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As a woman who has lived through many passages and learned through my larger than life experiences (positive and negative), I’ve discovered how to take a big empowering bite out of life.

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The Difference Between Style And Fashion

As a woman over 50, I am always refining how I dress and carry myself – and recently, the difference between style and fashion entered my mind.

I have read many articles from fashionistas on style. One said, “Either you got it or you ain’t.” But I don’t buy into that. Style has to do with your ideas and the way you live. Style is the total woman (and every woman before and after 50 has the opportunity to own this!). As Coco Chanel says, “Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.”

Fashion is something else entirely.  I listen to women speak of the ‘fashion of the day’, it is everywhere. Remember darling, fashion is here today and gone tomorrow. Style has lasting allure. It is like the sky.

While I speak often about the importance of a woman’s inner style, it seems today’s musings focus just on outer style.

the difference between fashion and style

 

Fashion is fleeting

Darlings, originally, I planned to write about “the brands I shop”. But shopping is not about a ‘brand’ per se, it’s about a woman’s experience leading up to the ‘find’.

Let’s use our creativity (that is what shopping is all about!) and imagine that every woman is on the hunt to shop her authentic style. Certainly, particular brands are in her repertoire. You have yours and I have mine. That does not mean we cannot veer off course. That is the nature of women. We evolve, we change, and we become inspired by life and one another!

And yet, after 50, we should be seasoned shoppers. So how do we find our sense of style and how do we ensure we’re not just following fashion trends?

 

How my sense of style began

Think about your parents or that special person(s) in your life who helped you form your panache, your verve… your style! In my case, it was my mother and my father!

As a little girl, I think you begin to notice your mother’s style. She is your first teacher. I say that because my mother was my teacher and my role model. I observed her outer demeanor because she was my mom, not because of the way she dressed.

By the age of ten, my mom was amused and surprised I could discern what looked good on my body. I was most fortunate that my mother taught me the importance of style over fashion; to spend only what I could afford, and the power of the accessory. She went further by explaining the art of tailoring and honoring my personal style. She told me to own it; to dress for myself. I also learned from my mother that less is more, to buy a wardrobe to last a lifetime, and that simplicity was true style. Now that I am a woman over 50 I share these thoughts with so many women of all ages, many of whom have struggled to find their ‘look’.

My father also had impeccable taste and I must say, for a small-town boy from Kankakee by the Sea, he dressed beyond his geography. He taught me to buy the best, to feel the fabric, and to own my look. Of course, my mother taught him everything, but he acquired his own style and his love for quality over quantity.

Now, I find that when I shop, I combine my dad’s eye for quality and my mom’s eye for outer style.

 

Shopping can be hard, but here’s a trick…

Shopping is hard. Don’t you think? It takes time, considerable thought, energy, and staying power. Take it off. Try it on. Take it off. Try it on. Frustration and aggravation. It is for this reason that when you find your favorites, you should latch on to them for dear life.

My suggestion is to choose a personal shopper to help you find the clothes that fit your body type, lifestyle, and mystique. Leaning on a personal shopper is one of the smartest things a woman can do – especially if you’re on the hunt for a new look.

A personal shopper does not charge you. She is there to help you with sound advice. When you go to the market and need help finding the perfect melon, you call on a person in that department to help and guide you. Why not find that perfect someone to help you shop your style!

Having style doesn’t mean spending more

Darling, please believe that age is just a number. When it comes to style, have a little defiance in your attitude. Breakthrough the negative messaging of fashion and age. Go out and forget the rules. Be rebellious and reinvent yourself.

If spending is limited, don’t let that stop you from owning your style and the enjoyment of dressing. I have friends who spend large sums on their wardrobes and I have friends who can’t or instead, choose to budget themselves. Often, my friends who spend less look more glam than my friends who spend more. They spend within their budget and they still look like a million bucks! That’s style.

Be creative and look like a million bucks

I have a large red flower that I bought for $14.95 (see picture above). I wore the flower in my hair as a fascinator (paired with slicked-back hair and red lips) for a hat party while my friends wore very expensive hats. Start collecting flowers, Darling.

After the event, I found other ways to repurpose the flower. I own a plain white dress so I decided I would pin the same red flower just below my shoulder. Then I added red patent leather heels. I wear the flower pinned at my waist with Levi’s and a white shirt. I used one inexpensive accessory to create a look several times over. This is owning your style.

On another occasion, I saved a satin Chanel ribbon from a gift box, tied it around my neck, and wore it as a necklace. Put your thinking cap on and see what you have in your drawers, see what you have saved for gift wrapping. Maybe a velvet ribbon? Be creative.

