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. 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. 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)