Series: Skew You! Trends That Can Fast Forward to Frump

First of all, let me say how HONORED and happy I am to be blogging as a guest of the esteemed Deja Pseu. This place was an inspiration to me when I began my own (now defunct but apparently not forgotten!) blog, “Of A Certain Age” some years ago. I have always felt at home here at Pseu’s own social style salon, keeping company with some of the most true and interesting women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. After “Of A Certain Age,” I went on to pursue my pleasure with clothes and styling for women over 40, undergoing wardrobing training and earning a creditation from the Association of Image Consultants International. I have written style columns for two Southern California print publications, while also adding a business as a stylist for Stella and Dot jewelry. I am so glad to be here!

First in a series.

Isn’t it a GAS to think about the POSSIBILITIES when a new fashion season rolls around? I mean, there’s basically nothing we can’t wear at a certain age if it suits our bodies, personal coloring, life roles and unique personalities. The world is our net of oysters at this time. Let us SHUCK!

Still, with that bounty of opportunity and choice there’s that jerky little gremlin in the back of our heads that has to spoil the fun and nag, “Are you sure that makes you look young and beautiful?” and “Aren’t you too old for that now?” I hate that guy. But he’s kinda right. Though it should be last on our checklist of personal appropriateness when buying new clothes, age indeed has to be a small thing to consider going forward.

Now I know we’re all savvy enough to know that a piece of clothing in and of itself can’t “age” us. But there are certain trends this season that could work a devilish sabotage on our attempts to look youthfully current if their use isn’t considered strategically.

Le Loafer
Let’s start with this season’s comeback kick–The Penny Loafer. What a nice, iconic shoe, and easy on the bunions, eh? In it’s standard incarnation, this uptight, shiny leather shoe with a masculine bent is paired with traditional clothing (think argyle socks, wide-wale cord pants, tweed wool jackets with elbow patches, cotton turtlenecks, headbands, single pearl strand). Danger Will Robinson! What a way to skew yourself toward the frump!

Luckily we have that guiding-light saying that when a trend comes back it looks NOW because it’s been tweaked. Traditional penny loafers with their thick soles and shiny perfection just seem a relic when when worn the way we did it back when. If you’re going to get out your classic Bass Weejuns and polish them up because they are in great shape after 25 years, switch up your garment choice to bring them into this decade. Try for minimal chic with a pair of CURRENT (last two years) jeans (cuffed if you care to), a lace tee shirt and a honkin’ watch from your grandpa Ray. Stick vintage New York City subway tokens or your favorite foreign currency in the penny slit. Or perhaps as a cheeky snub to our sucking economy, a pair of gold Krugerrands…Wear your best Fall shades and most gorgeous perfume and carry one of the new color-blocked shoulder bags out there now.

If you’re going to buy new 

If you long since consigned the Weejuns, consider a brand new pair of loafers with a brand new twist on tradition. These streamlined beauties incorporate classic animal chic with a lighter sole. By Munro at

The form is unmistakable, but we didn’t wear them in metallic leather back in college. These by Dirty Laundry at are trendy yet versatile enough to wear a few years. They’ll go with any jewelry– mix your metals with confidence. For some reason, I think tough or “dirty pearls” go well with this loafer (try the edgy beauties at

This twist on the classic is my favorite. Snaky black opalescence, a streamlined body and driver moc sole. Can you just see this with black cigarette pants (perhaps revealing the ankle tattoo from “that OOPS night”) a boatneck tee, and a ladylike but studded satchel on the arm? A little subversive, but classic. Aquatalia by Marvin K at


The possibilities are endless, just use your style confidence and loaf on into some of the finer department stores and their online shops for inspiration with what to do with a loafer this Fall. And PLAY. Pull together an ensemble starting with the shoe. The way I do it is to place the shoes in the middle of my floor and then “radiate” my clothing pieces outward from that center spot in a sort of stellar arrangement. The pieces will fall into place, and so will a few great outfits.

Do you care for the loafer? How would you rework your vintage pair? If you want new ones, what hip ideas do you have in mind?

Next time on Skew You: The Longer Skirt


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  1. I’ll wear lace, because I’ve still got a great hourglass figure that keeps me able to wear a lot of youthful things (being petite helps too).

