Fall 2017 Silky Fabrics and Long Pendant

It’s fall in the Pacific Northwest, and that means cool mornings and evenings with warm afternoons. This outfit works perfect for those in-between fall days, and I like how each of the fabrics glides over my curves. Usually I can’t wear a pendant necklace because of being larger on top, but with the fabric drape AND the length of the tunic, a pendant necklace works just fine. I also like this color combination with my silver hair.

Old Navy burgundy long sleeve t-shirt is a silky rayon/spandex blend.

Eddie Bauer charcoal side-zip skinny pants are a cotton/modal/nylon/spandex blend, and very comfortable for people (like me) who have a little tire around the middle where many waistbands don’t fit.

Jolie black tunic is longer on the sides than in the front and back, and is a lightweight rayon/spandex fabric that is very comfy and stretchy (I wear it alone as PJ’s in the heat of the summer – is that TMI?).

Boots are a cute burgundy/red leather with side buckles that I bought a few years ago at a little shoe shop in my neighborhood called Amenity Shoes.

Pendent is a circular stone, with a braided nylon cord of black/white/grey.  Pendant I found at a free swap!

Barb Hughes

Fall 2017 tunic and boots 1

Classic Capri Jeans and Black T-Shirt

IMG-0602Here’s a simple, casual, classic look.  Capri jeans, black t-shirt, pink sweater, white socks and white tennis shoes.  A string backpack is an easy way to bring along a small water bottle, tissues, iphone, and wallet, while keeping hands free for everything from holding hands with your sweetie, to holding grocery bags, to releasing summer scents by touching lavender when walking by neighborhood gardens.

For active feet, New Balance white tennis shoes are roomy enough to hold orthotics, while white bamboo rayon blend socks have extra cushioning in the footpads for comfort. Levi’s 515 capri jeans are classic and comfortable and look good on women of various sizes and ages.  Black Gap t-shirt is classic comfort in soft 100% cotton.  Old Navy pink long sleeve fastener-free cardigan can easily be tucked into the string backpack as the weather warms up. Silver hoop earrings complete this timeless outfit. – Barb Hughes

Blue Tank Dress: Same Dress, Different Ages/Figures

12595963_10154712923914129_392346315_nMy daughter is in her early 20’s.  I’m in my mid 50’s. We both tried on the same tank style dress by Lauren/Ralph Lauren Dress brand.

I believe that if something fits well on both a young woman and an older women, that’s a sign of an enduring and classic style, and worth the (many times) higher price tag.  Usually finer quality garments have more details, better fabric, and are made sturdier and with more care.  Many times seeing a classic on a hanger, the style tends to look a bit boring, but when you put it on, WOW!

This particular Lauren/Ralph Lauren Dress is well made from strong comfortable fabric. It is 95% polyester, 5% elastane, so it’s got good firm hold, yet stretches for comfort.  It has v-neck tank styling with side ruching, and is a flattering, modest, and forgiving style for larger breasted women.  It is also forgiving of my tummy pooch, and the style both shows off my daughters tinier waist, while camouflaging my non-tiny waist.

The color is a beautiful blueish purple, although as you can see different lighting gives it a different look.  The knee length (on 5’2″ me), to above knee length (on my 5’6″ daughter), is flattering on both of us.

This dress currently resides in my dresser drawer, but it is available to my daughter should she need to wear it to a dressier function.

New Glasses for a New Year

img_3853I currently have insurance that has an affordable eye plan that includes a yearly eye exam and partial payment for new frames. I discovered that there are quite a variety of shapes to modern glass frames – not just circle, oval, square, and cat eye.  Sometimes the way the glasses turn up slightly at the ends, or if the nose bridge goes straight across or dips slightly, can make a huge difference in the over-all presentation.

After trying on a store full of frames, I decided to go for something a bit on the bold/wild side. Although these frames are a lot larger/more open than my previous smaller more rectangular frames, they are similar in weight, and balance out my square jaw quite well.

I decided to get a shorter hairstyle to go with the new glasses, completing an updated New Years vibe (although I’m already realizing I will most likely be re-growing my hair out…I just don’t feel like myself with shorter hair).

May your New Year be one of trying new things and taking more time to play and have fun!

No-underwire bra with lift

Warners no-underwire bra 01298

Warners no-underwire bra 01298

There’s no denying that underwire bras do a great job gathering up breast and underarm tissue to sit up-and-center, making us feel confident as well as show off our figures.

However, after surgery I’ve now got sensitive scar tissue right where underwire would hit, and all my underwire bras hurt.  Which tends to be a problem as I’m big busted and gravity wins…and I’m not ready to give in to gravity just yet.

Enter my new favorite bra. The secret is in the bumps inside at the bottom of each cup, which form little shelves that your boobs sit on, thus defying gravity without underwire!  The girls are naturally yet modestly sitting pretty again.

Even if you don’t have a scar under your breast, sometimes underwire seems to cut off the natural lymph flow, or just seems to be restrictive or uncomfortable. It’s nice to have the option of an uplifting non-underwire bra.

Warners no-underwire bra #01298

Warners no-underwire bra #01298

Here is a photo of the inside of the bra so you can see the little shelf bumps.  Bra is Warners Brand, #01298, 80% nylon, 20% elastane. This one is beige, but I’m thinking of going back and getting it in black as well.  It’s nice having a comfortable everyday bra that has a natural shape.

By Barb Hughes.

Halloween Family Pumpkin Fashion

pumpkin sweatersIt’s great creating your own costumes for Halloween! Wanted to share the matching outfits my adult daughter and I sported this year. These orange sweatshirts were purchased on the sale rack years ago in the summer months, and the black felt cut-outs were hand cut and hand sewn on.

*Full Disclosure*  I created these outfits back when my daughter (currently 23) was 2 years old and I was pregnant with my son (currently 20 years old). These are size large sweat shirts, and my pregnant belly provided the “pumpkin shape” to the costume!  23 years ago my mother-in-law wore the costume my daughter is currently wearing in this photo, and my baby daughter wore an orange t-shirt with a matching pumpkin face (that is in her memory box for when she has a baby).  The pumpkin sweater my daughter is wearing in this photo is also going into her memory box so she can wear it as a matching mother/baby costume some day.  And the sweater I’m wearing?  It of course will become “the grandma” costume.

I’m not sure how many generations these silly simple pumpkin sweaters will hold up for.  But I think it’s a wonderful, warm family tradition to pass down.

Josef Seibel Taupe Shoe/Booties


IMG_2975I’m always on the lookout for comfortable, classic shoes with a low heel that I can wear my orthotics in, and that tie or velcro so I can get a custom fit.

These are a go-with-everything taupe color.  Many of my current shoes and boots are black, so to get something classic and a fresh color, with a low heel that doesn’t look like a tennis shoe, was a score for me.

I’ll be able to wear these with jeans, skirts, slacks, and more all through the year except maybe in the heat of summer and the cold of long walks in the winter.

Picked these up at The Shoe Mill, brand Josef Seibel (known as ‘the European comfort shoe’) style Sienna 03, color taupe.

See these shoe/boots paired with a burgundy, taupe, and navy outfit here.

Fall Colors: Burgundy, Navy, and Taupe

IMG_2972Yesterday I cleaned out my bedroom closet and drawers of clothes I didn’t wear this summer, and put them in a bag to go to a free swap next week.  Today I figured I’d go to the mall *just to look* at the fall colors and fashions to get ideas, then shop from my attic, later purchasing a few pieces to update the fall look for this year. Well, I found these cute items (shirt, jeans, and shoes) today and bought them before they were sold out!

A fall color that does well with my skin tone is burgundy, and burgundy is plentiful in the fall palate this year, as are gray, camel, black, pine green, navy, brown, and taupe.  I was surprised to see light pinks and other dusty muted tones for fall as well.

A popular look this fall is big shirts.  For my strawberry shaped figure, light flowing fabrics that drape over curves work well, and I like that this one is shaped to give an elongated look.

The shirt and jeans I got at Macy’s. Shirt is scoop neck, 3/4 sleeve, swing top style that is longer in the front and back and goes up at the sides, lengthening the leg while hiding the tummy.  Color is merlot (burgundy basically), fabric is 95% Rayon, 5% Spandex, label says JM Collection.

Jeans are straight leg, mid-rise, slim through the hip and thigh Levi’s!  I’m impressed with these pants – they are comfortable on my waistline, the right length without hemming for my 5’2 height (30×30), have a bit of stretch, are soft to the touch, and are a classic dark blue jean with taupe trim stitching. Color is dark blue, fabric is 72% cotton, 20% polyester, 7% modal, 1% elastane.

The shoes were a surprise.  I’m always on the lookout for comfortable, classic shoes with a low heel that I can wear my orthotics in, and that tie or velcro so I can get a custom fit. These are a go-with-everything taupe color.  Many of my current shoes are (were) black, so to get something classic and a fresh color, with a low heel that doesn’t look like a tennis shoe, was a score for me. I’ll be able to wear these with jeans, skirts, slacks, and more all through the year except maybe in the heat of summer and the cold of long walks in the winter.  Picked these up at The Shoe Mill, brand Josef Seibel (known as ‘the European comfort shoe’) style Sienna 03, color taupe.  See a close up of the shoes here.

