Monday, September 5, 2022

Who Are You? Rhys discovers who she is.

 RHYS BOWEN: I have just discovered who I am. I know—it’s taken a long while, hasn’t it? I have been through many incarnations: in my early twenties I was in London, working for the BBC, mixing with celebs and wearing Mary Quant with my short skirts, my Vidal Sassoon haircut and my long white boots. Groovy, baby. Fun and sexy. 



Then in the seventies I was long haired and flowery. Not exactly a hippie as I was now married with young children but certainly going with the vibe of the times.

                In the Eighties I embraced the big shoulders and the military look but after that it’s a blur. Respected author on book tour. Sensible clothing that doesn’t crush when I travel.  That has been me for some time. Plain basic colors that mix and match—navy and stone, stone and brown. Blazer and slacks. And can be accessorized with a scarf. In other words classy but boring. The sort of things an older woman should wear.

There have been some mistakes along the way, of course. Sometimes I look back at an old photograph and ask myself “what was I thinking?”  At book signings fans bring me copies of photos they took at my last visit to that store. And sometimes I stare in horror. Why did I think that jacket suited me? Or that lilac was my color?

So I’ve gone for years without a look. Until recently when I discovered linen. Loose fitting linen slacks and tunics in lovely pastels. They are perfect (except they need to be ironed but that’s another story).  And then a couple of weeks ago I read an article in Oprah daily that gave my look a name: COASTAL GRANDMOTHER. 

I read this: A quick scroll through your TikTok feed and there’s a high chance you’ll stumble across someone who’s gone full coastal grandmother. The viral term, coined by TikToker Lex Nicoleta, describes the coastal grandmother aesthetic as “If you love Nancy Meyers movies, coastal vibes, recipes and cooking, Ina Garten, cozy interiors, and more, there’s a good chance you might be a coastal grandmother.” The sartorial result? A neutral lover’s paradise. Oprah herself is a big fan of  Coastal grandmother… 


I jumped up and down with excitement. That is me. I’m coastal grandma. Whites and light blues and flowing but elegant. I’m so happy. I’ve found a look and my look has a name! Now when I’m interviewed by Vogue I’ll say “Darlings, I’m coastal grandma.”  And they’ll say “How fashionable.”

So what about you? Have you found your look? (I know Hank has. She’s classy career woman reporter with impossibly high heels that make my feet ache every time I stare at them). But what about the rest of you? Are you who you want to be?

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Is there an East Coast Grandmother chic? I love the look of coastal grandmother, which is also very much a California thing - in Nancy Meyer’s movies, even the ones that take place in the Hamptons or Rhode Island look like they’re steps away from Malibu Beach. But it’s too… neutral for me. My summer look is a tribute to my Alabama childhood and family trips - toucan pink, lime green, tropical florals. My winter look is classic New England preppy - turtlenecks, cardigans, and corduroy pants. Basically, I’m a walking Talbot’s catalogue. 


JENN McKINLAY: Rock n Roll or book lover T-shirts, jeans, and Converse or Vans. Is that a look? Does it have a name? Middle-aged mom, dressing like she’s still in college? Or, things that passed the smell test when pulled out of the hamper because I forgot to do the laundry? Is that a vibe? I do wear dresses for conferences and book signings, does that make me a grown-up? I’ve been wearing the same thing for thirty years. And, of course, I know all of the original Ramones are deceased but it’s still my most comfortable T-shirt. Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to change any time soon. 

HALLIE EPHRON: I want what Jenn’s wearing! But I’m afraid that train has left the station … I’m Eileen Fisher on the cheap. Loose fitting simple washable. Boring grandma glam-ish.

