Monday, March 16, 2015

Dressing authentically...thoughts on personal style...starring YOU!

Jennifer at A Well Styled Life is writing a series about the "Invisible" or rather "The Vanishing Older Woman"
you can read her second installment in the series right here.
Her eloquent posts have started me thinking deeper about what I choose to wear and why I make the choices that I is not an easy thing for me to explain, but bear with me please as I attempt to muddle through...

What we wear says a lot about who we are...
it gives hints as to what economic and social classes that we fall into and how we feel about ourselves...
are we shy, bold, confident, artistic, conservative, are we in touch with our authentic self or
do we even care what others think of us?

 Are you a star when it comes to putting together your wardrobe?
Is it easy or do you find it a challenge?
 Are you sending the right messages with your choice of garments?
Or perhaps you are confused about the image that you want to present to the world.
Money, work, age and lifestyle factor in when deciding what to choose.

Do you opt for designer clothes from head to toe?
Has the clerk in your favourite boutique sold you complete ensembles with accessories to go with them?

Do the clothes that you wear reflect your personal taste?
Are you bold with your colours and accessories or do you play it safe?

With so many possibilities and questions it is a challenge...
maybe a consultation with a professional is in order!

Mother has taught me a lot over the years.
 Observing her fashion sense has helped me to absorb a lot about fashion and style.
Reading magazines, books and blogs have rounded out my education in this area.

~ ~ ~

Mother and I were driving in the car the other day 
and we passed by a woman "of a certain age" with bright day glo pink hair.
Mother said "My goodness she's asking for attention wearing her hair like that!"
I said something to the effect of well anyone who makes a bold statement like that with their hair is not shy!

Mother would NEVER consider making an overture as bold as that statement 
with her hair or her clothing.
(although in the 1960's she went through what I like to think of as a  "Doris Day" phase when she was a blond!)

She would not suggest that we HIDE from our authentic selves
 but rather that we would choose to dress appropriately for each and EVERY social situation.

"Fitting in within our peer groups and blending" have been her words on fashion for as long as I can remember.
Mother is a conservative dresser and she encouraged us to dress well and take care to maintain our clothes.
 Mending, making sure buttons were sewn on right and shoes were kept polished and heels replaced regularly were high on her priority list.

Your Personal Image speaks volumes...
it says a lot about you...more than you might think.

It takes a lot of time to put together an entire wardrobe, not to mention the money that you need to invest.
It also takes a lot of thought...

What is the message that you want to project to the world?

Are you happy wearing the same thing over and over or do you want to put on a different outfit every day?
Do you like a lot of variety in accessories or do you prefer to wear the same few statement and signature pieces?

(I have owned this Burberry quilted jacket for about 8 years and the scarf, which was a gift from my husband is worn daily during the Fall and Winter.

Who are you dressing for? 
Do you represent a large corporation or a small company?
Are you a young mom, a professional in the business world or are you retired?

When dressing for your work life you may choose one style of clothing than for your personal life.
Which undoubtedly would be much more casual.

It took me many years to understand the image that I wanted to project.
It still is evolving but I figured out the basics.

I like to fit in as Mother would say...blending is more important to me than standing out in a crowd.
I do not like to draw unnecessary attention to myself.

Having a wardrobe with options for most events 
(other than a red carpet event or a gala)
 are already in my closet.
they are all black!

A basic black jersey tank top is paired here with a vintage Susan Bristol sweater jacket.

Basic black Eileen Fisher trousers and my "very old" black patent leather Stuart Weitzman bow toed flats.

There are several pairs of black pants one in velvet as well as a casual pair of skinny black jeans...
various black tops and tanks
a black Barbour vest
 a tweedy Chanel-esque jacket
3 or 4 LBD's
a black shawl
a black dressy coat
black casual walking coat
black handbags
black kittens heels and pumps

these what I call the workhorses or the core pieces

A few colourful options have found their way into the closet, but not many.
Several bright silk twill Hermes scarves help to elevate and add some colour and interest.

Now this might not suit you at all but it works for me.
I am a no nonsense kind of gal who likes to keep things simple.

It might seem boring to you to wear the same clothes in different combinations 
only varying the looks by using different accessories.

We have to listen to our "inner voice", be true to ourselves, and project honestly our taste and style.
I do not like to waste money buying fads or trends.
Also shopping my closet just makes more sense.

 To me rushing out in a panic at the eleventh hour before an event is far too stressful...
I'd rather spend the time having a leisurely bath or doing my nails than speeding off on the mall.

Mother would encourage and suggest that we dress in an understated fashion.
(I went through a period of rebellion in my teenage years and opted for "hippie style clothing!")
Naturally she disapproved...
I grew out of it.

She counselled that good manners were as important as what we wore.
(I write and send thank you notes as she taught us.)

Comportment is the ultimate accessory and our demeanor speaks volumes.
So with that in mind...
I will continue to dress in basic black with an occasional pop of colour
opt for the ultimate in polite conversation
practise kindness and let The Golden Rule be my guide.

This post has rambled on and I apologize as it is very discombobulated...

My newest accessory is a rhinestone Panther pin in the Cartier style...
I love the beady red eyes.
I'll be wearing this...
you might have guessed...
on a black background!
It might be on an LBD, a sweater, top or coat.

~ ~ ~

."One is never over-dressed or under dressed with a Little Black Dress."