I think the taupe shoes go great with this 100% silk knit taupe sweater.  It has a slight v-neck and small buttons, but I like wearing it open like a cardigan.  Found this several years ago at a free swap, brand Banana Republic.

The accessories include a navy blue infinity scarf I created by cutting a 12 inch band of fabric off the bottom of a navy modal skirt and wrapping it three times around my neck, silver earrings I got from Fred Meyer, and a necklace I picked up at a free swap.

Why is it when you go looking for a particular item it’s hard to find…but when are just window shopping for ideas you score good stuff?

Barb Hughes

Are ‘Shape’ categories helpful?

over40sketches03cI’m having second thoughts about listing ‘shape’ categories on this blog.  Originally, I thought having shape categories would make it easier to find things that fit, but now I’m not so sure.

As a woman with a bust an inch or two larger than my hips, I’ve found that for the most part thinner darker colors on top, and a pop of color or embellishment on the bottom, have traditionally worked out well for me.  But on a recent post I tried a white jacket and big colorful scarf on top, and black leggings and a pop of color on the bottom, and that looked cute, too.  Are my style/tastes changing..or have I been limiting myself all these years?

over40sketches01bI saw this article today which visually shows how women clearly don’t fit into just a few traditional shapes.  If women have so many diverse shape descriptions, should we get rid of these few fruit categories and choose styles, colors, fabrics, etc. by how we look/feel about them?  Or does including a shape category help you navigate what styles might possibly work better for you?
I’m open to your input.  Do you think shape categories are helpful in deciding which styles you’d like to wear?  Or do you feel putting blog entries into one shape category is limiting?

over40sketches02b-1If fruit shape categories are no longer working for finding outfits that work for you, do you have any suggestions of other ways you’d like me to tag the clothing items in this blog so that you can find styles that might fit and flatter you?

This is the fun of researching:  we get to use curiosity to go through this together, learning, growing, and helping. We get to write a new template.  Thanks for giving any input you feel is helpful in the reply below.

(Thanks to Grace Morgan-Sinclair for the original artwork.)

Pants to fit your size AND shape

What if you could purchase pants by size and shape – similar to how bras are sold by band and cup size to get a custom fit? The Little Black Pant, a new style of women’s pants, is measured both by a woman’s size and by her butt/curve shape.  The pants are currently being sold in two styles: Classic Straight Cut and Ankle Slim Cut.  I’ve not tried this product, but if you have, please share your opinion/comments below.  By what I gather, I would be a 6.1 or 8.1 by this measuring method.

50+ Fashion: What do older women look for when they shop?


Valerie modelling Meng Wu's ‘30 ways to wear’ coat CREDIT: FIONA HANSON

Valerie modelling Meng Wu’s ‘30 ways to wear’ coat CREDIT: FIONA HANSON

It’s been fun to watch the fashion industry slowly turn it’s eye towards women middle-aged and older.  In an article from The Telegraph Lifestyle section,  Sarah Shaw, a young fashion designer has researched women’s fashion in the UK and says  “…while stores still have a particular way of thinking about them, ‘mature women don’t dress the way they used to.’ ” (Then talking to women she says) “…First learn how to know yourself. If you don’t know how to know yourself, find somebody – a good friend – or somebody who really knows a little bit about fashion to know what will fit you.”

As women comment on what works for them here, we can check their input and find ideas/patterns/styles of clothes that work for us. Plus, our research community can visually show younger women styles and investment pieces to purchase/wear as they age.

Meng Wu, a fashion student who will have a coat put into production and sold in the JD Williams AW16 collection (see photo to the left), believes stores need to understand the different needs older women have when they choose their clothes:  “Customers have varied needs and tastes. They want formal, casual, neutral, colourful, long, short, comfort. They also want clothes that flatter and enhance their figures. I designed my ’30 ways to wear’ coat with these in mind. My coat is also warm, easy to clean, waterproof and durable.”

I agree.  As a woman over 50 I look for:

  • does it fit?
  • is it comfortable?
  • does it make me feel and look good?

I also want to know:

  • does it cover what I want it to cover?
  • is it multi-purpose?
  • is it affordable and/or is the quality worth the investment?
  • is it practical for the activity I want to use it for?
  • is it safe (ie will I break a leg if I wear it?)
  • is the shape, fabric, and details flattering to MY particular figure?
  • is the color flattering to my skin tone and hair color?

I’m so pleased that the fashion world is catching up on something that women 40+ have known for years: We have money and will spend it on items that work for us.  I look forward to shopping at businesses who provide clothing we need, want, and will use.  And I have a feeling that women of all ages will benefit from the practicality of sensible fashion that is comfortable, useful, and multipurpose.

White and Blue Scarf and Earrings

white/blue scarf and earringsHere’s a close-up of the white and blue scarf, with white and blue earrings. White and blue seem to be a big part of this years spring colors most often seen in the classic white t-shirt & blue jeans combination. Here’s an example of taking white and blue to your accessories.

Blue scarf with white anchors from Old Navy.  I’ve had the white and blue heart-shaped earrings for so long I can’t remember where they came from.

Late Winter Blue And White

late winter blue, white, and blackIt’s that time of year when it’s too cold for lightweight spring clothes but I’m tired of bulky winter clothes.  In spring catalogs, blue and white seem to be a theme, so I rounded up from my closet some ‘spring’ white and blue, mixed with ‘winter’ black and boots.  I kinda like the outcome – fresh in color, yet warm in reality.

White stretchy jean jacket Kut from the Kloth brand from The Difference, blue with white anchor scarf from Old Navy, pale blue stretchy boat neck 3/4 sleeve modal t-shirt Nally & Millie brand from The Difference, blue cotton knit skirt xhilaration brand, black fleece-lined leggings from Fred Meyer, black leather boots from Nordstrom.




Drew Barrymore Tackles Her Transition to Over 40 Fashions

Drew Barrymore writes “Well, for starters, I’m almost 40, and the 20s clothes don’t make sense anymore. And, after two babies, the 30s clothes don’t fit anymore. I am at a clothing crossroads, and it’s a painful one at times.”  Read her article here on the six steps she took to transition her wardrobe towards her 40’s…as well as why she needed to make the changes, and why she enjoys her new look.


What To Wear After Gallbladder Surgery

This photo was taken about 2 weeks after gallbladder surgery. I didn’t feel much like getting my photo taken before this, but this is the general outfit I’ve been wearing- give or take the different waisted pants – for pretty much the past two weeks.

This photo was taken about 2 weeks after gallbladder surgery. I didn’t feel much like getting my photo taken before this, but this is the general outfit I’ve been wearing give or take the different waisted pants – for pretty much the past two weeks.

This is a practical post not a fashion post. I hope it helps others who face gallbladder surgery in the future. I was told I would need to ‘rest, take it easy, and manage pain’ and that I should wear ‘loose-fitting comfortable clothes’ after gallbladder surgery. But I was unprepared for how to manage keeping my wounds dry and clean especially when the biggest wound was right where a bra band sits. After surgery that area was the most painful, as my breast would rub on the wound not allowing it to get air, and would sting from the salt/sweat in the open wound. This area was the biggest hole, where they pulled out the inflamed gallbladder and stones, and it had the most stitches. The nurse told me to wear a bra and tuck a clean washrag under the band, but the bra band pressure on the wound was painful. I needed a way to keep my breast off the wound to keep it clean and dry so it could heal.

There was also the problem of the belly being filled like a balloon with CO2 so the surgical team could see to work through the four holes they cut. After surgery my usual pant size didn’t fit, and hurt due to increased size of the belly and the wounds in the waistband area.

I was on pain meds and not up for clothes shopping, so I searched what I already had or could borrow from friends. This is what I found:

  1. Soft modal or bamboo knit long sleeve shirts a size bigger than I usually wear. This purple shirt had stretched out over years of washing and wearing. I had relegated it to my sleeping shirt only drawer…but pulled it out to fit over my tummy. The light weight fabric floats over belly wounds instead of irritating them.
  2. Open front soft cotton knit sweater purchased from Old Navy. The open front blue knit works well because it keeps the arms and body warm, doesn’t put any pressure on the tummy, and can wrap around lightly if needed for warmth. I’ve found that a wounded swollen tummy is warmer than the rest of my body.
  3. Infinity scarf to hide neck coverage of ace bandage breast wrap (see below).
  4. Modal/bamboo breathable natural fiber stretchy pants. Right out of the hospital I wore drawstring pants at least a waist size larger than I normally wear (no elastic) due to extended belly and waist wounds, tying the drawstring waist under my belly in the front. After about a week and a half, the belly swelling came down a bit and I was able to wear elastic waist bamboo/modal yoga pants with attached skirt, which I wore lower in the front under my waistline and higher in the back for comfort (see photo of ace bandage breast wrap below). The elastic keeps the pants from falling off and works when taking walks in the neighborhood and being in public.
  5. Comfortable slip-on walking shoes. Due to medication and after surgery dizziness, it’s recommended to wear comfortable walking shoes. Since it’s painful to bend at the waist, it’s recommended you have shoes you can slip on. I wore my regular tie-front walking shoes, but tied them looser so I could slip them on and off. Problem solved.
  6. Ace Bandage Breast Support.  Here is my biggest invention for comfort after gallbladder surgery: An ace bandage, wrapped so that breasts stay OFF the wound to keep it clean, dry, and safely heal. I have my husband or daughter help wrap it. This is my design, invented out of practicality and necessity. Feel free to share it with nurses and other medical professionals so they can help other women heal quicker and feel more comfortable after surgery. Here’s the steps:

IMG_7568Step 1: Take an ace bandage and center it flat horizontally across back with the sides being equal in length.