LUCY BURDETTE: This style doesn’t have a name, but I’m addicted to a dress shop in the next town called Ella’s. They carry clothes that are stylish, comfortable, and mostly reasonable. I refuse to dress like a grandmother, not yet anyway. Sadly, the manager retired and she could be utterly counted on to find me the best outfits for a book launch or any other event. I need to go over soon and see who’s replaced her. Here are two of the outfits she steered me to…


RHYS:  Lucy, I love this. Such fun. And the colors--I'm about to travel in a yellow jacket with dark blue pants

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I had to think about this one as it's been so long since I've worn "real" clothes. Definitely not Coastal Grandma–I'm too small to wear all the loose flowy stuff and my coloring doesn't really suit pastels. I like bright summer colors and jewel tones in the winter, and I'm going to call the style Classic/Boho. Not preppy Talbot, but mostly fitted shapes with some arty stuff thrown in. Such fun to see how different we all are!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I’m total business. I have to say. Aw, Rhys, thank you, and you are right.  No more suits, no matchy jacket/skirt/dress things any more, but after all these years as a reporter, I am still all  power-business. In public, at least, and  truly, whenever I try something new, it’s a massive failure. Yes, I still love my heels, and leather jackets, and pencil skirts.  I HAVE recently embraced flowy mid-calf skirts and t-shirts and hip sneakers for regular life, but you’ll never see it unless we are at the grocery.  And I deeply wish I could wear jeans, but I look terrible in them, so that’s that.


RHYS: Hank, you always look so...professional and those shoes! Wow. I gave up high heels years ago. I can't think how I used to stand on the set for hours in heels when I was in BBC drama. Madness.

So, all you ladies out there: who has decided on their LOOK? Who has evolved? Changed since Covid?

Confessions please.

103 comments:

  1. I don't know that I have a "look" . . . I'm a comfortable, casual, dark neutral colors kind of person . . . .

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  2. I don't have a look, but prefer comfortable clothing

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  3. A good friend mentioned Coastal Grandmother just Saturday, Rhys! Thanks for amplifying on it. I wish I had Roberta's shopper. Or anyone to help me shop in person, something I hate and which always depresses me.

    I'm all about comfort and typically wear dark colors, but I do like a flash of turquoise or purple. And my at-home clothes are radically different from my conference clothes. Which are all outdated and possibly too small.

    Speaking of that, I'm packing for Bouchercon today and am having a LOT of anxiety about it! Will my arthritic toes tolerate my one pair of (flat, comfortable) lady shoes for three days? Where is my turquoise scarf? Why is it going to be in the eighties in Minneapolis? Why didn't I go shopping? Etc etc etc.

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    1. I should have led with: You all always looks fabulous in each your own styles!

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    2. My daughters have tried those services where they send you outfits. With mixed success!

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    3. Rhys, one of my daughters loves StitchFix! Every time I compliment something she wears her comment is, "StitchFix".

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  4. I think my style depends on whether I'm making an effort or not. If not (which happens more and more often), it is going to be pajamas or nightgowns from Kohl's or Target, the kind that look more like daywear-- mixed or matched with t-shirts or sweatshirts.

    If I need to make an effort, like when I'm speaking at a conference, then it's a ribknit turtleneck, a blazer or jacket, and jeans or an a-line skirt.

    But these are the basic rules: It has to go in the wash, it can't pill or bleed, it has to have some give, and it can't have a back zipper or other fasteners that I can't reach.

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  5. JJill all the way. I think it is a cross of boho and coastal grandmother.

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  6. Hmmm, my style has definitely changed from my preppy teens and classic suited office attire.

    Now retired, it's all about comfort. I like wearing bright coloured tops, comfy shoes. Quick wash & dry material when traveling. No ironing.
    EDITH: Yes, Minneapolis will be in the 80s this week so I packed my normal casual sportswear. See you soon!

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    1. GRACE: When I travel, I only have carry on and I use quick wash and drip dry material when travelling abroad.

      Diana

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  7. My style is much like Deb described. Like her, I am too petite for the most flowy of looks, though I am sometimes drawn to flippy skirts paired with a solid tee shirt. Mostly, I tend toward a fitted, neutral pants or skirt with something jewel-toned or summer bright on top. Since covid I have revived a real taste for casual dresses -- I have two or three trapeze dresses as well as a few more-defined but still loose-fitting sundresses. I think they look quite presentable, but I was just laughing with my husband the other day saying that in many ways, they are the reincarnation of what my mother's generation called the "housedress."

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  8. I first met Hank at a signing for her first book at the much-missed Kate’s Mystery Books in Cambridge. Two things made an impression on me: her wonderfully supportive husband and her stiletto heels.

