Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Not So Pricey Designs

I received a BCBGMAXAZARIA Spring 2010 Collection catalog in the mail this week and was surprised to discover a selection of dresses for under $150. Actually, I was shocked. The designer was also offering plenty of garments and accessories in the $300-$500 range, much of which was strapless or plunging to the navel and hemmed around the upper thigh. But there were some reasonably priced, original designs suitable for the over 50 figure. Is the designer responding to our dismal economic situation or has it always offered less pricey designs?

Case in point: Front Twisted Printed Dress for $148.00
What’s great about this dress: Boat neck, gathered above the waistline, draped over the tummy, and roomy around the hips and thighs.

The BCBGMAXAZARIA catalog got me wondering: Are other well-known designers—ones that I thought were untouchable on my budget—showing clothing for under $150? Well, an initial web search has revealed that most designers are still selling their wares at astronomical prices. However, there are a few designers and reputable labels that are offering garments at relatively modest prices.
Asymmetric Zip Trench

Asymmetric Zip Trench

For example...
Ralph Lauren has the “Lauren” line, which offers nicely made garments at reasonable prices. In addition, the designer's website has lots things on sale, including fun jackets to perk up any outfit. I like the Eleanor Stretch Denim Jacket on sale for $99 and the Quintanna Cotton Jacket on sale for $124.99.

Calvin Klein has a section called Great Finds for Under $50. This section includes a trendy camp shirt and graphic Ts as well as the man's signature jeans.

Tommy Hilfiger has a range of prices for tops, bottoms, dresses and jackets as well as an “Under $100” category.

Anne Klein has lots of fun jackets and outerwear on sale. I've included a few examples (pictured above and below). AK has taken classic styles, like the trench and blazer, and added an asymmetric zipper or big buttons. The jackets are stylish and very feminine--perfect for women over 50. Below is a sampling. Yes, the models are mere babes, so you'll have to use your imagination.
3/4 Sleeve Button Front Jacket

3/4 Sleeve Button Front Jacket

Linen Blazer

Linen Blazer

Linen Asymmetrical Wrap Jacket

Linen Asymmetrical Wrap Jacket

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Over 50 Online Dating

In my last post, I shared some style tips for dating after 50 gathered from single, 50+ women. In the process of getting those tips, my dating friends offered some advice on using online dating sites. Here are those tips as well as a few more fashions for the over 50 woman getting together with someone she's met online for the first time. Whether you choose something more dressy, like the clothing in my previous post, or a casual top like the ones shown below will, of course, depend on your personal style.

When it comes to dating over 50, the important thing is to keep a positive attitude. According to US Census Bureau, almost 40% of Americans who are 45 or older are single. No doubt, the group consists of more women than men. Still, it’s encouraging. You are not alone out there!Organic Cotton Shirt

Organic Cotton Shirt

How exactly are you supposed to find all these 45 and older men? Unless you’re in a retirement community already or one of those restricted "55 or older" condomium community, you’re unlikely to find a large pool of people the same age. I’ve known women who’ve held out for that miracle meet at work or through a social connection, night class, volunteer work or, perhaps, at the gym. By and large, they haven’t found anyone. If you’re a 50+ woman who’s left the workplace to raise kids, you might not even have a job. Volunteer work might put 60+ woman in touch with civic-minded, retired 70 year olds, but most of my 50ish friends want someone a little younger—if possible. And do over 50 women feel flirty in their sweaty exercise togs at the gym? I can't imagine it.

That leaves online dating. At last count, I saw about 20 online dating websites. Interestingly, half of the sites were directed towards dating for men and women over 50. Everyone I talked to has a different opinion on which is the best. Fortunately, online dating services tend to offer free trials, so you can see which one suits your needs.

I’ve interspersed a few tops for the first "face-to-face" meeting with an online guy among the online dating tips below. My previous posting (“Dating Over 50: What to Wear?”) talks a little more about date styling. It's pretty basic stuff. The over 50 woman going on a first date should wear something flattering and comfortable. Personally, I love the classic collared shirt (above) in white or a pastel color. It looks great, especially on women with nice legs. Pair it with a nice pair of jeans and you're good to go. Something feminine is also good. But too much cleavage may seem a little desperate. (I’m not sure too much cleavage after 50 is a good idea—ever.) Perhaps, something like this feminine ruffled blouse.
Dot Print Ruffle Blouse

Dot Print Ruffle Blouse

ONLINE DATING Do’s and Don’t’s
Don’t get discouraged by how many men our age don’t want to date women over 35. I say, “Thanks for letting me know up front that you’re one of those men.” Note: In researching this post, I came across a dating site called 50 Plus Singles Dating and was astonished to see four couples, three with women well under 50, pictured on the home page.

Do convey your personality in as few words as possible when completing your profile. I’m a writer and I know: words are easily misinterpreted. Avoid misunderstandings by writing simply and concisely. And make sure your tone is upbeat. Online dating may seem a little depressing and unromantic, but try to convey a positive outlook.

Do enlist the help of a trusted friend when filling out your profile. It’s sometimes hard to describe yourself in depth (some profiles are quite lengthy!). A good friend can help you list all your wonderful attributes, in the event you draw a blank or are hesitant to writing about yourself.

