Hecate and Sophia Archetypes

by Janette
(Chicago IL)

I love the casual and sometimes surprising free spirits. Sometimes I like the spare and simple. Sometimes I just want to be outside though I'm not very sports minded. My job requires a very functional and practical "doesn't matter if it gets ruined" almost uniform. So I want to break out of that if I get to go out. I want to feel attractive, but as an older woman I just don't know what that means.

Hi Janette -- Two comments. First, most of us adopt different styles for different roles and jobs we do in life, and the various dimensions of our personality. See this review for example.

Second, this site exists because so many of us older gals are wondering how to look good and feel good after a certain age.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula. A few basic tips are to make sure garments fit properly, remember to accessorize, and wear a bit of make-up.

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Style Contradictions: Hecate, Athena, Sophia

by L
(Fayetteville, AR)

Hecate (9 points) Athena and Sophia both with 8 points

I came of age in Oregon during the Hippie years and still have an intense attraction for that lifestyle. The contradiction is that I feel very much the Athena/Sophia style by nature.

I am a nurse and have had to wear scrubs in many jobs. In the past, I worked in nursing administration and loved dressing professionally. I liked being taken seriously.

I am near retirement age now but still want to work, but am having difficulty getting hired, I think partly due to my age of 58. I've recently moved to NW Arkansas, a conservative area, but near a progressive university. I am 5'5" 120 lbs with mostly silver hair and a face many consider pretty.

Thank you for sharing with us, L.

All of us play different roles in life, and each of us has a personality with many dimensions. In short, most of us are walking bundles of contradictions.

We usually cannot say that one part of us is false while another is true. In fact, one of the features of wisdom and age is being able to hold these contradictions in our integrated selves.

I have administered the Myers-Briggs personality index and that shapes the way I feel about my own style quiz I created. We tell people taking the MB index to answer according to how you behave when you are alone, when no one is looking, or how you would act if you won the lottery and could do anything you wished.

Having a side to you that likes to dress up with practical or simple elegance, as well as a wild Bohemian Hecate side is understandable. To illustrate, most of us enjoy sex but that don't wear racy lingerie to the grocery store. A time and place for everything, right?

You may enjoy reading this review (or even the book itself), Essential Style, Essential Self. The authors suggest that if we are not expressing some elements of personality that would be beneficial -- for example, I could use a little more Artemis to get outdoors and exercise more -- we can integrate into our clothing to start to express it. This makes sense. If I dress with walking shoes, I am more likely to go for a nice long walk than if I am wearing a suit and low heels.

What do you think? Do these fashion goddesses inspire you in a way you find satisfying? Is there some style essence you would like to express more in your appearance or your behavior?

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Metis and Hecate: Urban Sophisticate Clothing Can Be Pricey

by Jody

Living in the Midwest, I find it hard to find affordable clothing in my style. Well-made Urban Sophisticate clothing can be pricey.

What's affordable seems to be in boring colors, mostly black or gray. So, I keep it simple with clothes that fit well and then use scarves, jewelry, and hip retro glasses to add style, individuality and color.

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Sophia Strives for Quiet Elegant Simplicity

by Judy

If I were to put my "fashion style" into words, I'd probably prefer being called quiet with elegant simplicity. I'm a 73-year-old grandmother and want to look youthfully attractive without looking like I'm trying too hard to look young.

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Sophia Wonders How to Create a New Look

I used to work as a high powered executive, but for years felt that this was empty and meaningless.

I went back to school to work in the health services industry as a front-line worker helping people to make a difference. We overspent for many years, and are facing a budget crisis at the same time that I switched careers.

I also just turned 50. I'm struggling with how to look good, feel confident and express myself on a tight budget and in a new field where fashion is often the last thing on people's minds.

Congratulations on starting a new career. That is brave! Good for you.

Your post contains some clues about your dilemma.

First, fashion is not important in social services, so you are dressing to please yourself more than others. That should help to minimize your expenses.

I suspect that you can rescue garments from your previous career. Break up suits so that they are less matchy-matchy, for example.

Next, decide how to spend your limited fashion budget. Things that come to my mind are spending money to have clothing altered so it fits, adding bright scarves or costume jewelry, purchasing tops that are more noticeable rather than bottoms (unless you need these), and perhaps trying out some new make-up.

What do you think? What will make you feel confident, creative, and put-together?

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Hecate Finds She Has a Dash of Kali and, Surprisingly, Sophia

I am a bit of a free spirit. I prefer clothing that makes me feel good, and am not overly concerned with how others view it. I do get a decent amount of criticism that I don't dress my age, or I am not concerned enough with appearance.