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    1. My husband is obsessed with Hank's heels. He has pictures of them. Should I be worried?

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    2. Maybe just get one pair to wear at home in the evenings.

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    3. Just looking at Hank's shoes makes my feet hurt.

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    4. LOL I remember Hank's stiletto heels on her boots at my first Malice. I used to be able to walk in these another lifetime ago when I was a model at age 12.

      Diana

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    5. You all are hilarious! Aww, see why I cant give them up? And I miss Kate, too. xxx What an icon and an iconic bookstore. She changed so many lives!

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  9. For Killer Nashville I trotted out my sleeveless dresses with matching cardigans. During my panel before we hit the road, I wore my CG baggy linen pants (aka my airplane pants) with a loose cotton sweater. Otherwise, it's shorts and a tee shirt until it's cold enough for athleisure pants made out of some miracle fabric that feels like a layer of skin, wool sweater and turtleneck.

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  10. I love reading about everyone's style choices. In summer I am all about short, loose little dresses or shorts and tees, in fall, jeans and long sleeve tees in winter jeans and sweaters. The body and skin changes of the last few years make me cover a bit more when I go out.

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  11. My kids like Garnet Hill - kind of a blend of eileen fisher and boho chic. Maybe... or at least I find a lot of clothes that I like. But where I hit the wall is bathing suits. Because who can buy a bathing suit online??? And I too like loose shortish dresses, but WHERE ARE THE POCKETS!

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    1. Hallie, try Land’s End Swim Cover Ups. Really sundresses, all with pockets! As do most of their skirts and dresses. Elisabeth

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    2. I haven't tried Garnet Hill. Another new way to shop online! And I like Eileen Fisher when she has colors that suit me. Some years its that moss green or black. Hopeless for me.

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    3. Thanks for the tip, Elizabeth. Love loose short dresses in summer, but must have pockets!

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  12. I guess I would call my look "little sister hand-me-up". Almost all the black slacks I have for winter and the light ones for summer came from my little sis. Like Hank, she was a TV news reporter for many years and she's the one who follows fashion. She also takes great delight in handing off clothes to us, as she was the unwilling recipient of double hand-me-downs from twins when we were children. I wear jeans and nice tops or t shirts and sweaters in winter and slacks or shorts and tops in summer.

    I almost wore my favorite skirt to church a couple of weeks ago. After I had ironed(!!) it, I put it on and realized the elastic waist had given up the ghost. So I said a sad farewell to one item I had bought myself (at REI in 2009) for casual dress-up.

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    1. Yes, as a reporter, there's a style we needed to have. (sadly, that seems to have been a thing of the past..but that's another blog. :-) )

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  13. You all look great, full stop!

    Like Julia, I have defaulted to buying everything from Talbot's. Their clothes fit, and are of high quality fabric and construction, well-priced, and they have sales all the time. But sorry, Julia, no Alabama colors for me. I look better in solid neutrals, dark, in particular, and with jewel toned accessories.

    It may be in the 80s in Minneapolis, but we will mostly be inside the hotel. Layers, check!

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    1. Is anyone else worrying about their mask wardrobe for Bouchercon?

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    2. I wish I was going but I'll be in England. Have a lovely time, everyone

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    3. Karen, I am bring two black and one white KN95. Not messing with style.

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    4. Unfortunately, I cannot make it to Bouchercon this year. I would have loved to see Minnesota because my first generation American grandfather was born in Duluth. I cannot make it because I'll be going to a family event in Sacramento the same weekend!

      Diana

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    5. We will all miss you, Rhys! But you'll have a wonderful time with family, I'm sure.

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    7. Karen: I brought white KN95 masks for Boucheron.

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  14. Y'all do look fabulous, each to her own style! I could never do stilettos--a 2-inch heel was the most I could comfortably manage. I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of person--shorts or capris in the summer and as early in the spring and late in the fall as I can manage, then jeans the rest of the time. Short-sleeved tees ditto, with long-sleeved ones in the winter with a hoodie or cardigan. I do have a modest stock of items for weddings, funerals, lunch with the board president, etc. And Rhys, I just found (on sale) a washable linen shirt from Chicos that I think I'm going to love wearing.