Don’t fall into the ‘passing emails’ trap. I had a friend who exchanged emails with a guy for a month before she meet him. Apparently, he was very witty in his emails and she had high hopes. They met at a bar for a glass of wine. It turned out he wasn’t her type physically and he wasn’t funny in person. She’d wasted a month on a dead end. If you see/read about someone that interests you, arrange to meet in person as soon as possible. You need to find out if there’s chemistry and that only happens in person.

Do plan to meet somewhere away from where you live. That way, you’re less likely to run into him again, if the first date is unsuccessful.

Do tell someone (a friend or sibling) where/when you’re meeting the guy and that you will call afterwards. It’s always good to err on the side of safety.

Don’t make a big deal out of the date. Your biological time clock has expired. You don’t have to worry about meeting Mr. Right—the man who will give you children and be a devoted husband and father. Enjoy the adventure; enjoy meeting new people. Here's an outfit (below) you might want to consider: A simple shell with a floral wrap. Color is always a good idea. A colorful scarf or wrap is upbeat without being too much.
Garden Floral Wrap, Ships 5/6

Garden Floral Wrap, Ships 5/6

Do plan, if possible, to go on several ‘first dates’ with different men at the same time. It’s best not to expect perfection the first time out. If one ‘first date’ is a dead end, you’ll appreciate having other ‘first dates’ to look forward to.

Do plan an activity for the second date. Simply going out to dinner on a second date puts a lot of pressure on the two of you to make conversation. Instead, go to a play, concert or art exhibit—something that can fuel the conversation. Afterwards, go for a bite to eat or a drink—you’ll have a lot more to talk about.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dating After 50: What to Wear?

Any day now, the warm sunshine will begin to coax people out of their winter hiding. What is it about warm temperatures, new grass, and flowers popping out that is so reinvigorating? I remember as a teenager getting the love bug every spring, feverish for a new romance. A good friend of mine, hardly a teeny-bop at age 51, is definitely feverish for a new romance these days. Her husband left her 2½ years ago and she’s ready to start dating. Last weekend, I helped her fill out her profile on one of those online dating sites. Already, she’s got men who are interested in meeting her. That’s got to feel good. Soon (I hope) she will be ready to start arranging “first dates” with a few of the men. She’s got decisions to make, including what to wear.

For this post, I've gathered a few tips on choosing a "first date" outfit as well as some fashions available online. Sorry about all the young babes. But there aren't many dress makers using older women as models...yet.


Do plan your first date after sunset—that’s the best lighting for our mature complexions. A bar or café with candlelight is an excellent choice. It’s like a fog filter! Let the guy get to know you a little bit, soak in your many attributes, before you show yourself in the light of day.

Do choose a ‘first date’ outfit as soon as you complete your online dating profile. That way, when you start dating, you won’t drive yourself mad trying to decide what to wear. Where you go for the second date may vary, but the first date should always be an “easy in, easy out” location like a coffee shop, bar or café—someplace you can meet for an hour (or less) to see if there’s any chemistry.

Do wear an outfit that makes you look like a million bucks. Most men love it when women dress up a little for them. That may mean a nice top and slacks or a simple dress. Just make sure it’s something you feel comfortable in. Only you know what makes you feel gorgeous and confident. A wrap dress flatters just about every body shape. This Jones New York Rose Faux Wrap Dress, ($134), with its full skirt, is lovely and comfortable.

Jones New York Rose Faux Wrap Dress,

Or, perhaps, you feel most comfortable with a feminine top and a pair of slacks. I love this Michael Stars Slub 1x1 3/4 Sleeve Drape Neck Tee

Michael Stars Slub 1x1 3/4 Sleeve Drape Neck Tee

If you like a collar, but don't want to look corporate, a denim suit is a casual alternative.



Or the colorful cardigan with camisole is always reliable. Too blah? Try adding a pretty necklace.


($118.40) in 8 colors.

Do dress honestly. If you’re not looking to jump into bed right away, don’t wear something with a plunging neckline or that’s skintight on the first date. By the same token, if you aren’t a sweet and demure Donna Reed type, don’t wear a high-neck, calico dress with pearls. Try to give a true first impression.

Don’t wear something new for the first date. If you don't feel you have anything in your wardrobe, you might have to buy something new. But buy it and wear it a few times before the date to make sure it's comfortable and makes you feel gorgeous. Also, you don't want the outfit to only be associated with the first date. If the date goes poorly, the dress will have an unpleasant association.

Do go home and change, if your date is after work. You want to convey that you’re someone who loves life, who is fun to be around. Work clothes usually don’t convey that. A pretty dress will.

Don't think that first impressions won't count. There's no getting around: people form opinions based on how you look. Hopefully, your date will quickly put those first impressions aside as he learns about who you really are. But because of the oh so human behavior of judging based on appearance, you should think about what impression your outfit will give. For example, I don't think you should wear all black, show cleavage (that's always a no-no for over 50), or wear a big, loud print. All those things could potentially send a message other than the one you want to send.

You also don't want to wear something that draws attention to your little imperfection. You've got enough to think about on a first date. Personally, if I were planning to wear a sleeveless spring dress for a first date, I would wear a 3/4 sleeve shrug or sweater to cover up my over 50 arms. Or, perhaps, this Jones New York Long Sleeve Drape Front Cardigan (was $109, now $81.75) with soft ruffles.

Jones New York Long Sleeve Drape Front Cardigan

Good luck!