Memorable over 50, Part 2: A legacy of style

a legacy of style

Happy Friday, all!  Today is more of the conversation I began yesterday.  So join me for Memorable over 50, Part 2: A legacy of style.

In 2015, I was also writing posts for the Huffington Post, and shared this story in April.

This amazing woman left a legacy of style that has always stayed with me…though she never knew it.

I hope you enjoy the story of how she touched a 10-year-old me.

The article was headlined: Leaving a legacy of personal style.


a legacy of style

She moved with purpose and joy. She was the ultimate hostess, welcoming everyone into a perfectly decorated home. At 10 years of age, I had never seen such beautiful china, mesmerizing paintings or heard music in a living room from a baby grand piano. Mrs. L.T. Burns of Wichita Falls, Texas, was a legend during my childhood, and I was in her home.

In 1954, the Burns began to place lights and displays on their lawn at Christmas. Every year it grew more grand and lines became longer. Some years, she would join Santa in welcoming the crowds and handing out candy canes to the children. My memories include her smiles and lovely coats, coveted by my mother every year of her life.

a legacy of style

One year, my church choir was caroling in front of the house when unexpectedly, Mrs. Burns invited us in for cookies. I soaked in each decoration, each kind word spoken and the music playing accompaniment as the queen of our town greeted every person in the room. Her Christmas legacy was eventually donated to the local college, Midwestern University, and is called the “MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights,” where her memory lives on each holiday season.

a legacy of personal style
Mrs. Burns’ left behind an impeccable personal style noted by joy, compassion, and generosity. So many women balk at the phrase “personal style.” Most often they are only thinking of models in Vogue rather than the legacy left behind, but our style has everything to do with that legacy. In The Power of Style by Annette Tapert and Diana Edkins (Copyright 1994), 10 women are profiled for “transforming their existence into a living work of art.” They selected women who lived with discipline, a sense of humor, resourcefulness, originality, verve, fearlessness and intelligence. Women who left powerful legacies to inspire us all.

The authors remind readers it is less important to have money and more important to have purpose, for style so often is birthed from resilience over heritage. These are women who dress for every occasion — every time they leave the house — simply because they dress for themselves and no one else. They have an appreciation for the unexpected and how events work together. They do not fear what lies ahead.

legacy of style

I did not begin to care about my personal style until after 50. Now, how I will be remembered is something I consider. Each encounter, every day, is a part of my style. Each message I communicate with my dress, as well as my words, are a part of my style. Yet, it is important to note, style is just as much about our insides as what we wear and our home décor on the outside. An excitement for each day and decisions about how to impact others are components of style. The truth is we all have a style whether we like it or not. Perhaps, now is the time to consider what your current style looks like. If it transforms into a living work of art, what do the brush strokes say?

legacy of style


Stylist and television personality Stacy London writes in The Truth About Style , “Style is transformative.”

I agree and know this to be true. At 50, I transformed from a depressed, dowdy, uninspired woman to a joyful, driven, diligent, purposeful one who hopes to leave a legacy of joy just as Mrs. Burns in Texas did. Maybe a 10-year-old girl is watching.

Thank you for joining me today to share my story and memory of Mrs. Burns.  I hope in some way this has inspired you and given you things to ponder.

Please leave any thoughts here….I will be back tomorrow for Would You Wear It?  Until then…..


By Pamela Lutrell

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legacy of style


  1. Style, to me, is how I interact with others, carry myself and how I speak. Clothes are “fashion”, decor is just that, decor. I wish for my style to be outward focused. Yes, I care about my appearance and that is apparent, but it’s not all about me in this life. I have felt more “at home”, cared for and comfortable in the most humble of homes, and by contrast, nervous or on edge in “magazine” homes where the focus was on the host/hostess. This post causes me to step back and make sure that my style is focused on what I can give in life. Fashion can be fun, but style can either draw or repel. Thank you for posting this! Always good to do a heart check!

  2. You often give me something to think about, but these posts of style have definitely made a difference in my mindset, and will in my future. I tend to be more conservative in my dress as to not draw attention to myself. Yet I place myself in prominent positions by my willingness to lead in many situations, as I did as department chair for 29 of my 30 years of high school teaching. I so enjoy your “joyful dressing” and am determined to follow suit. People may look at me and say “ Look at that old woman in her loud clothes!”, but I can live with that! I’m going to put more joy in the clothes I wear because I love them!