I like me, and I don't want to be made over into a talk show grandma. New styles in clothes are great, but if they rot in the closet; they aren't doing anyone any good there.

Interestingly your quiz put my next two highest at Kali and Sophia... interesting combo there, a trendsetting sophisticated hippie! LOL

Hello and thanks for sharing your fashion ideas --

You are preaching to the choir when you say you don't want to a make-over that makes you look like a clone of someone else's fashion ideas!

I so agree. You will find a style philosophy soulmate in this letter.

You are right that Hecate and Kali are compatible, but Sophia's emphasis on simplicity tends to be traditional and even a little resistant to the change that Kali loves.

What can it mean for you? I'm going to take a wild guess here, based on your comment that a few people may think you dress too youthfully for their taste.

Hecate, the Bohemian look, is based on layers. More is better for Hecate: More necklaces, more bracelets, more piercings, add a scarf, a vest, maybe a pin or brooch to hold the scarf to the vest, don't forget a hat.

If you are going for that kind of layered Boho look, perhaps you could experiment with subtracting things. That way, you will still feel like you but add that dash of simplicity. And, if your dress is not simple now, the change also will please your inner Kali.

Did I guess right? I'd love to know! Nothing I write is carved in stone.

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California Athena Goes for Classy, Sophisticated, Yet Casual Clothing

(Lake Forest, CA, USA)

Live in warm climate in southern CA. Most of my activities are more casual. I like clothes. Prefer a classy sophisticated look, though youthful.

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Hecate/Sophia Has the Too-Much-Tan Blues

by Carol

Most of my wardrobe is medical scrubs! But if I have to choose clothes and shoes I can tolerate for church or social outings, I don't feel like enough separates go together to make an upbeat look.

I don't think leggings are very stylish on my legs. I have too much blue and tan-colored garments.

Sometimes I like wild prints, but they can't be worn as often as neutrals or people will notice.

I hate to throw out clothing, just like I hate to sell a car that is running well and saving me money. I still wear blue jeans a lot, but no high heels because my feet hurt all the time. I can see why the free spirit would suit me.

Hi Carol and thanks for writing --

Two of your comments really got me thinking. The first was about separates not creating an upbeat look. The second is about prints being too noticeable.

Some separates look dowdy -- to me. I don't want to mention any brands, because some women are going to love that brand and maybe even look great in the clothing, because her personality works with those garments.

There is no way to disguise that one has broken up separates if the top and bottom are a unique color such as turquoise or mauve. We are on safer ground if we stick with business neutrals -- navy, black, gray and tan.

Second, your comment about a print being too memorable brought to mind a presentation I heard this week about
branding one's appearance to be memorable. The speaker wears a silk flower in her long hair, which she gathers into a bun for her business image.

I mention using a necklace as a fashion statement.

If you have a particular print blouse or dress you love, why not wear it quite a bit? Perhaps this can become your fashion statement? Vary accessories, such as scarves, shoes, and jewelry.

Use the pretty print blouses to jazz up your tan skirts and slacks. These will fade into the background if you make the focal point something else.

I understand your concern that people may wonder whether you own anything else. So yes, you would have to add some variety.

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Athena/Sophia or Katherine Hepburn In Real Life

by Sue
(Spokane, WA )

I'm a potter, so I wear a lot of tees and jeans, even now in my 60's.

For dressier occasions I usually wear a skirt and top. I'm much more successful with separates than with dresses. This could be because my top and bottom are different sizes. And I usually wear solid colors, mostly because it's difficult to find decent prints.

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Metis Prefers Old Favorites that Work for Her to Achieve Classy Style

by Maya

I am 53 years old, average height with a good figure (UK size 10, US size 6 approximately 9 st).

I have a flat stomach and average bust - 34B. I carry any excess weight on my thighs and shoulders - from a sporty past. I teach in a primary school almost full time so like to wear smart trousers and tops to give a polished appearance.

I do not have too many work clothes preferring to keep to basic black/grey/brown colours for winter, but need lighter tops to not drain me of colour. In summer, I dress in a bolder way and like urban safari or nautical styles.

I live in the country and have a dog so have practical jeans, tops and a waxed jacket for dog walking. I live more in jeans at weekends. I like to dress up when I go out.

I love the French style of dressing for its simplicity and fashion icons such as Audrey Hepburn inspire me -I spend more money on clothes preferring middle to upper end of high street with one eye on trends.

I will often replace old favorites with the same. But then I dream of a new me with added boldness in my wardrobe - new hairstyle, may be an item of clothing that is unexpected. I feel I stick to what I feel comfortable in - could be boring to some. I am a mixed bag from my dreams of how I would like to dress to the practicality that my lifestyle demands.

