’70s are back, everywhere … including my face

It’s no secret the biggest, most recognizable trend from the fall runways was the ’70s.

Flares at Derek Lam 

I'm pretty sure I had red flares this wide when I was in Junior High
I’m pretty sure I had red flares this wide when I was in Junior High

And at Gucci

Yep, very 70s
Yep, very 70s

Peasant dresses at Burberry

My 14--year-old self would have happily worn this ensemble to school. I even had the hair
My 14–year-old self would have happily worn this ensemble to school. I even had the hair

Jean skirts and patchwork at Tom Ford and Chloe

I actually deconstructed and sewed together jeans to make a skirt that looked a lot like this.
I actually deconstructed and sewed together jeans to make a skirt that looked a lot like this.
I may have owned a patchwork skirt a time or two in my youth and more than one blouse that ties at the neck!
I may have owned a patchwork skirt a time or two in my youth and more than one blouse that ties at the neck!

From silhouettes to palettes to accessories the styles of my youth have blossomed anew along with the same body issues I had  at 13. Sort of.

In 1973 I was 14 (go ahead and do the math) with a face full of zits, a bosom maturing faster than I was psychically and wavy hair that I, of course, wished was straight.

At the beginning of my teen years I was not in a hurry to grow up. I liked being a kid and went into denial as my breasts began to develop and my waist curve in. I resisted wearing a bra (which became necessary in 6th grade) telling my mother I didn’t want to grow up.  But grow — up and out — I did.

Because I had boobs at youngish age and looked older, less childlike, than some of my friends I got teased by boys in my class (and leered at by grown men, including teachers), I hated school. (Also I was bored most of the time).

At the same time my face broke out so much that my working-class parents spent money on a dermatologist and therapist to help me cope … they even helped me switch schools.

The new school wasn’t much different, although it was safer having as it did about 100 percent fewer teacher stabbings than the previous school.  But I still got teased. I was once surrounded by a group of girls who pointed at me and called me zit-based names (I don’t remember the exact words they used but they weren’t making fun of me because I had the smooth complexion of a Disney princess) in front of everyone eating lunch on the quad.

I grew my thick wavy hair long because I thought it would at least cover some of my zits and if I could get the perfect Jacqueline Smith or Farah Fawcett wave maybe it would distract from my face? (In case you were wondering I achieved neither goal).

Every day was a struggle not to feel self-conscious because of my complexion or body but every day a new zit grew and someone tried to look down my shirt.

(And just so you know, I am not telling you this so you’ll feel sorry for me or because it left me with permanent emotional scars. It didn’t. I was a goofy, hormonal, overdeveloped teenaged girl. I wasn’t the only one. Lots of kids got teased and bullied in school; for some it left a mark and those people feel the pain to this day.  Others managed to move on without lasting effects. I’m one of the last category.)

The one thing that made going to school palatable was getting dressed. Getting to put together outfits and feel admired by girls less into fashion than me. (To be clear, to this day I have no idea if anyone in junior high school admired me, my clothing or my style but I was hoping they did). I latched on to every trend, every look … wanting to look hip and well dressed in a full ensemble with ladylike accessories one day; sporting an army jacket, suggestive motocross tee shirt and torn jeans the next day. I always saw fashion as a form of expression and as a shield to hide behind. It let me adopt different personas and try out different versions of myself.

At the start every school year my mom would take me shopping and I would pick out the trendiest pieces my parents could afford. That year it was a pair of red plaid bell bottoms, platform shoes and red v-necked sweater with ribbed cuffs and hem. I loved that outfit. I thought I looked so Vogue and so stylish and cool (and I maybe I did). It made feel in control and less like an alien in my own body.

But the pimples still kept coming and my body kept developing till the pants no longer fit and my cleavage bloomed too openly in the sweater. I wasn’t fat or even overweight I don’t think, I just wasn’t the tall willowy  surfer girl or tiny,  petite gamine I had hoped I would be. (womp, womp).

But what I eventually learned from those years was how to dress my body so I felt the best I could, to pick pieces and styles that showed my body to its best advantage — whether that was to minimize my chest and play up my clavicle (a body part I am often complimented on) and arms or make my shortish legs appear longer — and therefore made me feel good about myself.

I learned who I was and what my style was and that knowledge served as a basis of my innate sense of self.

