace or top has appeared in the package. ‘I thought I only bought one’ you say.  This is ‘selective retail amnesia’.



Last Words

Our wardrobes are full of emotions – guilt, pleasure, love and hate. Retail amnesia (or the more serious six-letter word) plays its part in all of these emotions.

As for me, I’m off to spend that Birthday Voucher from Myers. I’m sure it won’t cover anything I want to buy but the purchase will still be a bargain in my mind.

(Don’t miss out on upcoming articles for Baby Boomer Women. Click here to sign up for the ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’  eZine and get your weekly info 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.)

How to Wear Tone on Tone Colour

It is very easy when wearing all one colour to look matchy-matchy, boring and dowdy.

I use the phrase ‘tone on tone’ to refer to an outfit exactly in the same shade of a single colour. It may be a dress and jacket, pants top and jacket or top and jacket in the same colour shade. For Baby Boomer women matching dresses and jackets are rarely worn now and matching tops and jackets remind us of the out-dated and aging twinsets of our youth.

To Modernise These Clothing Combinations remember and apply these very simple words – ‘contrast and opposites’.

Tone On Tone Outfit - from Oprah magazine, Nov 2012You do this by making one of the pieces an obviously different texture and then adding a statement necklace. The royal blue outfit on the left from Oprah magazine, Nov 2012 demonstrates this perfectly. The model is wearing a smooth-textured wool jacket over a diagonal, uneven-pleated top which creates a raised opposite texture. The contrast is provided by the gold necklace with clear crystal drops in white and blue. The glimpse of tone on tone colour texture underneath the jacket creates a quiet elegant look.


Monochromatic Plum - Simplicity 2148Contrasts and opposites always have two options. The other one is to team a flat surface bottom layer with a same shade of colour, textured jacket. The Simplicity pattern 2148 on the right has a velvet jacket over matt pants and top. Other alternative textures are lace, sheer, blingy or a hand-made wool look. Even with a casual outfit, a contrasting necklace would lift this look from interesting to stylish.

The principle of ‘contrast and opposites’ is a basic principle of stylish dressing. So try both or stick to the option you prefer.


(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.)

WARNING: Are You Chasing People Away

WARNING:  The Colours You Wear May Be Chasing People Away

Most people let the weather decide their attitude for the day.

As I write this newsletter the weather is changeable. It is grey with intermittent rain, cool and quiet. Sometimes the sun peeks through and everything looks brighter. Today you can end up feeling depressed, eat more and want to go back to bed or alternate between sunny and miserable all day. Either way you feel totally exhausted at the end of the day.

It is easy to automatically react to the situations and colours around us. BUT smart women don’t do that! They choose their colours and feelings for the day. That choice may not always be upbeat and positive but it is a considered choice.

Most women dress unconsciously. Some women have a wardrobe full of one colour, usually safe black, although I know a woman who only wears red. Other women may have lots of colours but wear only 20% of them. Finally some women just grab and wear ‘this will do’ clothes.

A recent survey stated that ‘women spend longer getting dressed to go out with other women than they do to go out with their partners’. I believe that Baby Boomer women take more time to dress for meeting new people than meeting old friends or going out with their partners. Quick dressing can result from a ‘stuck in a habit’ dressing.

Truth is not what someone else tells you. It is when you agree with what someone else tells you. So here are some of my insights on how you are chasing people away by the colours you are wearing. Choose your truth.

Colour is A Language
I'Colour Therapy' by Jonathon Dee & Lesley Taylor have read and believe that we have seven brains. Only one of them deals with words. Sometimes it is interpreting visual and emotional signals (or languages) and translating them into words. Other times we get heart and intuitive messages in a language that we often ignore or supress. Colour speaks those languages. What we wear and what others wear consciously or unconsciously connect to these visual, emotional, heart and intuitive languages. We have learnt over time to interpret colour – eg feeling blue, seeing red or being sunny yellow.

Different cultures also have attached different positive and negative associations and feeling to colours. Be aware of this when you travel or have personal or business dealings with other cultures. You may turn them unconsciously to you or against you.

Then there are the Five Element Colours of Feng Shui and the Rainbow Chakra Colours. Add Colour Therapy, Angel Feather Colours and the rest and you can be totally confused.

Unconscious Dressing
Like my introductory weather analogy, too many of us dress and live on auto-pilot. Do you change your dressing to blend with the weather? Do you go mono-colour because it’s safe? Do you unconsciously dress to please others or not annoy or out-shine them?

Who Wears The Pants - Marg Sims 2013(c)Your unconscious colour choices can actually repel the people you want to attract as they cannot emotionally connect with the real you. Your colour choices can also bring lots of people who are draining your life energy with their challenging emotional problems.

Lastly you can also unconsciously do it to others by choosing, buying and imposing your personality traits on them. Like this cartoon, we claim we do it in the name of Love.


Conscious Dressing
Life today is a real smorgasbord and you are swamped with choices. My advice is –

Your Personal Colour Solutions Palette(1) Choose one system of Colour Interpretation and stick with it. There are many paths that lead to the same result.

(2) If you have a TAIC Personal Colour Solutions Palette, you have this advice at your fingertips. Read the Colour Effects descriptions on the back of your favourite colour chips to see the type of people you are attracting. Look at the other colours in the Palette and see what you are missing that you can add to your life.

(3) Learn to stand up for yourself and wear colours that fully express who you are. Give your loved ones and others the chance to appreciate you not the pretend you.

(4) Then leave others adults alone. Make them buy their own clothes. It saves you time and teaches you that we are all different and that’s OK.

Last Words
It’s grey and raining again but I don’t care. I chose this morning to wear Red. I needed to feel active and get this newsletter written. What colour are you wearing today and why?

(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.)

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.)