It gives me great pleasure to bring back my client Karen, who has generously shared her style with us a few times before. Karen is 73, and looks more elegant, graceful, poised and chic each time I see her. I told her that recently, and she said, “oh good heavens, Angie!”, and laughed and laughed. Karen smiles and laughs a lot, and when she does, her stunning glass green eyes sparkle like diamonds. Yes, Karen is a beautiful woman, but her inner beauty, positive attitude, and dry sense of humour make her style shine even more brightly.
This is the first in a series of four posts about Karen’s Summer style. Karen recently had a major lifestyle shift that has affected her wardrobe choices. She now spends five months of the year in Arizona, and the rest in Seattle, which means that she no longer needs a large cold weather wardrobe full of cozies, toppers and weatherproof footwear. She lives most of the year in much milder temperatures, and is thoroughly enjoying dressing for warmer and drier weather.
Now that she is retired, Karen wears casual clothes almost exclusively. But she bats for Team Dressy, so it’s important for her to add a dressy component to her outfits so that they feel like her. She is also extremely polished, wearing makeup and toenail polish, and styling her hair every day.
It’s been particularly fun working with Karen over the last few years because she’s had some significant style epiphanies. First, it took her a while to get used to fluid and oversized fit tops because she was convinced that they made her look bigger than she was. She firmly believed that tailored fits were the best way to go. But with a little encouragement from me, Karen started to wear more tops with a roomier fit – as long as she creates significant structure in the rest of the outfit.
Now Karen can’t imagine wearing anything but a fluid or oversized top because it looks the most current and flattering! And of course, you can’t beat the comfort level. The gauzy white cotton shadow stripe sweater here was orphaned for a while because it was too fluid. Now that Karen loves fluid fit tops, she wears it all the time.
Second, after wearing solid bottoms for most of her life, Karen recently realized that she loves to wear patterned jeans and pants. These grey floral NYDJ’s straight leg jeans that she bought at the Rack are a great example. Karen seldom wears skirts and dresses, so having a larger variety of jeans and pants is important. These straight legs look best rolled at the hem to create a little structure with the fluid top.
And third, Karen has embraced tonal pattern mixing. This outfit, which is one of Karen’s favourites, is unexpectedly made up of three patterns. The effect is subtle, but they are patterns nonetheless. The breezy striped Summer linen scarf keeps Karen cool and covered. It also adds outfit interest, a little more structure around her long neck, and an extra dose of chic.
Clarks silver grey studded low wedge gladiators finish off the look. They are Karen’s second pair of exactly the same sandal because they’re versatile and insanely comfortable. She’s also carrying a large cream wallet as a handbag, which she sometimes does instead of carrying a tote or satchel. Earrings, watch and eyewear are all Karen needs in the jewellery department.
This outfit is completely ageless and current. Karen is in her seventies, and continues to enjoy fashion and style every season. She is a HUGE inspiration to me. We have a lot of fun choosing the trends we want to incorporate into her look, and finding the pieces that fit the bill. Cherry picking the trends and manipulating them into a look that works for who we are is part of what makes fashion fun, and it’s very empowering at any age.