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Thread: Help for a fashion clueless thirty-something

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    Default Help for a fashion clueless thirty-something

    Where do you ladies in your thirties shop for clothes? I have never been very fashionable and usually dress for comfort, ie. t shirts and jeans. Lately I can't even manage to do the jeans, I've been just wearing athletic shorts! I'm tired of looking like a bum all of the time. I wish someone would put me on What Not to Wear. I want to dress fashionably, but casual. Luckily, I work in scrubs so that's a no brainer. I see women that look so put together, but when I shop, I can't seem to find anything or put an outfit together. I feel like I'm stuck between the junior dept and the old lady section. Neither of which I want to dress like. Any of you fashion forward ladies care to help a bum out? Please?

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    Silver Member Abbey Normal's Avatar
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    Ask a friend, who you admire their style, to take you shopping. Most of it is just learning what looks good on your body type and having a brutally honest friend to tell you when you look great/awful while trying on new clothes. You'll get the hang of it!
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    Ann Taylor Loft,
    J. Jill.
    Limited
    Stein Mart
    Macys
    J. Crew
    Talbots
    Im 44... I wear dressy clothes 80% of the time. I like classic designs, mainly skirts and blouses fairly conservative, but fun
    Last edited by cupcake; August 14th, 2009 at 06:04 PM.
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    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    I don't wear "dressy" clothes (as a contractor I generally worked from home...) however, I do have some great "smart" jeans (1 pair is from Target Mossimo range & 2 St John jeans - from ebay - I'm cheap! LOL! I also have a pair of Paige & a pair of Katherine Hammnett).
    I wear smart t-shirts, maybe with a scoop neck or a different fancy neckline (a-symetric, etc) and a fancy cardigan or a jacket in some informal fabric like linen....

    I have the super-conservative suits too, but they're not my choice of wear.

    Have you tried some smarter trousers, like chinos? Instead of shorts? They're really in for this year (fall/winter 09), with dressier t-shirts & tops.

    I'd try to take it a step at a time, so that you don't frighten the horses/husband/family/friends/etc; you don't want them to think that you're having an affair or joined Co$/the mormons....


    ETA:- My tops tend to be James Perse; and I do buy a lot of stuff from M&S (they do a tall range) Marks & Spencer Cyrillus is good for more formal on-trend wear Cyrillus
    Hope that helps!
    Last edited by Novice; August 15th, 2009 at 11:01 AM.
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    Gold Member atrayubrandy's Avatar
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    I think the best advice I can give you is to think "simple." If you watch What Not To Wear you may notice that they almost always dress their "client" in a pair of pants, a simple dress shirt, and a blazer or cardigan. It's almost always the same combo. Try to stick with classics, avoid trends at first because they are often difficult to pull off and really require a level of expertise to determine if they look good or not.

    Always shop in outfits, instead of individual pieces and keep in mind other items that you already own that might work well with the piece. I recommend always looking for the bottom part of the outfit first because it is usually hardest to find a pair of pants or a skirt that looks nice on you than a shirt.

    Also, don't buy anything unless you think you look AMAZING in it. Often times people (myself included) buy something because they like a part of it (the color, or the neckline, for example) but there is part of the garment that they hate (the length, or the pattern). Unless you are planning on fixing whatever it is you don't like, don't buy it because it will always drive you crazy (or at least that has been my experience).

    Also, I found a really great book called "I Don't Have a Thing To Wear." I can't remember the names of the authors but I really thought it was interesting and you might like it. It gives a lot of great advice on how to shop smart to create a wardrobe of usable items (not just items that you buy on a whim but never end up wearing).
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    Decide which colours suit you and stick to those, especially if they can be worn together.
    Pick styles that suit your body shape - plenty of websites with advice on that.
    I prefer to wear plain colours and then dress them up/down with accessories. Large prints can be tricky, especially if you (or bits of you) are large too.
    Unless you are a rail, avoid horizontal stripes of any kind and go for vertical instead. They make you look taller/slimmer.
    Jeans that fit well look good almost everywhere.
    If you are a thirtysomething, even if you have an awesome body, please don't dress like a 20yr old. It won't make you look younger, it will make you look like a desperate slapper.
    Less Is More
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    Have a proper bra fitting and get the correct size. It can make ALL the difference, even in tees/shorts.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    you need a couple sessions with a personal shopper!
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    Silver Member oltifreakinbaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    Decide which colours suit you and stick to those, especially if they can be worn together.
    Pick styles that suit your body shape - plenty of websites with advice on that.
    I prefer to wear plain colours and then dress them up/down with accessories. Large prints can be tricky, especially if you (or bits of you) are large too.
    Unless you are a rail, avoid horizontal stripes of any kind and go for vertical instead. They make you look taller/slimmer.
    Jeans that fit well look good almost everywhere.
    If you are a thirtysomething, even if you have an awesome body, please don't dress like a 20yr old. It won't make you look younger, it will make you look like a desperate slapper.
    Less Is More
    You cannot have enough shoes
    Have a proper bra fitting and get the correct size. It can make ALL the difference, even in tees/shorts.

