Reader Wants Cruise Wear Wardrobe

by Judy
(California)

I am a stay-at-home mother and grandmother with a younger attitude. I still go out with friends for dinner and drinks. I have been a working professional for 24 years and have retired about three years ago.

I need to have a whole new wardrobe makeover for casual wear. I will no longer be wearing my suits. I have never had many casual clothes before this because I worked all the time and would just through on a pair of jeans when I got home. I will be taking a Disney cruise next month with all of my kids and need a whole wardrobe for that. Help!

Hi Judy -- Congratulations on starting a new phase of your life.

Creating a casual wardrobe is a wonderful opportunity to express parts of you that you may have suppressed to fit into the work world. I find decades of corporate life has required more conservative clothing than I might have preferred when younger -- and now it's become second nature to me to gravitate to suits and conservative tops.

I wouldn't look at cruise wear as separate from your everyday retirement needs; try to find things for the trip you will be able to integrate into your everyday activities.

I think Soft Surroundings captures the California-and-cruise-wear spirit in many of the items in its catalog. Shop SoftSurroundings.com

I bet the ship will have shops, too, filled with exactly the kind of bright and cheerful cruise wear that catches tourists' eyes.

Check out the travel packing page for tips about how to maximize the mix-and-match potential in your suitcase. And save space to toss in a couple of things that you buy while traveling.

New clothes and travel are fun. Have a ball!

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Lifestyle Change and Rethinking Wardrobe Needs and Likes

by Alison
(West Sussex)

I am a 58 wife/mum, recently diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis so my lifestyle has changed from a hectic active worker in the community to learning to live more quietly.

I love my home, socialising, and cooking for friends and family. I enjoy gardening, all music, theatre, cinema, reading and walking by the sea where we live. I love my cat and other animals and children!

I am 5 ft 4inches size 16. I prefer trousers but do try to wear skirts and dresses with encouragement.

Hi Alison -- I'm sorry that life has slowed you down; it happens to many of us.

Don't give up on dresses, unless they are wrong for your lifestyle.

Because you are petite, I suggest not breaking your body in half with, for example, a dark skirt and white top. On the other hand, if the skirt has a matching jacket, that will provide enough unity so that the top adds contrast and depth.

Two nice dress styles that flatter many figures are the sheath and the wrap dress, both on-trend once again.

Stick to medium or small prints or solid colors for dresses. Large geometrics and prints may dwarf a petite figure.

I firmly believe there is an exception for every rule, though. For example, bird prints are in favor this spring. I could imagine a petite woman with a single peacock that provides a dramatic focal point at the center of a sheath dress. That might work, depending on whether your features are strong or on the small side.

There are always many factors to consider. Pay attention to compliments and what feels right for you. I hope this helps.

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Sophia Wants A New Look for Cruise and Retirement

by Linda
(New Jersey)

I was recently diagnosed with cancer. After several rounds of chemo, to say it has "changed my look" is an understatement. Bad news: I'm pretty much hairless. Good news: Thanks to my new wigs, I never have a bad hair day. Better news: I'm 40 pounds thinner. I feel like I've spent the last 20years in "fat" clothes. Now that I'm back in a size 10, I'd like to give myself a nice new look. I don't really know what the future holds but I am hopeful.

Hi Linda -- Thank you for sharing your story and your great attitude. I hope you will have a wonderful time figuring out your new look.

Your budget will stretch farthest if you figure our mix-and-match components, so that each garment can be teamed with multiple skirts, slacks, and shorts.

Sweaters, jackets, and accessories are another way to create variations without breaking your budget. Best wishes for your continued remission.

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58 Still Wants to Look Great

by beth
(Uutside of New Oorleans, LA)

Hello --

I'm soon to be 59, still very active sailing, gardening and working full-time for my husband who is an attorney. We live a very simple, active, home-based life most of the time with occasional visits to our yacht club
to socialize.

I just never feel as though I stand out in the crowd. Prior to 2006, I was never overweight, trim, fit, many other adjectives until battling breast caner in 2008. Weight gain, multiple surgeries took a toll on the self-esteem.

I would like to recapture some of that self confidence and project that outwardly to others.

My shape is all over proportioned 5'8" 196. Yes, I know I'm overweight but many big girls look very nice if dressed properly.

Any suggestions?