IMG_7566Step 2: Move the ends towards the front, criss/crossing them so that each end of the bandage becomes a sling under each breast.

IMG_7567Step 3: Twist the bandage at the neck so it lies a little flat on your shoulder. Criss/cross the ends down the back, and tuck them under the back band, pulling the ends through and up as needed.

IMG_7557This design keeps the breasts separated and off the wound area. If you bend, reach up high or twist, your breast(s) may pop out, just tuck them back into the sling. This ace bandage wrap is for the recovery period when nothing else will work.


The finished product from the front – keeping wound clean and dry, and helping with back support as well!

What to do when showering?

After surgery I was told to wait 72 hours before showering, then to just dab the wound areas with a wet washcloth – no soap. So, how to keep one’s breasts off the wound when showering? Enter a bikini top purchased by my daughter from Popina. The ‘Maggie’ bikini top center front goes up instead of straight across, allowing a similar breast sling principle that I used with the Ace Bandage Breast Wrap. Due to using the sling action instead of the band action, the bikini top cranks down on my neck from all the breast weight, so I choose to wear it only for short times in the shower for now. For daily wear during healing the more back supportive Ace Bandage Breast Wrap I invented works best. However the bikini top works good in the shower. In the future when I can use the bottom band as intended for support, I could pair the Maggie bikini top with black swim boy shorts I already own.



Fashions to Hide Your Tummy

Many of us upon reaching a certain age (or for medical reasons, or just having a baby) are looking for fashion tips on how to work with a belly that is front and center.  Here’s some great ideas – including a video – on Fashions to Help Hide Your Tummy.  These simple fashion tips are easy and practical, working with our current figures to help us look and feel fabulous!  

black french lace scarf

French lace black triangle scarf with rosettesI wear this scarf quite a bit because it dresses up most any plain outfit and is an all-season lightweight fabric. The triangle-shaped black scarf is French lace with large soft black rosettes.  I like how each of the long tie ends trail off with trim – the same trim that drips off the front of the scarf as well.  The scarf was purchased at a women’s specialty clothing store in Lake Oswego OR called The Difference, which along with boutique style clothing also provides unique and sometimes one-of-a-kind accessories.  In fact, The Difference was in the news recently – see the article here



Winter black dress slenderizes and elongates a short waist


















How to slenderize an outfit – Little black dress.  V-neck.  Tone-on-tone lengthening color top to bottom.  Slender boots.  Low-slung decorative belt to elongate waistline.

I purchased this simple long sleeve v-neck black dress at the Acey’s Closet sale at the Dress For Success office near my house.  It’s 82% viscose/15%nylon/3% elastane so has good comfort and stretch.  At knee length it’s modest and slenderizing.  And the purchase price went to a good cause.

The aqua tank top underneath is a cute top I purchased at Title 9 Sports this past summer and am I’m finding I’m wearing every season (especially helpful with hot flashes/dressing in layers).

Black fuzzy/lined leggings are by French Laundry of 92% polyester/8% spandex and are warm, stretchy, and comfortable.  They were purchased at Fred Meyer.

When I wear dresses/skirts in colder weather I’m usually also wearing these black dressy walking boots from Nordstrom.

Belt is leather with metal clasp by Belt Shak, and next to the boots, the belt is the most expensive item in this ensemble. I think it was something like $50, purchased at a boutique store in Lake Oswego Oregon called The Difference.

The picture of Elvis on the wall is an original I created out of Dryer Lint!  So in a way, it was also made from clothes.  Kinda funny to think of it that way 🙂

bright tank tops

photo 3photo 3photo 1









I like this style of tank top from Title 9 Sports so much I bought it in three colors!  The high neckline elongates my short torso, and the length hits me below my pooch. The armholes are cut so they hide bra straps. Brand is Title Nine, the fabric’s a 60% cotton 40% polyester blend so it’s breathable and wicking yet still soft and stretchy. And I love the vibrant colors!  Skirt with same fabric attached shorts (ie Skort) is cotton/spandex and the brand is Liz Wear by Liz Claiborne.

Barb Hughes

Saucony street shoes












I was looking for some shoes that were really comfortable, breathable, able to work with my orthotics, and would work with jeans or even sporty skirts/skorts.  I went to our neighborhood Foot Traffic – a running store – that features experts in foot strides and other sports magic to keep athletes from hurting themselves.  They have a diagnostic machine to test your stride, do a visual of your stride, and take a look at wear on the soles of your shoes.

They decided I needed a normal shoe, not a stability shoe.  I showed what colors I was looking to match (I actually brought along the clothes I wanted the shoes to at least vaguely look presentable with), told them what activities I was going to be doing and where (walking, hiking, and touring in a hot and humid climate, so I needed a very breathable shoe).

The sales person came up with three possibilities, and I chose this winner:  the Ride 6 by Saucony.  This is one comfortable street shoe.  The sole is thicker than the off-trail shoes, because feet pounding on streets need more cushion than feet pounding on dirt trails.  Also these street shoes are a looser more breathable weave (whereas the trail shoes are a tighter weave to keep out the dust).  The Foot Traffic sales people really know their technology, physiology, and whatever other information they need to know to make sure runners and other sports people (and regular people too) don’t hurt themselves.

I’m wearing the shoes as I write this.  My feet, if they were dogs with tails, would be wagging.

Barb Hughes

white jean jacket










This white stretchy jean jacket is a brand called  Kut from the Kloth.  It’s 98% cotton 2% spandex, but feels like it’s got more stretch than that (ie it’s really comfortable) with shaped seams that work with curves – something that you don’t often find in jean jackets.  Front breast pockets are shaped so they flatter curves not just flatten them, pewter colored buttons on cuff and back waistband details give this jacket a little extra style.  This was purchased at The Difference, a little boutique in Lake Oswego Oregon. They suggested I roll up the cuffs to look more modern, so that’s what I did for these photos.

red ankle boots

IMG_2406I’ve been on a search for the perfect red ankle boots for 3 years and finally found them.

These red leather ankle boots are Chio brand. They’ve got 2 side buckles, are leather inside and out, and have a sturdy 1 inch heel.  I wanted a boot that I could walk easily in, that could handle orthotics, and were worth repairing and/or replacing the heels/soles when needed in the future.  Basically I was looking for investment boots, but I’m tired of basic black and brown, so these fit my needs for comfort, quality, and cuteness.

In the photo I’m lifting my pants legs a bit so you can see more of the shoe. These would look cute with skirts, too.  I purchased them from a little boutique shop called Amenity Shoes.

Barb Hughes

update cut with layers and piece bangs/fringe

IMG_2400_2IMG_2402My hairstylist, Nikki, has moved!  She’s now got her own space called Cloud 9 (studio 14) in a snazzy boutique building in downtown Portland, close to the max system at 510 NW 10th Avenue.  If you go see her, tell her Barb Hughes said ‘hi’.

I was looking for something a bit more current, so she gave me some more layers but kept the back end line straight to give more fullness.  She also pieced my bangs/fringe, and in this photo she put some product on them to separate them out a bit to look more playful.  I think I can replicate this at home, it was very simple to watch her do it.

I like how my hair has more movement now.  I was ready to ditch some length, and I think this is actually a more flattering cut for my height.  Plus, I was ready for a change.  My husband posted a throwback Thursday photo of me from when I was pregnant with my daughter 21 years ago…and I had a similar straight long hair/bangs look and figured I really needed to change that!

Barb Hughes

embrace hot and cold flashes in this animal print sweater

IMG_2410IMG_2416I’ve been looking for an easy on/easy off sweater for embracing hot flashes/cold flashes.  Just picked this cute uniquely styled sweater up at Nordstrom (sale rack nonetheless!) and it’s perfect.

This Bobeau brand animal print combination is black, pewter, and silver; the smaller pattern/print is flattering for my height, the color combination flattering for my hair.  The fabric is 87% polyester, 9% rayon, and 4% spandex; fleeced on the inside/smooth on the outside so it’s warm when I get a cold flash.  It’s also soft, stretchy, and breathable, and with only one button is easy to get out of quickly in a (hot) flash.  I can button it or leave the sweater open and the longer front hangs gracefully, the one wood button taking on an ornamental focus.

I like that it has a bit of rear coverage as well, so I could probably wear leggings if I really wanted to.  I went in looking for something traditional, and left with something unique, practical, and whimsical.  I like that no matter what size I yo yo up or down I’ll still be able to wear this. And with all the solids I have in my wardrobe, having something a bit wild was a good move.