~  Karl Lagerfeld ~

"Don’t be into trends. 
Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live."

~ Gianni Versace ~

NYDJ jeans...flared
Symplii black tank top
Lord and Taylor dove grey cashmere cardigan
Clark black leather short boots
opera length pearls wrapped twice around my neck

Oh and there is some great news...the Gardener's Cottage is back!
check out what she's up to in her cottage.

Have a great week!


  1. Hostess, Loved your post. You sound like you have a wonderful mom and she comes from the same school my mom did. Tasteful was most important and my mom had a lot of black. She never wore loud clothes, but did like things made well and to fit well. People always said my mom had style. I don't think you need to have a lot of fuss to look great. You just need to be well groomed and nice things like your jacket and scarf look good for ages! Of course kindness like you said always adds charm and make you even more attractive! Something a lot of folks don't get! Have a good week! xo Kim

    1. We are very forunate to have had such great Moms as our role models...

  2. Dress for yourself, and if you work you must dress in the manner appropriate to that profession.
    Of course, if your husband likes a particular something, do manage to give it a go even if it's only at home. One can never go wrong with the classics, the elegant.

    1. Well said Marsha and I agree about dressing for yourself.

  3. Thank you for your eloquence on this topic, Hostess. Investment dressing and keeping what I own in good repair are two goals I'm striving for with my wardrobe. It's actually made my life a lot simpler buying less disposable fashion.

    SSG xxx

    1. Fast fashion was what I purchased in my teen years...and I loved it then...more more more! Now I prefer better quality items that are classic and look good for many years.
      Have fun with your clothes SSG!

  4. So interesting. I have a ton of black as well, as go-to pieces, but am thinking of adding a bit more navy into the mix this year as I love it in for dresses and jackets as well. I think I like to stand out, but am working hard to figure out what that looks like in my 50s!

    1. Sounds like you dress for yourself too and standing out might be a reflection of your personality which is an honest portrayal of the woman inside those clothes!

  5. Your pearl pendant looks wonderful. What a beautiful birthday gift.

    1. Oh my kids really surprised me! It will be a wonderful keepsake.

  6. I think that "authentically" is the key word in your post. Maman always used to emphasize the value of a "good" coat, purse and shoes. They should be of the best quality that one can afford and should be well-maintained. Whether you enjoy the flamboyance of being an "Auntie Mame" or the dependability of a well-curated basic wardrobe, your clothing should be appropriate to your age and lifestyle. I wore a lot more colour when I was working with children because I wanted the school library to be a bright and cheerful spot in the school. Now that I am retired. it seems soothing and practical to be able to put on a pair of grey jeans, dress them up or down and go. Adding a piece of jewellery or a scarf does the trick! Pearls are an especially classic touch.

    1. I wore more colour in school too and would dress up on the theme days too....whacky hair day, pink day, dress like a twin day...I got into the spirit as it was all in good fun!
      Soothing is a great word to describe how we dress now in our retired lifestyle!

  7. I once read that if you quickly change your clothes when you get back home after being out and about, you are actually dressing in costumes to impress others rather than as the real authentic you. I think about this sometimes as I choose what to wear. I think there is some truth in it!

  8. Well, you are a beauty. I am coveting that pearl pendant. That said, I am a sculpting teacher and I cannot wear clothes that are "nice " at work. It's jeans and a clean top for me.

    1. That being said you are dressing authentically for the work that you can dress differently when you go out for lunch or to dinner and a movie.

  9. Well, you are a beauty. I am coveting that pearl pendant. That said, I am a sculpting teacher and I cannot wear clothes that are "nice " at work. It's jeans and a clean top for me.

  10. Your style is perfectly elegant and chic. Authenticity is absolutely the ticket to having confidence. You've honed your style down to perfection. Many women our age have our discussions about it are important and helpful. Thanks for sharing.
    PS. I'm planning a trip up soon and really hope we can get together.

    1. Oh that is Exciting! please let me know when you plan to be in town and hope our schedules will allow for us to get together!

  11. Great post, Leslie. I always say about my style that I'm pretty plain as I don't like to stand out, I prefer understated clothing, I like most things to be solid or striped (t-shirts, for instance). I also like to mix and match and prefer classic styles. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas.

    1. Sounds to me like you are in tune to what you like and the image that you want to portray to the world....that's the biggest part of dressing authentically and honestly.

  12. I love your style, and I think your mother passed on some great advice. I like dressing "quietly"; no loud colors or patterns for me either. Understated elegance is my motto. And yes, kindness and good manners are key.

  13. Your pin is so pretty!

    I dress for my life...which means lots of casual and exercise clothes. Here, where I live everyone is very, very casual. As far as color choices, I am like you ~ I prefer my basic wardrobe to be in black.

    I love dresses and in the summer months I wear them, but they too are pretty casual. I miss the days when people would 'dress up" and I would make lovely suits and dresses, alas, no more.

    1. I have heard California is pretty casual and yet we see the Red Carpet coverage and Gala is incredibly casual here in our small city but pop over across the pond to Vancouver and it is a different story altogether.

  14. I love your fashion sense, it is so inspiring! Thanks for another wonderful post :-)

  15. I am glad that you enjoyed it Lori...Jennifer from a Well Styled Life has another style post up this morning featuring La Contessa.