Thursday Miscellany: Style Priorities, Pip, & More

Susan B. wears Eileen Fisher lantern pants in linen, and Xirena cotton top. Details and more about style priorities at une femme d'un certain age.

When I posted the caftan from Tuesday’s blog on Facebook and Instagram, a few people commented that the shape wasn’t “flattering” and “didn’t show off” my figure. I was raised to believe that the most important thing about any piece of clothing was that it was “slimming,” so this was a familiar refrain.

As someone who has worked hard to move beyond this notion, I’m going to ask, “why?” Why is it so important to look smaller (or at least not larger)? Why do we have to “show off” our figures (or conversely hide figure “flaws”)? And how are those priorities impacting our style?

Top | Pants (Misses / Plus / Petite) | Sandals (similar)

Above, these linen lantern pants aren’t necessarily flattering in the usual “slimming” sense, but I love the shape and how they look (yes, even with the wrinkles). And during last week’s heat wave, they were so cool and comfortable! To balance the volume, I added this more fitted top in lightweight cotton gauze. Here’s one with a similar look that’s more budget-friendly.

Of course we want to look our best, and look like our most authentic, vibrant selves. Proportion, balance, personality, and yes, color all play into this. Which means that one style, one set of style priorities, does not fit all. I’ve come to that point where wearing what brings me joy is more important than “looking slim.”

And of course it’s fine if you prefer more fitted or tailored styles. I guess all I’m suggesting is don’t let fear of looking “bigger” make you afraid of wearing something you otherwise love. Don’t miss out on the joy.

Pip Update

Hummingbird chick perched on the side of a box. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This photo was taken a few days ago. By last Sunday, Pip (the rescued hummingbird chick) had begun perching on the side of his box and trying out his wings. Mama bird was still around and feeding him, so I decided to hang back and let nature take over.

His first couple attempts at flight didn’t get him far. I found him on the ground a couple of times and put him back on his perch. (The second time it was Mama swooping down toward where he had landed on the grass that helped us locate him.)

I’d developed the habit of checking on him first thing every morning when I woke up. Tuesday morning he was still perched. An hour later he was gone and I didn’t find him on the ground anywhere. I haven’t seen him or Mama bird since. I’m holding a good thought that he finally had enough strength to fly off with her. 🤞

In other good news…

We get to see Jeune Homme today for the first time since March! 🎉 The group home where he lives has approved day visits, so le Monsieur will be picking him up this morning and we’ll have him here at home for a few hours. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly.

And, another Eileen Fisher sale alert! This time many of the “System” pieces are marked down.

How’s your week going?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Joann Czarny
    June 18, 2020 / 11:46 am

    How wonderful you will get to spend time with your son! ❤️ I thought your caftan outfit was one of your best. The flowy top over slim pants was VERY flattering. The colors, the silhouette, tres chic!!

  2. Lily
    June 18, 2020 / 2:14 pm

    I thought the caftan was fabulous! If my lifestyle supported buying it, I would add it to my closet in a heartbeat! I no longer go places that where I would wear it. I am so over having to look anorexic to please others. Being healthy and strong are far more important.

  3. Alexandra Martella
    June 18, 2020 / 2:27 pm

    Amen! Wear what brings you joy ~ what a lovely idea!
    Thank you!!

  4. Cathy D.
    June 18, 2020 / 3:01 pm

    Your caftan looked great!
    Today’s outfit looks great!
    And, have you noticed, Pip is wearing your colors!

  5. Kay
    June 18, 2020 / 5:10 pm

    I am a huge fan of lantern pants. It’s a fun (and comfortable) silhouette.

  6. Jen
    June 18, 2020 / 5:10 pm

    I loved the color and design of the caftan.
    I think I will get mine out. They remind me of how comfortable I feel when I wear them. After a big day of gardening a caftan and a glass of wine on the patio watching the golfers is the best.

  7. Eileen
    June 18, 2020 / 5:25 pm

    P.S. I love the silk caftan on you, perfect colors!

  8. Patty
    June 18, 2020 / 6:53 pm

    The suggestion that women are required or expected to “show off their figures” is so infuriating to me. In the literal sense…it brings on fury. It is no one’s right to look at the specific outline of my body unless I invite them to. That right certainly doesn’t belong to random strangers, either in person or regarding a photo. I can’t believe people are still saying things like that.

  9. Janet D.
    June 18, 2020 / 9:58 pm

    I’m old enough to remember life before the internet — specifically, before every opinionated idiot in the world thought they had a right to hide behind their keyboards & criticise other people’s lives. The caftan looked wonderful! And speaking of wonderful — wow, the colour of those slacks & top is just fabulous (light turmeric with a dash of curry on my monitor)! The whole outfit looks cool, comfortable & classic. As for so many women being obsessed with appearing thin: I see it in the comments here & on other style blogs all the time. It’s sad that so many of us have been so thoroughly brainwashed into believing we have no value unless we’re thin. What a tenuous, ridiculous thing to hang our happiness on! This isn’t to say I don’t believe in taking care of one’s health, & for many of us that means keeping our weight down, myself included. Nor does it mean I don’t believe in staying fit & active as I age & that keeps me pretty trim although it’s not the goal. Nor does it mean I don’t like clothing that’s stylish & fits well or that we shouldn’t buy what we know flatters us & avoid what doesn’t. But so much of “style” is about how it makes you feel: it’s about confidence & attitude. I’ve seen a woman wearing a $10 dress who looked like she just stepped off a Paris catwalk, & a woman wearing a $6000 dress who looked like she found it in a bin outside a thrift store. I’m convinced the most flattering fashion accessory is wearing whatever you’re wearing like you freaking OWN it! Thank you for the wonderful update on Pip! You made my entire week. And have fun with your son; I hope you all have an enjoyable visit & a safe & happy weekend.

