Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sandal Sales...Everywhere!

Anne Klein Zeta Casual Sandal (Pink)

Everywhere I turn--on the street or online--I see End of Season Sales. Good quality clothing and accessories that were priced out of reach a mere two months ago are suddenly affordable. Thirty years ago, I never would have dreamt of buying a summer garment that I could only wear a few times before tucking it away for the following summer. Now, however, I'm thrilled to buy a great skirt or handbag at half-price and look forward to using in the future.

Case in point: Summer sandals. Right now you can have your pick of sandals—flats, modest heels, or super high heels. There are casual flip-flops, elegant strappy heels, bejeweled wedges and everything in between for the over 50 foot. Some styles are dirt cheap; others are drastically reduced, but still pretty expensive. Click on any of the following company names and it will take you directly to the company's “Sandal Sales” webpage. Enjoy!


J. Crew


Banana Republic

Nine West

Maxstudio.com (Takes you to main page; click on "sale" and scroll down to shoes)

Lord and Taylor

Anne Klein Zeta Casual Sandal (Pink)
is the sandal shown at the top of this post. It's on sale for $39.99. Right now you can take advantage of Anne Klein Shoe Sale - Shop the Latest Looks at Low Prices! You'll find a wide selection of sandals on sale at the website. For instance...
Anne Klein Alzira AKALZIRA (Silver)

Anne Klein Alzira AKALZIRA (Silver)
for $29.99. Also available in Silver and Bronze.

Anne Klein Leticia AKLETICIA BLACK LEATHER 050 M (Bronze)

Anne Klein Leticia AKLETICIA BLACK LEATHER 050 M (Bronze)
for $29.99.

Anne Klein Lovebug Casual Sandal (Black)

Anne Klein Lovebug Casual Sandal (Black)
for $24.99. Also available in Green, Bronze, Silver and Orange.

Anne Klein Landres AKLANDRES (Black)

Anne Klein Landres AKLANDRES (Black)
for $29.99.

Anne Klein Odiana Dress Sandal (Ivory)

Anne Klein Odiana Dress Sandal (Ivory)
for $39.99.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fall 2010: Keep it Simple

I Am Love, the beautifully filmed Italian movie in the theaters this summer, tells the story of a wealthy family in Milan. Emma (Tilda Swinson, 50), the wife and mother, makes a choice that complicates her privileged existence--to put it mildly. Though we see her world begin to unravel, her wardrobe—designed by Jill Sanders—remains a beacon of strength and clarity. Her clothing style is simple, yet sublime. Simple styling is, perhaps, the easiest and most effective way to flatter women over 50. It is sophisticated, confident and never dull--as Emma shows us.

If you click on the movie title and peruse the photo gallery, you may have trouble identifying with Tilda Swinson. Me, too. In fact, I get a little miffed when print or digital articles use stunning, 50-something Hollywood actress as proof that over 50 women can have great hair, skin, style--whatever. Not all of us are gorgeous celebs with unlimited time and capital to spend on our appearances.

So...I give you best selling author Mona Simpson as a more realistic 50-something example. The New York Times recently photographed the fifty-three-year-old author looking fabulous in a simple navy sheath.

Now for the really great news: Simple styling, what Vogue is calling "cool classic," is a hot trend for fall 2010. It’s simplicity without stuffiness. It's sophistication without boredom—kind of like us. In fact, it feels like the fall trend was created especially for women over 50.

I love Jill Sander’s designs. They are the epitome of simple styling with a touch of bravado. However, the apparel tends to come in only small sizes with very large price tags. Fortunately, for over 50 women like me--with more earthbound figures and budgets--just about every designer and clothing company is showing garments with simple designs this fall.

At Macy's online, you'll find a Cap-Sleeved Ruffle Dress by Calvin Klein for $128. Grey is a hot fall color, but you can also get this dress in Black. I'm happy to see that ruffles are still in vogue. They're so feminine and offer a distraction. The eye notices the ruffle down the side of the dress without actual defining the waist or hips. The trend this fall is also to let the fabric bunch a little around waist, which should please woman who prefer a little tummy concealment.

