Monthly Archives: April 2011

How to shop for tummy-hiding tops

While at a function with friends and family, I got to talking stomachs. Namely, post-menopausal stomachs. Also known as stomachs that just didn’t exist when you were under 40.

My aunt happened to be wearing a tiered ruffle top from New York & Company, and started raving about the variety of tummy-camouflaging tops she had found there. She liked this one in particular because of its slight A-line cut and loose tiers that cover the belly.

Below are some other middle-forgiving options I discovered on the site:

Printed tunic top

The print itself is a good distracting tool, and the loose, long fit is definitely belly-friendly. Plus this has an Empire waist drawstring which cinches in at the smaller part of your torso. That’s a very good thing.

Smocked chiffon top

This chiffon top has a similar feel to the lavender tiered one. It uses airy chiffon as a top layer, which then falls loosely over the stomach. Plus there’s nice detail at the neck to draw the eye upwards.

Belted safari shirt

Sometimes the best way to hide a mid-section is to cinch it. A belt or tie at your proper natural waist can make the area appear slimmer. Just make sure the fabric has some stiffness/structure to it so it won’t cling to the wrong places. And black always helps to slim you down.

Remember: it’s pretty much about a trick of the eye. Noticeable necklines pull the attention upward, prints keep the look less focused on one particular section, and cinching either at the Empire or natural waist (which is just below the ribcage) will create a flattering pulled-in shape regardless of whether you actually have a waist. Who cares? You can fake it.

Lady in Red

Came across this picture in my blogroll (from The Sartorialist)…

I love red pants for spring. And this over 40 woman gets it right! A fresh cropped cut (not too tight) paired with neutral beige and black. This keeps all the attention where it should be – on her fabulous trousers!

What an amazing way to get that pop of color.


Malia Mills

I was talking swimsuits today with a few friends, and one mentioned her absolute adoration of Malia Mills.

A quote I found on the designer’s site pretty much sums up why:

“it’s vital to liberate women from feelings of inadequacy that accompany the struggle to find a suit that fits. it’s imperative to show women that if a suit doesn’t fit, it is the suit that is flawed, not the body. a swimsuit should represent sun and fun not fear and loathing!”

Check out the site! It has all sorts of body types modeling the retro-esque suits, as well as a comprehensive, easy-to-read sizing guide.

Prices are on the whoa side, but, in this case, you get what you pay for. A suit that fits, flatters, and makes you want to get in the pool again.

Thanks Malia!

Dreaded dress shopping

For a whole lot of women, dress shopping just plain stinks. Over and over I hear clients tell me that they just won’t wear a dress. Period. And not because they wouldn’t like to… they just don’t know how to shop for the right one.

When Karen and I embarked upon a journey for the perfect baby shower ensemble, I decided there would be no better time to talk about dresses, and how women over 40 can begin to sort out what shapes to look for, and how to accessorize to make the dress work for you.


Our first find was this straight-cut knit shift dress from Nordstrom Rack. A lot of women shy away from the up-and-down cut for fear of unwanted clinging to the hips or chest. The secret is to buy bigger!

This dress fell straight over Karen’s hips because it was a size larger than she usually buys. And, yes, this will most likely make the top half too roomy, but that’s easily fixed either by getting the dress altered, or simply layering something on top. Karen knew she would never be wearing the dress alone, so it wasn’t a problem having the armholes be a bit roomy.

Look how great this dress looks with either a long and loose cardigan or a shorter one that’s cinched at the waist. Both are flattering without looking frumpy.


The second dress option was a slightly more fitted sheath dress with vertical seams. FYI, a sheath dress has more body definition, while a shift is looser.

The key to making this shape work for you? Tailoring. This sounds labor-intensive, but I swear a little bit of adjusting goes a long way. You can also buy bigger with this shape of dress. That way it will be easier to take in the parts that are too loose. Always buy a dress that fits you at your thickest or widest part. Then get the other parts taken in by a pro.

We added a loose crochet cardigan that falls a little above the hip. The monochromatic look creates a long, elegant silhouette.

Finally, we added this funky necklace from Banana Republic (not online, sorry). It stands out brilliantly against the neutral backdrop.


A third shape to look for is the tunic dress. This is similar to the shift dress, but with sleeves. It’s a nice choice if you don’t want to cover your arms with a cardigan. This one had a romantic velvet detail over sheer fabric. It gives a sultry feel without baring anything.

As you can see above, she ended up going with the shift and long black cardigan. An elegant choice for baby shower chic.

There are also full-skirted dress options that are incredibly attractive on women with butts or hips! Check them out here.

What the heck to wear to a baby shower

My pregnant and glowing cousin had a baby shower last weekend, which became the PERFECT opportunity to spot some stylish over 40 women, and to answer the ever-popular question: What in the world do you wear to a shower?

Knowing how to dress for a shower is tough, and this one was no exception, as it fell at the end of March when the weather is completely unpredictable. But these ladies managed to pull it off!

The shower’s hostess, my always-impeccably-dressed aunt Heather, looked fabulous as usual in a black and white printed wrap dress.

She accessorized with a very cool mixed metal layered necklace, which added subtle edge. And bow-front grey heels complemented the look without weighing it down. A refreshing alternative to black pumps.

I had the pleasure of sitting with Marianne and Gina, both school principals with amazing, unique styles of their own.

Marianne, who’s absolute favorite store is Anthropologie, with J. Crew as a close runner-up, kept it classic with a fitted black blazer and tailored trousers.

The blazer, from Anthropologie, had this darling scarf ruffle thing going on that actually looped into the lapel. Very Paris chic.

There was also a fun button accent at the hem.

Gina’s outfit had more all-over detail and a soft, neutral palette. She loves the beach, which inspires some of her style choices including this beautiful bracelet with starfish, seashells and multicolored pearls.

Of course Karen was also in attendance and looking lovely. But there was a lot of prep work that went into her outfit, so it deserves its own post. Stay tuned.