Monday, January 16, 2012

Urban Outfitters: Well-priced, Unstuffy Fashions

As I approached age 50, I began to hear my inner voice frequently lament: “You can’t wear that sort of thing anymore!” A lot of styles suddenly seemed off limits because I was getting older. Now that I’m well into my 50s, I’m happy to report I’m saying “Yes, I can” a lot more than I expected.

Sure, I want to avoid clothes that don’t flatter my body shape--but that’s always been a fashion rule. And it's a limitation that seems miniscule compared with the peer pressure that some 20-something women have to cope with. When I see a gaggle of girls dressed identically on the street, I think, “Thank goodness, I’m too old to let my friends dictate what I wear!”

Instead, I’m enjoying the challenge of creating my own personal style, trying to put together outfits that are sophisticated, yet not stuffy. Believe it or not, one store that has been a big help in achieving this goal has been Urban Outfitters. I’m not kidding. I’ve found some great, reasonably priced (if not steals!) tops and accessories that add a little edge to an outfit. Generally speaking, the clothing isn't super high quality, but it is good quality for the price. And that works for me. I like to mix higher and lower end clothing together to create my look. I think it exudes a little unpredictability. And the last thing I want to feel is pigeon-holed. My husband knows I’m an Urban Outfitter fan and bought me the sweater above for Christmas. So far, I’ve worn it belted with a straight skirt or a flirty skirt and long or ankle boots.

I got this leather backpack a few years ago. I had been looking for a bag I could use when I went into the city. I wanted something roomy enough to carry a magazine for the train, wallet, sunglasses, iPod and, perhaps, a few small purchases. But I didn't want a knapsack or a ho-hum tote bag. I saw this bag on a sales table in Urban Outfitters, marked down to…wait for it…$9. I fell in love with the price and the biker styling. Recently, I was invited to lunch at a 3-star restaurant in Manhattan. In the ladies room, a very chic-looking woman admired my bag. Too funny! Perhaps, she'd seen the ultra-thin, soft leather jackets and skirts that the high end designers were showing last fall and thought my bag was stylish. Ha!

So next time you’re in the mall and you see an Urban Outfitter, take a peek inside. You’ll probably have to hunt a little--there’s a lot that's clearly designed for nubile young things. But you might uncover a little fashion treasure to liven up an outfit. And if a sales person approaches, you can always say you’re shopping for a daughter or your son’s girlfriend (who happens to be about your size). Just don’t tell your children you like Urban Outfitters. They will be horrified, much like they are when you tell them you like one of their favorite bands.