Barb Hughes

burgundy mary jane velcro strap comfort shoe

IMG_1205This comfortable burgundy leather Mary Jane style shoe is Naot brand.  I was looking for a walking shoe that could also double as a bit of a dressy shoe…with comfort being queen.  These have a cushy inner leather foot bed which is wide enough to hold orthotics.  The velcro strap is easily adjustable, and there’s plenty of room in the toe box.  I like the detailed cut-outs on the top that include both matte and a patent leather ornamentation.  The base is a black all-in-one piece, like most comfort-type shoes.  I got these at The Shoe Mill.


fashionable vest hides excess winter pounds

photo - Version 2Here I am again, off to work in casual brown tones. The jeans are Levi 525 straight legs with a mid rise and forgiving stretch waist, tucked in my favorite two toned boots (2 inch block heel) from Kohl’s.

The hooded Maurice’s khaki vest with faux fur lined hood and brass, loop closed buttons, covers a basic Mossimo cotton/spandex chocolate Tee.

A varied toned heavier scarf in browns, grays and white enhances the neckline.

Jewelry by Premier and from Kohl’s.

I am an apple core shape and like to use vests to hide those extra winter pounds.

Thank you for letting me share. Lizzie

slim gray pooch-eliminating jeans

photo 3Got these slim gray Jag Jeans from Nordstrom.  I like that they fit my small hips and larger waist.  They also keep my waistline bump-free since there’s no zipper or buttons to accent my pooch.  The slim legs are slenderizing and lengthening, and there’s no saddle bags that many pants seem to have (where women’s hips are supposed to be…but those of us without hips just look odd with extra fabric hanging there.)  They have full front and back pockets so look like regular jeans in their styling.  The only negative would be if you wanted to wear a belt or tuck in your blouse or shirt – the large stretchy waistband with no belt loops won’t allow that.  But if you prefer to wear your shirts/blouses/sweaters untucked, then these pants are perfect. These Jag Jeans are 77% cotton, 21% polyester, and 2% spandex, so they stretch and move well.

The large triangle shaped black scarf is French lace with rosettes and I got it at a women’s specialty clothing store in Lake Oswego OR called The Difference.

Red cashmere v-neck sweater is by a company called Only Mine, and I got it at a free clothing swap.

The black long sleeve crew neck was purchased at Target in the long underwear section, and is 95% rayon, 5% spandex. It’s soft, stretchy, and comfortable,  and printed on the back neck it says Warm Essentials by Cuddl Duds.

See the boots here.


photo 3

photo 4

black lace bomber jacket

Hot in Hollywood

I love clothes (according to my hubby too much). These two photos came about because a year ago I signed up to be a ‘Storybook Model’ for the Hot in Hollywood line of clothing sold on HSN. It’s a great idea by the designer to pick random people in the population, to send them an outfit, take photos and they will show how their clothes look on the ‘average’ person, and not just a model.

I was selected to wear this lace bomber jacket and tank for their upcoming show on Thursday Jan. 23rd.  I’m 5’4″ and 165. This is a size L in the lace bomber jacket. I almost think I could go with a Medium because I can overlap the zipper quite a bit in the waist and its stretches so the shoulders shouldn’t be a problem. I wore this last night to a meeting and the ladies loved it. I prefer it without the black tank underneath; a brighter color is better on me.

This would be a good jacket for someone who is apple shaped. I’m hourglass so it really didn’t flatter my curves as much as I would have preferred, but a size smaller might be a better fit on me.  I’m generally a Large in most tops, or a size 12.  My waist is 10 inches smaller than my bust and hips and darn it, I like to show that off!

DSC_0059Fun facts: The designer of the black lace bomber jacket and black tank top from Hot in Hollywood, is  Laurie Feltheimer.  Her husband is the studio chief for Lionsgate, which produced the Hunger Games series.

Lori Wacker

Barb’s new haircut!

I decided to start a “Hair” category on Over 40 Fashions!  Feel free to send in photos of your hairstyles, hair colors, and what you like about them!

It’s been about 2 years since I’ve had a professional haircut, and I was getting pretty shaggy.  I wanted to keep my hair long, bring out the natural silver, look pretty, and have more style.  Here’s a video of what Nikki at Ginger Salon in Portland Oregon suggested – along with before and after photos!

freedom of style with neutrals

photo - Version 2This is an ensemble I threw together for work this week. I wear a lot of black/white/grey and try to enhance these neutrals with bling or colorful accessories.

The pants are leather from JCPennys which I’ve had around for years. The boots are Madden, given to me by my daughter.  She bought them this year and after wearing them decided they were just too snug. Lucky me!

I am wearing a basic black tank overlaid with a longer grey blended hoody. The hoody has a sparkle in the material. Both were garage sale finds as well as the black & silver fringed scarf. Necklace and earrings, just costume, were purchased at a local gift shop. The earrings are tear drop silver toned. The necklace has several silver and black chain strands adorned with the same tear drops as well as flat black and silver filigree “leaves”. Am also wearing a silver “man” watch from Avon and a premier jewelry buckle bracelet, also a gift.

Since most of the outfit was purchased at thrift and overstock stores (or given to me) I suppose I like best the fact it is a snazzy ensemble put together for a song.

I am an apple core shape and about five feet seven  inches in height , curvy and full. I try to dress to emphasize the curves, trim the waist and at least give the illusion of slim and trim though I weigh in close to 170 lbs. I totally embrace being 60 and have freedom of style now that I never had when raising five children.

Lizzie Hough

yoga shoes exercise your feet while you relax

Yoga sandals

Yoga sandals

Here’s my yoga shoes.  I wear them when I get out of the shower for half an hour or so to strengthen my feet.  You know in yoga class where the instructor always tells you to spread your toes so your weight is distributed better for balance?  These shoes help you do that.  And after you get used to the strange feeling, they feel great.

These are for around the house wear – you don’t want to wear them all day because your feet would probably get fatigued.  But used as part of a healthy body and strengthening/balance regime, they are a nice addition.

book: brenda kinsel’s fashion makeover: 30 days to diva style

Brenda Kinsel's Fashion MakeoverBrenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover:  30 days to Diva Style is more than just a fashion book – it’s a mid-life lifestyle makeover book.

One exercise you spend a week putting together a ‘resonance’ book.  I cut out magazine/catalog photos of styles, words, phrases that ‘resonate’ with me now. Not what I used to like or what I’m ‘supposed’ to like, but what I find myself attracted to.  You know all those career books that ask “what are your PASSIONS?  What are your TALENTS?  What are your INTERESTS?”   I’m at a place where I have no idea what my passions, talents, and interests are – I’m a mid-life mom looking to find myself!  It’s hard to find direction when I don’t even know what direction to head. This book gave me a fun starting point – fashion,  clipping photos, and writing things down.  I can do that:)

Another exercise was to gather up clothing and accessories you love, place them together in a group, then study the group to see what they all have in common. This allows you to find fashion and lifestyle clues you might have missed.

A third exercise was creating Beauty Bundles for a ‘finished’ look to any outfit. That’s where you gather up jewelry, shoes/boots, coats, purses, scarves that are in similar color families (a red purse, red belt, red and blue scarf, red earrings, red patterned shawl etc. would be your ‘red beauty bundle’.  Black pumps, black belt, black fedora, black gloves, black patterned bag, black trench coat would be in your ‘black beauty bundle’ etc.).  Then when you go out, you just grab things from the bundle color that corresponds to the rest of your outfit, and you look put together!

The author covers the usual how to choose colors that look good with your particular hair/skin, hairstyles, body shapes, and make-up.  This fashion book helped me see myself differently from not just a fashion perspective but from a growth perspective inside and out.  It allowed me to let go of clothes that didn’t work, because I gained new ideas and direction on which items/styles to seek to complete the more authentic ‘me’ look now.   It’s empowering to feel clothes not only look and feel good on my body, but they better represent my current lifestyle and passions.  I feel like Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover:  30 days to Diva Style gave me a skill set I didn’t have before. 

wool striped blazer and skinny pajama jeans

DSC_0005I usually don’t go for blazers, but I thought this navy and pink striped blazer actually did me justice.  It’s a Ralph Lauren 100% wool blazer with plenty of shaping darts.  I like the vertical striped pattern in front and in back, the large white buttons down the front as well as on the back cuff/sleeves, the working slit front pockets and breast pocket, and the soft pink lining not only inside the jacket but also in the pockets.  The stripes are actually light pink, not white.

The blouse is Banana Republic 98% cotton 2% lycra/spandex.  It’s got big pearlized pink buttons down the front and on the 3/4 length sleeves.  Well darted/fitted as well, the collar is a littler bigger/wider than I would usually get, but it seems to go well with this jacket.

