Wardrobe for a mature autumn

I received a reader’s request for style tips for mature women:

 I have begun to almost live in jeans/slacks and want to be more feminine. Many of your suggestions seem to be for younger people. I am 62, very slim, warm autumn and want to build a feminine, but age appropriate retirement wardrobe. I tend to be rather plain in my appearance and some of the ideas in FW concerning clothing seem a bit silly at my age.

For a woman who is retired, there are a few advantages younger women do not have; She need not adhere to business dress codes, she need not care for small children on a regular basis and she can wear her jewelry as lavish as she pleases. I picked a smart casual style in autumn colours. My suggestion is to keep a few pairs of slack and basic tops that happen to be autumn colours, and combine them with clothing like the above.

A slim woman often has a small bust, which is flattered by a neckline that has something going on. The brown blouse and the burgundy sweater have a bow at the neckline. These are bows for grown-ups, not girlish bows, they look very womanly. The thick brown sweater adds bulk and warmth, but the braided neckline is very feminine. The short-sleeved top and the orange dress have draping that adds shape. If the waist is very slender, it is good to emphasize this with skinny belts. You’d need more belts than pictured, but not too many. I’d add a velvet belt in green or burgundy and a bright leather belt. Plainer tops can be dressed up with brooches, necklaces and bracelets. A silk flower brooch is very fascinating without being wishy-washy. Choose gold or bronze jewelry and semi precious stones like amber, jade and tiger eye. When tops have a V neck, wear silk camisoles under them. This makes the outfit more modest, more feminine and more interesting at the same time.

For skirts, I mostly chose flared and full skirts that add shape and movement. Silk satin skirts are very pretty and sumptuous and a large floral pattern or some delicate embroidery make them even more feminine. They are great to wear to dinner and can be combined with plain tops. A few sturdier skirts are also nice to wear instead of pants. When you do wear trousers, try not to wear too plain a top, lest you may look severe. Colourful boots or shoes also make your look more womanly, even when the heels are low. Try to go for leather shoes and bags and let most of your clothes be of natural material and good quality. After 50, you have the right to treat yourself.

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How to comfort a man

There always comes a time in a man’s life when he experiences loss or hurt. Hurt comes in many forms; he may be physically hurt or he may lose a person who is dear to him, a promotion he was fighting for or the ability to do something he enjoyed. By comforting a man when he feels loss or hurt, you can help heal his wounds and create more closeness between you. Listen to him to open the path of communication. You can look him in the eye while listening, which is more intimate, or both look in the same direction. Allow his pain and do not stifle it or shut it up. The point of grief and sadness is to tell us we lost something that was meaningful to us, something we valued. Telling a man to cheer up prematurely is to tell him he cannot deeply value or attach meaning to things and people. If a man has to cry, let him cry. Crying lets the body discharge stress chemicals that would otherwise build up. The idea is to heal his hurts, not to prevent or deny them.

What you can do is dress the wound and fluff up his pillow. Make him feel more comfortable. You can touch his arms and back gently or if he is your husband or child you can hug him and press him to your chest. What also helps is to make some tea, a drink or some comfort food. Do be careful not to overuse the latter, as it may cause him to rely on sugar, starch and alcohol. It is better to focus on listening and giving attention. At the same time, do not be too, too strict, find a balance. You can also let him spend time alone, while you spend some time by yourself, attending to your own needs so you have the strength to be there for him. If it is an emotional loss, take him for a walk in the fresh air. Walking is a meditative experience, and many people can more easily deal with their thoughts and feelings when walking.

Once the blood or pain has flowed out, it is time to return to strength, and you can enable this. The best way to do so is by not only building his strength when it is broken, but by always building him up. Let him know that he is strong and make him realise his character strengths in everyday life so that he can reach them easily whenever he needs all his strength. Of course, you can still remind him of the strength of his character . You can also make some healthy food for both of you to replenish his energies. Pain and loss are a normal part of life, how we respond to it is our choice. We can let is wear us down as persons, we can let it weaken our bonds by being callous to the hurt one  or we can let is show us what is meaningful, what we value and lighten our bonds by sharing the loss. Choose wisely.

