Life Lessons…Part 2

“Girl, you’ll be a woman ma’am soon…” Urge Overkill’s song from the movie Pulp Fiction

At the beach, forever young…and plastic.

“Excuse me, Ma’am? Any games of catch must be played up higher on the beach,” said the lifeguard from his perch. I looked around for a granny with a bathing cap to see who he was talking to. “Ma’am?” Oh no, he was talking to me. I became a ma’am. Granted, I was technically old enough to probably be his mother (teen mother),  but I still felt like throwing a fist full of wet sand at him.

Oh no you didn't!
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Why should this make me angry? He was being polite. My 7-year-old tried to console me after I kept screaming OH MY GOD I AM OLD! by pointing out that he could have called me Man, which would have been far worse  It’s just that Miss would have sounded better to my ears. I think one of the hardest parts of getting older is that our internal thoughts don’t reflect our aging bodies. Sometimes I still feel like I’m not supposed to be the grownup. You know when you go to the doctor’s office and they put you back in the room on the table and the nurse leaves and tells you the doctor will be with you shortly? I hate that because I never know if it is going to be 5 minutes or 30 minutes. And for some reason, (please tell me I am not the only one that does this), I will sit there like a child, afraid to get up to even get my phone out of my purse or get a magazine, for fear of being “caught” awkwardly off of the table where I am supposed to be sitting. It’s not like I am going to get up and start playing with the tools in the room (although that would make for an interesting explanation) but for some reason I fear getting caught off of the table. I don’t know what I am afraid of, there is no rule that says you can’t get up. Yet I sit there as if there is a hidden camera on me. This is the part of me inside that still feels like a little kid.

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The truth is I wouldn’t go back to my 20’s. Okay maybe for one crazy weekend. But I feel much happier now with who I am in my mid-thirties. However this is where our image and our outfits do come into play. There is a fine line between looking like a Real Housewife from the tv shows and keeping a youthful look. It is flattering to get carded but another thing to look like you are the babysitter.  Conversely, I see many women who sort of give up and age themselves by their clothing choices. The balance requires some finesse on our part in choosing our outfits and how we want to convey ourselves to the world. It is important to edit our wardrobes as we grow and age with grace and dignity.

Michelle Pfeiffer – she is 53!
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Tamra Barney of The Real Housewives of Orange County – age 43
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It always surprises me when I find out the age of certain celebrities. Emma Stone has headlined some pretty heavy hitter movies. When she attends events she needs to really balance that line between looking old enough and but not too young. She pretty much always nails it. Oh and she is only 23 years old.

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I know the Olsen twins are a fashion power house with their Elizabeth and James fashion line but their frequent frumpy look is just so unflattering.

When they dress to fit their age (they are 26) and their petite size they look stunning.

Pinned Image
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 I love the ensemble below.  In my opinion it is wearable at any age. The sweater is fabulous in the animal print yet covers up anything you are not comfortable with. The top is not too clingy and not too big, and there is a healthy dose of sunshiny yellow with the jewelry and the denim. It is youthful yet timeless and classic all at the same time.

Leopard + Green
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*Insider Tip – Wear COLOR.

Listen I loooooooovvvvvvveeeee black. It makes up a staggering percentage of my wardrobe. But when I look haggard, tired, and just blah it is like a fresh coat of makeup when I put on something with a bright color near my face. It is more youthful. This past season there were so many options as color blocking  itself became a trend. Don’t be afraid of it. It can be purchased at almost any price point and looks chic when paired with a solid white, black or denim. Take your favorite cut or material and turn up the volume but purchasing the color that looks best near your face. If you are stressing over what accessories go with color remember to keep it simple. And color absolutely continues into fall.

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I have a wonderful client who is a busy working mom. She was hosting an event and needed something that she felt fabulous in. Like a lot women she always wants to lose those last couple pounds so she puts off buying anything new and hides in darker colors. I purchased her this dress in a vibrant blue with stretch and ruffles.

The stretch will work if she goes up or down a size and the ruffles are wonderful at camouflaging any insecurities. The best part is that she looked great and felt fabulous the night of her event.

*Insider Tip –  Watch your fit.

I think we all want to look sophisticated, more polished and put-together. Proper fit is the key. Not too tight, not too big.  Too tight and it looks cheap and cheesy. Too big looks sloppy. As our bodies change we have to re-evaluate our sizes. Sometimes we go up, sometimes we go down. The number inside on the tag is just that, a number. What matters is the fit. If you are not familiar with a brand’s fit take a range of sizes inside to the fitting room.  The proper fit might even require extra tailoring but it is worth it in the end.  I had a client take her brand new pair of shorts and have the side slit pockets (an awful, horrible thing anyway) stitched down by her tailor. It provides a smoother fit with non of that awkward gaping at the side of your hips.

The hemlines of shorts and skirts makes a huge difference between tacky and timeless. You need to consider the shape or your own legs. For some women their legs are their best asset. Hello Tina Turner and Jennifer Lopez. If you are unsure of the right length stand up straight with your hands down by your sides. A good rule of thumb is that your hemline should not be shorter than your middle finger at your sides. On the opposite end too long past the knees and you veer dangerously into Queen Elizabeth territory. Even if you do not like your legs aim for a skirt or dress to be tailored right to the top or middle of your knees.  I fall into this category as my legs look like  pieces of chicken waiting to be cooked. Thank God for the pencil skirt.

The Queen and The Duchess – two takes on hemlines
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Stay tuned for the final Part 3 of what I learned at the beach. In the mean time the next time someone calls me ma’am I can thank them.   After all I have earned every line and wrinkle and I have to sometimes be reminded how lucky I am to have that opportunity. I may not love my legs but they are healthy enough to take me where I want to go, especially out shopping!

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Published by suziegaffney

owner at Suzie Gaffney Styling

3 thoughts on “Life Lessons…Part 2

  1. I’ve cringed every time a Bagger at the checkout counter would call me Ma’am. Or when the military says “thank you Ma’am. After reading this post I swear I’ll tell the next person, “it’s Miss, Ma’am are for Women over 50, thank you!”

  2. Sue I always play with the stuff in the DR. office.Its fun Connor gets mad if he is with me.Yes i do have cut offs that i wear to the yatch club…..Your Uncle does not care what they think LOL great artical

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