A Matter of Style – Part II

How would you style a vivacious and accomplished 47 year-old woman?  First stop, take an inventory of current, possibly out-dated, pictures related to how you present yourself and collect some new adjectives for how you want to look in present-time.  I settled on a picture that was about comfort with some edge.  I wanted to look fresh and fashion-forward but not too young.

Next stop, find a role model, someone iconic who embodies these qualities within 2 years of my age.  After I settled on Vanessa Williams, I realized there was also a bit of a diva in me that I was finally willing to claim out right.  Adding in a bit of drama allowed for some bold choices which excited me.

Next step was to assess my current wardrobe and jettison the stuff that did not match the new picture.  I’m embarrassed to admit how many things I passed on to women 20 years younger than me.

This process left me with a solid basis to build upon.  From here , I  needed only to keep my eyes open for beautiful unique pieces that I really loved.  If I had any doubts, I‘d ask myself, “Would Vanessa wear this in public?”

Slowly I began to acquire things. When the rave reviews started coming in, I picked up steam culling through favorite boutiques with an unprecedented enthusiasm. When you don’t actually need anything (and how often do you really need something) and your main objective is to stumble upon something that takes your breath away, then shopping takes on a new level of intrigue. I became obsessed with color, texture, and drape.  How does it feel?  How does it move?

I came across this coat pictured above at Keneuoe Vivere in the Elmwood section of Berkeley.  It’s the closest thing to couture that I own.  The cream and dusky black striped block pattern caught my eye and the texture and fit sold me.  I bought it with a trip to D.C. in mind.  It proved to be very versatile.  I wore it with a black cashmere turtleneck with a dark wash jean for tours of White House (I wanted to be stylish in case I bumped into Michelle) and Supreme Court during the day.  The next night, I put it over a Roberto Rodriguez teal cap-sleeved dress comprised of tiny sewn down pleats and wore it to the opera at the Kennedy Center.  Texture-on-texture with complimentary pattern, love it!  The quality of the construction was so high that it came out of the suite case without a wrinkle.  Now this coat cost me a small fortune by my standards, but it was well worth it because I feel like a million bucks in it, and every time I wear it, I get complements.  It fits beautifully; it’s bold, fashion-forward and grown-up.  That’s my style.


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