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Dressing for your figure: Rectangle

Rectangles have a balanced figure, just like hourglasses and apples, their shoulders and hips have the same proportion. But where apples and hourglasses have roundness, rectangles have straight, square lines. Most rectangles are slim, but one can also find tall, solid statuesque girls with this figure. The Gamine look is made for your figure, and it always has a youthful elegance.

 

 

This dress requires no cleavage, but the cutouts make it as exciting as a low-cut LBD on a busty girl. It has a naturally straight shape and the sleeves add to the gamine spirit of it. Nevertheless, it is clearly a grown up dress. Somehow I see this worn with short, straight hair in a 1960’s cut, or an Audrey Hepburn updo. The neckline is too high for necklaces and too interesting for a brooch, so the accessories must be earrings. Sleeves too long for a bracelet ask for a ring. (Notice how erasing the unsuitable options leaves you with the fitting ones.) I’d go for either silver, white or red for a classic look, and hot pink or royal blue for something more edgy.

 

Where the first dress completely embraced the squareness of the rectangle figure, this one sneaks a few curves in. The illusion is subtle, refined. A thin girl padding her bra heavily and wearing a big puffy skirt can look insecure, but this is a very graceful way to add shape. Note that the sleeves and neckline are similar to those in the first dress. The pleats magnify the curve of a small bust, yet the straight lines harmonise with the straightness of the rectangle. The skirt is flared, and soft, but not rounded. It forms the classical A-line that looks natural on straight hips. The shortness of the skirt pronounces subtle curves by shortening them.  This should be worn with some fun tights for a bohemian look, perhaps in a more vivid green, and brown/burgundy boots or mary janes. It could also be glammed up with gold accessories.

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Dressing for your figure: Apple

Apples are round, cute  and juicy. They have average sized shoulders, breasts and hips, with a larger waist and a round tummy.  Apples resemble baby dolls and look their best in clothing that enhances their cuddlesome look. Their hands, wrists and lower legs tend to be more delicate and should be emphasized with rings, bracelets and the prettiest shoes.

Here’s a dress that would be stunning on an average size apple. Girls who are balanced at the shoulder, hip and bust but also have a round tummy and love handles can be made to look  almost like a subtler version of the hourglass. (Very slim women with a round tum tend to be rectangles and triangles.) All the folds make it hard to tell that the belly is bigger and create more shape in the bust and hip.  A corrective brief to the underbust can mold the middle a bit to help with this illusion. It shows off the legs and wrists that tend to be the more delicate parts of the apple body.  To further highlight the hands and wrists, do your nails nicely or get a manicure and wear an eye-catching bracelet. Some long earrings draw attention to your face and lengthen the upper half. With this colour, amethyst would be very nice. The shoes could be a peeptoe in some berry shade, oxblood pumps or some dark brown boots in autumn.

For the big apple, the focus should be less about creating a shapelier figure, and more about showing off the huggable baby doll appearance you naturally have. Empire lines work great for you and this bow neck adds a bit of girlishness.  I’d choose blue or green shoes and a bracelet for this outfit, and no belt, unless you are more pear than apple. I’d also choose bright pink for nail varnish and lipstick.

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Dressing for your figure: Triangle

The triangle is often seen as an ideal figure; no cellulite, no saddlebags, no big bum or thighs, and a full bust or athletic shoulders. Yet, as a triangle girl you may feel a bit boyish at times. To look your best, you can create curves by adding volume to the hips or by shaping the waist with wide belt and femininely tailored jackets. Both V necks and halternecks are becoming on you, as they break up the upper body. You’d want to avoid boat necks, turtlenecks and anything that makes your upper body look larger or more severe. A lucky thing is that you will be able to get away with more ruffles and ribbons than your curvier sisters.