Thank you.
Beth

Hi Beth -- Thank you for your post. You have been through a lot, so I hope you will be as kind to yourself as you would be to another woman who has gone through a life-changing illness.

Offering tips for regaining self-confidence is certainly beyond the scope of this site. Please seek out the loving and supportive people in your life and whatever counseling or support groups that may help.

Looking your best can also be healing. Do you really want to stand out? Are you a Kali? Because many of us do not want to do so. I would like to know about your fashion archetype and how you spend most of your time.

If you sail, nautical fashion is a classic that never goes out of fashion. You can't go wrong with it. Perhaps all you need is throw out what does not fit and buy updated versions of styles you have always loved.

Right now, I am buying new eyeglass frames. But even though I want a change, what looks good on me never really changes -- so I end up with mildly updated versions of what I've worn for decades. If your body has the same proportions as it always had, whatever has worked in the past will continue to work. Enjoy a wardrobe shopping spree to buy larger sizes and more updated clothing. You deserve it.

Catalog collections online can be a great way to get ideas. You also can order some in paper form so you can collect styles you like.

Fashion After 50 is starting a new feature about pretty well-dressed older women. Perhaps, as the series develops, you will find inspiration there.

As well, there are very good fashion web sites devoted to trendy plus-sized clothes.

New Orleans has always seemed to me a place where women dress a bit more stylishly than some other parts of the country. I wish you all the best in finding your fashion direction.

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I Must Be a Chameleon

by Mavis
(Canada, Rural)

OK,I took the quiz here are my results.
14 Feminine,Sexy
9 Outdoorsy,Casual
16 Polished
14 Bohemian
9 Domestic Diva
11 Trend Maker
12 Urban Sophisticate
14 Simple Elegance
I'm 49, Rounded Hourglass Plus Figure.5'5"

I'm a very busy Wife, Homemaker, Mother, Volunteer,involved in several community activities and church. For example, I might volunteer to walk a dog for the vet, and I sing in the choir.

I walk 4-10 km a week, depending on the week, and do a weight lifting, cardio workout 3x a week. Coffee and help friends with whatever and problems.

I donate clothing and give to several charities.

I love garage sales and mall shopping for a bargain and e-bay for quality designer dresses.

I am very artistic working on writing a book and cookbook as well as starting a local jewelery business for the items I make myself.

I have a varied lifestyle. I prefer classic good quality clothing, high texture, simple details,some feminine feel to every hing I wear. I prefer natural fibers or blends.

I like simple natural jewelry,such as stone or pearl. I even wear pearls with jeans and own several skirts and dresses.

Hi Mavis -- You have posted this as advice, but I am not sure how I can help. What you call being a chameleon, I call being well-rounded.

Your strongest value is to be polished. Your definite ideas about how to dress, and adding a touch such as pearls with jeans, make me think that you have a good handle on that.

Feminine, Bohemian, and Simple Elegance are your next three trends.

Simple elegance is consistent with your need to feel polished.

Feminine and Bohemian can express in your desire to feel womanly and your emphasis on natural fabrics and jewelry.

I can see you wearing a ruffled or lace shirt with those jeans and an embroidered or quilted jacket for express your Bohemian side.

If you focus on these four, which stand out, you should be dressed to feel good and look good whatever your tasks for the day.

Thanks for posting.

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She Wants to Keep Up with Current Styles

Short and regular build with slim leg that only looks good with knee length or long dresses or pants since I have skinny ankles. I like current styles. Like some young prints and styles but appropriate for my 55+ age.

Hi there --

To keep up with current styles, find some fashion sites and catalogs that will keep you informed.

Fashion After 50 emphasizes classic styles and developing your personal look, rather than following trends.

That does not mean wearing dowdy or aging clothing. Trying to adopt every trend the young gals are wearing can make it seem that an older woman is clinging desperately to her fading youth.

Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy Onassis are my personal icons. An Artemis might choose Katherine Hepburn as her style inspiration. A Metis might look to Grace Kelly. A developing feature at this site are style analyses of well-dressed and pretty older women. So far, you can find fashion archetype profiles for Diane Keaton, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Susan Sarandon.

Classic looks such as good fitting slacks with a white blouse, a pretty summer sheath dress, or a camel trench coat are not going out of style any time soon.

Accessorize with shoes, scarves, bags, belts and jewelry that show you are up-to-date.

I hope this helps, and thank you so much for sharing.

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