over50feeling40: Creating Personal Style With The Foundational Five™
Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!

Creating Personal Style With The Foundational Five™


Now, for Personal Style......

"Appearance can be a powerful and useful tool in controlling the kind 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

  We are all blank canvases just ready to be painted by a master.  That is what is so beautiful about all of us...we are different portraits...not meant to look the same.  Personal style and fashion are so much fun for that very reason...it is PERSONAL...unique to each individual.

     At the time of my weight loss this past spring, I did not want to replace the oversized clothes with just anything.  I wanted direction, so I gave the question of


much thought.  I looked at magazines...considered trends...wrote down things I like and don't like...but kept coming back to this: 


Every time we get dressed each day, we are sending a message to ourselves as well as the outside world.  If I throw on a large, over sized T-shirt and do not fix my hair or makeup, then the message to me and others is that I don't care or matter.  If I go to the wacky extreme, then I am saying I want attention and do not feel confident in my skin...though it might appear to the world the exact opposite.  

WHAT DO I WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH MY STYLE?  I decided for me the best way to answer that question was with adjectives and descriptions.  I narrowed it down to five...because if I focus on more than five then my style lacks direction, definition, and, well, gets a little unfocused again....(Yes, in the past I have been there before!)

Now, when I go into a dressing room I take with me THE OVER50FEELING40 FOUNDATIONAL FIVE
...how's that for naming a plan??  When I try something on, it has to answer all five questions or I do not buy it.  Since beginning to shop with this plan in June 2011, I am leaving more behind and loving more of what I bring home.  I am also testing this with friends and so far the response is great...they love to have direction when they shop!  I even had a college student tell me that she uses these guidelines now herself and recommends them to other college girls!

Because we are all different canvases, our foundational five
 will be different.  But, here are mine:

1.  Strong...Does the piece give me a feeling of strength...in charge...professional success?
2.  Chic...Do I feel chic, dignified, elegant?
3.  Dramatic...Is there a creative touch to what I am doing that is unique to my artsy side? 
4.  Current...Do I feel "young at heart" in an appropriate manner?
5.   Savvy....Will I be taken seriously...look intelligent...and feel my confident best!

Your fabulous five might include words like simple, tailored, romantic, trendy, country club, preppy, bohemian, approachable...there are a plethora of words to compose the communication we are seeking with our own individual foundational five.  But, I would like to submit to you that if you shop with five goals in mind, then you will begin to define your own style.  You will also take less clothing to thrift and return less to the stores and have fewer moments before a three way mirror saying WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Since I began...I like it...it works!

Now, as the last post says.............GO SHOP!!

"There is nothing which prevents a woman from being stylish, confident, and fashionable...age does not matter; income does not matter; and body size does not matter.  We build walls in our minds, but breaking down those walls can be easy and so much fun."  - Pam Lutrell



  1. Great wisdom here and I am Lovin the leopard cape! pippa

  2. I love your attitude! I promote that concept that if you want people to laugh at you, dress like a clown, and if you are surprised, change your style to get a different response.

  3. Great tips, I shall do my FUNCTIONAL FIVE today, and spread the word to others. Thanks for presenting them in such a nice way.

  4. Thanks for defining such a concise way to pull together one's wardrobe style, love it.

  5. Great idea. How do you fit this with work an weekend wear?

  6. I need this! I have created a tentative list ...twice! I love your blog, and I need it at this crossroads of my life right now. Thank you.

  7. Quick points to check before darting out the door! Thanks!

  8. Beautiful pics .I love these colors.

  9. Great advice. I lost quite a bit of weight two years ago and cleaned out my closet as hard as it was. Now I don't buy or make anything I don't absolutely love and feel confident in. It has been a fun adventure rediscovering who I am.

  10. I no longer have anything in my closet that doesn't feel comfortable. When I'm comfortable I feel confident. When I feel confident I look great. When I fell like I look great I'm a happy person. It all works!

  11. I love this whole concept!

  12. Mmmmm... well my Foundational Five might be Comfortable Classy Flattering Fun and A Touch of Luxury - how come I am slobbing around in tatty old jeans and a gardening t-whir most days? Boy do I need help! J 55 UK

  13. I do love your personal style!! And what a great concept. After losing 55 pounds, I have no clothes .... I still want to lose about another 15 pounds so I have been very reluctant about buying too many items. I do think I need to take your advice and try Goodwill or some other thrift shops and really look at the clothes. I usually look at everything else but the clothes. Thanks so much for the inspiration that you provide those of us who are over 50!!
    Being a professional but one that only gets to wear scrubs to work ( an RN), it has been hard for me over the past 20 years when I gained all of the weight to define any type of style for myself.......


  14. This reminds me of a post I have been reading on Linked In about creating your personal brand. You can pick anything - the color red, scarves, wearing 5 inch heels.... But regardless of how, the creation of a personal brand can be really powerful.

  15. Good Day!

    Just a quick FYI: I ended up here through Pinterest, somehow.

    I, too, am "over 50 feeling 40" (love that!) and looking forward to your emails.


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