It’s a mystery…what to wear when you’re a woman of a certain age.
Is anything clear on this subject? Yes, what NOT to wear. Smart women avoid the extreme ends of the style spectrum. On one end is teeny bopper style, with its short skirts and high heels, and on the other, the stereotypical granny style with flowered housedresses and buniony shoes.
That leaves a big middle, which is how my own style pattern is set—Elastic Waist Couture, which embraces the enlarged middles of women everywhere. Smart designers such as Eileen Fisher and Chico’s incorporate elastic waists into many of their pieces. Today’s manufacturers make clothes even more comfortable by adding a 5% dash of spandex to the basic material. Clothes now stretch with us as we expand.
But we women look for style as well as comfort—or we would go round only in sweatpants and sweatshirts. Here are some brands to look for: Chico’s, J. Jill, Coldwater Creek, Eileen Fisher, Lands End and French Dressing, including their jeans line, FDJ.
A country girl, I live in FDJ’s Suzanne bootcut jeans in both black and denim. Stretchy waist, some spandex, slimming, minimum pop-out stretch at the knees after a day’s wear. FDJ are not cheap, but last a long time. They come in different lengths, but I don’t, so I buy their petite, aka short.
As for easy care blouses, look for Foxcroft—but not their 100% cotton which wrinkles—and anything made of a crinkle material. Chico’s offers crinkled blouses and skirts. So does J. Jill and, of course, many import stores offer nicely crinkled ethnic selections, especially broomstick skirts which actually look good only on those with broomstick waists.
Women who travel…
Easy care, slow to wrinkle, go with everything—those are the watchwords here. A woman can get basic black pants and tops from Misook. Misook, found at Nordstrom, is fabulous for travel, but the retail prices are high. Better to buy Misook pieces ever so slightly used on eBay. (I’ll post a piece later about how to buy excellent recycled clothing on eBay.)
Chico’s has a special travel line called Travelers (duh). The material is very shiny and tough. I just like their plain black pants, tops and ponchos for travel, but many professional women who travel like the entire line—all colors, all designs.
J. Jill, whose ads say they are “easy, ageless, cool”, also has a line of hard-wearing, easy care travel wear which they call The Wearever Collection. And yes, I know Magellan and Travelsmith offer travel clothes, but one has to look hard to find a stylish piece. Too many hidden pockets for passports, money, iPods, binoculars and Mars bars to qualify as stylish.
As for travel purses, my favorites of all time are the cross-body offerings from Giani Bernini. There’s a compartment for just about everything. They are not huge purses—just usually 9″ by 11″—but I can fit in a wallet, Kindle, iPhone, earplugs, earphones, makeup, brush, pill box, pen, cards, fan, tissue pack, travel toothbrush, two cases for glasses, writing pad, keys, flashlight, gum for airplane descents, energy bar and even a small bottle of water.
And if you have an iPhone in your Bernini, you are also carrying your email, the internet, an alarm clock, a calendar, a weather report, an address book, radio, photo album, camera, calculator and as many 1000’s of songs you’d care to add in. (I’ve also added my favorite app, a relaxation tape by Andrew Johnson. Andrew Johnson, with his soft Scottish burr, can get me to relax while stuck on any tarmac.)
And maybe that’s the best thing to wear for travel—a relaxed attitude.
Some new things to look for when searching out clothes for the older woman: a brand called Iridium. They specialize in clothing that’s casual and natural. Some of their blouses have a South American flair and actually are made in Ecuador. I have had people want to take my Iridum blouses off my back. Well, that’s one way to shop, but don’t mess with my Iridiums. Check out their retail stores at http://www.iridumapparel.com.
Last, I have zero financial interest in any of the above or indeed, in anything I write about in The Geezer Diary, though I do wish I bought Apple when it was just a seed.
Photo by akaporn/flickr