You'll also find some lovely Women's Dresses from Shabby Apple. Shabby Apple is an online boutique with a mix of designs--playful, corporate, sexy and more. Click on the collection entitled "Golden Gate" and check out the Liz and Darcy dress or the Ann and Andy dress. Also, take a look at "Sophisticated" Collection for the Carnival dress.

Or...click on Fit to Flatter, a three-question quiz that takes less than 10 seconds and find a bunch of dresses that flatter your figure. I did it and thought the choices were right on the mark.

Sweaters with simple styling abound this season. Banana Republic's Lux Lapel Sweater is ultra simple and modern. J. Crew has two sweaters-- a feminine Lumiere ruffle cardigan and a basic Cashmere V-Neck Henley. The latter design's thick cable and large buttons are stylish and fun.

From Jones New York...
Jones New York Long V Neck Cardigan, Ships 9/2 (Grey)

Jones New York Long V Neck Cardigan, Ships 9/2 (Grey)

Macy's online is showing a Funnel Collar Double Breasted Coat by Calvin Klein. It's simple and classic, yet stylish and fun.

Maxstudio.com has lots of simple blazers and jackets. This DOUBLE BREASTED JACKET-L-BLACK/CREAM is currently on sale for $68 (originally priced at $228).

I tend to shy away from tradition-styled black suits for work. They're just too severe at my age. Instead, I like to wear a colorful blazer or jacket with dark skirts. That's the appeal of this Jones New York jacket. In addition, I love the Mandarin collar, which offers a little neck--not my favorite feature these days--concealment.
Jones New York Mandarin Collar Jacket (Pink)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fashion Exhibit & More on Scarves

On Sunday, I saw the American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, an exhibit of women's fashion from 1890s-1940s, at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The American woman's social evolution was reflected in their changing fashions, according to the exhibit. As women embraced sports, the arts, politics, and Hollywood moving making, fashion designers responded with the appropriate outfits.

I enjoyed the exhibit because I love looking at beautiful clothes. (I try not to think about the gifted seamstresses who were paid pennies for turning clothing designs into exquisite garments.) The dresses were like works of art. Many of them were beautifully embroidered with metallic thread, sequins, beads and the tiniest rhinestones and pearls. They reflected a glamour and sophistication that are rarely seen today. You can get a glimpse of the exhibit, which is now closed, by taking the museum’s video tour.(Scroll down a little for video box)

One thing I learned at the exhibit was that “votes for women” was first proposed at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. I had no idea it took 71 years for women to be granted the right to vote.

The exhibit also made me think about what a similar exhibit portraying the American Woman’s social evolution from 1950s-2010 would look like. I assume there would be the predictable 1950s homemakers, the 1960s mods and hippies, 1970s liberated woman, etc. I’m curious, though, about how the museum curators would explain the transition from the 1970s feminist’s pant suit to the 2010s baby doll dress. I can’t explain it.

More Scarves Sightings
No trip to the Met is complete without a stop at its beautiful museum store. When I was writing about scarves in a recent post, I should have mentioned the Met. You’ll find a wide selection of art scarves, starting at $25 for small squares and $50 for long rectangles.

And finally, if the fall issue of the Land’s End catalog is any indication, scarves are the trend this fall. In the first of what I assume will be many “fall” and “holiday shopping” issues from the clothing company, about 50% of the models are wearing scarves. Check out the photo collage at the company’s New Arrivals page online to get a sense of what I’m talking about. If you’re trying to get “psyche” for wearing scarves this fall and winter, take a look at the catalog models.

In case you’re wondering…the scarf at the top of this post is by Gucci. I recently inherited it from a most beloved aunt who was always dressed to the nines. It seemed appropriate to dress up this posting about a recent art museum visit with the scarf, since I think it's art with all the vivid flowers and various insects, including a dragon fly. Now I just have to figure out what to wear it with. If you want to see more Gucci scarves, click on the highlighted words.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vogue’s Issue with Age

The August issue of Vogue is titled the “Age Issue.” After reading through the issue, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why did the editors bother?” Other than a handful of features about famous women, representing each decade from 20-70, there’s very little in the magazines 200+ pages that speaks to age—that is, the post-20 years.