    I used to sew dresses and skirts back when I was a poor grad student and needed clothes for teaching, conferences, etc. But those days are long over--the last time I looked at the price of a pattern, I nearly fainted!

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    1. I used to sew but find patterns are true to real size, not fantasy size we now wear. A size 10 was too small for me!

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    2. Chico's used to have clothes at great bargains. A friend and I would drive out to the Potomac ? Mall in Virginia from Washington DC and we found clothes at Chicos for less than 5 dollars! An entire outfit (top and skirt or pants) for 5 dollars!

      Diana

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  15. My look is mostly contemporary missionary box. Old, clean, comfortable, and gently worn.

    For years I wore uniforms, then scrubs, then suits with skirts and dresses when I moved to management. And held of course

    Now I own none of these things. Jeans and sweats in the winter, shorts and tees in the summer, and something from Talbots when I go out.

    And flats with all. I still own one dress, one skirt, and a variety of sweaters, because it gets cold up here on the tundra. We’ve now begun the brr months: Septembrr, Octobrr, Novembrr, Decembrr, Janubrry, Februbrry, and Mbrrch.

    See you on the other side

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    1. Contemporary missionary box! Love it, Ann. And I hope Talbots is noticing the shout out from many of us and will offer a discount.

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    2. ANN: September should NOT be a brrrr month. It's officially summer until the 21st.

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  16. Since most of my life other my time working, I did not have to dress up – thank heavens! Life was usually between kids, the barn, and the garden so fashion was never a thing. That meant I could dress in my own style – if I could find the clothes. I never liked jeans so floppy pants were good and I always wear a sweatshirt. These usually were more holes than fabric by the time they finally made it to the burn pile.(Today’s is from the Vancouver Olympics – 2010. Should probably be thrown out...) My favourite and most comfortable outfit was the jumper – part of my maternity wardrobe that I wore for years afterward. It hid a multitude of pot belly!

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  17. Unlike my two beautiful sisters, I never paid much attention to clothes. "Girl clothes" have typically made me nervous. On the farm I live in Carhartts and t-shirts or turtlenecks, depending on the season. In my teaching years in an independent school, I settled on a very easy "uniform," so I wouldn't have to ponder what to wear. J. Crew Sweater Blazers, which look tailored but are actually well-cut sweatshirts, over a nice crewneck shirt and slacks and loafers. On more casual days, the slacks were exchanged for jeans. I gradually collected all the blazer colors. "Church clothes" are a rotation of Orvis skirts, mid-calf, bought years ago in multiple colors on deep sale, very out of fashion. (I once had a man run after me in the grocery store to thank me for dressing "modestly"... his daughters were in prairie gowns almost to their ankles!) I have a couple of short dresses for fancy occasions but I feel as if I'm performing in a costume and am always happy to take them off and get back into jeans.

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    1. I often wear long skirts. I like the feel of them

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    2. Sigh. I always see pretty long skirts in the catalogs but can't wear them unless they come in petite.

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    3. Depending on the cut they shouldn't be hard to shorten them. I've often had to do that.

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    4. I love long skirts, and wear them all the time now. Instead of shorts or jeans. SO much prettier, and fun to swish around in.

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    5. Maybe I've had my Orvis long skirts for so many years they've come back into fashion?!! I too like the feel, and the weight, and the swish. However, once I was wearing one with an apron over while fixing dinner and a friend came to the door. She was startled. "You look... Amish!"

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  18. Everyone looks great in their personal style and more important, you all look comfortable! That's my goal for anything I need to wear. As well, it must be washable, and it must be something that really flatters if it has to be ironed. I bought a dress to wear to my granddaughter's HS graduation and was so disappointed. I loved the print but the dress had no shape. It looked like a nightgown more than anything. But I sinched the back a little with those gripper things we used to attach to kids' coat sleeves for their mittens. That helped somewhat. I wore my cardigan until it was too hot. None of that mattered since I am invisible to most people and the ceremony was wonderful.

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    1. Judi, I find so many clothes these days have no cut to them. Cheap up and down made in China. That's why I like to stick to brands I know. Agree with Talbots! And Eileen Fisher.

