Buy less, choose well… Vivienne Westwood

My life is about to change. I’m changing location and vocation, so this is a superb time to start transitioning my wardrobe. I have purged my existing closet of many fashion faux pas from my past and am ready to add some fun and reliable wardrobe pieces to perk up a closet full of safe neutral basics. Searching for the perfect transition wardrobe had me feeling like Goldilocks trying to find the perfect porridge. Not too dressy, not too casual, I want just right!

Online shopping is certainly easy (sometimes a little too easy!) but after ordering a couple of items which I thought would be perfect but had to be sent back, I decided to return to good ol’ brick and mortar. One of the benefits of having older sisters is that you can call them for just about anything! Jeanne has been a fashion muse of mine for many years, so it was natural to draft her into my shopping trip. She’s already abandoned the professional suit world, and while neither our styles nor bodies are identical, they are compatible. I trust her to tell me the truth and to push me to try on things I would have certainly passed by. To begin, I did a little research on the best stores for “women of a certain age” and we made a plan.

Be ready to spend A LOT of time in the dressing room!

Up early, we ate an energizing breakfast to sustain us on our mission. I made sure to dress in easy off/on clothing with minimal jewelry and we were off in search of clothing that would make me look and feel good. Earlier when discussing what stores we wanted to explore, I mentioned that I thought we could bypass Talbots. Talbots was my go-to store for many years for office-appropriate wear but their latest catalogs did not inspire me. It seemed there were lots of pastel scallops on items and I sensed they might make me feel dowdy or little girly. The same day I told her we could bypass Talbots, I received a Talbots email featuring a new linen collection! I was disappointed that many things in their linen collection weren’t available in the store, however, luckily I did score three great pairs of pants. These included a pair of summery coral colored chinos, something I never would have picked out. The pants were not my choice of color, but my pushy sister insisted I try them. They looked great which goes to show you need to try on things that are outside your comfort zone.

Stepping outside your comfort zone means you’ll probably end up trying on a few clunkers. I tried on this dress just to make my sister shut up!

I tried on a few tops, but didn’t purchase any even though my sister noted how great she thought this one looked on me:

While the blouse didn’t call my name, I think I’ll get lots of wear out of the pants I purchased.

Our next stop was Chico’s. I have never purchased anything at Chico’s, however with my change in lifestyle, we decided to give them a try and I’m glad we did. Along with a couple of cute casual tops, I came away with this fabulous linen shirt. The tag says “no iron”. We shall see.

In the past, Ann Taylor has also been a perpetual go-to for me. That seems to be changing or maybe their buyers have changed viewpoint. Anyway, I was able to find a great basic white linen tee-shirt.

At this point we broke for lunch of yummy lettuce wraps and fueled with coffee to continue.

Our next stop was J Jill. While not a huge fan in the past, the last few years I have been more and more drawn to their styles. I still need to keep in mind that the item must be flattering to me and not too shapeless or oversized. I was thrilled to find chocolate brown (they call Kona) linen pants and soft v-neck matching sweater that I believe will be a dependable addition to my wardrobe throughout the summer into fall. The pull-on flat front style of the linen pants has just a little stretch in them making them extremely kind to my 63-year-old middle!

Thanks, J Jill!

Our next stop was across the parking lot to the youthful Anthropologie. Many of their colorful boho-chic choices remind me of high school years when I rocked a bathing suit made out of bandanas! While admiring many of their lovely choices, in the past I tended to invest more money in sensible work wear. When we walked into Anthropologie, Jeanne was immediately drawn to some blowy, fabulous palazzo pants and I made a beeline towards a more tailored pair of ivory slacks with chic buttons all down one side (very Frenchy). I hadn’t worn anything like either of them before, but decided they were both worth a try. I loved (and bought!) both.

Anthropologie palazzo pants with J Jill linen sweater.

It was a great day and I have no buyer’s remorse.

  1. A shopping buddy with a view you trust is a great thing. Be open to their comments and take them seriously.
  2. “Casual” doesn’t mean cheap. I was looking for quality items that would hold up over time. Be sure and check the sales in the better shops. You can always add a bit of spark with more fun, trendy, affordable accessories. Some of the new plastic earrings are very cool and you never know where you’ll find them.
  3. Don’t look at sizes, look at the fit. Try on! Try on! Try on!
  4. It’s worth your time to come up with a wardrobe that makes you feel marvelous.

C’est la vie.

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