In the intervening years I learned how to use style and fashion to feel confident in any situation whether it was picking the right skirt and blouse for a job interview or how to wear a black leather jacket (my favorite piece of armor) like it was a second skin.

In my 30s and 40s my hair,  never curly enough to produce pretty ringlets but too wavy to be silky, calmed down and with the help of a good stylist usually looked fine. The oily skin that caused so many breakouts and so much embarrassment — which  means I have very few middle-age wrinkles —  eventually cleared up.

Until now.

Probably because of hormonal changes (the culprit in my awkward puberty and, apparently, my dowdy middle age) I am once again chasing one red, stinging zit after another from my face. At least now I am more expert at hiding them with makeup and concealer.  I’m also spending more time trying to blow dry straight my  increasingly wavy hair. (I’m thinking of just letting it go wild.)

And my boobs? Well, lets just say they seem to be back in 7th grade asserting themselves farther out. Only now they aren’t aiming quite as high and my stomach is trying to follow suit.

It seems that fashion isn’t the only thing that comes full circle … so do we.

Today I spent time researching the ’70s inspiration for fall knowing that not only the prohibitive barrier of cost (no, I cannot drop $1,295 for a pair of Valentino gauchos or $5,000 for a Lanvin midi-skirt) but my thickening torso means I’ll be sitting this round out.

Instead, I’ll focus my energies on figuring out how to care for and dress this newest iteration of my body to its best advantage. It’s served me well and the least I can do is keep it strong and clothe it the best I can.

But man, you should’ve seen me in those plaid bell-bottoms…

Now excuse me while I go apply some more  Clearisil.

Style at any age: Trendsetter clutch bags for under $100

A chic and roomy clutch is an easy (and inexpensive) way to work a trend. All of these cost under $100.
A chic and roomy clutch is an easy (and inexpensive) way to work a trend. All of these cost under $100.

 

Keeping your personal style, being on trend, as you get older can sometimes be a challenge. It can also be a challenge no matter your age if you are not an heiress to a large fortune or a globe-trotting supermodel whose entire closet of designer duds is “gifted”. (Not bitter, I swear, I am not bitter!)

So the double challenge of being, ahem, under-employed and, let’s face it, a little bit of a trend whore, has forced me to become more strategic in my shopping. Every buck I spend must make a bang stylistically and, because I am well past my 20s, look more expensive than it was.

I have found that the easiest way to amp up your style is with accessories and lately my  style-amping accessory of choice has been the clutch. For me it’s the day clutch. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to rock a beaded clutch or shiny minaudier for evening but to work a big scrunchy, one-of-a-kind looking bag under your arm like a fashion boss? That takes some skill.

So for your edification, I present …

If you love rocker style:

First the age thing. I still like my rock and roll/punk edge but lets be real, I’m too old to be tricked out in leather skinny jeans, fringed scarves and studs everywhere … unless I want to look like an old woman trying too hard (or Steven Tyler, which is really the same thing, ammirite?) But I am not too old to wear this uber soft black be-fringed beauty from Deux Lux with everything from a black sheath and heels to (tasteful) black skinnies, a soft sweater and an oversized wrap coat …

A so soft pouch with just enough fringe on the sides to make it trendy but not too ...Deux Lux faux leather fringed pouch, $75.
A so soft pouch with just enough fringe on the sides to make it trendy but not too …Deux Lux faux leather fringed pouch, $75.

I got mine at Nordstrom, Fashion Island but you can get yours here.

More rocker clutches …

Chic Nova studded clutch, $47.

If you love animal print:

Who doesn’t love leopard or cheetah print? Once relegated to a certain class of overdressed lady, animal prints (for me it’s specifically, leopard print) have crossed into the realm of iconic neutral. But if you’re of a certain age, too much of such a good thing can tip from kicky and fun to tacky and frumpy in less time than it takes to say “I’ll have a chardonnay”. Ladies like us have to be careful not to go overboard, but instead add animal as an accent. Also, just carrying a leopard print bag — or just wearing a very classic leopard pump, but not both — (for the love all things holy, NOT BOTH) is the great way for the style-timid to try something wild.

A minimal silhouette in good materials such as the clutch below (which I got at Chico’s the first and only time I ever shopped there) should do the trick …

In the past few years leopard print has moved from kicky print on the edge of tacky to iconic neutral. Chico's leather and and leopard print pouch, $99.
In the past few years leopard print has moved from kicky print on the edge of tacky to iconic neutral. Chico’s leather and and leopard print pouch, $99.

