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Sewing and styling for Just Past Young
What to do when you hit your late thirties...
SecondHandRogue
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SecondHandRogue  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/20/13 8:53 AM

This seems to be the forum for age-based styling discussions, so I hope I'm in the right spot and will find some dialogue and advice here.

I'm 39 and ready to do some sewing and some shopping. Now that my babies are 2 and 5, and my body back where I started, I'd like to update my wardrobe a bit after 6 years of fluctuation. Work wardrobe is not an issue, I write and translate from home. But I'm having trouble knowing where to begin; a lot changes between 32 and 39. In my early 30s I was still shopping juniors styles, and while my old clothes fit again, I'm feeling self conscious about dressing too young.

But what is too young? Philosophically, I reject the ageist idea that we have to change...but I have this nagging feeling that my tights and boots are going to look silly as I age.

So I'm feeling grumpy and conflicted about all this. All I want is a new pair of fluevogs and some cool dresses and tights without holes. But maybe the patterns and frocks I'm eying need to be reconsidered. The boden dresses I ordered are all too dippy in person and are going back to the UK en masse. I'm demoralized...

is anyone else in the same boat, just past you g and not sure how to dress for it?


-- Edited on 9/20/13 8:54 AM --

Vivienne
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Vivienne
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Date: 9/20/13 9:19 AM

I was there last year, also at 39. For a while I embraced my inner little old lady (I've had one my whole life ;))and thought, "I'm going to wear a blouse and some slacks." I took a uniform approach because dressing just wasn't fun. It stressed me!

Since then, I've added couple of great pairs of jeans, a really nice RTW boucle jacket and a bunch of self-sewn knit and silk t-shirts. I've also started to wear a fun necklace on in a while. My boots and tights never left.

Basically, I am wearing the same styles but longer hemlines and much higher quality fabrics.

I personally want to try the Archer with the butt ruffle, skinny jeans and some new fluevogs!

------
Cheap fabrics, like cheap shoes, are a false economy.

gramma b
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gramma b
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Date: 9/20/13 9:38 AM

I used to watch What Not To Wear (still a few new shows)
and a basic theme emerged for everyone, with clients ending up with a closet of about 35 garments. For running around, including moms with kids, nice jeans or neutral pants, color in the tops, casual jacket, flats/cute sneakers. Depending on work the same, adding simple sheath dresses and skirts. Unless you are fearless, color comes from print tops, scarfs, accessories. Their books are in the library, along with the 2 Brit gals (names?) who did the same, altho Brit fashion a little different, but they did dress larger figures also. News anchor gals wear solid dresses/skirts and little jewelry--but our local ones are behind the times in still-stuffy suits.

Dressing seems a lot more pressure these days, don't envy you--but I think women today won't go thru as many strange fashion trends as we did--hippies, disco, grungy, etc. Some of our old photos are shocking--H. actually had a mauve disco-type suit, worn to the office with a flowered shirt, I had wide stripe bell-bottoms
with peasant blouses! If 30-ish today I would adopt the Chaps/LL Bean classic look I think.

SecondHandRogue
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In reply to Vivienne <<
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Date: 9/20/13 9:41 AM

Archer

Is this the one? Pretty cute:). I have the Victory Patterns Roxanne on the way, similar but I'm a buttonhole-phobe!

Roxanne

SecondHandRogue
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Date: 9/20/13 9:47 AM

It's hard to change your style too much as you get older. As I came of age in the gritty 90s, It isn't easy for me to suddenly switch over to something preppy. I like many of the Colette dresses I've made, but I can't carry that level of cute past summer--when I start wearing jeans and tights I just crave an aesthetic that's less sweet. Buckles and laces!

Karla Kizer
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Date: 9/20/13 10:09 AM

I sew...or think about sewing...for my 31-year-old daughter quite often, and I use a few websites as a guide when selecting styles she'd like and find useful. JCrew is pretty ageless, and Anthropologie has stuff that can appeal to a wide age range. (I own some Anthropologie pieces myself, and no one has ever denied me a senior citizen discount because of them). Banana Republic is the store DD usually shops at for basics, and I can't see her discontinuing that in 7 or 8 years. White House Black Market is another store that offers items that she and I both like and wear...just not the SAME items. I find it very useful to check out the websites for these stores frequently, particularly the "What's New" category.

------
“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” -Robert Heinlein and Ann's father. Thanks for the reminder, Ann.

Where are we going, and what am I doing in this handbasket?

Matthew 25:40 (New International Version)
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'



LauraTS
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Date: 9/20/13 1:38 PM

I am 37 now myself and I agree that it's a tricky age to shop and dress for sometimes. A lot of the younger stores are too young now and other stores are aiming at the baby boomer crowd which can skew too old. I do a lot of shopping at Ann Taylor and AT loft as well as Banana Republic now that I have lost weight and am out of plus sizes.

I am a member of a website and forum called YouLookFab which is a great resource and has a lot of ladies of all ages posting their outfits and inspirations. Angie, the founder, has a series of blog posts of MOTG (mom on the go) capsule wardrobes which could be a great place for you to start.

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AnneM
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Date: 9/20/13 2:40 PM

I work with a nice woman who, all through her early 40s, insisted on dressing like she was at least 10 years younger. Clothing a little too tight, tops a little too short. She has recently changed her wardrobe and looks much more stylish. Many of the pieces of clothing are basically the same but with a better fit.

So my 2 cents is basically what Vivienne said: sew nice basics in nice fabric that fit without having drag-lines or showing off your belly-button.

And then snoop shop at the websites the others gave.



P.S. Try buttonholes on scrap fabric. And if you really can't get past them but want to make a style, see if a local tailor or sewing-shop would make the buttonholes for you.

------
With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

DonnaH
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Date: 9/20/13 3:20 PM

Get yourself a nice pair of jeans that fit well (NOT "mom jeans" LOL). My Cruel Girls are amazing (not a bit of stretch in the fabric, but not baggy and yet not confining).

Then you can make lots of tops and/or layers when you get the sewing itch.

As for style, there's more to it than just too old or too young. You say you're not the preppy type, so that's a start. Do you like romantic, flowy things? Tailored? Avant-garde/asymmetric? Bright colors, natural tones (greens/browns/tans), pastels? And what fabrics? Lace, sequins, shiny satins, flannel, fleece....

All these can be found in both juniors and clothing aimed at 50+!

Once you have your style(s) figured out, then you can find pieces that suit you - and suit your age.

SecondHandRogue
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Date: 9/20/13 3:29 PM

This is all good advice.

My biggest problem is probably not clothes that are too tight or short; I'm only just warming up to skinny jeans! And right noe, after losing the last of the baby weight, my pants are all riding low. It's really that I like my shoes clunky or witchy and my dresses a bit, well, juvenile...cool, but not tailored. It's hard to clean that up, as I'll never gravitate to very classic styles.

I guess I'll look to some of those examples and try to clean up my act...

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