    So many of my friends' moms do this and it's so embarrassing for them. Thankfully, my mom thinks skirts that come above the knee are inappropriate for women her age (older than 30).


    Ooh, just thought of this. Something my mom does is she buys different pieces of fabric at the fabric store (sometimes for really cheap), and whenever she goes to Albania or Italy, she had a tailor there make her different outfits. Last summer she went, she had like 7 outfits made for 150 dollars total. Idk if a lot of people in the US do that though, but maybe it's something you should look into?

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oltifreakinbaby View Post
    So many of my friends' moms do this and it's so embarrassing for them. Thankfully, my mom thinks skirts that come above the knee are inappropriate for women her age (older than 30).
    Excuse me? You can be over 30 and where a knee length or above the knee skirt. You just have to look tasteful, and not sleazy.
    ETA: Are you saying your mom is in her 30's...cause that would explain a great deal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oltifreakinbaby View Post
    So many of my friends' moms do this and it's so embarrassing for them. Thankfully, my mom thinks skirts that come above the knee are inappropriate for women her age (older than 30).
    Good for your mom - its her choice, however I disagree. If you've got good legs, flaunt them, however there is no need to wear the crotch-skimming skirts that are in the shops at the moment..... I don't think that anyone should wear the crotch-skimming skirts that are in the shops at the moment, even less teenagers.


    Quote Originally Posted by oltifreakinbaby View Post
    Ooh, just thought of this. Something my mom does is she buys different pieces of fabric at the fabric store (sometimes for really cheap), and whenever she goes to Albania or Italy, she had a tailor there make her different outfits. Last summer she went, she had like 7 outfits made for 150 dollars total. Idk if a lot of people in the US do that though, but maybe it's something you should look into?
    There are plenty of dressmakers in ones own country that make a fabulous job - we have more than one that posts here.
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    I agree with Grimm about the personal shopper. They pull outfits together for a living!
    Don't ever be suckered in to buying something just because its on sale! A good value won't work unless you actually use it.
    For some reason this reminds me on my SIL, who once called me frantically right after she graduated from college. She said she only had 53 outfits and did I think that was enough!
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    Wow! she actually counted her outfits?

    I think that I circulate 10 items of clothing... eventhough I have drawers stuff with things. This week I'm having a clear out & anything I don't wear is going to the Red Cross.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    These are some great tips in the thread.

    I'd add buy more tops than bottoms.

    There is no need to have 10 pairs of black pants, 2 or 3 will suffice. Expand your options with trousers of beige, brown, grey, etc.

    Buy the best you can afford, even if it means you buy less pieces. Better to have a few good quality pieces, than be the woman with the biggest acrylic sweater collection in town.

    Fit is all. Always try on anything before buying it.

    I shop everywhere, from thrift and consignment shops, to the very high end. I avoid 'junior' stores, but other than that, you can find fashion anywhere.
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    Thank you all for your tips! I've been checking out the websites some of you have posted. Unfortunately, there's no way I'd buy anything until I could actually try it on. I have weird dimensions. When the kids finally go back to school, I think I'll spend some ME time at the mall!

    One question, do only high end stores have personal shoppers? I love the thought of it, but I don't want to feel guilted into buying $500 outfits. Witchcurlgirl, I AM the woman with the biggest acrylic sweater collection in town. I am the woman with the biggest, crappiest clothes collection in town. I've spent more money on crap clothes than I care to remember. My weight also fluctuates and half of it doesn't fit at the moment. I probably only wear the same 5-10 items over and over. I think I will try to find some versatile, quality-made basics that I can mix and match. Seems like the best way to go.

    Thank you all again for your helpful suggestions!

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