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Athena Tells How She Found Her Best Styles Through Trial and Error

by Carol
(Northeast PA)

It was interesting to see the runner ups, Metis urban sophisticate and Aphrodite! Athena works for me with a little of the two runner-ups tossed in.

For several decades I have kept a beauty and fashion notebook, cutting out pictures of outfits I like from magazines and updating them frequently.

When I was in elementary school, I loved paper dolls and especially their clothes which I redesigned. Because I grew up in a fundamentalist family, my clothes had to be modest (and definitely not bawdy). However, even then I created some fashion designs that my classmates picked up also. I experimented with my clothes and accessories, and my mom told me I came up with some weird combinations!

As soon as I graduated from college, I was scouring all the latest fashion magazines. Throughout my life I have tried almost every fad: romantic, boho, classic etc. but not Goth!

I learned gradually what looked best on me with the help of my notebook. One fad which keeps coming back is the jump suit. Trust me, ladies. As you grow older you do not want to wear one. Mine was beautiful and brought on compliments - but getting them off quickly when a bathroom break is needed, especially at parties, is difficult! So, I have made many mistakes which is part of the process to find out what is right for me.

My notebook has been an eye opener for me, for I can see that I go for neutral basics but add colorful accessories and tops. Shopping my closet has been more fun, and every year I find more things to give away before I add new items. My friends and I love sales shopping; we get some good buys, and we rarely pay full price - a fun game to play.

For the most part I believe that each senior woman needs to make her own rules on clothing and make up.

Stylists love to set rules; some of them are ridiculous - especially for us seniors. I work out at the gym faithfully and especially during the hot weather we have been having tanks and sleeveless blouses as the way to go.

Now, I admit that a bikini for me is a no-no, but have you seen the bodies of some of our older stars? And thinking that lots of makeup will make us look younger is a no no - but actually it also is a no no for younger women too!

Today, I feel more confident about myself and how I look. Instead of worrying about what other people think about my looks and what I wear, I just enjoy putting outfits together and, of course, I enjoy the compliments I get. This has not always been true in my life. Sometimes I wish I had learned what I know today when I was younger, but better late than never.

As a senior, I am disappointed that most women's magazines and television make-overs have forgotten that we even exist. As soon as I hit my sixties, I noticed that I and obviously other "senior" women are now invisible - except when a stylist wants to make jabs at us and our "granny" clothes that no younger women should be seen wearing. But it's okay for us?

Those of us who have loved fashion all our lives are not suddenly going to wear dowdy, shapeless clothes while women of all ages continue to wear their "comfortable" clothes. And I would like to see women like me included in these make over shows and magazines. This also applies to help with our makeup.

I am now 75: I still get compliments on my clothing choices. And just last week someone at a senior expo asked me if I was 65 yet while three vendors complimented my look!

I know many other senior women who care about fashion and are also angry that media has chosen to forget about us. As thousands of boomers are reaching 65, media is continuing to make a mistake by not including us. Down with invisibility!

Hi Carol --

I am so glad you shared! I love the way you have told your story of your style notebook, trying out different styles, and continuing to modifying your wardrobe.

Of course, I love what you have written because it supports the points I try to make at Fashion After 50.

When I watch the fashion remake programs on TV, I do not agree with some of the choices these so-called experts choose. Moreover, I don't think anyone should have her wardrobe made fun of and jeered at the way some of these programs do. I have to compliment Tim Gunn here, because he is always respectful to other people. What a gem!

At any rate, to get back on focus: No one is born with good taste. We all arrive in this place naked and screaming.

Some of us are gifted with parents or other mentors who help us. Or like you, we keep our eyes open, experiment, and develop our own esthetic.

Even if you hire a wardrobe planner, there is no guarantee that your fashion preferences will be the same as that person's taste.

Like you, I believe the best thing each of us can do is develop a personal style, be proud of it, and not allow ourselves to be shamed if it is different from the what other people want us to wear. From the woman in Vermont who lives in jeans and plaid shirts to the art evaluator in New York who is always in black dresses and hosiery, I applaud them equally for finding what works for them in that setting.

I love the way you wrote your comments and what you had to say.

Carol, if you happen to stop back, will you comment on the new trend toward elastic shaping underwear. Spanx is the leader, but there are lot of copycats.

Me, I am never going back to the bad old days of girdles. I bought some control-top pantyhose by mistake and gave it away. There are other, more comfortable ways to hide one's tummy.

I respect other women who can tolerate control lingerie. Do you use these products, Carol, and perhaps have some recommendations if you do?

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