10 Things I’ve Learned About Style In My First 10 Years Of Blogging

strolling near St. Sulpice

Saturday marked my 10-year Blogaversary! Back in 2007 I set out on this style blogging journey partly as a pleasant distraction, and partly out of frustration with trying to dress my then 50-year-old self. The workplace had changed, my body had changed, and I felt as though I’d fallen into a giant retail chasm between Twenty-Something-Clubwear and Shuffleboard-on-the-Lido-Deck. Where were the chic clothes for women our age? I just wanted sophisticated, modern clothing that fit me, looked good and made sense for my life.

Fashion magazines and websites were of little help, and the nascent style blogosphere seemed to be focused primarily on women under 30. So I started writing the blog I’d want to read, and hoped to connect with some like-minded souls as I sussed out my own style. Ten years later, there are scores of style blogs for women over 50 offering inspiration for all kinds of tastes, budgets and sizes. The best part of this whole venture? I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some of my readers and fellow bloggers from all over the world, and now count many of them among my dearest friends.

And I’ve figured out a few things about style too…

10 Nuggets Of Style Wisdom Picked Up Along The Way…

  1. Forget “age appropriate.” It’s limiting and meaningless. Focus instead on how you feel in something. Does it feel like an outward expression of your inner self? Then go for it. Do you feel self-conscious? Maybe go back and tweak a bit until it feels right. Ignore those “women over age x need to stop wearing y” kinds of articles. That said, I do believe in venue appropriate style. Whether we’re 30 or 80, dressing appropriately for the occasion shows respect for ourselves and others.
  2. “Classic” is often relative. Yes, there are certain iconic pieces (trench coat, marinière, shift dress) that will stand the test of time better than others. But they don’t suit everyone’s taste or style, so don’t feel you “have to” invest in something just because it has been anointed A Classic. And even classic pieces can look dated over time, so you may want to consider altering hemlines, lapels, buttons, etc. to keep your classics current. We each have our own versions of “classics” too.
  3. Times change, and so do style norms. The world has become a more casual place (for better and worse) in recent decades. Though I struggled with that for some time, I’ve come to embrace a more laid-back approach to style. I don’t think we’re ever going to shift back to the kinds of strict tailoring (and the restrictive undergarments required) that used to be the hallmarks of elegant, mature style. “Casual chic” is my benchmark now.
  4. There is no one “right” body type. Ditch the comparisons. I grew up hearing “only tall, thin women look good in clothes” (or “…can wear X”). It’s what we have been conditioned to believe, but it’s not true. If clothing “only” looks good on models, then the problem is the clothing, not our bodies. Two women of exactly the same height and weight may have completely different shapes and proportions and a garment will look different on each of them. Certain pieces may suit one body type but not another, or may look good on both, but in different ways.
  5. I still believe in chic. It’s still relevant, and something I aspire to.
  6. Tools, not rules. Those guidelines for what to wear for your body type, or coloring, or for what numbers or kinds of pieces you should have in your wardrobe are just that…guidelines. While they can be helpful in developing your style, you can also feel free to ignore the ones that don’t work for you or that cramp your expression of style.
  7. Personal style needs to mesh with lifestyle. I love to travel, and factor that in when shopping for my everyday wardrobe. Think about how you spend your time and what your wardrobe has to accommodate. Do you have a lot of special events on your calendar? Is your lifestyle mostly casual? What about your climate? I don’t need a lot of special occasion clothes, and no longer need to focus on “office appropriate” wear.
  8. Physical comfort is crucial; so is emotional comfort. It’s hard to feel stylish when your clothing binds, pinches, constricts, or is unwieldy. And it’s also hard to feel stylish when you’re self-conscious. I don’t like to draw attention to my bust, and have never been at ease in very form-fitting tops.
  9. Don’t be afraid to try something “trendy.” Trends are more amorphous these days, and multiple trends can exist concurrently. I look at trends as opportunities to a) try something new provided it appeals to me and b) find a greater selection of the kinds of pieces I’d want to wear regardless of trends. Conversely, you don’t have to be a slave to what’s “In” or “Out” in order to look modern. Individual style has replaced adherence to unilateral style trends, so we get to pick and choose.
  10. You can’t please everyone, so wear what pleases you. We all have different tastes, lifestyles and style preferences. I know that not everyone shares my love of black or denim for example. I’ve occasionally been swayed by friends or other bloggers whose style is different from mine to try things that are outside of my usual aesthetic. Occasionally something sticks, usually not. Ten years in, I still find that I most often hit my Style Sweet Spot when I don’t overthink it, when I don’t “play to the crowd” and when I stick with what I love and what feels unforced and organic.

