Hitting My Stride

Susan B. wears a fuzzy trucker jacket, striped sweater, jeans, and leopard sneakers. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The Fuzzy Jacket Rides Again…

Having fun with style sometimes means letting go of preconceived notions, and silencing (or ignoring) our inner critics. If we’re worried about not following the rules, or not looking “right,” it can stifle our style.

Jacket | Scarf (similar) | Sweater (similar) | Jeans | Rings | Sneakers (similar)

I’ve written before that my parents had a real hang-up about weight. I was never thin enough to please them*, and over time internalized those negative judgements. It zapped my confidence and skewed my self-perception. Over the years I learned to dress to hide my body and camouflage my “flaws.” It became my safety zone, but I felt as though I’d painted myself into a corner.

Pomellato Nudo rings in Lemon Quartz and Blue Topaz. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Wearing more color and venturing out from my long-over-lean silhouette has made me feel more exposed. That was anxiety-inducing at first, and I won’t say that it still isn’t sometimes. But there’s a lot more to “flattering” than looking smaller/slimmer.

I’m so glad I took a step (leap?) out of my comfort zone and tried this fuzzy jacket! It’s fun and I find it so easy to wear, even though it’s not what I was taught was “slimming.” (And I have to tell you, I get SO many compliments on it!)

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears a fuzzy trucker jacket, striped sweater and leopard sneakers.

My friend Karen calls this a “Mother Trucker Jacket.” She bought the baby blue, and you can see how she styles hers here (second image has full outfit):

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That’s one fuzzy mother trucker! When you think about it, we moms are the OG truckers, schlepping kids to school, doctors, sports, transporting Costco loads and crated pets— you get it! @susan_unefemme knows my style sensibilities WELL, so when she recommended I try her new fuzzy mother trucker jacket too, I got right on it! The baby blue version checks some important style boxes for me— warm, well-fitting and feminine! Styling the jacket up with my beloved @frenchkandejewelry, a corduroy bucket hat and a fun plaid scarf. Don’t you deserve to wear a Mother Trucker jacket too? I betcha do! 🤪#styleover40 #styleover50 #agelessstyle #agelessfashion #timelessstyle #truckerjacket #mothertrucker #frenchkande #frenchkandejewelry#momstyle #momsofinstagram #momfashion

A post shared by Karen 50plus (@karenwearsit50s) on

*Just a note: my parents were a product of their culture and upbringing too. I do believe they believed they were helping me fit into the world as they knew it.

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43 Comments

  1. Marta Suarez
    February 24, 2020 / 3:37 am

    Desde que entre en la menopausia, mi cuerpo se transformó completamente. Todo el tiempo mis padres me reclamaban que estaba muy gorda, haciéndome sentir mal. En ese sentido comprendo cómo te has sentido, aunque esa actitud en la infancia es más nociva. Siento que te hayan hecho sentir mal.
    Eres la mejor blogger de todas porque eres una persona sencilla. Hoy me enfureció ver cómo otra blogger era tan engreida. Todos tenemos una vida más alla de ver cómo se visten los demás.
    Sigue así. Tu blog es muy bonito y tu también. Saludos desde Alicante, España.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      February 24, 2020 / 4:08 pm

      Gracias, Marta. Entiendo todo en espanol , pero soy italofona y mescla los dos idiomas.

      • Lagatta de Montréal
        February 24, 2020 / 4:12 pm

        Horizontal stripes, as long at they are narrow, aren’t necessarily “fattening”. They can be dynamic, encouraging the eye to move around the figure.

  2. Carla J
    February 24, 2020 / 4:31 am

    Once again, Thank you for your always encouraging comments! My inner critic rarely shuts up, but my new motto since entering my 60’s is: Just say” yes,” to horizontal stripes!

  3. Jennifer K
    February 24, 2020 / 4:49 am

    I don’t comment generally, but I wanted to tell you how amazing your transformation has been these last several months. You just glow! On another note, I picked up a book by Christy Harrison called Anti-Diet. She terms “Diet Culture” the “Life Thief,” and I thought to myself; man, how true is that!! I highly recommend it.