I often find that when I’m in a bind, I think up my best ideas! See some more of my tips here for being stylish after 50.

 

Ditch the department store if you want to be stylish

The word safari is the Swahili word for journey. Shopping for me is like going on a Safari, a hunt, so I prefer to hunt in small shops because the atmosphere is more peaceful. I can quickly gain the attention of a stylist and I can dedicate myself to just one brand. As a busy woman over 50, I have a lot on my plate, and knowing my favorite shops that specialize in my kind of brands is a relief. If you are so busy you are dizzy and love the quiet of the day, consider doing what I do. Wanna create an unexpected style? Read this.

My favorite clothing brands for a stylish look

Some of my favorite lines of clothing are Giorgio Armani, Brunello Cucinelli, and Dior. The lines are simple. A young woman in her 30s and an older woman in her 70s look stunning in those brands. I have kept the majority of my finds, even those from years ago. I challenge you, darling, to find quality pieces from quality brands that stand the test of time.

For a WOW designer with panache, I love Pucci because not many women in my circle wear the line. I love their designs and colors. Every one of my Pucci pieces is a keeper, from clothes to handbags to water bottles.

Louis Vuitton is another great brand whose fashions stand on their own. The line fits me well and I have been a fan of them for years. Everything they do is breathtaking.

Darlings, I am not a voracious shopper and I don’t have a large closet. I am very selective and I wear my clothing for years. Do you? If not, you should!

Accessories can help highlight your style

When you have tailored, staple pieces in your wardrobe, the right accessory can take your outfit from stylish to one-of-a-kind. Accessories, for me, make the outfit; and my biggest purchases are often my accessories.

Bags as Accessories

I love Dior bags for style and wearability. My Dior Saddle Bag is perfect for day and night since I have different individual accessory straps that I hook on to change the bag’s look. I love their belts with small bags, too.

Louis Vuitton is such a staple for accessories. They never wear out or go out of style. They truly are a favorite of mine. I also love my older Gucci’s – some 20 years old. Before The Kelly and The Birken Hermès bags I owned were stolen, they were two of my favorites. And for a tote bag, the best of the best is Maison Goyard. For more guidance on picking the perfect handbag, read this.

The Beauty of Middle Age & Beyond

Belts

Belts are a great accessory and I have to give Gucci an A+. They are fun and flirty! My pearl and rhinestone buckles make me happy just seeing them hanging in my closet. Belts are the perfect way to accentuate any outfit and they’re practical too – what a great investment!

 

Jewelry

Jewelry is one of my favorite ways to accessorize because it can be stylish and yet, sentimental. My Ippolita earrings and my collection of colorful Hermes bracelets don’t just make me look great, they remind me of stories throughout my life as well.

 

Other Accessory Brands I Love

For lifestyle and workout accessories, I love Lululemon. Prada, Mui Mui, and Saint Laurent make the perfect shoes (especially if you’re over 50 and have bunions like me). And Isabel Marant is ideal for sweaters – a fun way to accessorize and layer a tailored look.

 

Other fun accessories you may not have thought of

I never pass up a fabulous accessory and I save them forever. I consider my glasses, the frames, and colored eyeglasses all different accessories as well.

Little rhinestone butterflies in my hair and colored rubber bands on pigtails are also favorites. Who can pass up a way to make those beautiful gray locks sparkle again?!

I’ve been known to wrap a colorful scarf around my handbag, invest in colorful luggage tags (especially for boring, black luggage), tie a velvet or satin bow around my neck (rather than wear a necklace), or even wear my Ultimate Concierge’s interesting ties with a suit to make my look fun, edgy, and match my personality.

 

Will you share with me how you feel about style?

See, fashion is for the moment. Fashion is those hip, trendy things, that soon make us embarrassed to see ourselves representing. Style is a collection. It is a collection of all the trips we’ve taken, the beautiful gifts we’ve received, and the mementos from each decade that speak uniquely to us. And, darling, it’s never too late to find that style that best suits you.

Will you leave a comment with your style tips, tricks, or questions? Have you struggled to find your style after 50?

 

October 5, 2022

Style

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  1. You are so beautiful. Hope you will always be so young. Visit me on bike race

  2. Amy says:

    I am about to be 44 and only just now beginning to experiment with what I wear / having style. It’s both exciting and intimidating. I tend to veer towards solid colors in classic cuts, letting my shoes be what brings the ‘flashy fun’ element to the outfit. I feel like the older I get, the more confident I become with my look. It’s definitely been a journey.

    • Susan Good says:

      I call it the wonderful world of growing into your style.You will continue to learn. Never be flashy with your style. Be daring. So happy you wrote to me. Warmly, Honey

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