The pants are – get this – black skinny leg Pajama Jeans!  So comfortable and warm, and they have side stitching that matches the stitching look of the jacket stripes.  They also tuck in quite well to the black leather boots.  The boot leg Pajama Jeans I’d say are for short women only (probably 5’3″ and under), as they aren’t very long. However these skinny leg jeans you could probably get away with wearing if you’re a little taller if you don’t mind them being capris.



the freedom of age

This is more about ‘inner’ fashion that outer fashion.  Women talking about what they love about their age and how they see themselves grow and thrive.  No matter what your age, from 4 to 93, here’s how to love your age.

stretchy 100% cotton skort

for Barb Hughes 8 2013 019for Barb Hughes 8 2013 023This beige and white top is 100% cotton, but I’ve added a surprise on the bottom: a cotton skort. I know, who is making skorts anymore?! This one has no zipper or buttons, no elastic, you just pull it on and go. And it has pockets. It’s a full skirt front and back, but has pants in it. It’s 97% rayon with 3% spandex, and drapes beautifully. Feels like tee shirt material. I love how forgiving it all is.

I discovered a wonderful store called Fresh Produce. They sell a lot of flowy stuff but it’s all cotton or similar fibers, very breathable. Like Chicos only not so plastic. The store makes me think beach first and desert second. It’s casual but stylish. Prices are a little north of mid-range, but they’re always having sales and promotions. ALMOST EVERYTHING is made in the USA -win!

(I’ve also included a photo that shows some of the details up close of the skort.)


black leather dressy walking boots

DSC_0011A few years ago I scrimped on other clothes purchases so I could buy a good pair of quality boots.  These black leather boots are Spire Peak by Merrill, and they will last me for years since they are a classic style and so comfortable I could walk in them all day.  Other practical features include a thinsulate lining so they are warm but not bulky, waterproof black leather, easy access inner side zips, and tennis-shoe-like walking comfort.  I purchased them at Nordstrom and they were spendy, but worth it.


blazer and purple patterned leggings

banjo3 003The blazer is 65% polyester and 30% rayon.  The brand is Only Necessities, and I purchased it from Fingerhut a long time ago.  The size is 22W, and it used to be too large on me, but I held onto it anyway, and I’m now I’m glad I did.  I really love the fit and the color.  It matches really nicely with a dress or nice pants, and even with jeans and a T-shirt.  It’s not too warm either, so it’s nice for any time of the year.

The leggings are Ikat Legging by Denim 24/7, size 2X.  I purchased these from Amazon. They are black with a purple and white design.  They are 95% cotton and 5% spandex.  I love the soft material and the comfy fit.  I also love the colors.  These pants look good with dressy boots or casual shoes.

I also purchased this 100% cotton top from Amazon. The brand is Woman Within, and it’s a size large.  I really love the fit of this top, and Woman Within is probably my favorite brand for plus sizes.  Their clothes are much roomier for those of us with a little extra!  I love the 100% cotton and the color.  Purple is becoming my favorite color these days, and I especially love how it looks with these pants.

The necklace is “Vintage Retro colorful crystal owl pendant and chain with Antiqued bronze/brass finish”, and I purchased it from Amazon.  I love the length and the colors.  It matches almost anything, and it’s lightweight enough that I can wear it comfortably all day.

I purchased the headband at the dollar store, and I love the color and the fit.  I have a hard time finding headbands that fit my large head, so I love it when I find ones that do!  I like to buy the 2-3 packs at the dollar store from time to time, even though sometimes they are a bit flimsy.  This one came in a 3 pack but is very durable.  I’ve had all 3 for several years, and none of them have broken yet.

The boots are black with a buckle on the outside and a zipper on the inside, and they are brand name Nickel. I purchased these about 4 years ago.  If I remember right, I found these at Famous Footwear. I love the color and fit of these boots.  I also love the heel because it’s high enough to look nice but is still easy to walk in.  And, since they’re black, they go with a nice skirt or jeans.  They are comfortable enough to wear all day long.


red metal frame glasses

DSC05340As I let my hair go natural, I thought having brighter glass frames might be fun. These black and red patterned metal frames were a discontinued brand from France that I chose from a selection at Reynolds Optical’s discount store on Sandy Blvd in Portland Oregon. Sometimes it’s fun to go a little wild:)


New Over 40 Fashions site is now active!

Barb HughesHi Ladies!  I finally did it!  Finally was able to change over the old iweb site to a modern site with a lot more functionality and ease of use!  You can now search for styles by category in the right  side-bar (tops, bottoms, accessories etc.) and also by tag (body shape and possibly other tags in the future).  Thank you for being so encouraging of my little site/idea allowing women of all sizes to show off fashions they like from their own closets.  Women 40+ get to play dress-up, share what works for them, educate women of all ages on what stands the test of time, as well as encourage each other.  Instead of trying to fit into styles/shapes/sizes/trends that aren’t flattering anymore, we are showing what DOES look flattering now, what we enjoy, and telling why we enjoy it.  (If you have arthritic feet and can’t wear high heels anymore..what cute shoes CAN you wear?  Show them off!)

On Over 40 Fashions, we share what we like and give our opinions so we can get great new ideas on where to shop to find styles, colors, sizes, and fashions that work for us.  I’m also hoping the fashion industry and advertisers catch on and start using real women 40+ of all shapes and sizes as their models (if you model on this site, you’ll be getting exposure to that very industry…so if you’ve ever wanted to be a fashion model, here’s your chance! This is why I say “If you don’t see someone who looks like you as a model, then we need YOU to contribute!”  Plus, tell your friends you’re an international (internet) fashion model – how fun is THAT?

If you own a clothing/accessory businesses and are willing to use models 40+ of all shapes and sizes to show off your latest goodies find out how to share your offerings here.  I’ve been hosting and honing Over 40 Fashions since 2009 as a hobby and feel it’s to the place where it can make a larger impact.

Subscribe using the button at the top right of the home page.  Tell your friends…and be a model!  Thanks for sharing this journey into fun fashion and new ideas.


Barb Hughes, founder of Over 40 Fashions

black, white, and gray

DSC02796Black, white, and gray go so well together.

The top and the skirt have the illusion of a dress, but they are actually different patterns, but with the same black and white theme.  The top is a zebra print, the skirt is a floral/leaf print.

The three button black cardigan/blazer tones down the print of the shirt and skirt, and ties together well with the black pointy toed pumps.

Simple gray tight pulls the look together.


breathable tank style dress

Lynne starfish dress 8 2013 027From Fresh Produce, this periwinkle and white dress (in that popular starfish pattern) has pockets. It’s 100% cotton. I wash it on cold and hang dry. The tee-shirt, from Fresh Produce, is 100% cotton also. Both really breath. The dress, like the tee, is soft with a bit of stretch in it but also enough body to hold its shape. Comfy!


tunic top and skinny elastic waist jeans

tunic & boots 1DSC_0005Boy did I have fun this past week.  Went to The Difference where they were hosting a free seminar on fall fashion for the classic type.  Classic types tend to stay in our fashion rut – hey, if it was popular 2 decades ago, it still should look fine, right?  What I love about The Difference is they always prod me to crawl out of my fashion rut and try something new that flatters.

I am actually 3 types:  classic (I like simple, classic lines), delicate (it’s because I’m petite and about 100 pounds, not that I like the term ‘delicate’ at all), and casual (I prefer comfort over anything, so my casual side is always fighting my classic…and they both are unnerved to be considered delicate).

I think the ladies at The Difference did a fine job of helping me to find an outfit that perfectly fits ALL my criteria, while challenging my pre-conceived notions.

I usually shy away from tunic tops because they make me look squat – but look what looks fabulous when it’s the right cut/color/style for a petite?  This Tunic Top is Tribal brand, 94% polyester, 6% spandex.  It has a gentle cowl neck drape and long sleeves (which I prefer.  If I want 3/4 sleeves I can push them up).  I like this color combination for fall, and the pattern speaks of anything but delicate:)


tunic & boots 2IMG_1853The pants are by a company called Miracle Body.  The ladies at The Difference assured us that these make ANY women’s body look great.  I ended buying the pull on jeans so I could wear them under tunics without the zipper-pooch.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m of that age where I prefer elastic waist pants…or that I’m petite so any extra pooch or puff shows up more on me, but I’m finding that I’m little by little replacing all my jeans/pants with no-zipper ones.  These Miracle Body elastic waist pants are 88% cotton, 9% polyester, and 3% spandex, and have some sort of a pooch eliminator belly band inside that I didn’t even feel at all, it’s that comfortable.  The color is a gray/green, so depending on what you wear on top, they seem to change their hue.  The pants look great tucked into boots, and lay flat at the ankles.

The belt was the big investment, but it really does make this outfit, and here’s why.  I have a short waist.  O.K. a non-existent waist.  My rib cage sits on my hip bones, so there is no place for a belt to go.  However, I have long legs, so since this belt sits on my hips, it extends my short waist, AND gives my body the illusion of being taller because it dips lower in the front.  The silver buckle matches the silver in my hair, and the black leather goes with EVERYTHING, including these black leather boots and pretty much everything else I own.

