Mr. Mickey and I had a professional portrait done in 2011. David J. Clap, the artist/photographer, required that we meet with him for a consultation a few days before the shoot. He talked about what to wear and what to expect, and why. The photographer’s words are still fresh in my mind. “Don’t wear more than one color, and don’t do anything different with your hair or makeup.” He also said, “When you look at this portrait in twenty years, you don’t want to see the current trends because it will seem dated, and you want the portrait to be timeless. You want to present your best version of your daily self.”
That conversation took place after I had lost about twenty pounds, and it helped me rethink everything about my look and my wardrobe. It was the perfect time for me to hear this message because I lost another twenty-five pounds, which required buying a whole new wardrobe. I started wearing more classic pieces, stopped buying prints and patterns, and cut back on the makeup and jewelry. The number of colors in my outfit is almost always less than three. I use one or two fabulous accessories to make the look my own and pull it all together. If I wear a hat, I don’t wear earrings or a necklace. Scarves are, by far, my favorite accessory.
This evolution took a few years because I had to overcome my peers’ influence and the onslaught of style messages meant to sell fashion on a regular rotation. I spent twenty years working in retail management and buying, so it was drilled into my mind to wear only the latest and greatest thing. We were billboards for the stores. We had to show what we were selling at that moment. When the items got marked down, we didn’t wear them in the stores anymore. The latest “thing” changes every six weeks in the fashion industry, which means you do a lot of shopping to keep up.
Humans naturally take on the styles and speech patterns of those around us. As we travel across the country, regional influence is evident, and international travel presents even more cultural differences in style and tastes. This influence begins in childhood, but I know women in their forties and fifties who are still guilty of buying something because it looks good on someone else. In each of my blog posts, I try to share information or tips to help you rediscover the styles and colors that look best on you and work well with the life you live now.
I rarely buy anything new now, and I never shop on impulse. When I do buy something, I have done my research, and there is a need for it in my wardrobe. If I wouldn’t buy something at full price, I certainly am not going to buy it just because it is marked down. My recent purchases have included jeans because I want to wear longer styles and a wider leg with lower-heeled shoes. The jeans shown here are the Mid Rise Stretch Skyscraper Jeans from Express, but they no longer have this color or wash.
I searched for a versatile gray wool jacket to layer over sweaters and tops with jeans in the colder months. I can wear it as a blazer or as outerwear because it is oversized. I half-tucked the long sleeve tee, which is about three years old, from Chico’s. The shoes are basic oxfords from Nordstrom. If you purchase these shoes, go up a half-size. They do run small. The belt is a few years old. I think I bought it at T.J.Maxx. The necklace was a gift from French Kande.
We chose different frames, but this portrait on canvas is displayed in each of our homes.