  10. Mary Ann
    June 18, 2020 / 10:34 pm

    Wow. Just wow. The 1st 2 paragraphs took me back to the 1960s when my aunts would critique all the girl cousins’ outfits. I personally needed to teas my hair on top to make me look taller (what?!?!?) and wear heels. When we went home my Mother would tell me not to pay attention to them and DO NOT tease you hair – it’s beautiful the way you wear it. So even though I was a typical teenager/collegiate did follow trends and try to dress to look “thin”, when I passed 40 and with each decade that comes I wear what I want for the most part! I love what you said. “I guess all I’m suggesting is don’t let fear of looking “bigger” make you afraid of wearing something you otherwise love. Don’t miss out on the joy.” Thanks for broadening our fashion horizons!

  11. Susan
    June 19, 2020 / 5:03 am

    Thank you for saving Pip!

    The other comment that cracks me up is, “It makes you look more youthful.” ??? I’m almost 64 years old. That isn’t one of my style goals.

  12. Ciara
    June 19, 2020 / 5:15 am

    Ha! I read this post so quickly, the usual complaints from commenters about some article of clothing did not look flattering
    Then the most important part of your post, finally you would see your son for the first time in three months I hope it went well.

  13. June 19, 2020 / 6:37 am

    Susan, you look fabulous in the caftan and bone pants AND you look equally fabulous in the pumpkin(?) linen and silk. The colors make your skin sing. Hip, hip, hooray for little Pip! Have a wonderful weekend with your son. I know it has to have been extremely hard on you and your hubby not to see him for so long.

  14. Lagatta de Montréal
    June 19, 2020 / 7:45 am

    It is very hard for people with intellectual and other disabilities who are living in group homes and not allowed to interact with their families and other people they know. There is a former convent near me that is now a life and educational facility for young adults with intellectual handicaps, and with help, those who are able host a charity shop that is in the former chapel. They must feel somewhat discouraged that the charity shop is closed now, as it was very encouraging to the residents to be able to meet and help clients. Hoping things get back to normal soon.

    And good luck to Pip and mamma birdie!

    I love linen knits.

  15. rosefloyd
    June 19, 2020 / 8:43 am

    After hitting middle age and not being as thin as most of my life, for years everything I tried on was considered through the prism of if it was slimming or not.

    I had a fabulous wardrobe consultant and personal shopper where I last lived in a very large city, and I have met her countless times over the last twenty-three years, even though I have retired and moved.

    What she told me while in a fitting room as I lamented putting on ten pounds and noting that the garment did not make me look particularly thin, was, “Sometimes thin isn’t good if you look old lady or dull.” “People do not just look at your weight, they consider the overall appearance–coloring of skin, interest of clothing, quality, fabric, details, and accessories” and that it was a greater fashion “sin” to look overdone, dull or old lady than it was to allow a bit of visual weight. We also argued a bit over the conflicting advice to balance your thinner body with the heavier part of your body (tops and bottoms) so as not to look like a “lollipop.”
    Some fashion experts subscribe to this approach–to balance out visually so one part doesn’t look much thinner than the other.

    My wardrobe consultant disagreed and asked, “Why would you want to make half of your body look larger just to match the other half?” She had a point, and there is a way to consider both points of view in dressing.

    You looked fabulous in the caftan–the color, the shape, you looked happy, relaxed, younger and “with it.” That is inherently more important to be perceived as such than “thin,” in my opinion. That caftan is a keeper for a long time. Ted Baker makes some beautiful, similar silk caftans, great for cruise and international travel and versatile from day to evening.

  16. June 20, 2020 / 1:03 am

    I used to worry about wearing voluminous clothes in case they made me look bigger, but now I have the confidence to wear different styles and take more risks. Good news about your little feathered friend!

    Emma xxx

  17. Sf-dre
    June 20, 2020 / 8:30 am

    Another thumbs up for the caftan, great length and colors!

  18. Juti
    June 20, 2020 / 8:34 am

    Yay Pip!

    That’s a gorgeous outfit, color and fit. I have a cotton shirt similar in cut but with purple flowers — totally out of my usual range of clothing — and strangers stop me to tell me how nice it looks. Perhaps I should listen to them and not to my internal critic.

  19. Rondi
    June 20, 2020 / 8:52 am

    I encourage anyone who thought that gorgeous caftan was not flattering to consider how attractive mystery is. Even the most perfect figure looks interesting in an outfit that leaves a little to the imagination. That’s what your caftan achieved. You go Pip! Enjoy your family visit!

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