The boots I got a few years ago at Nordstrom.  They are Spire Peak Merrill boots in black leather.  They’ve got thinsulate insulation and are waterproof, so they keep me warm and comfortable. They have tennis shoe like walking comfort, and have easy access inner side zips.  Check out The Difference on facebook.


p.s. as of this writing, I’m officially a banana shape.  I’ve been slowly morphing from a strawberry, but now it’s official via the measuring tape.

snuggly bathrobe, fun slippers

me pjs 006With colder weather around the corner, here’s a snuggly relaxing idea, plus some creative uses that go beyond sleeping.

The bathrobe is a plush robe in pink.  The fabric is 100% cotton.   The brand is Hotel Spa Collections.  I purchased it from Amazon a few years ago in the winter.  What I like about it is that it’s very warm for those cold winter nights.  I also like the mid-thigh length.  I love how soft and comfortable it is, too.

The slippers were a Christmas gift from my brother back in ’96, I think.  They are red, white, and blue. There are no tags, so I don’t know the brand, and I think he bought them at the mall in one of those little stands that they set up in the aisles.  These are my most favorite slippers because they are so thick that it feels like walking on pillows!  I also love the style.  They look like cute tennis shoes.  They are very durable, as they still look new after all these years.  I’ve gotten a lot of use for them, having worn them for 4th of July parties and New Year’s Eve, and I always get a ton of compliments on them. People often ask where to get them, and I don’t even know!  I really would love to be able to get these for gift giving!

The pajamas are pink bottoms with a basic black top, and the fabric is 100% cotton.  The brand is Dreams and Company, and I purchased these through Amazon.  What I love most of all are the music notes on the pants!  The description said “pink hearts” but didn’t say anything about the music notes, and since I try to find “music” items whenever I can, so this was a great surprise.  They are very comfortable and soft, and I like that there’s no drawstring, just elastic.  I love the over-sized top that doesn’t twist all up while sleeping.


flowing, breathable, beachy-type tunic

beige and white top frontHere’s 2 pics, one of back and one of front.

I just discovered a wonderful store called Fresh Produce. They sell a lot of flowy stuff but it’s all cotton or similar fibers, very breathable. Like Chico’s only not so plastic. The store makes me think beach first and desert second. It’s casual but stylish. Prices are a little north of mid-range, but they’re always having sales and promotions. ALMOST EVERYTHING is made in the USA -win!

This outfit is a combo of Fresh Produce (the beige and white top) and the white capris are Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. Top is 100% cotton. I love how forgiving it all is since I’m pear shaped, 59 years old and, and 5’8″.

Lynne Spreen



beige and white top back

supple fabric feels great, looks great on curves

LindapurpletopI am modeling an open-collar casual top with cuffed sleeves made of micro-modal fabric.  The top is part of a classic line designed by Covered Perfectly for women over 40. What I love most about this garment is the feel of the fabric. It feels luxurious, supple.   I also love that it was offered in the color purple, which I often wear with turquoise and orange.  The style is nice for body types with more “butter” around the middle as it falls loosely, without looking baggy.  Originally, my shape was Apple/Apple Core; however, as time evolved, so did my shape.  I still have to accommodate comfortably and elegantly a big bust and hips.  Covered Perfectly’s line is ample and is something to note.   I normally wear an XL in tops and found that with their line, XL is too big.  I size-changed to L (worn in photo) and that works well.  With their garments, I would venture to wear more tailored tops and feel good about it.


tops designed to flatter women 40+!

pauline covered perfectly copyPRACTICAL is the operative word for this new clothing company, and ATTRACTIVE is the operative word for these new tops!  Covered Perfectly is a clothing company started by Pauline Durban, because she couldn’t find clothing that flattered her body.  She wanted tops that covered her arms and that were long enough to go over her belly.  She wanted comfortable soft fabric, and styles that made her feel good about herself.  So she designed a line of tops that ‘covered perfectly’ and made them easily available.

Covered Perfectly launched on May 5th 2013, so this is a brand new company with lovely clothes at reasonable prices made of fabulous fabric (the main fabric is a natural fiber, MicroModal, with a touch of spandex, which is super soft and luxurious and drapes wonderfully).  Pauline listens to the opinions of her customers – by popular demand she’s in the process of adding plus sizes to her collection, which should be in by the end of September.

Check out the Covered Perfectly website and see these gorgeous clothes for yourself.  For Over 40 Fashions, use the discount code OVER40 and get a discount of 20% off your first order!  You’ll support a women-owned American business making a positive difference in women’s fashion, AND you’ll get fabulous fitting tops at a great price!

purple/blue crinkle top flatters curvy figures

Margaret purple floral top and skirtWhat I love about this blouse are the colors, the crinkle fabric, the shape, and the pleated front and 28″ length.  I also love that it’s very roomy! I’m fairly sure my shape is Apple because I seem to be pretty much round!  The Crinkle Georgette Blouse color is listed as Blue Multi-Floral, but really it’s a sort of rose background with multi-colored flowers, which are mostly blue, and there are purple and white as well. The fabric is 100% polyester, the brand is Only Necessities, purchased from Woman Within at www.womanwithin.com  (just a side note: they have very pretty clothes for plus-sized women, which is nice. It can be hard for us large women to find nice, feminine clothes, especially finding just the right size.  Their clothes are very roomy.  They have casual clothes as well.)

The Crinkle Skirt is Navy Blue and has gold-tone buttons down the front.  It has a “Blair” tag, and I found this gem at Goodwill about 4 years ago. I’m really happy with this skirt! I’m not sure what the fabric is, but it feels like a polyester/cotton blend.  It’s very lightweight and nice for this hot time of year!  I love the color, as it looks like it will match with any blouse in my closet.

The boots are black with a buckle on the outside and a zipper on the inside, and are brand name Nickel. I purchased these about 4 years ago.  If I remember right, I found these at Famous Footwear. I love the color and fit of these boots.  I also love the heel because it’s high enough to look nice but is still easy to walk in.  And, since they’re black, they go with a nice skirt or jeans.  They are comfortable enough to wear all day long.

The cross necklace is called:  Faithful Amber Cross Brass Polish Fashion Necklace. The stone in the center has an Amber hue, and the other stones are clear like diamonds.  The cross itself is almost black. It’s brass, and the stones look like cubic zirconium. I don’t know the brand, but I purchased it through Amazon because I wanted a new cross necklace. I was completely surprised at how beautiful this cross is!  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  I love the length of the chain and the size of the cross. I also love how lightweight it is.  The stones are very pretty and they sparkle like diamonds!

The earrings are Gothic Cross earrings in yellow gold.  The brand is GirlPROPS. I purchased this from Amazon a couple years ago, and they still look nice. I’m partial to yellow gold, and love how durable they are, too.  They still look brand-new, and I’ve worn these a lot!  They are light, although they do start to feel a little heavy if worn all day, but certainly can be worn for most of the day or for a night out on the town.


elegant black evening gown

Marilyn black dressOne of my occupations is going to non-profit auctions, and bid spotting for the auctioneer. I need to look great and have comfortable clothes to move in. This classic black dress always fits the bill.

The beautiful dress I am wearing is an elegant black velvet evening gown. I love how it stretches, flows, and rarely wrinkles. The waistline follows my contour curves nicely. The shoulder straps have cute little roses embellished on them.  I picked it up at a garage sale. The dress is made by “Dress Barn”. Black is my favorite color to wear. It flatters any size woman.


book: classic style featuring women 60+

photo copyYoung photographer Ari Seth Cohen has captured the fashion sense and confidence of the classic older set in his book Advanced Style.  As a boy, his grandma’s fashion sense, watching classic movies, and taking trips to the library to see pictures of the past enamored Ari.  He was struck by the images of elegant and glamorous times where men and women wore hats, gloves, and dressed up because it was the thing to do.  Advanced Style shows Ari Seth Cohen’s photos of real women, most in the age range of 60-100, many giving advice on how they chose styles that work best for them.

These are great ideas no matter what your age, but are especially wonderful for those of us wondering “why can’t I find anything to flatter me that isn’t meant for an 18-year-old?“  This book gives advice for all women to shine – with a side of classic and a side of sassy – but FEATURES women of all sizes from 60-100.  See more of Ari’s photography work on his blog here.


t-shirt, skirt, leggings

DSC03036Here’s a sassy and easy outfit.  A simple black t-shirt from Old Navy.  Capri black leggings from Merona at Target. A skirt from Merona at Target that ties the shirt and leggings together in a fun sort of way.

The black flip-flops and black glasses add to the practical whimsy of this great warm weather outfit.


soft drape top

denisetopJust thought I’d like to participate in your ‘Share Your Style – Be A Model’. I think it’s a wonderful idea to showcase ordinary women, no matter what shape or size, because, after all, we are the REAL women of the world.

I am 50 years’ old. I am grey and proud. I am a UK Size 12 (occasionally I’ll get away with a 10) and am most probably a ‘pear’ shape. I am 5′ 6″ tall.

The item of clothing I’d like to share with you is the top I am wearing. I bought it recently from a fabulous online women’s fashion site called ‘Kaleidoscope’.