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    2. RHYS: Eileen Fisher is wonderful. I have seen many beautiful designs by her at a clothes shop that used to be near Black Oak Books (now Books Inc) in Berkeley. It's a different shop now. I always tell myself "I am not grown up enough to wear Eileen Fisher". However, now that I am in my 50s, perhaps now I am old enough? I remember my Mom bought some of her clothes and still wears them.

      Diana

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  19. I'm a total Eileen FIsher devotee. I started buying her clothes about 20 years ago and many of those early garments are still in good shape and in rotation. Generally, the choices in her line include the linen-flowy pants and tops, but she also makes more structured jeans. Great sweaters. The typical EF colors are muted, but occasionally a cheerful color appears.

    For tops--t-shirts in the summer, long-sleeved turtlenecks in the summer--my go-to brand is American Giant.Beautifully constructed shirts that survive season after season of washing and wear. The fit is am bit on the snug side, but not too clingy.

    I only buy online and find the websites for EF and American Giant a perfect easy way to "shop." EF has free shipping and returns, which somewhat offsets the higher prices.

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    1. Katie, I've thought about ordering from American Giant. Thanks for the rec.
      Also, I have an Eileen Fisher t-shirt in a very deep teal green. It's one of my favorite things in my wardrobe.

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  20. I went from tailored suits and (low!) heels in my banking days to jeans, t-shirts, turtlenecks, flannel shirts, sweaters and boots. I'd be perfectly happy if I never had to think about summer clothes. For my closet, it must be natural fabric and in plain and simple colour. I once characterized my "style" as cheese pizza and vanilla ice cream....from LLBean.

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  21. Hank Phillippi RyanSeptember 5, 2022 at 9:53 AM

    WINNERS!!!! The winner of FIELDS OF FIRE is Jay!
    The winner of ALL THE BROKEN GIRLS is Brenda Gaskell!
    Yay! Email me your addresses!

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    1. Thanks! email has been sent.

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  22. The Florida 'look' suits me. Dress up means tropical shirts with shorts. No flip flops. Relaxing means caftans also no flip flops.. Indeed no flip flops ever. A year ago I rediscovered that linen can breathe --like cotton. Happily, the ugliest dress in the world (made of linen with a jagged pattern) joined my wardrobe. This is now my zoom look. Still sweatin' inside and outside, the brrr months are far away when sneakers will replace sandals and jeans replace shorts.

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    1. Do you ever have weather when it is too cold for shorts? Here in California, sometimes in December and January only. Only some days. Your dressing sounds very comfortable and practical.

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    2. Yes, in Central Florida it can get down to the high 30's F. I do have an old pair of jeans from several decades back. Each year I hope my hips have not denied access to the pants.

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  23. Rhys, it's comforting to know I'm not the only one who frets over what to wear in public. I'm with Judy in winter, with long-sleeve tees and jeans. In summer, I wear as little as is socially acceptable. As for my "look," I waffle between "older and wiser" and "crazy old lady."

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  24. My summer style? Disillusioned Hippie....denims two sizes too big and a t shirt, hopefully white, hopefully somewhat loose. Barefoot, if possible. Winter garb: grey sweats, long sleeve t shirt, fleece vest, cardigan WITH POCKETS warm socks and shoes.....Grandmere in Denial, I'd call it, almost, but not quite, in total decline. Dress up? Surely you jest.

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    1. Love love love Disillusioned Hippie! I think that is what I shall aspire to.

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  25. I think I would have done quite well as a man - has anyone else noticed that they simply do not have the same dilemma with "dressing their age" etc? *sigh*

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    1. JENN: Because of my BIG boobs - LOL, the women's blouses are TOO SMALL for me and I often buy shirts from the men's department at Nordie's.

      Diana

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    2. Except for the socks and sandals thing...::-)

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  26. RHYS: I love love love love this post! You always wear beautiful clothes. I remember the first time I met you. I had seen your photo in your novel Before I met you. With a lot of makeup, you looked like my audiologist who had the same last name - Bowen. And yes, she was at your event when I met you. It was a surprise. She walked by the bookstore and saw your name on the book in the window and decided to stop by with her grown up son. Please forgive me for saying this, but you have this gorgeous peaches and cream skin like Princess Diana. You do NOT need a lot of makeup. You have that English rose complexion.

