Cultivating Everyday Elegance: Beginning to develop a casual chic wardrobe

Casual Chic at home style on over 50 feeling 40

 I hope every one had a wonderful Father’s Day/first of summer weekend!! Today I wanted to go forward with the ideas behind my fashion choices now that I am on a new journey to cultivate elegance during the second half of my life. For 17 years since my reinvention began at age 50, my outward appearance has been so important to further develop and strengthen me inwardly with more confidence and joy.  Now, that I believe my professional life will be spent more in my home office than in an office building, I am pondering what a casual chic wardrobe will look like.

 

IT IS STILL ABOUT THE MESSAGES

Casual Chic Elegant Style on over 50 Feeling 40 

No matter what I am doing, how I choose to look each day communicates a message to me, family, friends, peers and even strangers about who I am….without saying a word.  How we dress tells others if we care about ourselves and if we enjoy life.  I still love Stacy London’s words on developing personal style the most:

“It’s not an overstatement to say that style teaches me over and over how to live in my skin.  It helps me to find courage and confidence and control when I feel I have none. While I was drawn to the world of fashion as a little girl because of its sparkle, I love the world of style now because I understand its transformative power. 

What I do know is that understanding yourself, developing your image, and updating your style takes the sting out of anyone else’s judgment and puts you in the driver’s seat.”

I know for me, changing my style and beginning to care about how I looked again at age 50, changed everything.  I began to grow in confidence and joy.  It was so much fun and opened doors to communicate with any and, everyone I meet.   It helps me to keep improving….sharpening  and refining who I desire to be at each stage of my life.  I am still me; yet, a stronger, brighter approachable me when I look and feel my best.

I created my own system to help me define a personal style.  I decided that each time I dressed I would check to see if I was consistently communicating five adjectives with what I was wearing.  It worked!  And it has continued to work for 17 years.  My adjectives were developed with a professional life in mind…since a large part of my time has been in the office working arena.  I wanted everyone I met to know that I am INTELLIGENT, STRONG, APPROACHABLE, CURRENT, AND CREATIVE.  When older in the professional world, it is so important to send messages like this with your attire in order to gain respect from younger workers. 

PONDERING THE NEW STORY

Colorful Sandals on Over 50 Feeling 40

So, working at home did cause me to ponder new messages, but once I decided I wanted to be seen as an elegant everyday woman, that spoke casual chic to me….which does not have to be “dressed up” all of the time.  In fact, I am pondering now, more than ever what I want a more casual me to be and say with my clothing.

So, here are the new adjectives.  Now, I ask does what I am wearing say that I am elegant (remember my definition is self- assured poise), intelligent, confident, joyful and creative.  Notice, I removed “current.”  I believed it was important in the workplace to show that I was on top of current trends with my style.  That is one way to be youthful with your style.  But, now my style will not be as reflective of trends as it will be reflective of creativity.

With these adjectives, I will be more into classic, chic, simple styling.  But I included joyful and creative for touches of color, softer prints, and fun accessorizing. This will not be easy at first for me. I sometimes like looking a little out there, but I have noticed that I am more content lately and more comfortable in neutral styles with great accessories.  Of course, I will wear an occasional print…but not as many or as loud as I formerly did.  This box reflects the first stage of my wardrobe purge:

Tossing Prints on Over 50 Feeling 40

 

OUR IMPACT AND OUR INFLUENCE

I know many women who I consider to be elegant who wear colors and prints.  It is all in how you put it together.  But, my five adjectives will help me to create the new Pamela-style.  One day in the past, a checker at our grocery said to me, “You always look so nice and put together on Saturdays!”  Of course, it meant the world that she said this, and it showed me that she noticed.  I strongly believe one of our roles as women over 50 is to be role models for the younger generation.  We have a very casual society now and I still want to take it up a notch and encourage others to do the same.  One area I do need to work on is to wear more fitted clothing and try my best not to hide in oversized styles.  While I love the kimono I am wearing today, as I slow down to look with scrutiny at my style,  I do want to work toward outfits with better fit and more structure.  Again, this is for me personally…not saying you should join me unless you agree. 