I wore the top last night at a youth club re-union event and I absolutely love it. The colour matches my complexion and my grey hair perfectly. The fabric is soft and comfortable and I particularly like the way it drapes so softly at the front – very feminine and elegant. I love the long sleeves as they hide older arms and give a very sleek look to the top. I wouldn’t normally go for a longline design, as I like to wear shorter tops to show my waist, but I really like this. I wore it last night with my smooth black trousers but it also goes fantastically well with white trousers (but we haven’t got the weather for that yet!). The top is made by Patrizia Dini. I felt like a million dollars when I wore this last night – and I received many compliments.


comfort takes center stage for casual activities

lita1I ALWAYS dress for comfort.  This outfit takes me where ever I need to go:  volunteer work, shopping, gardening or chaperoning for school or church groups.  It is practical, comfortable AND affordable!

100% Cotton, Faded Glory V-neck t-shirt in sage green from Wal-Mart ($4.98) I chose the sage green to tone down the red spots I get on my face when I eat chocolate.

100% Cotton, No Boundaries mid-calf yoga pants from Wal-Mart ($12.98–but I got them off clearance rack for $5). The top of the yoga pants has a multi-colored band that will go with any color shirt I choose.

Aqua garden clogs from BiMart ($3 clearance year before last).  I like the clogs because they are comfy and easy off and on PLUS they say “I’m not afraid”. I also have a pair of hot pink clogs.  I am a banana: no bust, no waist and no hips. 🙂


floral hoodie gives springtime warmth

photoWith spring in the air, I wanted to liven up my (mostly) solid colored wardrobe with something floral.  I found this cute hooded sweater at Title 9 Sports.  The 60% cotton 40% polyester fabric is known as Mobetta, and it is soft and comfy and warm for those days when the spring air still has a chill to it.  I like the way the decorative purple seams are placed in a thinning fashion in front and back.  There’s an outer zip pocket on the left sleeve, and a hidden inner patch pocket as well.

The long sleeves have thumb holes and can work as mittens, or you can cuff the ends.  The purple hood lining matches the seam trim, and the over-all look is fresh but not too overwhelming.  If you need a splash of ‘cute’ warmth in your wardrobe this spring, this hoodie might work for you.

I also plan on wearing this hoodie over a purple tank dress in the fall, maybe with black leggings and boots.





cute fashion with an international flair

This is a wonderful presentation showing women of a variety of ages and shapes modeling adorable clothes from a little shop in Spain.  Enjoy these fresh ideas on how to put together a unique wardrobe with international flair.  The guitar music is enjoyable as well.

The English translation of the page says:

We present the 2011 summer collection that surely will love and that you can find in the store Ana Gaspar Workshop on Calle Barcelona Tradició number 2, next to the Plaza Artos and the main street of Sarria. Do not fail to come to visit, plus we have clothing items ideal for gifts, jewelry and original and stylish accessories. We also make custom clothes!

The music puts Jordi Gaspar with “Cançó per Bubú” from their fantastic album Akixí, available in the store.                        

improve your look – make-over videos!

ReVamp! Salonspa in Uptown Minneapolis was voted “Best of the Twin Cities” by Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, and is regularly featured in local and national print, radio, television and internet presentations. Christopher Hopkins’ original vision continues with the mission: “To inspire beauty and enrich lives in a spirit of friendliness, professionalism, and joy.”

From the website of The Make Over Guy  here’s a bunch of make-over videos of women 40+!

Such fun to watch, and a great way to get better ideas on what might work for me/you as well.  If you can afford it and are in the Minneapolis area, go for it!

Here’s just one example of how to show yourself love: a make-over from the site.

lengthen your look with a long scarf

DSC05117_2If you’re looking for a simple way to elongate an outfit, try wearing neutrals and then throw on a splash of color with a long thin gauzy scarf.  This outfit seems to give a nod to the 1920’s.

Summer weight cloche-like hat is silver/grey tweed polyester with a cute same-fabric flower on the side.  Purchased at The Difference.

Close fitting v-neck long sleeve t-shirt is a soft and fluid 75% cotton 25% rayon blend, in a steel grey, Ya Los Angeles brand.

White cami is actually a high neck sports bra I often use in low-necked situations instead of a cami or tank.  It’s Moving Comfort Brand, purchased at Title Nine Sports.

Crop pants are a white 55% linen/45% cotton, with  plenty of details including cargo pockets at both thighs, and matching button down back pockets on the seat. They were given to me by my very fashionable neighbor Joan.

The scarf looks red, but is actually a mix of colors including red, dark blue, pale blue, and grey.  Fabric is a 100% cotton loose open weave that is summer weight and flowing, with fringe at the ends. Purchased at local boutique called Gazelles.

Earrings are pewter/grey and were purchased at Fred Meyers.


wear jewels to get well: therapeutic gemstones

DSC05608Taking vitamin and mineral supplements internally can give a body what it needs to stay healthy.  Patches that deliver small and slow amounts of medication via the skin can help heal as well (i.e. nicotine patches, hormone patches, sea-sick prevention patches). So it should be no surprise that science is (re)discovering a hybrid of the two – minerals you wear, in the form of Therapeutic Gemstones.

When my doctor prescribed Therapeutic Gemstones, the image of a woman draped in jewels lamenting “I have a headache – bring me the emeralds!” came to mind.   I looked into Therapeutic Gemstones because I was curious and humored…and wanted to get well.  I learned that gemstones today are used in lasers to perform delicate surgeries and in computers to propel information around the globe, so why not in healing as well? Some may find it hard to imagine that an object resembling ordinary jewelry could improve health and wellbeing. I figure if wearing a necklace helps my body get or stay well, then why not wear the necklace?  I have no problem letting minerals or mineral energy absorb through my skin – while looking elegant at the same time.

Here’s a quote from Former Clinical Assistant Professor University of Washington School of Medicine, Mark A. Tomski: “After 25 years of practicing medicine, I have found gemstone energy medicine to be the link between ancient and modern treatment.  Therapeutic gems have made me a more sensitive and receptive practitioner and have been an indispensable adjunct to my practice.”

I’m currently wearing gemstone necklaces of Mother of Pearl, and Black Onyx.  Not only are they pretty, but also they seem to be affecting my health in subtle positive ways.  If you’d like to learn more about Gem Therapy, click here.  And tell them Barb Hughes referred you:)

small patterns work well for petite figures

polkadotdressAt 5’1″ I have to be careful about the patterns that I wear so I don’t get swallowed up.  Here’s an any-occasion dress I purchased last year.  It’s navy with white polka dots, v neck in front and back, 3/4 length sleeves, and has a gathered under bust with inset waistband.  The knee-length works well not only on petites, but on most figure types.  The dress is Clara S. brand, 70% polyester, 20% rayon, 10% spandex, and I got it from The Difference.

jeans, black t-shirt, boots, and silver

DSC02793-1_3One of my hobbies is petite fashion.  Here I’m modeling a classic look that not only apple core/hourglass petite shapes can wear, but many sizes and shapes of women.

A black elbow length v-neck t-shirt can be worn pretty much year ‘round, and is a classic that should be in every woman’s wardrobe.  Skinny jeans or navy leggings look great tucked into boots.

Dark brown leather low heeled boots are a timeless classic, especially if they have classic details and aren’t too trendy.

A hand-made Silver bracelet and heart-shaped pendant round out this wonderfully simple and classic ensemble.  A timeless and classic casual look.


reader glasses with flair: borghese readers by icon eyewear

iconeyewearI get to be a product tester! This is the first test product: a free sample of Borghese Readers from Icon Eyewear. The review goal was 50 words on “What did you like most about the Borghese readers from Icon Eyewear?”  I’ve underlined what I liked most.  Here’s my take:

Borghese Readers from Icon Eyewear fit women’s faces – slim to the head – no sliding around the ears.  Frame color is root beer in acrylic; sides are gold/black toned metal, earpieces plastic with a textural pattern (traction to keep glasses from falling off an eyeglass chain). Professional yet playful vibe.

See them in action on the Would I Wear That? Segment here.

new clothing line for go-getter women 40+

All_Styles_1There’s a new women’s clothing venture out of Seattle WA called TomboyX  – clothing specifically for go-getter women 40+ .

I like the details, fabrics, and innovative design features in the sample clothes shown in the video.  Women’s body’s over 40 start to change, so the designers fit the clothing on actual 40+ bodies (instead of the standard young-body fit model) to make sure the clothes fit right.  Details such as a special hidden button to keep button-front shirts from gaping, wider sleeves, and fabric cut on the bias for natural stretch are just some of the innovative details that make this clothing line different.  I also like that everything from design to production to marketing is made in America – which means living wage jobs.

From watching the video, my personal take of what these former girls were like: they played baseball, were in bands, were leaders, were active making a positive difference in the world.  (Sounds like a definition of boomer women.:)  To view the start-up clothing styles or support this venture, click here.

80’s sweater revisited

DSC05604I wanted a warm sweater dress, but it seemed the only ones I could find were either hundreds of dollars, or so flimsy and skin-tight I’d look like a sausage.  So when I found an authentic 1980’s shoulder padded classic long sleeve black sweater knit dress at a free swap, I snapped it up.