I just celebrated my 60th birthday a couple of weeks ago, and feel better about my life and style than ever. While I have no doubt that I’ll continue to experiment from time to time, I’ve developed confidence about my choices and preferences that makes selecting clothing and getting dressed much easier.

I’m looking forward to the next 10 years of exploring style with all of you! What lessons have you learned in the last decade that have given you more confidence either with regard to your style or in other areas?

Photo by Carla Coulson.

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77 Comments

  1. March 21, 2017 / 7:48 am

    Happy Blogiversary to the most chic blogger out there!

  2. Susan D
    March 21, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    Mazeltov on 10 years of brilliant blogging and also on your recent 60th birthday.

    The very first blog I read was Chic At Any Age and through Josephine’s blog list yours was the second. I was so excited about it that I went back to your very first one and read them all. You give so much useful information and speak so much sense and I have to say that I think you look far more youthful now than you ever did.

    Here’s to the next ten.

    Susan D

  3. Mary Fisher
    March 21, 2017 / 6:44 pm

    thank you for your wonderful blog and thoughtful comments. Thank you for pictures of the Wonderful Lars, a kitty after my own heart. Fashion magazines could learn much from your topics and choices. In the midst of all the challenges of life, your blog is always such a good, happy place. You remind us that value has nothing to do with the number of birthdays, the number on the scale, the numbers in the bank account. But, one has value intrinsically and one’s goals and aspirations are also to be valued.

    Mary F.

  4. Susan B
    March 21, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    Thanks so much everyone for your support and good wishes! It’s so gratifying to know that so many of you find the blog helpful. Thanks for reading and for all of your comments and feedback!

  5. Jill
    March 22, 2017 / 9:25 am

    Number 10. Love it and I live it……I dress not to impress anyone …..I dress to my mood and what feels right on me…..so there are times I might put on one or two things and decide on something entirely different. That’s what makes it fun.

  6. March 22, 2017 / 10:55 am

    Somehow I missed seeing this post earlier. Big congrats to you on your tenth blogaversary. That’s a big deal, as you well know. Blogs come and go, but yours is still building.

    BTW, you and Alyson are my faves. 🙂 But don’t tell the others!

  7. Chris M.
    March 22, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    Happy 10th Blogaversary!

    I truly understand your motivation. In my 50s, I also found myself at a loss as to how a mature woman should dress. I refused to believe that just because we’re older, we must be relegated to the “shuffleboard” section of the clothing store. And, at the time, looking for appropriate role models wasn’t easy.

    I wasn’t as proactive as you were, but I’m deeply grateful to you and your compatriots for helping the rest of us find our “visibility” in a world that seems to chose not to see us. Thanks! And congratulations.

  8. Lynn
    March 22, 2017 / 1:22 pm

    Congratulations on 10 years and belated birthday wishes. I live vicariously through you – live in LA, soon will be 69. Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. CJ1
    March 23, 2017 / 7:09 pm

    I’ve only recently come to your blog but I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit! I really enjoy your posts, particularly on travel wardrobes. I too love to travel and packing for a trip is stressful, but I read your advice and it seems so simple. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.
    I love your insights! Congratulations on your 10 years blogging and 60th birthday!

  10. March 23, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    I just turned 59 myself and I look to you, Susan, for style inspiration and guidance. I’ve thinned out my closet and wardrobe using your advice, posts, and photos – especially when I’m on the fence, clutching something I haven’t worn in years. You look fabulous, ageless, and I am so grateful that you started blogging so that kindred spirits can follow your lead and example.