    However…I don’t wear most flats because they don’t suit a curvaceous petite with tapering legs and small feet. No flat loafers for me. But mid-heeled loafers? One of my favorite shoe types, and they’ve been long out of style so very hard to find. Guess this is my year for those. 😛

    On other trends – I won’t bother with most of the frumpy 90s comebacks. They tried and tried and tried to get us to wear the 80s again, and there weren’t many takers. So now we’re at the 90s as scheduled. YAWNNNN. I’m doing more indie style, and leaving behind the predictable retro costumes.

  2. Love this post…because it is so true that there are trends that will fast forward us toward the wrong place. I do not think I would wear any of these because they all seem a bit ageing to me. I recently looked at a blogger event earlier in the summer about lace…while I love lace, when I revisited my picture, I thought WOW, I really look older…I probably will not wear that top again..though I love lace. It is wise to say good bye to some pieces that just not might not work for us any longer!!

  3. What fun to have you back here — I’ll look forward to more of these posts. Meanwhile, I’ve been working loafers in my wardrobe for the last few years, my faves being a rich red, pointy-toed pair I spotted in a window on St.Germain, (Paris). I love them with a slim (often dark denim)skirt and opaque dark tights. They don’t have the thick soles that made the old-school version so comfy, but neither do they frump me up (at least, not imho). Again, so good to read you again, and I look forward to more.

  4. Hello Karen – I enjoyed your guest post and look forward to more in the series. I don’t love loafers, never have (a reaction perhaps to the ugly clunkers from sixth grade?) But those Marvin K’s look really cool.

  5. How does being petite help someone wear youthful things? Just curious–especially because I am not petite.

    Loafers are not for me either. I’ve just never found them feminine enough for my taste. However, I do think some of the Tods styles are quite nice, but have never purchased them.

  6. Hello Karen, nice to read your writing again!
    Loafer´s – I liked them back in the good old days, but now, I find most of them looking awfully clumsy. Only with luck, one might find an elegant pair.
    Loafers will always have their place in fashion, but I have yet to find a pair I would be willing to buy.
    Looking forward to your next post.

  7. I LIVE in loafers. Tods, Prada, a blue suede pair of Ferragamos, and leopard Belgians. some have a one-inch heel, others a good 3in. They look great with jeans, slim trousers, and with a heel, can be worn with pencil skirts. I hate those Born and Mephisto ish shoes, they’re so clunky, but a loafer? Absolutely. Just never a Weejun.

  8. My son calls them old lady shoes … But I like the ‘new look’ loafer worn with skinny jeans, always without socks. I have been searching for the right pair, but so far without much luck.

  9. Fun, witty, and informative post! I love the idea of ‘radiating’ clothing pieces outward from the center. I have done something similar, but this is more systematic. I haven’t been a fan of loafers, but the ‘animal chic’ is very appealing. Looking forward to the next guest post!

  10. How great to read something from you again! I do love a menswear look, so I’ll have to think about the whole loafer thing. If I can find one with a bit of heel it might work – my shortish legs always need a bit of lift to keep things in proportion. I look forward to more posts from you!

  11. yup loafers were on my “probably not” for this seasons’ trends list. but, I would go for a heeled loafer–not to high or chunky. I am eyeing those irredescent ones….love the subversive ones! Have to smirk at all the weejun shots this year!

  12. I like loafers because I like flats.
    I’m also a fan of Munro because they’re so darned comfy. In general I think the brand is half-way to frumpy so I think pairing those shoes with newer items is probably a good idea.

  13. I’ve always been a fan of the penny loafer and just recently bought some Cole Haan mocha patent leather ones. I love them with my straight leg jeans.

  14. Great post – really interesting – i worry about what i wear a bit – but then if i feel good and happy in it – i know i look better with my knees covered but i still like shorter dresses – oh what a pain age is – then again my budget is a lot bigger and that is a pro! I had a pair of patrick cox wannabes in the 80’s i cant tell you how much i wish i had kept them – think i might Todd it – then again nice options here – thanks again and have a good week x

  15. I’m not a big loafer wearer. I like the variety with heels more than the classic penny loafer, and the thick lug soled kind, I still have a pair of those which I wear also. I may be headed into fuddy-duddy territory.