When my daughter Lauren was home for a visit in September, we talked about doing a fashion blog together. We spent several evenings searching online for all of the coming looks for the fall of 2014. We pinned our favorites to a Pinterest board that we named Fashion Blog. Like that title? Catchy, huh?
While we were interested in identifying trends, we were also in hopes of finding looks that could be worn by women of all ages. Many of the designers were showing designs that featured elements from fashion in the 60s: turtle and cowl necks, cropped ankle pants, winter pastels, animal prints, lace overlays, shearling and faux fur accents, capes, ponchos and thick tribal print cardigans or mid-length coat sweaters.
From all of the looks we pinned, Lauren and I decided on a couple of outfits we both liked and would feel comfortable trying. One was an animal print dress or skirt and top pairing like the one featured on harpersbazaar.com in an article entitled:
“The Best Looks From Milan Fashion Week: Fall 2014”.
Another ensemble that we both really liked was designed by Stella Jean and shown on vogue.com in an article entitled:
“Stella Jean / Fall 2014 RTW”.
Ancient Japanese influence by Stella Jean Ancient Japanese influence by Stella Jean.
With these images and others uploaded to our Pinterest app on our phones, we grabbed our purses and headed for the El Paso Outlet Shoppes. Our plan of attack was to visit all of our favorite outlet stores in search of pieces that would work for the ensembles above. When we spotted something we thought might work as a building block toward one of the outfits, we snapped a picture of the item, careful to get the price and identify the name of the store in the photo, as well. We window shopped Old Navy, Banana Republic, New York and Company, Aeropostale, Dress Barn, Loft Outlet, Ann Taylor, American Eagle Outfitters. Then decided to stop at the food court to recharge our “batteries” with some French fries and soda while poring over the pictures we had taken of various outfit possibilities.
I think this is the point in this post where I need to disclose a few facts. First of all, I am 56 and Lauren is 28. So if my math serves, I am twice her age. Also, I wear sizes 8 and 10 in dresses and pants, and generally a medium or large in tops. Lauren wears sizes 2 and 4 in dresses, small or extra small tops, and size 6 pants. So I am twice her size, too. Lauren tends to be a little smaller on top than through the hips. I am more an hour glass (where most of the sand has settled in the bottom), larger on top and through the hips with a (slightly) smaller waist. What looks good on Lauren may or may not be flattering for my body type. And vice versa. Rather than classifying our body shape as pear, apple, banana, pineapple, or kumquat then limiting ourselves to just what choices supposedly look good on that particular shape, we both think it is important to try things on. And to be willing to experiment or take a chance on a piece you just love. I am recently retired and only working occasionally as a substitute librarian. I don’t have a lot of occasion to get all dressed up. Lauren is employed full-time as a medical librarian/information researcher but she works from home. She doesn’t have many more opportunities to get dressed up than I do.
Bottom line: we wanted an outfit that would work for multiple age groups, multiple body types and sizes, and be adaptable to day or evening, professional or dressy situations. And all at a price that would be affordable to most budgets.
Here are some of the pieces we snapped pictures of our adventure:
Looking over these pictures, most everything is kind of drab, eh? I don’t think we intentionally sought drab pieces for the ensemble we were putting together but maybe one of the trends for fall 2014 was D-R-A-B-N-E-S-S or drabiosity?
After considering all of the pieces we had seen, we determined that our favorite looks were at Banana Republic so we returned to that store to try on some of the items we had photographed earlier. We decided to go with either the animal print dress, the little black lace dress or a pair of patterned pants, sleeveless tunic and cardigan look.
Here are some pics from the Banana Republic dressing room.
After trying on three potential outfits, we settled on the pants, tunic and cardigan pieces and decided to try to replicate the Stella Jean runway look. And from that point on, we made the outfits our own by selecting different tunic tops, different shoes and different accessories. Funny how the same pants look different depending on what they are paired with. Here are two pictures of the capsules pieces for my versions of the outfit.
Here are our final looks.
So, how did we do? Any suggestions? I have to admit, I haven’t worn my outfit OUT YET. It is in contention for my New Year’s Eve ensemble but we rarely go anywhere on that night so might feel a little silly wearing it or my faux leather mini to watch TV at home. The patterned pants and pattern mixing are something I am just becoming comfortable with. But I like the results.
Although cropped pants may not scream Fall/Winter wear, the Houston weather allowed me to wear the leather jacket/purple top combo and the leopard wrap dress out on dates with my husband a month ago. Just to add my two cents here, I think classifying your body according to the type of fruit it most resembles is not a confidence booster! Who wants to be a pear or an apple? More importantly, it’s never a good idea to stick to one type of clothing just because someone in some magazine says that only one type of top and one type of pants will work on your body. You never know what will look good on your body until you try it on! Someone a thousand miles a way can’t predict how a blouse will look on anyone, so step out of your comfort zone, pick up things that catch your eye, even if you’ve been brainwashed into thinking it wouldn’t look good on you. For this particular blog, I had to step out of my comfort zone…patterned crop pants?! Puhlease. I thought I was going to hate them on my body, but I was pleasantly surprised. -Lauren
Hugs and sticky kisses,