It has been suggested that I position myself as an “advanced” style influencer – not so advanced as Seth Cohen’s dames, perhaps, but someone who dresses like a grown woman, who is not overly eccentric, and still looks cool.
There are not too many examples out there in Instagram-land of cool, non-eccentrics in the mature-boomer-adult category. After all, who wants to view a model in a black mumu, blanket cardigan, or leggings and an oversize sweater.
It’s not aspirational.
One of the most impressive Instagrammers of a certain age – or any age, actually -– is @IconAccidental, who incidentally is getting more eccentric by the minute. When I first happened upon her, it was crisp white shirts, an elongating flare pant or destroyed jean, and interesting shoes (along with signature cat eye shades). But recently things seem to have gone more the Iris Apfel way.
This all comes to mind because it is my contention that to remain current and cool, style-wise, the older (yes, I am finally using the word) woman should update her look – judiciously. That means not blindly buying into trends, but certainly being aware.
Of course, it is said that by a certain age, you should know your style, what looks good and not, and perhaps have developed a uniform of sorts for different occasions. (I’m not exactly there yet – just read my recent post on my closet cleanse.)
That said, here are some of-the-moment trends – and how to wear them, or not.
Cropped slim flare jean
One of the best pieces of fashion writing I’ve read recently was by Molly Fischer in The Cut, titled Succumb to the Siren Song of Unflattering Pants. The piece, which chronicles the rise of high-rise, non-stretch, ugly flood pants, reminded me of why I love to write about fashion: not to sell a trend or a top or a jean, but to dissect it, put in context, question or ridicule it – only sometimes to praise it.
And I bought a version of the ugly pant – stretchy, cropped, slim flare jeans, which made me feel in the moment. They need a certain shoe to look good (high), and with their frayed edges, are super casual. I actually had to trim the unruly fringe on mine. Do not wear these with an oversize long top. Do wear with a comfy T or tank or crisp fitted white shirt, and if you must wear a coverup, make it flowy but close to the body.
Off shoulder anything
Here’s another one I bought into, last year with a white, almost sheer gypsy top that was basically unwearable. How do the girls make the shoulders stay put? No idea. This season, I was smarter (I think – it’s been too cold to wear yet). I picked up a darling Tara Jarmon little black classic cardigan, short-sleeved, with wide grosgrain shoulder straps and a peek-a-boo shoulder. Why it will work: it will stay in place, it has a classic element, it’s black, it’s a wonderful lightweight merino wool, and the shoulder is a touch flirty, a touch trendy. Remember: comfort is key.
They are everywhere, from under $100 to $600 and up (Stuart Weitzman, blush pink studded with pearls, $598). They’re not always the most comfortable, however, so be wise when choosing. (Many women of a certain age need a good last, not a flat insole.) Great casual wear, and casual is the rule of the day. Coolest folk I know wear them in white. Not sure what one would do with that $598 pearly pair, although if I had them I would have worn them to the MAC Jangala gala with my palazzo pants (cold rainy night, sore knee, so strappy heels were not an option). Others are studded in crystals, sport buckles, appliquées, and come in silver or gold. I chose a pair from Browns Couture with honking crystal buckles – because they were comfy. La Canadienne has some great basket-weave versions.
Three days, three mentions of millennial pink, a colour new on my radar as a choice for millennials. If we’re talking that non-colour blush going to ballet slipper peach – I’ve been there for decades. If we’re talking ice pink to dusty rose, I’m there, too. Remember those pink reefer coats and blazers a few seasons ago? I’m still sorry I didn’t buy one.
On blush, it’s my favourite colour (after black), and one which I believe is universally flattering and the best neutral. I just bought a pleated blush bag on sale at Anthropologie, for which I have no use, but the shade is just so pleasing. But I trotted it out to the opening of the Mount Stephen Hotel and got a gushing compliment from someone in the crowd.
Blush or pink, it’s utterly wearable in the proper places and doses: a bag, a shoe, a blazer, a coat, a shirt, for sure. Just don’t go for a ruffly pink dress or veer too much toward bubblegum pink.
I once had a pair of mustard yellow Fendi gloves that were so Italian sophisticated, so Tilda Swinton in I Am Love. (Left them in a cab, not yellow in New York , but orange in Toronto, though.) A friend has a beat-up yellow Chanel 2.55, and it’s an awful lot of fun. But it’s not my idea of an investment. Yellow is best on a celebrity who wants to pop on a red carpet. But if you must indulge, try a print – geo or floral – with yellow in small proportion. It might just lift our spirits during this grim, rainy spring.
The flamenco ruffle
Wanted. In Red. See the Joncas brothers. (Beware of tiny baby ruffles. See below.)
Khaki is another great neutral, sophisticated and classic. The military brass button spring jacket is a keeper. So are trousers – tailored or cargo – and bags. The trench is usually too classic for me, but did you see that Ralph Lauren ballgown on Priyanka Chopra at the Met Gala? Simply fabulous, for a red carpet, at least.
I indulged in a little Free People cropped cotton jacket (alternative to jean jacket), with a ruffled hem. It’s very of the moment, and to pull it off, everything else will have to be clean and classic. Or was it a mistake?
Betsey Johnson full-blown blooms are all over the shops, targeted to romantic young things. I’ve been there and done that. You probably have, too. Still, there’s something about a floral. Options: Liberty prints (see Simons) or judicious full-blown details. Best bet: sophisticated Art Nouveau buds. And then there’s my current obsession: ultra feminine Olivia Burton watches with full blooms (bees and butterflies, too) on the face. The bloom is never off the rose entirely.