I have always encouraged you to establish your own five adjectives which communicate how you would like others to see you.  So, is anyone else thinking they might make any revisions to your style with elegance in mind? My style will not be seen in palaces, or fancy affairs and I doubt I will need many long gowns…but, this is my everyday elegance here in Texas! 

Later this week, I will take you on my first shopping trip with my new adjectives. I headed off to my favorite place, Dillard’s at The Shops of La Cantera in San Antonio.  I also took PAUSE – PONDER – PROCEED with me as well to oversee my shopping decisions. You have to have time to shop this way…it cannot be done quickly.

Please remember, I am not advocating turning you into Stepford Wives or changing who you are!! I am here to encourage you to sharpen your style so that you experience greater joy, confidence and elegance in your over 50 life!  Of course, I have a slideshow!  We are entering a time of great sales…so I will try to bring you the best Fabulous Finds that I can track down.

KEEP SMILING!

Thank you to reader, Cassandra, who sent an article from the Washington Post about the style messaging of Deborah Birx during her time to serve as the coronavirus task force coordinator.  This is another good example of how our style communicates to others.  Read the article here.

 

 

JUST A NOTE:

Pamela Lutrell for Goli GummiesThere are several ways that I generate income through this blog in order to cover business expenses and give myself much needed income.  Purchases through the slideshow links is one way, ads on the page is one way and a new way is through ordering or re-ordering the GOLI Apple Cider Vinegar gummies through me with my GOLI LINK HERE.  Again, if you are not familiar with the benefits of apple cider vinegar, you should speak with your personal physician.  My husband and I are sold on the benefits and I am proud to represent this product.  I am going to leave this at the bottom of my posts so that when you, friends or family would like to order you can use my link.  Thanks for the support.  This is a great product; as well as, the ones below!

 

 

Mr. B and I love our meals from Sun Basket!

Sun Basket on Over 50 Feeling 40

 

Sun Basket is a delicious, easy, fun home delivery meal plan

 

My Complexion Loves Chamonix:

Chamonix on Over 50 Feeling 40

 

All natural, plant-cell technology skincare

 

By Pamela Lutrell

42 Comments

  1. I am continually fascinated with Dr. Birx and her never ending collection of scarfs. It is a very distinctive look and one that is easy to emulate(do you hear justification for buying here). I have found many nice,but vintage scarfs on Ebay. Scarves are kinder to the mature body than sheath dresses,especially if your body is also evolving. Less clothes too!One can change a neutral outfit many times with a different scarf. Best to all, stay safe!

    1. That is so true, Susan. I will do a slideshow on Weds with some affordable scarves. Thanks for the idea!

    2. Good Monday Morning! 🌼 My experience at work regarding clothes was very much shaped by my occupation and the environment in which I worked the first ten years of my career. I was a social worker back then, working in a jail, often meeting with lawyers and judges, and daily of course with inmates. Because I was fresh out of college, I wanted my style to reflect a maturity beyond my years, and a respect for the marbled halls my heels tread each day. Working with incarcerated men, I dressed very conservatively yet in beautiful colors. This early way of dressing conveyed that I was a confident young professional, and it carried over later when I began my teaching career. Over time, I necessarily had to relax that wardrobe considerably to just function in the many activities of school life (getting up and down from the floor, messy project days, and singing/dancing). Now that I am one year into retirement, AND moving again!! – I find I, too, am purging my wardrobe once more. I still feel most put together in conservative basics and appreciate fine fabrics in gorgeous colors, but also love some jeans with a white blouse and pretty sweater. While far from an elegant look, I hope I do nonetheless convey a mature confidence, and always, always someone others find approachable.