    Perhaps I have always been "coastal grandmother" my whole life? I know that when I was a baby, my parents always dressed me in comfortable clothes and that usually meant pants, not dresses, When my high fashion model (and former beauty queen) grandmother sent me a dress, I grabbed it with vigor! I think it must be in my genes that I love dresses. As a young child, though I was not a big fan of clothes since I was more interested in toys and dolls - LOL, I loved wearing Holly Hobbie clothes or Strawberry Girl clothes or Little House on the Praire pinafore dresses or fairy storybook dresses.

    And when I was 12, I wanted to be an actress like Brooke Shields and I thought that modeling was a stepping stone to my acting career. Now I know there are other ways like community theater like Marlee Matlin did when Henry Winkler taught acting workshops but I did Not live in Chicago. When I was modeling, I just let them pick clothes for me because I had zero interest in clothes except fairy storybook princess dresses.

    Interesting thing was that when Lady Diana became Princess Diana the same year I was modeling, I began to develop an interest in clothes. I loved her style. I even bought a sweater with white sheep on red background like the sweater she wore to a polo match from a boutique at a shop at the Embarcadero Center. I loved Laura Ashley dresses and Jessica McClintock dresses. I remember that on my first trip to England with my Mom, we bought a dress from either Laura Ashley or one of the Princess' favorite designers. My Mom and I were walking by Buckingham Palace when the guards thought that we were there for a garden party because we were dressed as if we were going to the garden party. And when I lived in England (summer at Oxford), I only wore clothes by British designers (yes, favorites of Diana's) and people thought that I was British.

    I have a tendency to keep ALL of the clothes that I've bought over the years. I've given away a FEW clothes that never fit right on me. I Still have that Black knit dress that I inherited from my olive skinned grandmother who looked like a Spanish/Irish Maureen O'Hara. I remember Rhys complimenting me on the dress at the mystery conference dinner. Because Black is Not my color, I wore a blue/green ? colorful? scarf around my shoulders. I inherited my father's Nordic / Celtic / British skin color. My father was half British (actually Scottish)

    When I was dating my former boyfriend about 12 years ago, we would go to many social events like the Opera Gala. I got many beautiful ballgowns from Nordstrom's. My Mom thought I bought too many dresses. LOL I think I only bought 4 or 6 gowns? And I still have them. To my surprise, one of the ballgowns looked like a ballgown that Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge wore. It was a white empire style dress with gold line ? around the waist.

    I would say that my style is Classic. I like "old fashioned" styles that work for me.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, I say, hang on to those clothes! As long as you're not pinched for space, why not? When I cleared out my mothers extensive closets after her death, I found beautiful silk and wool sheaths dating back to the early sixties. Fortunately, they fit my daughters, so they inherited them, but if not, I would have approached a university costuming department or a clothing museum. Maybe some day your collection will be teaching people how we dressed in the 1980s!

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    2. Too many dresses? Never. ANd yes, I used to see what Diana would wear, and wear that, too. Can you believe it's been 25 years?

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    3. JULIA: I have a few clothes from the 1980s because when there was the Oakland fire of 1990, I donated most of my clothes to local disaster relief centers. I think that I still have that Princess Diana sweater.

      Diana

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    4. HANK: Thank you for saying that. I really do not have that many dresses when you look at what our social acquaintances wear in San Francisco. My collection took about four years to build (2008-2012). These people are always on the Society page and they always have NEW gowns designed by local designers and well known designers! Their Ralph Lauren ballgowns always fit me so well! No one believed me when I mentioned that I bought the ballgown off the rack. I got great deals on the Ralph Lauren gowns at Nordstrom's. I cannot believe it has been 25 years! Still trying to wrap my brain around that! That tragedy of August 31, 1997 should never have happened!

