Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ageless Style or Less Style for Age(d)

I recently made this top of out silk chiffon. New Look 6561. I chose the pattern and fabric for two reasons. 1. I wanted to try the style, and 2. I am on a personal mission to improve my confidence and skills when sewing silk chiffon. The sewing was, as I expected, a learning experience. I made the bias binding for the casing out of the chiffon. What a nightmare. It got done, but not to my normal level of quality. I really need to try that tip about starching the chiffon to make it easier to cut and sew. Okay, be honest now, is this style too young for me? Why do I feel like I am wearing a nightgown?

I am happy to be the age I am. However as I get older and my body changes, my hair lightens, and my skin coarsens, I have to do a lot of thinking about and editing, the current fashion trends to find ones that will work for me, both physically and mentally. I have discovered that I have a slightly different (more youthful) mental image of my body than the mirror shows. And horror of horrors, I have color and style preferences from the 80’s.
I recently purchased two excellent books that helped me on this self analysis. Forever Cool, by Sherrie Mathieson – Which is about how to achieve ageless youthful and modern personal style, and Closet Smarts by Emily Neill, Both available at Forever Cool shows people of all ages and shapes, men and women, in outfits you can spot on people today, that tell you how old the person is because they are wearing styles or garments from another era. She then shows the same person in updated, classic, reasonably priced clothes that make them look ageless. Unfortunately, I liked the 80’s style clothes in the before picture. And the book showed me that I was dressing my husband (yes, I buy his clothes) in a dated way.

Closet Smart has a slightly different focus. It takes real women of various heights and shapes and puts them in outfits for every occasion that draw your eyes to their good features and away from others. From this book I got the “A ha” moment on why raglan sleeves and crew necks don’t work for me. I buy and sew them, but they are never my favorites. I have rounded, sloping shoulders and I thought since raglan sleeves are rounded and curved, they should fit and look good. Instead they emphasize the roundness and curviness. To look my best, I need to have defined, structured shoulders. For example, for one of the tops in my SWAPs, I chose a raglan sleeve blouse pattern. It went together quickly and I loved the fabric. But when I put it on, I wasn’t thrilled, especially by the fit in the upper back and shoulders. It looks fine under jackets, but I probably won’t wear in on its own.

We are off to a Caribbean island for spring break, The “bod” is in good bathing suit form. I plan to consume rum based fruit drinks, stare at reefs and their fishy inhabitants, and wear my new top.


  1. Audrey, I love your top. It is current in keeping with the little camisole tops that are so trendy, but the pattern you've chosen has more substance to it - everything is covered and I think you look beautiful in it!

  2. Perfect top for the beach scene, I was going to say, summer is coming.
    Can't tell is it has a ruffle on the bottom. WOuld like to see a hint of a waist, nothing too fitted or would lose the brezzy feel. Remember the 80's elastic strip(in a fabric case) between two clips that you would gather a vest or man's shirt with at the small of your back?

  3. I like that top on you very much, it's sweet and feminine and you have great-looking arms.

  4. I don't think that top looks too young for you at all. And I really like the fabric pattern.

    I know what you mean though about being careful about looking out of place versus not looking dated. I have that trouble myself.

    So thanks for the book recommendations! They'll be going on my list!

  5. I'd be interested in learning about the "starch" technique for silk chiffon. I am about to embark on a silk journey, and I have a couple of pieces of chiffon to experiment with. I still have not made a pattern choice, nor have I sewed with silk before.

    Your blouse looks lovely, a very nice fit. I don't think much about age and style, it if feels good, it's likely ok.