  4. Ainsivalavie
    February 24, 2020 / 4:59 am

    I think our parents ( mothers especially) were raised in an era where there were specific ideals about how a woman should ‘look’. Unfortunately a lot of that zeitgeist was perpetrated by Hollywood and the advent of fashion magazines and their ‘dernier cris’ articles as well as crazy, restrictive diets. My own mother was not immune to this, taking up smoking, using amphetamines prescribed by her physician, guzzling the Metracal, chewing Ayds and running to Weight Watchers weekly. She was a skier and curled as well as running after four children and two homes!!! Body dysmorphia was so prevalent that it spilled over to our generation. Susan, I am so glad you address this in your blog, as a clinician I see women of our generation struggling with body image at a time when they should be freeing themselves of the shackles put on them in childhood. Luckily I am seeing more women who have said “enough” and are developing a comfort and love for their beautiful bodies and are putting vibrant good health ahead of achieving a size 00.
    Brava to you for raising the subject as it hits a chord with so many of us and you do look adorable in your fuzzy jacket! It’s a fun look and it suits your new style!

    • Ann in Missouri
      February 24, 2020 / 5:27 am

      Ainsiavalavie … thank you for those comments. And your recall of those old diet products (Metracal and Ayds) really took me back … I’d completely forgotten those names.

      • Elizabeth
        February 24, 2020 / 6:56 am

        Such a comfortable, relaxed, stylish look for you. Your friend Karen looks great as well. It’s fun to see the same jacket worn by two different women. You both look very chic and your personalities shine, thanks to color and accessory choices.

        • Elizabeth
          February 24, 2020 / 7:01 am

          My reply above was meant for another thread – haven’t had my coffee yet!. However, I too remember Metrecal and Ayds. A college friend, who was not overweight but did not fit the skinny ideal, relied on Ayds and diet pills to kill her appetite. She was constantly on edge and unhappy.

  5. February 24, 2020 / 5:00 am

    I can sympathize with you about the messages parents send their children. They can be so damaging! When I was 9 yrs. old, I needed glasses. My father felt it was my fault since I used to read under the blanket with a flashlight. He felt I had “ruined” my eyes. When we went to pick out glass frames in the store, my father announced rather loudly in the store, that “I am going to pick out the UGLIEST FRAMES I can find since it is YOUR fault that you need glasses!” Needless to say, I was mortified. This comment plus others led me down a long road of feeling and internalizing that I am ugly. I still fight this message every day, it never goes away! I think you look fantastic in the new colors and I know it takes courage to step out of your comfort zone and try something new! But the results are well worth it!

    • Ann in Missouri
      February 24, 2020 / 5:44 am

      Linda V … I am so sorry your father treated you that way as a child. I hope you continue to recover from his ignorance. I say “ignorance,” because he obviously didn’t have access to the actual facts about eyesight and how and why it can change. However, it sounds like he was also needing to punish you, not to love you. Bless his heart (and I mean that both ways). And bless your heart, too, which I mean in only the nice way. <3

      • February 24, 2020 / 6:06 am

        well, my father was an alcoholic so that may explain his meanness and cruelty. thanks for your very nice comments. God Bless you.

        • Lagatta de Montréal
          February 24, 2020 / 4:21 pm

          It could be, but my slightly older and MUCH larger brother was far more violent and cruel to me than any other relative, even those who overindulged in booze, food or other things.

