I have recently rediscovered my kneecaps. It’s like magic: when they show, I think my outfit looks fresher, more modern. When they are covered, I feel more dowdy or frumpy.
I know that’s not the same for everyone, and it’s not even always true for me, but it’s become a new measuring stick for alterations. If a skirt or shorts are not working, I pull it up over my kneecaps to see if that’ll fix it, and often, it does!
Here’s an example. I thrifted this great American Eagle denim skirt that fits well and has a cool worn-in look. But something about it just wasn’t quite right. I didn’t feel cool in it.
So I sliced off about an inch and a half, to the tops of my kneecaps. Suddenly it felt fun and flirty, while still covering enough leg to make me feel age-appropriate and comfortable. Voila!
For this skirt, I did a quick zigzag stitch around the raw edge to keep it from fraying too much while still maintaining the frayed-edge look. I wear this skirt all the time now, a perfect blend of casual and a wee bit fancy.
How do you feel about your kneecaps? Would you show them off? Or is there something else you do to change an item of clothing from frumpy to fab?
Summer time means sundresses, in my humble opinion. Put one on, and you’re done! Plus you look really cute with almost no effort. Who doesn’t love that?
I have a decent selection of vintage sundresses I’ve thrifted over the years. But here’s a consideration I never bothered with before I turned 40: how do you wear vintage without looking, well, vintage? I feel uncomfortable trying to pull off a head-to-toe retro ensemble (though I highly admire women who do). On an a woman my age, I’ve found that retro can look frumpy. Yikes!
My solution is easy: I try to update my dresses with modern or classic accessories, whether shoes or a purse or even my hair. Of course, I don’t want my accessories to clash too much (again, not something I would have minded in my 20s!), so I avoid overly chunky or sporty. I aim for classic-modern.
I think this wonderful cotton turquoise-and-black dress was homemade. I love the way the pattern makes an inverted V down from the waist–it really flattens the tummy (or gives the illusion, anyway)! Above, I wore it with the self-belt, but below I switched it out for a black belt, which I think modernizes it nicely:
For this red bandana-print dress, I added a straw fedora and a crazy white safety-pin belt (and both kids!). I really like belts to give a dress a new shape and look.
Here’s the blue sundress I thrifted in Hawaii (and wore on vacation!). I love to wear these sandals with dresses; I like to think they give my sundresses that classic Audrey in Roman Holiday vibe. At least, in my mind…
And one more dress with the fedora and sandals. I’m holding a great beach bag from my mother-in-law (I think it came with her Estee Lauder purchase) and have a lovely co-model sporting his thrifted ensemble, too.
I also tend to wear big, chunky earrings with my dresses to toughen them up a bit. In the last photo, you can see my heavy silver hoops; I think in other pix I’m wearing earrings that look like metal studs.
I also usually wear my new crossbody purse, which I like because it’s small enough to be dainty but has a classic-modern summery vibe, too.
Do you love sundresses like I do? What do you do to avoid looking costumey? Or do you go full-on retro with pride?
Yes! The family is going to the beach for a little va-cay. Can’t wait! And of course, there are fashion dilemmas and decisions to be made…
My in-laws have rented a house on Dauphin Island, Alabama, along the Gulf Coast. The sand is pure white, the waves are salty, there are shells on the beach–all within a 3-hour drive from our house. My sister-in-law is bringing the fixin’s for margaritas, sangria, and mint juleps. So we should be fine. Just fiiiiiinnne.
Our car is going to be packed to the gills, so the question is, what can I pack for myself that will feel cool and beachy and work in multiple configurations?
Taking a hint from my friend Sarah C (hi Sarah!), who has done lots of traveling, I’m grabbing a few basics in a single color scheme: three tops and three bottoms, one dress, and a swimsuit coverup that could do double duty as a dress. That should last a week, with a wash in the middle.
Coral short-sleeve blouse
White sleeveless blouse
Gray and orange t-shirt (not quite the color scheme, but I love it!)
Dark denim shorts
Pale denim skirt
Hm, a definite theme among the bottoms. But denim is so versatile, I never get tired of it.
Here are some combinations of the tops and bottoms. Everything seems to work with everything else, and tucking vs. untucking gives each top a new look, I think.
The Hawaiian dress is a bit of lagniappe–I don’t need it, but I figure it will make me feel dressed up when we celebrate my in-laws’ 50th anniversary at the beach!
I’m debating bringing a long-sleeve chambray button-down as a coverup if I’m chilly–sometimes A/C can be overpowering. Accessories? Two pairs of sandals (I suppose I could just do one pair of flip-flops…but that would be so unlike me), one scarf, two sunhats, and my new straw purse (I went with the white!).
Do you have a packing strategy when going on vacation? What are your essentials, and what’s your lagniappe?
I love dresses! Now that my baby boy is fully weaned I am so excited to pull out my non-nursing-friendly dresses again. The ones that still fit, that is.
I’ve been wearing this particular dress a lot lately. It is a nice-weight stretchy polyester (a fabric I usually avoid in our humid climate) but on dry spring days, it is easy to wear, easy to clean, and moves with me. Plus it’s really versatile!
Here’s the blouse I thrifted and recently altered worn in two different ways.
First, the Funky Romantic.
This is one of my (growing) collection of sweatshirt-blazers. I like the Comme des Garcons vibe of this one; the seams are purposely unfinished, and the sleeves are pre-ruched, yet it still manages to look put-together. (more…)