Do you know one of those women who always looks put together and stylish at every occasion – even picking up her kids from school? Hair gorgeously styled, nice fitting clothes, shoes and jewelry to match and it all looks effortlessly beautiful? I am decidedly NOT one of those women. I’m the one staring at that woman in my Lulu pants and a schlumpy sweatshirt with my hair in a ponytail. The good news is I just got off the phone with the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records and I’m in the running for “Yoga Pants Worn on Most Consecutive Days” so that’s exciting!
My friend Deborah Boland is a style expert and definitely one of those fashion plates. She is a mom of three, a television producer, the publisher of Fabulous After 40 and a beautiful person inside and out. Deb agreed to chat with me about the importance of fashion and style and how to stay current without breaking the bank.
You can read our interview below to learn how some small changes can have a huge impact on how you look and how you feel about yourself.
(please note that most of the clothing pictures are Fabulous After 40 “What to Wear for Spring Contest” entries)
Lori: I want to be comfortable but I always seem to default to yoga pants or sweats- what’s a comfortable but more stylish alternative?
Deb: In all honesty I don’t think there’s anything more comfortable than yoga pants (LOL) but you wouldn’t wear p.j.’s to the mall. Yoga pants are a close second.
A great stylish alternative for what to wear when running around town in is colored jeans. The best ones are lightweight, stretchy and comfy. Colored Jeans look modern and hip. Pair them with a neutral colored blouse or top (so you look less loud and more chic), some ballet flats or low wedges, and a cute jacket, and you have a great casual look that’s also very practical and versatile.
Lori: How can I stay fashionable on a budget?
Deb: It’s all about planning your wardrobe. You know what happens when you go grocery shopping without a list. You end up with all kinds of goodies that aren’t good for you at all. Same with shopping for clothes. When you are not focused on what you need you end up falling into the “ shiny object syndrome”. You buy whatever is bright, fun, new or cool…. or on sale at a fantastically reduced price (even though you never end up wearing it.)
If you want to be fashionable without going into debt plan out one or two main classic items per season you are willing to spend money on and build a good basic wardrobe slowly. You can make smaller less expensive purchases in-between to fill in the gaps. For example, splurge on a great colored jacket that you will wear with everything and have for many years, but skimp on that color blocked lime green and pink striped top that may be out of fashion next spring.
Lori: Is it important to stay on top of current fashion trends?
Deb: Yes, it’s important to follow trends to look modern, hip and youthful but don’t be slave to trends. Fashion is like a buffet. You don’t have to load up with everything on the table. Pick and choose which trends work for you. It’s o.k. to take a pass if it’s not right for you.
Lori: What are your best tips for accommodating a woman’s aging/changing body?
Deb: Don’t look at size tags. Wear clothes that fit. As we age our bodies get softer and rounder. Too many women try to cover up weight issues with baggy clothing. Baggy clothing doesn’t fool anyone. It just makes you look fat and frumpy. Choose quality clothes that skim your silhouette (not cling to it) and pick clothes that are well constructed to give you shape. A jacket with a good strong shoulder that nips in at the waist will camouflage a lot of midlife problems.
Lori: Are there particular stores that you can recommend where I can find age-appropriate, stylish and reasonably priced clothes?
Deb: This is tough because so many store are either old lady or teeny bopper. I think Banana Republic strikes a great balance between price, quality and age appropriateness. I also like Michael Kors, which is on the higher side and BCG for their brilliant use of color. Brands like Calvin Klein, Jones new York, Ralph Lauren, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans and several other at The Bay are good quality, moderately priced and often on sale!
Lori: If you aren’t happy with your current wardrobe – where do you start if you want to make some changes?
Deb: Clean out your closet. Be brutally honest. Get rid of the things that take up space that you never wear, no matter how hard it. You can’t make way for the new unless you get rid of the old.
Then take an inventory of what you need. Research what’s in style. Make a list and shop when you are in a focused positive mood.
Lori: Are there ways to jazz up my current wardrobe without chucking it all in the trash?
Deb: That’s a hard question to answer because it depends on the state and age of your wardrobe. But in general – two things-
1. Play with your clothes- look at magazines and see how outfits are being put together. Create outfits with what you have and try them on to see if they work. Often women have lots of clothes but they aren’t wearing them (they wear the same things over and over), or they are not combining items in a modern way.
2. Wear more color- Women, especially after 40, are notorious for falling into the all black rut. I call it ABD or Abundant Black Disorder – that compulsion to buy and wear black, black, black. Color is energy and energy is life. Wearing color will make you look healthy, happy and youthful. Wear more color and add more color to your wardrobe.
Lori: Tell me about your newsletter and the services you offer.
Deb: I am the publisher of Fabulous After 40– an online fashion magazine and style community for women 40, 50 and beyond. If you have fallen off the style track and need help to dump the frump I help you Tweak Your Chic®. Visit http://www.fabulousafter40.com and pick up a copy of my FREE special report 5 Massive Fashion Mistakes That Make You Look Too Old Or Too Young and How To Get It Just Right.
Lori: Can you think of anything else that would be good to share?
Deb: I think that’s it except to say that when you look good you feel good and life is so much more fun. As I always say, “Life is Too Short to Be Frumpy.”
Thanks so much Deb! On a personal note, I have learned that feeling good is not just about what I put in my mouth but also how I present myself. Taking the time to think about my clothing choices and wearing more flattering pieces makes me feel more beautiful, stand a little taller and walk with more confidence in the world.
Am I going to throw out my sweat pants? Not a chance! But I am certainly going to make more of an effort to pull together clothes that highlight the radiance and health that I feel on the inside. Coloured jeans here I come!