This dress would look terrific on a girl with athletic shoulders and a medium-sized bust. It shows off your sporty body, nips in the waist, creates curves and softens your angular lines. Because of the neckline, it does require a long neck. With the beading, you can keep jewelry simple; diamond studs or drop earrings suffice. If I was a triangle going to a party, I’d wear this with the most amazing strappy silver sandals to show off those slender legs. To dress it down a little for a dinner, it would look good with a black jacket or cardigan. This further slims the upper body and allows you to wear it with simple black pumps.

Here’s a dress that looks good on those girls who are built like a boy with boobs. The V-neck lengthens your neck ad breaks up the bust, yet shows a hint of your feminine cleavage. The ruffles and the floaty fabric soften your look and the bow adds some sugary sweet girlishness. It would be nice to repeat the dusky pink of the bow in shoes, earrings or a hair accessory. Shoes and purses in navy, white, brown or bone would also work wonders with this.

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Counterstrategy

 

We often speak about strategies we can use when the other party is naïve. But what if we are dealing with a sophisticated quarry who aims to use strategy on us? And one day someone will use strategy on us. We cannot be so arrogant to assume we’re the only player in the world of paeans.  Nor can we blame another for what we do to him ourselves. Well, we could, but doing so is rarely successful. How then do we deal with this elegantly and effectively?

Firstly, congratulate yourself that someone has found you interesting enough to spend a large amount of energy on. Then,  observe and analyse the strategic behavior.  Is it pleasant or not? What do we feel like doing in response to it? Would that behavior enhance or damage our strategic position? Keep in mind that the quarry will often repeat behavior that results in a pleasant response. Finally, you consider the possible outcomes given your response. Let’s look into a an example:

A man invites you under the pretext of business or friendship or some other thing not related to romance or seduction. It seems like he has ulterior motives, but of course you are unsure.  You find his invitations to be enjoyable for their own sake, so unless they result in anything negative, you are happy with them.  Let’s say the pretense is business. If it is good business for you, and you would also find the man attractive on a romantic level, all possible results are positive and you can follow trough quite safely. If the man is a disaster in business and a cad in his personal life, you would be best off declining as there is no positive outcome once you get entangled. Worse, you may feel obligated to something unstrategic because of a history of pleasant interactions. However, if you are a bit of a cad yourself, you may be able to enjoy the interaction and decline further involvement without guilt.  You may even feel  free to use his as bait for bigger fish. Another option is that the interaction is dull, but the possible result is interesting. This would usually describe a situation where we want to keep it strictly business, and perhaps fear the quarry wishes to bore us on a romantic level. (If you’d consider romance with a man you find dull in dating…well, to each her own but you know what you are.) You have to decide for yourself how much you are willing to tolerate for the opportunities you hope for, and be willing to walk away once that limit is crossed.

As you see, being the target of strategic action can have many different kinds of options, and though we cannot protect ourselves completely without also lessening the amount of positive experiences we have, we can enter the battlefield with both eyes open. We weigh the risks and the rewards and take power by either accepting both or rejecting them as suits our objectives and nature best.

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Dressing for your figure: Pear

Pears have a delicate pair of shoulders, small to medium breasts and wide hips. Some pears have very sturdy legs, others have long, tapered legs and again others have a bubble butt and shapely legs. All pears look good showing off their tiny waists. The narrowness of the shoulders is attractive and worth showing, but only if balance is kept by adding volume at the shoulder.

This dress is a good example of one that balances the round hips by making the shoulders more interesting. The pleats at the bust work wonders at distracting from a not so developed chest and the skirt  looks great on shapely or tapered legs and okay on sturdy legs too. This should be work without necklaces or brooches, but instead with earrings and a pretty purse.

On heavier pears with very solid legs, long strapless dresses look extremely good. The heavy pear often has shoulders and breasts that are delicate and feminine and yet also juicy enough to put on full show. The show of flesh in the top half, makes the coverage of the legs a requirement for elegance and modesty rather than an attempt to hide anything. It also leaves plenty of room for a necklace. The shoes can be flat slippers, but should be very pretty slippers, perhaps in silver.

Short pears can elongate their legs with high heels in the same shade as their hose and chubby pears can use tights that smooth out any bumps or cellulite. It matters little how big the hip curve is, as long as it is very sleek.