  3. I think you will be surprised, Celia…that no one will think that! Rather focus on how they will think…there is that joyful woman with her great style.

  4. Thank you for sharing your life experience as a child with Mrs. Burns. I can see why she left permanent footprints on your heart. She was a beautiful person inside and out.
    How wonderful you did a major transformation at the age of 50. Congratulations, it’s not always easy breaking out of old habits or the way of being.

  5. Pamela, what a wonderful, thought-provoking post! I agree that style shows inside and outside. It all works together to define style. I strive to be pleasant to look at, and also projecting joy and positivity to those around me. And I want to show caring for others to take away the self-focus. Your messages each day help us to be stylish women. ✨️

  6. That transformation was a defining moment for me. It was a process but so glad it happened!

  7. Oh you made me smile this morning. This brought to mind my Aunt Janet, my stepdads sister, who I always thought was so darn cool when I was a kid. She was married to one brother, divorced him, married the other brother and yet everyone got along in the years that followed. She wore bright red lipstick and had raven black hair, she had bright red carpet in her house, that my mother thought hideous, but I loved it. She had the most beautiful lavender bedroom. In my teenage years, my parents and I had issues and I went to live with her a few years, she always spoke with me like I was a person and not just a kid.

  8. This was very good. Our style must come from within not just what is on the outside. No wonder we get depressed when we constantly chase some that is really not something we feel comfortable with. This is definitely something to think about and act upon.
    Thank you! Have a great day.

  9. What a wonderful reminder about our original influencers. I carry bits and pieces of several women I admired: my grandmother for her gentle and humble ways; my childhood next-door neighbor who was a former Mrs. Nevada, had six children, and yet managed to always look elegant and keep a lovely home; and my college Spanish professor, with her wild long black tresses and bohemian style. These and others, including men of course, I carry with me in my own special blend to share with everyone in my circle.

  10. What a lovely memory. The true spirit of Christmas and joy is made up all these wonderful, life inspiring stories. And the love of the Almighty shines on all. Who knows how we touch the life’s of others in our small daily courtesies? Your joy touches your readers every day. Such beauty in all that you are doing.

  11. I greatly enjoyed this post. I googled Mrs Burns, and she was quite an interesting lady. She was a widow for 16 years, but she continued on with the Christmas lights display. Also, there were pictures of her in an Easter Bunny costume helping with a children’s program. What a special woman!

  12. I remember the Easter Bunny costume! She was very special and a great role model for joy!

  13. I always love reading your “JOYFUL “ posts.

    I think we can always learn & I really think the most important thing is to to be confident in yourself…….I have to remind myself that the best thing we can do is to ……
    age with grace & joy.

    It is important to present yourself looking the best you can each day!
    I am going to be 77 next month & I love life & family.

  14. A very thoughtful and inspiring post. Thank you for your story as a 10-year-old and as a mature modern woman today.

  15. I love this: “The truth is we all have a style whether we like it or not.” Those who live only for comfort, or ease, or to not bother about what they wear or how they look or act do have a style, even though they try to deny that they care. Thank you for motivation to keep on keeping on.

  16. I am 52 and feel depressed, dowdy and uninspired…. and cynical and judgmental. I keep wondering where I left my once happy self. After reading this post I am glad there is hope for me. Thank you for always being up beat.

  17. There is always hope, Nancy! Make a decision to turn it around…like I did…and stick with it. Let me know if I can help.

  18. Im determined to have my own style too and appreciate your putting it into words .. i too transformed myself after leaving a long toxic marriage at age 48 . ….learning to finally practice self care after years of putting everyone else first .. now i find dressing well and caring how i present myself to others and myself matters .ans makes me happy . I take care to be well dressed and fashion forward ! now I feel confident and happy about myself . I love fashion and enjoy looking nice for me , even if im overdressed at times .….and i have been in a happy second marriage for 21 years . Joyful is a good word for how we women should feel every day . We are worth it ! Thanks !

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