      Diana

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  27. After moving to the land of eternal summer (aka Florida) in 2016 I have adopted the retiree summer chic which means tank dresses and wedge sandals. Looks like work clothes feels like jammies. There is an alternate version that plays golf and has matching shorts and polo shirts. But i don't golf. :)

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    1. Diana, you might want to think about it - I have a dear friend who took up golfing because she looked so cute in those outfits! She has since come to love the game for other reasons beside the fashion opportunities. :-)

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  28. I am heartened to find that several people have mentioned turtlenecks. I discovered in my last years of teaching that turtlenecks flagged me as "elderly" to the younger staff. Both my husband and I wore turtlenecks in winter (it can be -30° F for a week!) and there was repeated affectionate mockery. I've been sad that Lands' End and L.L. Bean turtlenecks, both reliable for decades, are now very hit and miss as to sizing and quality.

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    1. Milkmaid, they can take my turtlenecks when they pry them from my cold, dead hands. Which will be cold, because turtlenecks keep me warm, darn it. Whatever fad for cold necks and chests exists now, the fashion wheel will turn again. In my lifetime, I've seen the preppy look, aka, the way my family dressed, come in and out at least three times.

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    2. I have a collection of wool and cashmere turtlenecks, and I'm with Julia. I don't care one fig if they're considered fashionable, they keep me WARM.

      But woe to the LL Bean and Land's End t-necks. They are nothing like they once were, sadly.

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    3. Of course I never STOPPED WEARING turtlenecks. I simply was surprised by the mockery. (You would have thought turtlenecks were the equivalent of a beehive hairdo!) I'm still trying to find a good source for nice, wash and wear, mostly cotton turtlenecks with seamless necks and no elastic in the body fabric. I do not want a clingy shrink-wrap turtleneck!

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    4. It will be soon be time to put on my turtlenecks, which I will probably be wearing until mid May or so. Karen and admilkmaid, you are so right about LL Bean and Land's End. Lucky for me I still have the ones I wore more than 20 years ago when I was teaching. They still fit and are size M, but I would need an XL now to get almost the same comfort and if they are from Bean the sleeves will be way too short, even though my arms are short.

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  29. I love this! My summer look - which is basically 90% of the year here in Los Angeles - is different from my winter. I'm going to give it a name: Pajama Chic. How's that?

    And you all look wonderful. Hank, I don't wear jeans either. Every ten year I try again. But I can never find any that fit right. Aside from my Pajama Chic look, I basically transitioned my old dance togs into daywear. I was way ahead of the Athleisure look. More like Athdancer!

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    1. Ellen, I remember my first visit to Southern California to meet my boyfriend Ross's dad, who had been living in Laguna Niguel forever at that point. It was 1985, and East-coast me was genuinely shocked at the things Californians wore out and about. Athletic clothes! Track suits! Drapey things that looked like pjs! In Washington DC, we changed back into "street clothes" after hitting the gym.

      Fast forward thirty-some years and once again, we see California was just leading the way for the rest of the nation.

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    2. My entire fashion goal is to wear a crisp white shirt and jeans and boots. I have never, in all these years, been able to. Rats.

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    3. Hank, have you tried the "skinny" jeans? There are many kinds of jeans and you may find a pair of jeans that is the right fit for you?

      Diana

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  30. I love this! Since we moved recently - okay, two years ago - I had to go through my closet and I found a pair of my strappy sandal five inch heel shoes. I hadn't seen them in probably fifteen years, but that didn't stop me from putting them on, and falling over. Couldn't walk a step without the wall! And I used to wear them to work and could run for the bus in them. My, my, times have changed.

    I'm a Talbot's preppie for "dress up" and a jeans, tee shirt, sweater type for real life. Covid didn't change much, once we got out of the 80s, I always dressed for comfort!

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    1. Yay for the Talbot's lovers, Kait! And you remind me that I really need to go through my shoes. There are dressy ones I haven't worn in over two years, and heels I'm still hanging on to that haven't budged out of the box for a decade...

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    2. Oh, Kait, forgive me for laughing at your five-inch heel collapse. That would be me, too!

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  31. Style? What is this thing you call style? When I worked I had a very professional look. But when I retired. . . Anyway in the years since I have culled my wardrobe extensively to the point there is not much left. Besides my extensive collection of tee shirts I wear cotton and linen in the summer. Old Navy has helped me out with linen drawstring pants ordered online. Jeans have to wait until cool weather. In essence I am wearing "leftovers" and praying I'm never invited to anything remotely fancy as I have no nice things anymore. And no wish to look for any. I do have several pairs of Starfish pants from Lands End that are great for winter but too warm for the rest of the year. I can always dress those up.

