OVER 50 LOVING DRESSES AND SKIRTS - 1010 Park Place
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OVER 50 LOVING DRESSES AND SKIRTS

PHOTOGRAPHS BY JENNIFER DENTON, ©1010PARKPLACE, 2018
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Because I wore blue jeans so much of the time, my mother predicted I would die in a pair, and for much of my life, she would have been right. During my 20’s and 30’s I was a “blue jean baby,” wearing Levi’s, straight leg blue jeans with an off the shoulder, white blouse, high heels and BIG hair… my husband’s shirt tied at the waist, collar up, cuffs turned back and black ballet slippers… a black, Danskin leotard and Calvin Klein espadrilles, or a Gap t-shirt, cool belt and cowboy boots. I also wore bell bottom jeans with a fitted, black leather jacket, a white poet’s blouse and a wide, silver cuff bracelet. Now I’m craving dresses and skirts that are feminine and easy to dress up or down. 

My mother would have been so pleased.

There are so many dresses to choose from, and you can find them at all prices points. The dress I’m wearing here is one I bought last fall, and it’s still a workhorse in my wardrobe. I wear it everywhere!

I find myself gravitating toward midi dresses and skirts. They still show some leg, are easy, getting in and out of a car, are cooler than pants on a hot day, and even if they’re casual, they have that “elevated casual” look I like. 

It could also be I’m TIRED of ripped jeans, skintight leggings and the “at the last minute I decided NOT to mow the yard” look. 

The other night I went to San Antonio’s fabulous Empire Theater to see Kat Edmonson perform. There were lots of women over 50—and their guys—who looked like they’d just put down the hedge clippers. There they were, sitting in one of the most beautifully restored Art Deco theaters in America, listening to a classy singer/songwriter and her band perform, but they didn’t have a sense of pride or decorum. I WAS DUMBSTRUCK and DISAPPOINTED! 

One woman came up to me and told me “how pretty” I looked. She looked wonderful as well, so I’m guessing, like me, she was appreciative she wasn’t the only one who cared how she looked.

Girlfriends! How can we have pride and confidence in ourselves if we wear flip flops, t-shirts and ratty jeans to a nice event?

My “BEE PIN” is from the Joan Rivers Classics Collection. The bee inspired Joan because she was told she’d never be well-known outside the NY area. But like the bee–who aerodynamically shouldn’t have been able to fly–Joan Rivers soared to great heights. Joan believed we all possess the ability to achieve the impossible, every day! I love that thought, don’t you?

What if we change things up a bit and try elevating our look from pants to a dress, a caftan or a skirt? If you read my Lunch With the Contessa, or Over 50 Turning Sleeveless into Sleeves last week, then you know there are lots of ways to be comfortable, yet distance our wardrobe from the gym and everyday chores. I’m not talking about getting super dressed up, just something that will make us feel good about ourselves and make the significant other in our lives look at us a second time.

What do you think about ditching workout clothes and pants and “turning up the knob” on the way we dress to go to the grocery store or the movies? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


36 Comments

  • Reply Julie Murphy May 25, 2018 at 5:07 am

    Can’t help it , I still dislike dresses !

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 10:10 am

      LOL! No worries, Julie. Not every style or piece of clothing is for everyone. Brenda

  • Reply Taste of France May 25, 2018 at 5:12 am

    I would never dare to venture beyond my walled garden in any workout clothes except to run. And even then, I suspect I am falling short sartorially in the eyes of my neighbors, who wear silk scarves knotted artfully at the neck even when digging in the garden. And I live in a little lost village in the deepest countryside in France. Going to town requires getting dressed up. Nothing formal–not a suit–but definitely a thought-out outfit, with jewelry, scarf, hat, etc.
    Your skirt length is very flattering with flat shoes. I can’t/won’t wear heels anymore but find that flats can look dowdy unless the skirt is kind of long like yours or kind of short and sporty–in fact, a skirt that is worn instead of shorts. You would not find adult French women in shorts in town.
    I wish all dress and skirt makers would take a clue from the ever-chic Carolina Herrera and put pockets in everything.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 10:39 am

      The women in Italy also dress well and accessorize when they leave the house. The Contessa’s husband… “The Italian,” told me they’re representing the family when they go out so they want to look good. I remember when I was a kid, and my neighbor would say to her kids, “No child of mine is going outside dressed like that.” You don’t hear that anymore. You’re so right about flat shoes making you look dowdy if the length of your skirt isn’t long enough. That bothered me the most when I stopped wearing high heels. For that reason, I no longer wear form fitting, knee length or above dresses. Ah, Carolina Herrera! Now that’s a classy woman who looks like royalty in a white shirt and the simplest of skirts. I LOVE her style! Brenda