    • Zaeobi
      March 9, 2020 / 1:51 am

      I have zero photos of myself in my glasses & braces from when I was a tween because my mother would forbid me from wearing them as much as she could. I also got blamed for my glasses & would be taunted about wearing them ‘too much’ since I don’t ‘really’ need them inside the house because I’m short-sighted (never mind wanting to be able to see everything around me with clarity, the only time I technically didn’t need them should have been just when I’m reading). I remember even the optician got so frustrated with my mother trying to get him to persuade me that I’m making my eyes worse by wearing my glasses (lol, what logic!) that he actually made her wear a pair of those lenses (that they put inside the eye test goggles) to get her to physically see what I see normally (without my glasses). Now that my mother is older & in need of reading glasses, she’s finally starting to cotton on. But it’s a little too late for my own self-esteem around wearing my glasses if I want to ‘look nice’ or be in photos…

      Since she couldn’t feasibly put my entire life on hold for the two years that I had braces, she would also never take a photo of me (or allow anyone else to) unless I had my mouth shut. I wonder whether my tight lipped smile & self-consciousness around my teeth these days is a remnant of that…

      • Zaeobi
        March 9, 2020 / 1:57 am

        I also of course got my fair share of harassment over my body shape & size, too. The irony behind tailoring is that we come from a country where such labour is dirt cheap. It would cost next to nothing to get my clothes tailored to fit me but I always dreaded it, because my mother would always make comments about how my measurements weren’t what she deemed they ‘should’ be. Something that should have been fun & comfortable (getting my clothes to actually fit my natural body, no contortions needed!) would instead end up with me feeling broken inside. Especially when we’d go to an (even) cheaper tailor who would skimp on the correct measurements in order to save scraps of fabric for themselves. There’s nothing quite as humiliating as getting your clothes tailor-made only to find that they STILL pull across the hips! 🙁

        I sadly now have more anxiety around getting my clothes tailored than I probably should. Especially since it’s much more expensive to do well in the west!

  6. Yolanda Baird
    February 24, 2020 / 5:07 am

    I have to say that you positively glow since your decision to wear color and embrace a new look. I’m amazed at the transformation. Our parents did what they did out of wanting the best for us (or them), but it’s quite the revelation to discover that they were wrong. Really Wrong. It’s been an occasion to rethink my own internal tapes and perhaps question my clothing choices. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  7. SuD
    February 24, 2020 / 5:40 am

    You look great! Sunny and bright.

  8. Jeanne
    February 24, 2020 / 5:49 am

    Susan, I love this jacktet on you! On another note….you once wore a ring that you purchased in Paris. It was worn on the middle finger and it I believe it was a circle design. I was wondering if this ring could be purchased online. I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 24, 2020 / 5:51 am

      Hi Jeane, thanks! That ring is from Charlotte Chesnais, and is still available here: http://bit.ly/3c34dgG

      • Jeanne
        February 26, 2020 / 4:12 am

        Thank you!!!!

  9. Holly
    February 24, 2020 / 6:07 am

    I purchased this jacket after reading about it on your blog. So glad I did and I love wearing it. Just wanted you to know readers do pay attention to your ‘suggestions.’

  10. Bonnie
    February 24, 2020 / 6:21 am

    As to parents and body shape. I was lucky, in that my mother sewed most of my clothes until I was a teenager and learned to do my own. One way we bonded was to go pattern and material shopping together. It was probably when we had the best time together. We lived on a dairy farm and chores took most of everyone’s time. I had friends whose fathers were critical of their weight. I saw how hurtful that was to them and their self confidence.
    And yes Susan ,you look radiant

  11. Lee Rosenthall
    February 24, 2020 / 6:27 am

    I have to agree with the others who have been swept up in your color transformation. You look so much “lighter,” and I don’t mean in relationship to your weight (although you appear very fit and trim on my monitor!), but in SPIRIT. I love black, and look good in it, but too much black drains the joy out of “women of a certain age,” and frankly of a lot of younger women too! The addition of color, or white/ivory, makes all the difference in the world. And for those for whom black isn’t a great option, there are so many wonderful alternatives that can also be dressed up similarly. I never really thought about the implications of being “attractive” – to me it always meant “looks good.” But, in a literal sense, when I see someone with your lightness & joy, I am attracted TO them and want to get to KNOW them better. So, brava, Susan! You’ve inspired women all over North America and beyond.

