Happy 2015! Can you believe the 2010s are half over? Crazy.
A year ago, I reflected on my favorite fashion looks and trends for women over 50 in 2013. I thought it might be fun to repeat the fashion look-back for 2014. However, I wondered: Would I have anything new to report? Had my fashion favorites changed at all in a year?
FASHION TRENDS AND STREET APPEAL
At times, I've doubted whether my fashion favorites have ever changed. A few nights ago, I was reminded of how wrong that perception is. At a New Year's Eve party, a friend passed around a tablet with recently scanned photos of weddings and other social gatherings in the 1980s (hands down, the scariest decade in fashion during my lifetime) attended by many of us at the party. When I saw what I was wearing back in the 80s, I thought: "Thank goodness, my style has changed since then!"
Not surprisingly, my favorite fashions for 2014 are a mix of old and new. I don't have the time, money or desire to reinvent my look from scratch every year. Instead, when I shop in stores or online, I pick the "hot trends"--the latest styles and colors--I think will flatter my over 50 shape and work well with things already in my wardrobe. My shopping decisions are also heavily influenced by street fashions. I hunt for garments and accessories I've admired on women over 50 on the street. The look is new for me, but not necessarily trendy. So without further ado, my fashion favorites for 2014 included...
THE GRAPHIC SWEATER COAT
Here in the Northeast, the Winter 2014 was frightfully cold. My defense against freezing temps has always been layers, the warmer the better. Long sweaters, particularly with graphic prints, were trending in 2014, so I grabbed one. I wore my sweater coat with skinny jeans as well as straight skirts and tall boots. The thing I love most this sweater: The pockets!
FITTED DOWN VEST
The NY Times recently reported that down vests, long considered a very un-hip, preppy layer, are being worn by well-dressed men this season. That may be, but on the New York streets, fitted down jackets and vests have been gaining fashion momentum among men and women for the past year or two, ever since Uniqlo introduced a line of the garments in a range of muted and bright colors. The popular vest offers lots of warmth with very little bulk. Last winter, I wore my vest (below) over a warm sweater on milder days, and under a wool coat or down jacket on the bitterly cold days.
For years, the denim shirt has cycled in and out of fashion favor. In it's current re-birth, the denim shirt is made of a lightweight cotton and is fitted. The biggest change, though, has been the way the shirt is being styled. Designers, fashion stylists and street fashionistas have shown us that the denim shirt looks "hot" when it's styled with unexpected colors and fabrics. In March 2014, during that transitional period between winter wools and spring cottons, I wore my denim shirt with a black biker jacket for the urban cowgirl look.
In 2014, everything I wore seemed to look better with a belt. More and more, I've been seeing women, like Michelle Obama, using belts to create a little feminine shaping. A belt defines what's left of my waistline. When styling an outfit with a belt, my personal rule of thumb is to use a belt--the thinner the better--in a color that blends with the rest of the outfit. I wear belts just below my rib cage. A belt that rests closer to my hip emphasizes my bottom. I don't need that! And lastly, I keep whatever I'm wearing under the belt (a sweater, blouse or dress) loose to hide the "lumps and bumps."
FIT AND FLARE DRESSES
The Fit and Flare dress was hugely popular in 2014. It's a little silly, considering the dress style isn't new. It's just a new name for a dress with a full skirt. Still, the style is great for women over 50, like myself, who are pear-shaped (a bit bottom heavy). The dress shows off my smaller upper half and conceals my wider lower half. For a June 2014 wedding and early afternoon reception, I wore a Fit and Flare dress (below) in a trendy graphic print that I bought at Lord and Taylor.
There was no way I was going to go through another spring-summer season without a pair of neutral-colored (nude, beige, taupe) pumps. In 2013, neutral pumps seemed to appear on every magazine stylists' list of the best ways to make a woman's legs look longer. The neutral color keeps the leg line going straight to the toe. As a petite woman over 50, I'm always looking for ways to elongate my silhouette. However, I didn't just take the word of magazine stylists. Nude, beige or taupe pump soon exploded on the street, too. Everywhere I turned in spring-summer 2013 and again in 2014, I saw neutral-colored pumps on women of all ages. I was determined to make a pair of taupe pumps part of my 2014 spring-summer look.
Last summer, I wrote about the explosion of long skirts and dresses on women in Manhattan in a post entitled, Summer Dresses and Skirts: Back to the 1960s. I felt transported back to the 1960s. Long skirts have had a fashion moment once or twice since the 60s and I still had one or two favorite long skirts. Wearing a long skirt with a graphic print (below) was a nice on summer weekends. For me, the key was to avoid looking like an aging hippie.
Like neutral-colored pumps, color blocked dresses and tops were something I'd been admiring in magazines and on the street for a while. I recognized the slimming effect of blocking, particularly when the middle panel is a lighter shade than the side panels. Last Fall, the folks at Covered Perfectly sent me a color-blocked top to review on Flattering50. The super soft top instantly became a fall 2014 favorite.
No sooner had the 2014 summer semi-annual sales ended that fashion forecasters announced the hot color for fall: Grey. Everywhere I went I started seeing all shades of grey tops, bottoms, dresses and accessories. At the same time, I was getting tired of the spring-summer colors I'd been wearing and was ready to advantage of the grey forecast, buying a silver grey cardigan (top of the post and below) and a grey T-shirt at Banana Republic. The tops were an inexpensive way to update my fall wardrobe. By the way, large silver hoops also made a comeback (below) in 2014 and were definitely a fashion favorite for me.
THE STATEMENT JACKET
I wrapped up 2014 with a lovely new statement jacket. I had written about statement jackets in a September post, entitled Style Over 50: The Statement Jacket. Then, in December, the folks at Ronen Chen sent me one to review on Flattering50. If you ask me, that statement jacket is a knockout look for women over 50. It's a highly versatile garment that can be dressed up or down, and it's super easy to style with a skirt or slacks. Below, I've styled my statement jacket with a simple skirt and pumps.