  • Reply Isabella May 25, 2018 at 5:43 am

    I agree,
    I don’t care for going to a nice restaurant and people are dressed like slobs

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Isabella, We’re long past dress codes for most places. I’m glad I’m not a restaurant owner, because I’d be tempted to post a dress code on the door. Brenda

    • Reply Laura June 6, 2018 at 3:06 am

      I just discovered your blog and love it! Anyways, add bridal/baby showers and graduation parties that many guests look as if they just didn’t put any thought into their outfit and accessories. I like my husband and children to be proud of my appearance at social functions! I must say tho that I wear blue jeans quite often when out grocery shopping and everyday life. I love a simple, casual dress like a Lilly Pulitzer but most are too short for my 5’ 10” height. 🙁

  • Reply Sue Burpee May 25, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Love the dress Brenda. When I was still teaching, we used to take a bus load of grade twelve students to the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario for a few days each year. We’d see some of the best Shakespeare outside of the UK, and at least one big musical. I’d always tell the kids that we had to dress to represent our school, and that Saturday night was dress-up night. I reminded them that going to the theatre was an event. One year my male colleague told the kids that on Saturday night the boys had to try to out dress him (he loves clothes) and the girls were to attempt to out dress me. OMG. They went all out. Girls in dresses and high heels, boys in suits and top coats. The kids felt fantastic, and were a bit disappointed that other theatre goers were in jeans. One kid quipped to me, “Don’t they know that going to the theatre is an EVENT, Ms Burpee?”

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 10:57 am

      Sue, That’s precious! How wonderful you instilled a sense of pride about how they present themselves and what’s appropriate. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from you though. The poor girls… Having to out dress their chic, beautiful teacher Mrs. Burpee. I love that! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Linda May 25, 2018 at 8:18 am

    I am right there with you. I kind of have always loved dresses but now that is all I wear and I love it!!! You outfit is adorable!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 10:58 am

      Thank you for the compliment, Linda. I still wear too many pants, but I’m looking for more dresses because they make me feel pretty and feminine, and they’re easier than putting together pants, a top and maybe a blazer. xoxo, Brenda

  • Reply Pondside May 25, 2018 at 9:07 am

    I think you are preaching to the choir! Dresses make up a big part of my summer wardrobe and provide an opportunity for me to play with new colours. I cringe at the just-out-of-the-gym look, complete with tatty flip flops. It seems to be the prevalent look here!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 11:02 am

      Pondside, I’m looking for more dresses. Great point about an opportunity to play with new colors. Yesterday I went to the grocery store… right after leaving the gym and still dressed in gym clothes and sweaty. I went to a grocery store where I didn’t think I’d run into anyone, but there in aisle 12 was my doctor’s wife!!! She had a cute new summer haircut, fresh from the salon, and a darling summer dress. I was embarrassed.

  • Reply LA CONTESSA May 25, 2018 at 9:35 am

    I have been on this PATH FOR YEARS!!!!!!!!!
    Especially the exercise pant around TOWN for running errands AFTER the WORK-OUT!COVER IT UP WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE IT!A SARONG or KIMONO will do!!!!NOT HARD, NOT TIME CONSUMING so MUCH PRETTIER and WAY MORE SYLISH………is it possible these WOMEN do NOT KNOW HOW TO DO THAT!
    THE ABSOLUTE WORST is it has BEEN ALLOWED to attend these THEATERS in JEANS and FLIP FLOPS!
    NO RESPECT for THE PERFORMERS AT ALL………….
    SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS WE ARE LIVING IN.
    AS A couple of people have mentioned on my last BLOG POST in the comment section…………a mini REVOLUTION NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED!
    XX

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Contessa, Such a great idea… to COVER IT UP!! I wish I’d planned in advance for the running into someone in the grocery store this week while I was wearing workout clothes. I was mortified… Even went to a store where I didn’t think I’d find anyone I knew but NO… Serves me right. After workout coverups!! There’s a Fashion Friday post I’m going to jump on!! Thanks sweet lady. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Renee May 25, 2018 at 9:40 am

    i am not happy with how shorts look on me any more , I am totally ready to wear a dress especially in the Houston summer , and it is so fun to get a bit dressed up for an Event !!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Rene, I don’t wear shorts anymore either… I live in San Antonio, so I understand your Houston weather. HOT & HUMID!!! I love dressing up for an event, even going to the movies I won’t wear something sloppy. Thank you for weighing in on this topic, Brenda