  11. Linda B
    March 24, 2017 / 5:14 am

    Belated happy birthday and happy blog anniversary! This post epitomizes why you have developed such a loyal following–so helpful and inspiring to read your thoughts. Thanks so much for providing your readers such a steady flow of inspiration over these past years, and keep it up!
    Love to you from AZ, Linda (who reaches the 6-0 milestone in about 5 months)

  12. March 25, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    Congratulations on your 10th blogaversary and happy belated birthday! It’s wonderful that there are now more and more blogs by, and for, women over 40/50. I completely agree about clothes that only look good on models being the problem. For too long I disliked my body for not looking good in the latest trend, but now I’m confident enough to not be bothered by it. That’s the benefit of getting older I think. Brands are starting to take notice of women over 40 and that’s thanks in no small part to bloggers like you. Here’s to the next 10 years! 🙂

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com

  13. Jen
    March 25, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    Congratulations! Just found this blog and appreciate your observations!

  14. Jill G.
    March 25, 2017 / 7:26 pm

    Congratulations! And a belated Happy Birthday! Your blog is such a pleasure to read – love your style!

  15. Ursula in Cádiz
    March 26, 2017 / 4:23 am

    Joyeux anniversaire x 2! Thank you for distilling these nuggets, which are spot on, and for the many other interesting posts over the years. I actually arrived here via the French title, having lived there for 12 years.

  16. March 27, 2017 / 1:54 pm

    Superb ! 10 years of blogging is amazing, loved reading your tips.
    So true that even Classics need re vamping, that the world is a more “casual” place and that you have to be ocassion appropriate 😉 great read-

  17. Barbara Lynch
    March 31, 2017 / 7:37 am

    Thanks so much for the time and energy you put into your blog! You’re my “armchair traveling companion,” since I care for my mom and cannot leave home. Keep the posts of your travels coming…I can’t tell you how much I enjoy them! I love it when you take street style photos in foreign cities.
    I’ve been meaning to mention, your hair and your choice of glasses are both wonderful. You look YOUNGER than you did a few years ago!!! The way you’ve styled your pretty face is the perfect icing on the cake of your style in general. You’ve inspired me to go out and try on wigs so I can really experiment with what would look better on me.

  18. Miriam Rozian
    April 1, 2017 / 2:16 pm

    Susan, I’m deeply grateful for your blog and the ideas it’s given me about how to age with more grace than I brought to my youth (I’m now 52). I’m a traveling IT professional and still figuring out how to be comfortable both in my career and my body. Your stories, capsule wardrobe and travel strategies have been invaluable in helping me look good and feel confident. Thank you for taking away the “shoulds” and helping us be our beautiful selves.

  19. SoSuSam
    April 2, 2017 / 4:36 pm

    I’ve been traveling and so am behind on reading your posts, but I do want to add a belated congratulations on 10 years of blogging! I discovered your blog in 2009, I believe, and have benefited enormously from your sage and engaging advice over the years.

    In addition to the practical side of reading your blog, I thoroughly enjoy your writing and photos. Stopping by Une Femme is always a delightful respite, like meeting a wonderful friend for a coffee in the midst of a hectic day. Thanks so much for all you’ve done and continue to do here on the interwebs!

  20. April 7, 2017 / 8:51 am

    You were way ahead of everyone. Starting to blog for women over 40 (50), ten years ago. You are a trooper, a pioneer.
    And I think your ten style learnings are very wise. I agree with them. Totally.
    Greetje

  21. April 16, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    Congratulations Susan- I find your advice very refreshing and validating.

  22. April 18, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    OH! How did I miss this post? I think it is wonderful and amazing that you’ve been dedicated to making women, over 50, feel relative and cool FOR A DECADE. You are an inspiration to us all Susan. CONGRATS!!

  23. eileen
    May 19, 2017 / 1:13 pm

    The first thing I noticed was your hair….I hope you don’t grow it longer because it speaks attitude and sass.

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