The introduction to a fashion feature called “The Age of Consent” reports that fashion is moving away from the loud teenage girl stuff to “cool classics” with “adult attitude”—that is, garments that are sophisticated and subtle. “Fantastic!” I thought. “Maybe shopping for over 50 women will finally be a little easier.” However, I was more than a tad disappointed to find the same model—Kristen McMenamy, 43—on each of the subsequent pages. Silly me--I thought because it was billed as the "Age Issue," I'd be seeing models of different ages. I guess the Vogue editors figured a mid-life model would represent all women. Or, perhaps, they thought they were making a huge concession by using a model over 30, since they are normally all about youthful beauty.

I felt the same sense of disappointment when I turned to “Universal Coverage,” a feature on fall outerwear. The introduction teases: “Across the full spectrum of ages, there’s a fall coat—fur or military, brocade or printed—for everyone.” Exciting, yes? However, the coats on the following pages are all worn by 20-something models. How much more thrilling and meaningful the feature would have been if they showed the perfect fall coat modeled by women of varying ages!

Patti Hansen, former model and wife of Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards, is the issue’s 50-something representative. Her story is interesting, but not particularly insightful. I enjoyed the article about Lady Antonia Fraser, 78, but only because I’m a die hard romantic. Personally, I would have like to read what a handful of thoughtful women of every age—20-70—think about the aging process. They could have reflected on how age informs their fashion, beauty, health, well-being, vacations, career decisions—the full range of typical Vogue topics.

Other Age-related topics…
Danagene—a newly opened New York spa that will treat all your aging skin issues for a mere $1250 per appointment. Apparently, the owner expects her clients to be committed to the spa, making weekly appointments. Hmm—I guess I’m not the person Vogue is targeting its editorial to.
Up Front – A May-December romance (the woman is the ‘December’) is described. Haven’t we heard/read enough about these relationships?
Desk Set – What working women of various ages wear to work. Mildly interesting.

Fall Forward
Though not billed as a prelude to Fall 2010 fashions, there is news about fall’s…
“It” Color – all shades of orange—apricot, marigold, coral—will be in vogue this fall. The article says there’s shade of orange for every skin tone. As someone who looks absolutely jaundice in anything with a hint of yellow (including orange and lime) in it, I’d love to know what shade of orange they think people like me can wear.
Cape Craze – capes and “swing toppers” will be making a showing this season.
Return of Cleavage – Really? I didn’t know it ever left. Thanks, I suppose to Victoria Secret, cleavage has been a New York staple for years now. If it is making a comeback, there’s only one thing the over 50 woman needs to know: Don’t do it. Please. Go ahead and wear scoop- and V-necks, exposing every square inch of your chest above your breasts—if you like. But don’t, please don’t, scoop down to the cleavage.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Discount Makeup for the Over 50 Face

Cosmetic and skin care companies are constantly developing new ingredients that promise to do all sorts of wonderful and magical things for the over 50 complexion. However, short of spending a small fortune, how do older women know which products are the most effective and the best value? That’s the beauty of the Target’s skin care department, according to reporter Catherine Saint Louis.

In a recent New York Times article, Target Touches Up Manhattan’s Makeup , Saint Louis gives an overview of the discount chain's cosmetics and skin care products and some of the savings you can expect to find. For example, Boots Highlight with mica, designed to hide fine lines, is available for $12.99 an ounce. Elsewhere, products with mica can cost $50 an ounce.

I intend to bookmark this article for my next Target trip. Two other product lines that interest me…
-- Boots No. 7 Protect and Perfect Intense Beauty Serum ($22.99 in store, $20.99 online). Boots is an English pharmacy and Target is the only U.S. chain with its products. I have several friends with English connections and they can't stop talking about this line.

-- Pixi line , which Saint Louis reports "aims to demystify makeup for women ages 30 to 100." I could certainly use some demystifying!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Discount Cardigans: Worth A Try?

Most over 50 women I know have favorite stores in a particular price range for the bulk of their wardrobe needs. They tend to shop exclusively at either stores that are discount (Kohl, Pennys), mid-priced (Macy’s, Banana Republic), or expensive (Saxs, high-end designer boutiques). At the risk of sounding like a maniac shopper (which truly I’m not), I prefer to shop the full range of stores. It seems to help stretch my fashion funds. For example, I shop at discount stores for what I consider unimportant, disposable clothing (underwear, sleepwear, socks and T-shirts) and use the money saved to buy one splurge designer item per season at a high-end store.