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    1. It also depends on where you are, Pat. For instance, here in Maine, I could wear drawstring linen pants and a T to everything except a wedding. I just dress things like that up with jewelry or a scarf (my mom's trick for traveling light.)

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  32. In elementary and high school, I was a Tom-boy only wearing jeans and a gray t-shirt. My mom did everything she could to get me to wear something other than a gray t-shirt. In retirement, I’m not much different. It’s jeans and colorful t-shirts. When out shopping or at conferences, I’m usually in jeans and a polo top. After years of working with the public in my day job, I don’t dress up much anymore.

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    1. Carol, the whole definition of work clothes are changing anyway. I teach a community college class on technical communications, and when I talk about presenting in meetings or to a group, I have to remind myself that for a lot of the engineers and computer scientists I'm talking to, that's going to mean clean, neat jeans and a T/polo/turtleneck.

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  33. For work - tailored suits, preferably trouser suits, preferably in colors! Purple, lilac, medium blue, rust, coral, cream. Interesting, low heeled shoes - my favorites were two-toned lace-up oxfords.
    After COVID, I switched to hiking skirts/skorts - much more forgiving for weight gains and plenty dressy enough for SoCal. Also some loose dresses (and yes, I realized these were essentially updated house dresses).
    Now that I’m retired, I will likely look like an REI catalogue since the only new clothes I’m buying are for travel. Although I did just pick up a purple flannel shirt during a trip to Vermont. Eventually it will get cool enough to wear it here...

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  34. Yes, at home these days I wear only black t-shirts and little midcalf skirts, and add leggings under when it's cold. Plus on Zoom, you'll never know I have Uggs!

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    1. Rhys: Hank you should see what was on
      My legs for so many Zooms!

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  35. I used to wear nice clothes. In fact, a niece once commented that I always dressed so nicely. Well, that feels like another life now. The pandemic has kept me in so long that I no longer have any nice going-out clothes that fit. Gaining weight was a added bonus to staying in, not. I may be going to a wedding in two weeks where the bride, my niece, wants everyone to wear black. I ordered a dress that seems to cover my body without too much attention drawn to my weight. However, I know I will appear as the frumpy sore thumb. I guess my style is frumpy old woman right now. Hoping to change that.

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  36. I think about my personal style far too much (I think because it's something I can control in a chaotic world) and so I've thought about this post all day. I still don't know what to call my style. I have very picky and specific likes and very picky and specific dislikes, even in exercise clothes or what I wear to ball games. (I swim for exercise and I'm very picky about swimsuits and even the slides I wear from the locker room to the lanes.) For 'going out' or events I like dresses or dressier jeans and nice blouses. I have a comfy black jacket I love but I do not like structured suit jackets on me. I have a bright scarf I've had for 30 years and will be wearing for my panel at Bouchercon. I love scarves in general. I have a pair of mustard yellow jeans, and another pair of bright fuschia jeans that I adore. Mules, slides, kitten heels and ankle boots are my favorite footwear. Bright colors but also strong solids--black, cream, camel, rarely any grey. (Although I love grey and yellow together.) I also like desert colors--sage, burnt orange. Loop earrings. Bracelets--love those. So what does this all add up to? I have no idea. Eclectic classic? Boho classic? Just my own weird style? In any case, if I'm not comfortable in it, I'm not wearing it twice. Oh, and I got rid of all shapewear during the pandemic.

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    1. Jess, if only I could wear scarves gracefully like Parisian women! Mine always slip sideways. Rhys

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    2. I love scarves but can never tie them properly!

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    3. It's in the weight of the scarf-- why I'm still wearing my Heavy silk scarves from 50 years ago. yes, they have to go to the cleaners, and no, I couldn't afford to buy them today-- but they FALL RIGHT!

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  37. I prefer comfortable and sustainable fashion. Confidence is the main ingredient to looking best and for me, that comes with comfort. Also, knowing that you are conscious about your clothing, it feels empowering, at least for me :)

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