  2. I am so excited about this new direction to Elegance your blog is taking! I, too, am ready for a change in my style – Ready to return to a more refined, cordial way of presenting myself and this is a fabulous way to start! Many, MANY years ago, I was shocked when my husband told me in no uncertain terms he did NOT like the t shirts that I wore, that they did nothing for me….you know the ones – oldies with my favorite rock band on the front I got at a concert, funny sayings like “I shot JR!” (I loved that one), Garfield (loved me some Garfield back in the day!”….you get the drift! At first I was a little offended – I was younger, slimmer, FUNNER back then. But I realized he was right – they were NOT flattering and frankly, after thinking about it – they were too casual and I really wanted to look….well, “nicer” on weekends. Of course, he didn’t mean don’t wear them when I washed the car, or cut the grass, or cleaned the house! But I got it – From that day on, I NEVER wore a “men’s” style t shirt – with or without the picture/graphics/saying. Fast forward 30 years….. I’ve recently made some decisions about my clothing as well and on weekends, I have been in the process of “culling” lots of things from my closet during this time of sheltering at home (My husband and I still were able to go to work, but stayed home on weekends). I look forward to your upcoming posts on Elegance! It’s funny – sometimes it’s hard to put exactly in words what Elegance is – but I know it when I see it! Be blessed today, Pamela!

    1. I actually donated all of those old T-shirts, Shirley. It was a hard goodbye…but I am glad they are gone and I refuse to go back. Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement!

  3. Your posts on elegance have me thinking. Still thinking…about the attributes of elegance, ladies I consider elegant. Years ago I was the building secretary in an elementary school in the “poor” side of town. One of the moms would come in from time to time and I would think, “she shouldn’t be in her circumstances”. There was an elegance about her and I wondered about her past and why she was where she was in the present. Money certainly doesn’t buy elegance, nor does following all the fashion trends. One trait I have gleaned about elegant ladies is a thoughtful and unhurried manner. Miss Pamela, you have opened a can of worms…ha! I have been working on my take on the subject of elegance since your first post on it. You will pull off the casual chic and elegant look and make it your own. Your posts definitely are thought provoking!

    1. I like that, Donna…thought provoking is good! I think we all have to re-think some past influences on the word elegant. I hope all of us can arrive at a point where we can own some of it or all if it! Each reader here is beautiful and has some element of elegance within them. I think that unhurried thoughtful movement is the self-assured poise I am referring to.

  4. Yes, I would enjoy a blog on scarves too! I am going through menopause, so I am always wearing shortsleeves. I cant tolerate adding kiminos, blazers, vests, or cardigans at this time due to my hot flashes. I think a scarf would help me look pulled together so I look forward to your advice.

    1. I will do a slideshow at the bottom of the post on Wednesday…dedicated to affordable scarves! I have always loved scarves…so this is easy.

  5. I’m so interested in this new direction but I’m surrounded by friends and women retired, as I am who don’t give a fig about fashion or dressing well They are very intelligent , well read, politically active and activists and out in the world but don’t show the feminine side of themselves. . I’ll be on my own little island as.I try to ditch the comfyfrumpy for the new and stylish. Count me in!

    1. So glad to count you in. Paulette. As I say often, this is part of my legacy for my family, grandchildren, and younger women I may influence or impact. I still possess my strong beliefs, but will communicate them in different ways.

  6. I am liking these thoughts on elegance. It reminds me of my mother. She once said if you wear a good pair of black pants, a good black sweater or top, and great jewelry you could go anywhere and fit in.

    1. I think she is right! I would add navy pieces to that as well. Thanks for being here, Heather.

  7. This is so interesting to me and pretty much sums up my dilemma when I retired. One thing I liked so much about working, crazy as this sounds, was that we had a strict dress code and I could dress up every day. I love to dress nicely, even at home. When I retired it was still my desire to dress well every day, and yet I wanted to pare down my wardrobe. Elegance is high on my list, and your new adjectives are so in line with mine that I’m looking forward to each post on elegance. Classic and chic are two adjectives that never come off my list! My sister and I are going on our annual shopping excursion this weekend – can’t wait!!! – and I have plans for taking my wardrobe in a new direction. Taking well thought out lists and catalog pages, as well as my laminated card with my Foundational Five and swatches of my best colors. I have long enjoyed J Jill’s Wearever collection and Chico’s Travelers collection, both because of the casual, yet polished vibe and the ability to mix and match. I did another major purge recently in preparation. We are able to go back to church which means my dresses got to come out of hiding! I have a huge collection of scarves so will be interested to see what you find. Reinvention seems to come around every now and then, like you said working from home, or retirement, or a job change, moving, could be anything. But I’m going through it right along with you and do very much want to be elegant for the rest of my days!