However, budget T-shirts and an expensive, say, designer dress don’t make a complete wardrobe. There is the task of rounding out your closet—that is, adding slacks, skirts, sweaters and a dress or two—without breaking the bank. For these items, I tend to stay away from discount stores and do my shopping at mid-priced stores. Why? Two reasons:
1)Discount clothing that is poorly made with cheap materials really stands out on the over 50 body.
2)If I can wait for the mid-priced store merchandise to go on sale, I can get higher quality clothing for about the same price as discount clothing. (For example, scroll down to see the cardigans currently on sale at Jones New York.)

That said, and much to my surprise, I walked out of Target this week with two ¾ sleeves cardigans by company called Merona (pictured at top). I was in Target shopping for underwear—I like the 100% cotton, seamless boy shorts (ultra comfortable). The Merona cardigans caught my eye. I bought a cardigan with a black-and-white pattern and one in solid red because I look best in "winter colors" and because I’m a stereotypical New Yorker who wears too much black. However, you’ll find a range of colors and patterns in the Target store and online for $19.99.

I’m not going to tell you these sweaters’ workmanship is superior or that you’d mistake them for designer sweaters. However, I think they may do nicely for casual wear, especially if I pair them with better-quality slacks or a skirt. It’s always a gamble buying at discount stores and I don't do it often (except for underwear, etc.). However, if these cardigans hold up, I'll feel like I’ve beaten the high prices of fashion. It’s part of the fun of fashion.

Flattering 50 with Cardigans
I may not be a huge fan of discount shopping, but I do love cardigans on over 50 women. A cardigan with a few buttons undone or a zipper lowered to reveal a camisole underneath is a perfect 'look'--it's neither too buttoned up or scary cleavage-revealing. (For over 50 women plagued by hot flashes—those of us who need to take their sweater off during a flash, but would rather not be seen in a strappy camisole—a scoop-neck top is just as attractive.) Cardigans also look great opened up and worn with a crisp, opened man-tailor blouse. Another casual choice for women over 50: a V-neck patterned T-shirt under a V-neck cardigan.

From Bealls in 7 colors for $19.99...
Nue Options™ ¾ Sleeve Solid Cardigan Sweater

More Well-Priced Cardigans online...
Right now Macy's online has a dozen or so cardigans for under $25 and many more for under $50. Lands' End online has Regular Fine Gauge Cotton Sweaters, including the Baby Cable Cardigan Sweater, the Cardigan Sweater, the Rib V-Neck, and the Knit Button-down V-Neck Cardigan. And check out the sweaters, from $25-50 at online at Anne Taylor Loft.

End-of-Season Sales
Jones New York is one of my favorite mid-priced shops for women over 50. However, when JNY has a sale, watch out! The prices tumble and you can get some amazing bargains. All of the cardigans below are on sale for under $50 and some are priced under $30. Some are clearly spring/summer colors and styles. However, when I see something I like at a great price, I'm happy to grab it now and store it for next year. That's the great thing about being older: You can focus on what looks good and not on this minute's trends.

Jones New York V Neck Shutter Pleat Cardigan (Pink)

Jones New York V Neck Shutter Pleat Cardigan (Pink)
for $22.99.

Jones New York Solid Cardigan (Blue)

Jones New York Solid Cardigan (Blue)
,green, black, white for $29.99.

Jones New York Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Cardigan (Pattern)

Jones New York Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Cardigan (Pattern)
for $28.99. And in solid black, white, brown and amaryllis for $25.99.

Jones New York Cardigan With Dolman Sleeves (Purple)

Jones New York Cardigan With Dolman Sleeves (Purple)
and coral for $40.99.

Jones New York Linen White Textured Drape Front Cardigan (White)

Jones New York Linen White Textured Drape Front Cardigan (White)
for $43.99.

Jones New York Novelty Ribbed Chainette Cardigan (Woman) (Khaki)

Jones New York Novelty Ribbed Chainette Cardigan (Woman) (Khaki)
and for $37.99.

Jones New York Drape Front Cardigan (Red)

Jones New York Drape Front Cardigan (Red)
for $43.99.