More animal print clutches …

Zara Printed leather clutch, $99.90 

If you’re a bohemian at heart:

The boho look has much to recommend it: fun, floaty, forgiving silhouettes, a casual chicness perfect for the SoCal climate; it’s a look that says you don’t try too hard, you’re just chill. But … also, the jeans short and floaty kimono with leather booties is tad young for a grown woman (as well as kind of played out here in O.C.).

And, say, you’re boho but you can no longer in all good conscience go out in shorts, opting for a maxi with chunky organic jewelry has it’s own pitfalls. For one, you risk looking like grandmother Tippy Toes (as my mom would say) in voluminous long skirt and flats because no one does boho in heels.   As we get older, or rather, wiser, shouldn’t we aim to also be more sophisticated and not so much Stevie Nicks?

 

One solution? Wear your fave, worn boyfriend jeans (no holes please, I hate that look. Holes in jeans are fine for struggling, just- getting-started-in-life 20-somethings but by 40 you can afford to buy new jeans before the knees go out) low-heeled booties, a soft-as-you-please v-neck tee, classic-cut blazer and a bag like this  …

Woven and beaded fringed Neli clutch, $56 at Luna B in Huntington Beach.
Woven and beaded fringed Neli clutch, $56 at Luna B in Huntington Beach.

Other Boho options …

H&M Faux fur clutch, $35.95

If your style is quirky gamine:

Being a gamine, pixie dream-girl is only for the young.

Sorry, ladies, but even Zoey Deschanel isn’t trying to pull that off anymore and the original “gamine”, Audrey Hepburn (pause to reflect on the meaning of Audrey’s style) aged out gracefully while maintaining that sparkling look. In fact, if you think about it, her most famous character, Holy Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) wore fairly classic items: LBD, belted trench, kitten heels … It was only her accessories that were quirky: Tiara, eyelashed sleeping mask,  cat eye sunglasses (for modern reference see Karen Walker’s line) and a top-knot bun. (Her home decor was quirkier: suitcases as end tables, a bathtub as a couch, zebra rug).

So if you still grave a bit of wit and whimsy, try a bag that makes a statement (it’s also a good replacement for the ironic graphic t-shirt which really should be reserved for youngsters) …

Bam Forever "Faster Better and Stronger" denim pouch, $25 at Miel in OC Mix, Costa Mesa.
Bam Forever “Faster Better and Stronger” denim pouch, $25 at Miel in OC Mix, Costa Mesa.

Other quirky girl options include these adorable clutches from Rebecca Minkoff and Betsey Johnson at Nordstrom …

Rebecca Minkoff floral "Leo" envelope clutch, $98 at Nordstrom
Rebecca Minkoff floral “Leo” envelope clutch, $98 at Nordstrom
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Bestsey Johnson cat clutch, $58 at Nordstrom

 

 

 

 

The two people you must have in your life

Post  my most recent cut and color
Post my most recent cut and color

 

If someone held a gun to my head and asked me what two people I would take on a desert island it would have to be my esthetician and hairstylist. (Ok, maybe a trainer if I get to pick three. )

Sorry family and friends, but girl wants to look good, always.

I think there is a reason we women bond with our beauty specialists, especially as we get older and maintenance is harder and more time consuming. It’s because going to these regular appointments refreshes and rejuvenates us emotionally as well as physically.

The spa table or stylist’s chair has some magical power to open you up.  After all, who among us hasn’t told our life story to a hairstylist? And why wouldn’t you? There is a person standing as close to you as possible with your hair in their hands — if you get a bad haircut it’s like wearing an ugly dress every day for months until the hair grows out — you want that person to know you and you want to know them.

The same thing holds with an esthetician; a feeling of trust is essential. Once when I was going through a particularly broken hearted time in my life I cried while getting a facial the way I hadn’t been able to around my friends. The esthetician – who I had just met — told me it happens all the time. She told me she thought it was because being on the table with someone’s hands on your face, massaging your scalp and getting you to relax makes a person feel particularly open and vulnerable.  She told  me she viewed it as part of her job to help the client through that vulnerable moment and bring them out the other side to a little peace. You have to have a lot of faith and trust in the person leading you to that place of well-being.

That’s why I feel lucky to have two such women in my corner.

Continue reading The two people you must have in your life