    1. Coming home at the beginning of the virus caused me to re-think everything, Karen. It is easier in my professional life because I know what to plan for each day, but I believe that is about to change. I also love Wearever and Travelers. I have owned some of my Travelers pieces for over 20 years! They did not leave in the purge. I find myself looking at Zenergy a little more with its more casual vibe. The saga continues…so glad you are along for the ride.

  8. wish you had a space to reply to the comments you receive. there are women. Those comments are so to the point that I would love to also be able to reply back.Thanks. Look forward to the scarf post.

    1. I do have that space, Susan. I try my best to reply to each one. I am about to reply to the ones I have not done today.

    2. Also, Susan…you can reply back! Just look under the comment and you will see a reply button.

  9. I have always preferred what I’d call an elegant, timeless look. I’m more likely to wear a jean skirt and semi-fitted tee or soft top than jeans and a t-shirt. I’m very picky about how my clothes fit–not too tight but not too big or too long. I’ve been known to hem a skirt a 1/2 inch! I prefer a duster over a kimono because a duster is more body-conscious. On the other hand, I look awful in blazers. A Chanel style jacket looks much better on me. I have a short neck so while I admire pretty scarfs I would never wear one around my neck. I’m looking forward to seeing your new look!

    1. Thank you Nancy! And thanks for sharing your style. I like what you said here. I am hoping to includes some skirts in the future. Thanks!

  10. Since you first brought up the subject of elegance, I have been looking at various articles about elegance online. I also reviewed a list that was making the rounds about two years ago on ways to be elegant. Much of what I relate to about elegance is simplicity & treating others with kindness & respect. Elegance is as much about how we act as how we dress. Thanks for starting & continuing this discussion.

  11. Lately there have been articles about retail stores that will soon be out out of business. Please will you give us a list and your comments. Some of the stores are well established like Chico’s and it would be sad to see them fade away. Do you think that a number of these stores will be on line only? In short, what is the future of retail stores? Thank you.

    1. Hi Jill, COVID-19 hit an already ailing retail market hard. I will tell you what I know right now. The following stores are closing some locations: Macy’s, Express, Bed bath & Beyond, Pier 1, Victoria Secret, Gap, Walgreens, Chicos (200 locations), Nordstrom, Forever 21, Sears, Stage Stores, Signet Jewelers, Christopher & Banks, JC Penney, Tuesday Morning, Bath & Bodyworks, CVS, Hallmark, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomingdales. Several of these will still be around, but need to sharpen the bottom line. I think most all will have a strong online presence. This is all I know to date. I agree with you…it is sad to say goodbye to locations near us that we have supported and loved.

  12. I noticed Dr. Birx and her style immediately, but not in a good way. She didn’t seem dressed for serious business, and looked more like “the ladies who lunch”. I think a simple and natural look would be more appropriate for the occasion.

    1. Thanks for bringing a different perspective, Meg. I included the article to support how our choices send messages and you have demonstrated how at times the messages can be mixed!

  13. I am rethinking my wardrobe too with retirement in mind. Since working from home, I’m not touching my blouses but am living in knits. There are beautiful knits out there, including soft merino wool, linen, and cashmere. I love JJills Wearever line too. If you want a slightly more athletic vibe, T by Talbots is very well made and has a bit of a dressier, preppy style. Unfortunately, every time I wear athleisure, I feel I’m wearing a costume. I am looking at cultivating a higher quality, pared down version of what I’ve been wearing, using accessories to tell my “story.” As one of my adjectives is Aware, I try to pay attention to good cut, quality fabrics that can go the distance, justify my hard earned money and not go into a dumpster in a season or two. I still buy too much when things are marked way down, clothes I like but do not love. My own style journey is going to be focused on breaking that habit.