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Dressing for your figure: Hourglass

Hourglass actually describes a variety of figures that all happen to dip in at the wait a lot. Some have large shoulders, a large bust, a long narrow waist, broad hips and wide thighs, like a double triangle. Others are fine boned and fleshy with average shoulders, a very large bust, a narrow midsection with full hips and a round tummy and bum, like a peanut. Both look good in clothes fitted at the waist, princess lines, v-necks, sweetheart necks, wrap dresses and tailored, single breasted jackets. Hourglasses should avoid any wide, tentlike dresses, boxy jackets and shapeless shirts.

Double triangles look good in wide skirts, with belts that emphasize a long, tiny waist, and plain sleeves. This one would be perfect, especially with a red or brown belt. Another good outfit for this type would be a fifties skirt with a short sleeved blouse and a wide belt.

Biubiu dress

Peanuts look good with sleeker styles; tight skirts to show off a round bum and fine knees, no fuzz at the waistline, and details at the neckline, shoulder or sleeve. A brooch close to the shoulder and some red lipstick would look nice with this. The necklace in this picture is also a good example of how necklaces can be worn by busty women: On or just below the collarbone to fill in the space.

Biubiu dress

Both dresses are from Biubiu, a small company that sews for busty women.

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Glamour II

The enchantment of glamour requires the space for the viewer to project dreams and fantasies on. This often means being somewhat distant and dishonest makes it easier for him (or her) to become infatuated with you. At the same time, this makes it very difficult for the viewer to love the real you. On one hand, our ego wants us to be the dazzling superstar seductress and on the other, our heart wants to be open and loved. How do we resolve this?

Distanced, glamorous people have the reputation of winning and breaking many hearts. Glamour appeals to the dark side of the viewer, but there is no reason why a worthwhile girl could not mercifully indulge the dark side of her beau. Power, in itself is neither good nor evil. It can be used to hurt but also to heal. When you show something of yourself, something real and good, but without showing too much too soon, you allow for magic to happen. Instead of the viewer projecting a full image that traps you, you let him project a sparkle on your skin, a shine on your hair and perhaps even a halo over your head.

Imagine a mask that is made from coloured glass and another made from wood. When you wear the wooden mask, you are hiding your true self, being defensive and absent facially.  The mask is the same no matter who wears it. But with the glass mask, you are showing your own face, at least most of it, and enhancing it with the qualities of the mask. Not only that, but you are also enhancing the mask with the radiance of your face. Notice the win-win situation here. We have our dazzling, glamorous image and our radiant, open heart working together.

 

 

 

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Glamour

What makes a sleek, pretty iced cake so attractive? Even when you know the slice you get may not be as nice as an average, homemade cake, there is still something about it that lures you in. You often find people glamourising negative things like violence, prostitution and drugs. And somehow, things that have a dark side lend themselves surprisingly well to glorification. Perhaps the mix of darkness and glittery brightness are especially attractive. But why?

We all have a dark side. Because your quarry is aware of his own dark side, it puts him at ease to discover that you have a dark side too. Yet, had you displayed your dark side too brazenly, it would likely have scared him off.  That darkness hidden behind softness and light is not just attractive because it suggests “A lady in the street and a hussy between the sheets”. Veiled darkness is also alluring because of its ambiguity. The contrast itself gives one two concepts between whin one can doubt. This, the act of doubting, forces one to think of the ambiguous object. In this case, you.

The root of the meaning of the word glamour is that of a magic act, and in a way it still is. Glamour casts a spell on the ordinary and base, making it seem extraordinary and exalted. It is neither truth nor lie, and creates a new truth. The glamorous version of a person is like the love-baby of the real person and the fantasies of others projected on him, or more often, her. I’d say that it is not just the result, but also the process that makes the object of glamour so wondrous. You see, when we invite someone to glamourise us, we invite him to paint the pictures of his imagination unto us. We welcome him to express his artistic talents. Now, had we already been perfect, the spell would be empty and the viewer no artist. The spell of glamour allows you to take a step into the dream world of the viewer. It is here and only here that love is created.

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