  12. Eileen
    February 24, 2020 / 6:59 am

    I love your new transformation. I have never found black to be a favorite color, and I do notice that black clothes can look a little bit like a shroud, or a place to hide. I do wonder why we women pick hiding versus brightening. I think you’re onto something, looking “slimmer “ is killing our creativity/ spunk/ vibrancy. Good article.

  13. Rondi
    February 24, 2020 / 7:08 am

    I am glad you are having fun with style now. It’s not as easy as it sounds and you are the best inspiration. I think the hardest part for many women is confidence. If you are comfortable with your look and style it definitely shows and makes a woman even more attractive. Hopefully our culture is changing it’s attitude about what makes a woman attractive.

  14. February 24, 2020 / 7:17 am

    The idea that thinness is desirable in all women is hardly something of the past that our parents must take the blame for . What about the comments to a recent post here about veganism/plant based diets ? Almost all of them mentioned (with joy) losing weight as an excellent result of such changes . ~30lb was spoken of more than once . I am naturally thin and always have been as an adult (and no it is no fun being hated/judged by contemporaries ) . The last time I lost 20lb (due to a crisis) I could barely stand up , 30lb would kill me . But none of this is my parents’ fault . They were born in the ’20s . The obsession with being a stick insect began in the ’60s in the UK and was not Hollywood – led as I remember . I did have one friend on prescribed amphetamines for weight loss but my mother’s generation were supposed to be buxom which she never managed !

    • February 24, 2020 / 2:25 pm

      I believe you are correct in the obsession with thinness (downright skinny!) started with the U.K. and Twiggy and Jane Shrimpton (“the Shrimp”). But they almost look fat compared to the anorexic models we see today (Size 00).

      • Suji Beckett
        February 24, 2020 / 2:53 pm

        As I’ve been reading the comments, it seemed to me that body image is even more impossible now than for girls growing up in the 50’s & 60’s.

      • Susan Blakey
        Author
        February 24, 2020 / 3:02 pm

        While Twiggy may have exacerbated the problem more widely, (and not her personally…that’s just her body, but rather the lionization of an extreme level of thinness) in my family the obsession with weight pre-dated that. It was tied up with perceptions of class as well as moral judgement.

        • Lagatta de Montréal
          February 24, 2020 / 4:26 pm

          Twiggy was a working-class gal who was swept up in the quest for modernity – and sexual fluidity – in postwar Britain. She is a lovely woman of a certain age now.

  15. February 24, 2020 / 7:25 am

    I was looking at this exact jacket a couple of weeks ago when it was on sale! I should have gone into BR and tried it on. Anyway–perfect, fun look for you. Those messages from our parents are “in there” good and deep, aren’t they? Being slender isn’t the be-all, end-all having fun and feeling confident are so much more enjoyable and self-affirming! How many times have I thought about a person’s weight when they are exuding self-confidence?! Um, never?

  16. Evelyn
    February 24, 2020 / 8:05 am

    I purchased the jacket just now! Your ideas are always so inspirational when it comes to wardrobe spiffing up. I’m buying less EF these days – it’s feeling somewhat frumpy and doesn’t reflect my casual lifestyle. I’ve also been disappointed with quality vs price point recently. Still, the stretch crepe black pants are what I reach for when I need to “dress up”. I’ve had issues with my body for years – currently, it’s all about mitigating the ravages of aging (I’m 66). Working hard to adopt a better (channeling Popeye here…..) “I yam what I yam” attitude. I’m active, healthy, learning new things; what more could I ask for? A 24 inch waist definitely ain’t in the cards any longer!

    • Jan W
      February 25, 2020 / 7:07 pm

      Appreciate that view. I have found almost nothing of EF that appeals to me (plus the price point is higher than I want to pay!). It seems very old and fuddy-duddy to me. I’m always looking for non-EF choices, especially those with petite options. As far as body isses, I guess it’s better to be a yam that a sweet potato!