    1. Great comment, Linda. I suspect many ladies are right where you are. I also love the style adjective AWARE. Nice job.

  14. I really enjoy reading your blog and this style journey – and really am interested in also looking at my style with new eyes. However, I’m not really interested in when you link to an article that I have to subscribe to another publication to actually read it. Too Bad!

    1. Sorry Kathleen….I thought it would let everyone by the Paywall for this article. I will pay closer attention in the future. Let me see if I can get it to set up on a word doc and I will send it to your email.

  15. Susan: I am glad that your focus has shifted and focused on elegance. I am looking forward to seeing this evolution. I like classic elegance so I want to see how you shift your style! Tell us what you find at Dillard’s!

  16. As a recently retired woman in her early sixties, I still wish to look put together and appear as if I have made a conscious effort in the way I dress and look. I am going to strive towards having a more classic, well thought out, smaller wardrobe that I can quickly mix and match. I would like to start off with three or four basic colours, and then add in separates in colours that I know look good on me to match with my basic colours. Some I already have in my wardrobe, and some will be future well thought out purchases in the best quality within my personal budget. I will have mostly solid colours, and only a few subtle prints and bring in bolder prints in scarves. I’m really interested in colour analysis – knowing for sure what the most flattering colours are for my hair, eyes and skin tone. As we age our skin tone and hair colour may change, and I suddenly find myself questioning whether I look good in a certain colour, or whether I can suddenly wear a colour I never thought I looked good in before.

    1. I agree with you about the colors changing as we age. Getting your colors done should be fun, Penny.

  17. I absolutely love your idea of “style adjectives”, Pamela. Since retiring, I’ve been at sixes & sevens with my wardrobe. At first I thought I’d be wearing more dressy things, as I spent most of my working life in jeans, a hard hat & work boots, saving my “pretty” stuff for evenings out. But then I realized I love my jeans & tees, so am sticking with them — just more polished & stylish than the ones I wore on a job site. And choosing 5 style adjectives has been really inspiring. I think of all my roles — wife, companion, friend, lover, writer, engineer, biker chick & 100 other things — & wonder how I corral all of them into one wardrobe. I still don’t aspire to “elegance” on any level (my old biases kicking in :-), but Stylish, certainly. Self-Confident. Bold. Vibrant. Maybe a little Badass. Following this series is going to be an interesting exercise!

  18. When I read your post I immediately thought of the young woman in her mid-thirties that I met at a furniture consignment store last year. She was a soccer teammate of my daughter years before. She is a designer and had great items in her cart. She wore a simple black (maybe linen) midi dress, leather sandals, and distinctive metal earrings. I was struck by the elegant effect of these simple elements that would be appropriate and striking almost anywhere. I will try to integrate your message and her image going forward as I choose my wardrobe elements. Thank you for your inspiration.

  19. This is my first post. Your morning “how I am transitioning” blog post inspired me. Between COVID and my age (70) – my clothing needs have changed but my desire to be comfortable, easily elegant, chic, while accessorizing with high quality and good value has not changed. I’m drawn to relaxed classic with a personal touch. Sometimes this is achieved and sometimes it is not. To be consistent I’ll need to do what you and others are doing – purge. I’m realizing it is a more important step than making a (or any) new purchase. Purging is difficult and necessary. Thank you for sharing as it deeply resonated and it is greatly appreciated. I’ll look forward to your future blogs in hopes of picking up invaluable tips on how to evolve.

    1. Hi Carolyn, so glad you are here…and not that far away! My purging will go on all summer and I hope to be finished for awhile by then. Thanks for joining in…I hope to hear from you again.

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