  • Reply Antionette M Blake May 25, 2018 at 10:02 am

    I never wore pants to work, and have been wearing dresses and skirts for the past 20 years. However, now that I work from home, I wear shorts, capris and sundresses.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 11:25 am

      Antionette…. I just visited your blog and please tell your Aunt Alda I think she’s beautiful and your son!!! What a handsome young man! Yes, working from home is a game changer when it comes to our wardrobes. Thanks so much, Brenda

  • Reply TJ May 25, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    I sometimes allow myself to look at women walking past, if I stop to have a coffee at the local very large very upmarket shopping ‘cathedral’, and channel my inner Trinny (from the famous Trinny and Susannah What NOT to Wear shows which were and still are some of my favourite tv viewing) who used to walk up to women and say “Now just tell me, what WERE you thinking when you put this on this morning?” Yes, exactly. Not much, obviously. Sadly, if you take how people dress these days, even very wealthy people, as a thermometer of where society is going, it’s not a great endorsement for the human race. Bring back the days when gentlemen wore trousers and hats and behaved like gentlemen please. And yes, I am a feminist, but if a man opens a door for me, I inwardly think how well brought up he is and thank him. I do however, belong to a ladies lunch club. It’s by invitation only and you have to nominated by another 2 members to come along, and the ladies there dress like ladies. Real ladies. It is not only delightful to be served a 3 course meal with matching wines once a month but also to enjoy the company of women who have taken a little time to consider what to wear. And it’s an exciting challenge for myself deciding what to wear each month as well. I think this dressing casually moment has had it’s day. And what makes more sick, is young girls going out in shorts cut so high and boob tubes, it leaves nothing to the imagination. Have some dignity. If not for yourself, then for the rest of the community, we don’t want to see slobs at every turn. Gah.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 11:33 am

      TJ, Too many young women dress like hookers. I know it’s a reflection of the women in entertainment and on social media, but if a guy makes an unacceptable, unwanted move on them… WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? They shouldn’t be surprised. And as far as gentlemen… over 50… I travel a fair amount. Men used to offer to help me lift my bag into the overhead compartment… which I don’t need any help, but it was a sign of good manners that they asked. Now days? So many of the men “of a certain age” just sit there and stare at me. I agree the way we dress and treat one another is a thermometer of where our society is going. Sad state of affairs. BTW… I’m sure our elders said that about us… And they were probably right. If you graph society and one of the coordinates is the years and the other is dress & manners… It’s a downhill slide for sure. Thanks for the thought provoking comment, TJ. Brenda

  • Reply Renee May 25, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Agree!! I feel so much better when I up my game. And, I think I get noticed and better service, too (even grocery shopping)! At age 61 that is a bonus!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 11:17 am

      Renee, We do get better service! The produce guy at Whole Foods told me how nice I looked this week, and a couple of weeks ago, the Southwest flight attendant told me the same thing and brought me a mimosa… on the house!! I think people in general are tired of the trashy look and are responding to those who take pride in how they look. Thanks so much, Brenda

  • Reply C. May 26, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I so love my dresses-skirts… even run in my LuLu skirt. I threw out my shorts when I turned 50 ( 12 years ago)…. not for me. In Italy for visits the last 3 springs and I feel so good there amongst the other Women wearing a “ outfit”…. looking well kept. The women there look so feminine and they own it. For me I love my tights- flats and a dress on the plane too…. I am ready for the day when we exit the aircraft. I feel this way as well when attending my weekly Sunday Church services. ( I speak for me….. I respect what others wear…just sayin).