  17. keri
    February 24, 2020 / 8:55 am

    those rings look so pretty together! Love the unusual color pairing.

  18. Nancy
    February 24, 2020 / 9:17 am

    Susan,
    Thanks for your comments. Parents do not understand how far reaching their comments become. My mother told me I was selfish when I was younger and still today (at 61 ) if I want to do something different/for myself I struggle with not “feeling selfish “. You go girl !
    Nancy

  19. February 24, 2020 / 9:38 am

    To heck with worrying about being thin enough. You have what the French call “avoir du chien.” A certain saucy style that comes from being comfortable in your skin. Brava.

  20. February 24, 2020 / 10:16 am

    Congrats on freeing yourself from the bondage of “slimming.” If I gained a couple of pounds, my mother would say I was getting fat. When I lost a few pounds, she would say I was too skinny. Now, I yam what I yam. I go through phases of black on black, and then get myself back to living color. Fashion should be fun and only fun.

  21. Linda Lennon
    February 24, 2020 / 11:38 am

    You’re an inspiration! Childhood hang ups really do stick around for a long time. I’m working on my inner voice being more positive, buying color rather than black and most importantly surrounding myself with positive people. At 68, I deserve this!

  22. Cleo
    February 24, 2020 / 12:53 pm

    I wear a lot of black in my grey northeastern city, but whenever I DO wear color…I have a bright yellow wool coat, a tomato orange rain coat, lots of hot pink and purple scarves, an all white slacks-and-poncho-thing ensemble….I get tons of comments from women of all ages. Maybe it’s different in warmer climates, but bright really stands out here. I love it!

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      February 24, 2020 / 4:45 pm

      Black is simply practical here – I live in Montréal, and despite our many charms, please don’t envisage pure white snow. Cold weather, but also very humid – we are an Island – and white jeans would soon be filthy. I certainly wear colours, but they are deep, sonorous colours – I’m wearing deep violet jeans and a hoodie in a similar hue. Why should we be baubles when nobody criticises men for dressing in sombre hues? Of course people have the absolute right to wear any colour they fancy, but I love having a wardrobe that can be fairly minimal and coherent. I’m among other things a visual artist and love colour, but that does not necessarily entail garish hues.

  23. Sheryl
    February 24, 2020 / 5:55 pm

    I really don’t think it has anything to do with weight or size. Just as women can look their best in certain colors, most women tend to dress for their body type. I know there are certain silhouettes that I look and feel much better in than others. IMO it’s more a question of proportions and balance.

  24. Robyn
    February 25, 2020 / 2:58 am

    The coat looks wonderful and you look happy. My Mom never commented on my weight but was always obsessing about hers. I too am always fighting my want of good food with and how tight my clothes get. One thing my mom did teach me was color theory/seasons and how to dress for your body, accentuate not hide. For many years I did not follow it but recently I’ve resumed it. I’ve also been journaling about my clothes. What I’ve bought how I feel about it etc.. I understand why I can never find the perfect horizontal striped shirt, when I wear a black or dark top and cream or white bottoms I get positive comments. How a long necklace instantly changes the look of an outfit. While others are forgoing black I’m not. I’m a winter, black, white, blues are my “power” colors. I have gotten away from the other colors in this pallet, thinking the neutrals were chic but I want to add more colors and patterns into my wardrobe. I recently added two liberty print blouses and I’m surprised how much I like them. Until now I would have thought them too cutesy. Boy this is long. This blog set the thought wheels in motion.

  25. Karen
    February 25, 2020 / 7:49 am

    I absolutely love the way that wearing “your” colors makes you happy. I used to do this; then I fell into neutrals, thinking they were a sharper look. I think my look got swallowed up in a stereotype. You’ve encouraged me to stick with the classics I like, but wear shirts, scarves – things close to my face in my colors. You know, even looking at certain colors relaxes me or makes me happy. Why wouldn’t I wear them, too?

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