It was a size XL, so I removed the shoulder pads, removed the sleeves, cut down the sleeve width, cut down the dress width, and cut down the shoulder width.  I also thinned the full bib of white beads across the front to form more of a free-form v-pattern in front, and left the original v-bead pattern in the back (it’s reversible).

Fabric is mostly silk with a little Angora, so it’s extremely lightweight but WARM!  I love that I found exactly what I wanted (with a little help from my own design work and my sister and her serger) for absolutely free.


wrap top is good for curves

Taylor-122-2A wrap top tends to be flattering on many different bodies.  I like the slenderizing  v-neckline, and that the style and fabric flows over curves instead of squashing them.

This top is Vince Camuto brand, 96% rayon 4% spandex, so it has a soft yet stretchy natural feel.

The 3/4 length sleeves make this practical for most seasons. The diagonal draping lengthens and flatters a petite or curvy figure (whereas horizontal stripes/pattern/drape tend to make a short woman just look squat).

I got this top at Nordstrom.

Thanks to Charles Waugh photography for the photo.

hooded sweater jacket/dress

DSC05574I’ve been looking for a sweater dress: something affordable, warm, and modern that could do double duty in some way.  I found this little gem at Syzygy, a boutique in Manzanita Oregon. This hooded sweater/coat dress is Horney Toad brand.  Fabric is 35% modal, 25% organic cotton, 25% nylon, and 15% angora, so it has a little more drape and a little more warmth that a 100% cotton sweater knit.

The dusty purple colored fabric has a smooth finish on the outside but inside it has a terrycloth-loop-thing going on, except for the inner hood which has a smooth lining in an olive color.

Details include side pockets, a tulip hem in front, a full front zipper, and shaping darts in the back.

I like that I can wear it as a dress in the winter, but as a longer sweater/jacket in the spring and early fall.

The boots are Spire Peak by Merrill.  A few years ago I scrimped on other clothes purchases so I could buy a good pair of quality boots.  These will last me for years since they are classic and so comfortable I could walk in them all day.  These Merrill boots have a thinsulate lining so they are warm as well.  Waterproof black leather with inside zip, air cushion support with walking shoe comfort.  I purchased them at Nordstrom and they were spendy, but worth it.

I got the fleece-lined leggings at Sloan Boutique.


retro dress and shrug

DSC_0040This outfit is as perfect for an evening out as for a day at work.  This cream/black/brown brush stroke patterned ‘Retro’ dress brand is Olivia Matthews, and I found it at Ross Dress For Less.  The dress has an included skinny black belt, cap sleeves, pleated scoop neck with keyhole opening and black button detail.  The back-zip 40’s/50’s era shape has a fitted bodice and straight-ish skirt with darts.

The black front ruffle shrug is polyester, Dress Barn brand, and I found it at Goodwill.  The elbow length sleeves compliment the shrug’s over-all length,  and the shrug curves up in the front and dips down in the back to a peplum finish.

The earrings are black plastic beads attached to each other with small chain loops.  The cut of the bead makes them look like glass but because they’re plastic they’re light and don’t pull on the ear.  Not sure where I got them since it was so long ago.

The shoes are black kidskin leather upper, balance manmade, Valerie Stevens brand.  They have a keyhole front opening, pointed toe, and have a dance character heel that is 2 inches tall.  The skinny tie gives them a feminine wingtip look.

Tights are black nylons, Spanx brand, purchased at Lane Bryant.

DSC_0032Here’s a secret to smooth curves:  Spanx – a comfortable modern-day girdle.  My favorite style fits like high-waisted nylon bike pants and goes all the way up to the lower bustline so there’s no roll!  I can still breath, am comfortable, and there’s no digging into the waist.  I don’t wear Spanx all the time, but when I wants to dress up it’s a great way to smooth things out.  I got my Spanx from Lane Bryant, and they’re available all over the place in a wide variety of styles/models/shapes.


bog waterproof boots

DSC00832_2-1_2I’m in love with these boots!  They are by Bog, and are comfortable for walking, biking, gardening, and casual outings.  When we had snow here in Portland last year, I put on wool socks and walked 3 miles to the Post Office box and my feet stayed warm, dry, and supported.  If I were a mail carrier, I could go through wind, rain, sleet and hail in these Bog Boots.  I also like the handles so they are easy to pull on.

They are easy to clean – just hose them off.  The top fabric is stretchy, thick, and soft (kinda like the stuff wet suits are made of) so it’s really comfortable.  No annoying hard plastic on your shins when you walk, these stretchy tops form around your legs and pants so that rain doesn’t drizzle down into your boot, either.  The bottom part is rubber.  You can garden in the rain or muck out the chicken coop, hose them off, and run to the store.  Very practical. I got them online from an off-price site that I can’t remember the name, but you can get them in places like REI and Gardeners Supply.


printed jeans

IMG_8114This outfit represents my current obsession for printed jeans.  I feel like they’re a great alternative to blue jeans – which I love.

Because of patterns/colors of the jeans, I chose neutral colors to showcase the jeans.  I know that printed jeans are not for everyone, but it’s a fun way to dress up an otherwise blue jean weekend.

Jeannie W of the blog Gracefully 50

tapestry coat, jeans skirt

IMG_4937 - Version 3Slightly oversized can sometimes make a nice statement.  Here’s a slightly oversized brown tapestry coat.  With jewel cut and collared neckline and brown plastic buttons down the front, this coat makes a timeless yet bold fashion statement.  Purchased at Here We Go Again resale boutique.

Black straight-cut knee-length jean skirt has orange stitching and good stretch due to it’s cotton/lycra fabric content.

The brown sweater has a hint of red in it, 3/4 length sleeves, scoop/boat neck, and a vertical textural pattern to the thin knit fabric.

Boots are Frye brand, black, and proudly owned for over 8 years.

The purse is a vintage find, the necklace was a gift from my sister years ago.


dressy suit coat and trumpet skirt

DSC_0053I love the color black – both for it’s versatility (it never goes out of style) as well as it’s ability to go with nearly every other color. I seek out fresh little details, and have found a goldmine in this dressy suit coat by Lane Bryant.  It’s in traditional black and is made of a poly/rayon/spandex material.  A little peplum skirt accents the waist, single breasted 3 hooks in front instead of buttons add a freshness, the deep ‘V’ collar is slenderizing, and the shaping darts front and back keep this suit working curves instead of hiding them.

The black floor length trumpet skirt is also poly/rayon/spandex and Lane Bryant brand.  The wide waistband is flattering and doesn’t pinch, the gores add wonderful shaping, and a zip back finishes off the ankle length skirt.  This suit is cut for me.

The dressy t-shirt is a vibrant orange and made from a polyester satin, Lane Bryant brand.  Details include small buttons in front, a collared v-neck, cap sleeves, and well placed darts.  I have this shirt in both orange and lime green because they both work well with my hair and skin, and both fit well.

Shoes are black leather upper, balance man-made materials.  Brand is What’s What Aerosoles.  DSC_0063_2Shoes have skinny shoe string ties, 3 inch heels with a squared pointed toe, and have a modified spectator look.


v-neck vest and plaid skirt

whiteshirtblackvestplaidskirtThis is a very put together, classic look – with a pop of surprise color.

I’m wearing a white elbow length scoop-neck Chadwicks bodysuit top.

The skirt is black/white/silver plaid bias-cut from H&M

The black v-neck vest is also H&M brand.

Black tights lengthen a petite figure, and red shoes by Aerosoles add a little zip.  I made the necklace.

This goes to show how appropriate yet playful monochromatic black/white/silver can look together.


pants that don’t pooch out

IMG_1206As  a short petite 40+ woman, the zipper or buttons in front on jeans tend to jut out, giving an odd pooch-type area on my strawberry figure.  One option is to wear elastic waist yoga type pants, but sometimes a gal wants to wear jeans.  So here’s a compromise – JAG brand jeans have a wide stretchy denim waist band with no front closures at all, so the jeans lie flat.  Which makes the shirt on top lie flat. Which you can then layer with a sweater.

Another nice thing about wearing pants with a flexible waist band is you don’t have to loosen or tighten a belt around the holidays – they just stretch comfortably to fit whatever time of the year (or time of the month).

JAG jeans, slim fit, 77% cotton, 21% polyester 2% spandex, purchased at Nordstrom.

Caslon brand long sleeve t-shirt, 100% cotton, purchased at Nordstrom.

Halogen striped v-neck cardigan sweater, 100% Merino wool, purchased at Nordstrom.

Necklace purchased at The Difference.


floral skirt

IMG_5103I got this floral skirt and black sweater/jacket at a free swap.

Skirt is Younity brand, polyester knit.

Sweater/Jacket Cyrus brand 78% Rayon, 22% nylon.

Long sleeve t-shirt is Caslon brand, 100% cotton, purchased at Nordstrom.

Leggings are 92% modal, 8% spandex, purchased at Gazelle Natural Fiber clothing.

Boots are Merrill Spire Peak brand, leather, and were purchased at Nordstrom.

Necklace is from The Difference.

What I like about this outfit, is it’s very comfortable, warm, and flatters my strawberry shaped figure by giving pattern on the bottom.