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 26, 2018 at 11:36 am

      I couldn’t be more in agreement, C!!! Last fall when I was in Italy, I did a popular series on the way the women in Florence dressed. You might like this one. http://www.1010parkplace.com/fashionable-italian-women-50/ I think the reason it was so well received was that we recognize how far off the mark we are in this country when it comes to taking pride in how we dress. Thanks so much, Brenda

  • Reply C. May 26, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    For sure Brenda. I loved that post. I recall your visit with friends and the Stones concert / Lucca. We had been in Florence /Lucca and various other Tuscany spots in May 2017. Good times, not great this visit as we did a Villa with 4 other couples and they would not stop discussing USA politics. But…. my dresses and skirts were a comfort to me.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 28, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      C, I can see how that would be a problem. On our Tuscany trip, the first thing the woman who was leading the villa part of my Italy trip did when she picked us up was tell us she had two rules: No conversations about politics or religion. Everyone followed the rules, and we had a wonderful time. If you go on another trip like that, perhaps you could all agree… starting the minute you arrive… not to talk about politics. Sorry you got caught in that. Brenda

  • Reply Heidi May 26, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    Hi Brenda,
    Well I’m glad we don’t have to wear girdles, stockings, gloves and hats whenever we leave the house, but I agree that so many people nowadays dress poorly. I can’t stand it! How hard is is to put on a real pair of pants or a skirt with a nice top, or drop a dress down over your head? The pajama bottoms and flip flop thing drives me absolutely crazy! I didn’t even like it when the schools around here had a pajama day for the students near the end of the term. I told my daughters that pajamas are to sleep in, not to leave the house in, ever!! That was not a popular opinion with my girls, but I have my standards and sent them to school in real clothes, perhaps a bit more relaxed looking but still, not pjs!!!
    I do love dresses but I find that day-to-day they don’t lend as much variety to my wardrobe. I think it’s harder to wear the same dress over and over in different ways, without looking like you’re wearing the same dress, over and over! I get bored and like to switch things up, and would need to have a lot of dresses in my closet!. Nice tops (sweaters, blouses, peasant tops etc,) and well cut jeans with a cute jacket and scarf, work for me and are very versatile. I also live in a beach community that is very relaxed and casual, which is frustrating sometimes. Because I do wear dresses on special special events, and enjoy the movement and freedom they give me. It’s nice to feel feminine and dressed appropriately for the occasion, whatever it is! When you’re dressed better, you act better! The person sitting at the next table in the nice restaurant wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt is out of place, not me!
    Brenda, you always look good, whatever you happen to be wearing!
    Xo Heidi

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 28, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      Heidi, You bring up such a great point… So you don’t look like you’re wearing the same thing over and over, you’d need a lot of dresses!! I’d never thought of that. Perhaps skirts would be a good alternative instead of pants sometimes. You’d have the same flexibility of styling blouses, sweaters, etc. you would if you were wearing pants. Thank you for the sweet compliment. I appreciate it. Brenda

  • Reply Heidi May 26, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    Not special, special events! Just special events!

  • Reply Donna O’Klock May 28, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    You look beautiful, pulled together, and chic. While your dress is very of-the-moment, it reminds of the period in the 70’s where lovely boho skirts and ballet tops, or beautiful printed “granny dresses” were in. In this heat (100’s all week) a switch to dresses and skirts (culottes!) is a perfect solution. Let’s start a Dress Up! movement.
    XO

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 29, 2018 at 4:41 pm

      Oooh!!! A Dress Up movement!!! I LOVE that idea, Donna! The dress I’m wearing is very 70’s looking… which is probably why I liked it… yet so now. Great idea!! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Joanna May 30, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    One of the reasons I seldom wear dresses is they seem to all be sleeveless. My sleeveless days are over. I hunted for the perfect dress for formal night on a cruise and ended up buying a sleeveless sheath and a 3/4 sleeve jacket to go over top. With us baby boomers making up a large part of the population and having plenty of money to spend, why are the designers not paying attention to our needs?
    I agree with dressing for the occasion. I don’t even run to the grocery store in my workout or garden clothes. A quick shower and change has me going off ready to run into anybody.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace May 31, 2018 at 8:33 am

      I hear you, Joanna! I’m not looking for sleeveless dresses and ones that aren’t too short, but they’re hard to find ones that don’t look too young. There are a couple of new dress designers on the scene who are women well over 50, but they’re designing sleeveless sheath dresses for professional women. I’m surprised those are the only options they’re offering. It makes me think they haven’t done their homework on what the majority of our age group wants. They’re also having trouble marketing them… Thanks for your valuable comment, Brenda

  • Reply Irene June 3, 2018 at 5:49 am

    Yesterday, I was enjoying tea and people watching at Market Square in Portsmouth, on the cusp of New Hampshire and Maine. It was so refreshing to see women of all ages, who shed their sweaters and jeans for fresh summer dresses. Happy, comfortable, vibrant.

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