over50feeling40: Dressing Your Fabulous Self….With Style!!
Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!

Apr 1, 2013

Dressing Your Fabulous Self….With Style!!

This is the second post in a series I am writing for the new site, Generation Fabulous . The first post, HERE, discussed our attitudes.  I hope you will be able to spend some time with the amazing women of Generation Fabulous!!

Hopefully, we all agree YOU ARE FABULOUS!  No matter your age, size, income levels, or political affiliation….whatever….YOU ARE FABULOUS!  We started with our attitudes, and I know something which helps my attitude is to look and feel my absolute best!
When I decided to perform a personal makeover at age 50, there were many things to consider.  I watched makeover television shows…I read magazines and blogs…I spoke with other women…and I walked the malls and shops.  I was taking me from a frumpy- mom-typical-old-teacher look to a more stylish-in-charge-strong- middle aged-professional woman!  The question was …How to do this and still be me?

In reading one style book, this quote jumped off the page:
“Appearance can be a powerful and useful tool in controlling the kinds of message you send to others about who you are, your age, and how you view your age. If you get the response you want, your style fits: If you do not get the response you want, consider making some changes.”  -Alison Vaughn
After reading this, I began to think about the messages I desired to send with my style.  I wanted messages which were true to me.  This is where personal style becomes very unique and individual.  We are all different right down to the fingerprints, so why should we all look the same.  The only way I can decide how a trend or new garments fits me is to have a formula.  This is why I developed the over50feeling40 Foundational Five.

Every time we get dressed, we are sending messages.  As I entered age 50, I was communicating the message I DO NOT CARE ABOUT PAM.  My looks said, I AM TIRED and LEAVE ME ALONE.  When I did dress up, I often went to a “wacky” extreme which said I NEED ATTENTION, NOW!  My wacky style said I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO.  I KNOW I NEED A CHANGE, SO I WILL JUST TRY EVERYTHING AT ONCE!
I now understand why sales people were not particularly helpful and why my children and husband made comments about how I looked. I also had a closet full of misfit pieces…lots of garments handed down from my own mother and mother-in-law and cheap, cheap, unflattering clothes.
After a process of waking up and seeking guidance, I finally decided the best way to define my messages was to selective the adjectives which described the messages I wanted to send.  I narrowed them to five, because if I focus on more than five then my style lacks direction and definition.  After testing this process with friends and readers of my blog, it has proven to be very successful.
So, the Foundation Five is simple.  Select five adjectives you want to communicate with your clothing.  Take those five shopping with you. Any garment you purchase MUST meet all five adjectives.  If not, put it back.   Make sure they are displayed in your closet.  Any style you put together, must meet all five or don’t go out.  Following these five will eventually develop a personal style for you and may even open new doors.
All of us will have different five adjectives…because we are all gloriously and wonderfully unique.  Your fabulous five might include words like simple, tailored, romantic, trendy, preppy, bohemian, approachable, minimal…there are a plethora of words to compose the communication you are seeking with your style.  Of course, you can change and refine them as you grow and go.  But, only you can decide what the messages will be…the more consistent your messages are, the people will understand who you are.  Infamous designer, Coco Chanel, once said, “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. ALOUD.”

Here are my five:

  1. Strong.  Does the piece or outfit give me a feeling of strength…in charge…professional woman?
  2. Chic.  Does the piece or outfit help me to feel chic, classy, dignified?
  3. Creative.  Does the piece or outfit say that I am a creative, artsy person?
  4. Youthful.  Does the piece or outfit communicate a vibrant, youthful, age appropriate message?
  5. Fit.  Does the piece or outfit fit and flatter my body in a fabulous, appropriate way?
I have made fewer mistakes since I began to shop with my formula.  I donate less clothing to Goodwill. I take time and am more thoughtful in the dressing room. There are fewer moments when I say, WHAT WAS I THINKING? And more moments when I say, “Oh Yeah…this is fabulous!”  Salespeople take me seriously now, because I look better when I go out, even to run errands.  Parents and students approach me differently.  The ultimate bonus?  Smiles.  Smiles to wear with my new style!

Please let me know if I can help in any way...just send an email to


Wednesday I will announce the winner of the Soft Surroundings 

topper and make sure you register to win one of three tunics to be 

gifted to readers from Foxcroft.  NOTICE...there is a new way to 

enter that does not involve Facebook!!

Have a terrific Tuesday all!!


  1. I wish I knew your formula a long time ago. I have so many mismatched pieces, and now that I work from home I wear mainly sweats and t-shirts. Lovely. Thanks for this post. It has inspired me.

  2. I am taking a page from your playbook, trying to change my image based on the clothing I wear. I believe I am making an improvement in the way I am perceived and more important the way I perceive myself. Your helpful hints are inspirational. PS> I signed up for the Foxcroft newsletter even though I do not do facebook.

  3. This is such a different perspective on style; I like it. I'm going to think about what my words would be. I know "happy" would be at the top, but what else would be there?

  4. Great formula! Fit is so important - I also have a couple of colors I avoid. If I did not look good in that color when I was younger, it looks dreadful on my now!

  5. What a great way to start the day reading your positive thoughts. I present training to young lawyers about marketing the legal profession, and maintain that if one is to dress appropriately, you will get the right response. If one doesn't want to be laughed at, don't dress like a clown. How refreshing to follow your blog!

  6. Hi my dear,

    I do not want to commit to a style. I have my own style.
    Many greetings Sabine ♥

  7. Great post! I also notice that I get the attention I want from sales staff when I dress well instead of my sloppy weekend wear.

    I suppose I should get the same attention from sales staff no matter what I'm wearing, but alas .. it just doesn't work that way.


  8. That's exactly what this post is about Sabine!! Having YOUR style! Thanks for reading!!

  9. Wonderful post. I know I always feel better when I dress - even a little - which is why I dress for phone meetings even when I'm sitting in my home office and no one can see me!

    The confidence that comes from feeling like you're expressing yourself in clothing - and comfortable - is even more important as we begin to grow a little older, I think. It's counterbalance in a culture that would seek to render us invisible, at a time in life when we have more to offer than ever!

  10. Hi Pam~This is such a thought provoking post. I have never really thought about my personal style in these terms....but I like it. Off the cuff I like stylish, chic, well-suited and with a bit of an edge that defines personality.
    I will be putting more thought into this. For now I'm packing for a little beach vacay so for now my style is laid back, resort chic! Thanks for the inspiration-as always!
    xx, Heather

  11. good post Pam
    i think so many women just give up as they get older or even go overboard and dress costumey
    i always love the quote, dress for the job you want, not the job you have
    i think you can apply this even if you don't work
    i have said before, it takes just as much time to pull on sweatpants and and tshirt as it does to put on a pair of trousers and and a pretty blouse!


Thanks so much for joining in our conversation today! I appreciate your time and love hearing from you!