Visibly gifted: Pushing the casual envelope

It’s Visible Monday again, which means the over-40 style bloggers are celebrating looks that make us feel just as fabulous, stylish, and visible as the younger folks.  Thanks to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style, for continuing to sponsor this great series!

I think one of the keys to retaining vibrancy in fashion is to occasionally step outside that comfort zone and try something that we might not usually wear.   This advice can seem counter-intuitive, though.  At our age, many of us feel that we finally know our authentic selves.  We are free — at last! —  to not try every crazy trend that comes sashaying down the pike.  We often have the admirable goal of building practical, cohesive wardrobes in which all items work seamlessly together and serve us in our busy lives.

But still.  The urge to play does present itself.

Some women do this by mixing inexpensive, trendy items in with their sturdy basics.  Others use thrift stores as a way to try new things with little risk.

Me?  I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Well, OK, not strangers.  Family members, usually.  When somebody gives me clothing as a gift, I see this as an opportunity.  It’s often not something I would have picked for myself.  But if the person knows me well, it’s still “me.”  Maybe just a version of me who I haven’t met yet.

And if the gift-giver knows me very well, the item actually fits!

So here is this summer’s “gift” outfit.

  • Top: Calvin Klein Jeans (gifted, from mother-in-law)
  • Denim Skirt: Gap (not gifted; already mine)
  • Bracelet: Gifted (from sister-in-law.  Generosity and good taste run in the family)
  • Belt: Steve Madden, from TJ Maxx (mine)
  • Shoes: Indigo by Clark’s (mine)
  • Bag:  Fossil (gifted, mother-in-law, again.  She rocks, doesn’t she?)

I wasn’t one hundred percent sure about this shirt when I first took it out of the box.  I don’t usually wear fitted T-shirts (or any T-shirts, really), and the pattern is probably one I would have walked past in the store.  But I smiled as soon as I put it on.  And once I paired it with classic denim and a belt, I really smiled.  It’s got that casual, sunny, hippie-chick vibe that I kind of love.  I especially love it in summer, when I don’t usually have to look work-appropriate.  (Which is also why I didn’t really bother with hair or makeup.  In case you were wondering).

My only hesitation is that, when I wear this outfit, I occasionally wonder, “Am I trying to look too young?”  But then I say: Ah, hell.  It’s summer.  Have fun!

I can’t say that all of my clothing gifts have been a success.  Clothes and accessories are very personal things — as is fit — so I’ve returned a fair number of items over the years.  But this, I like. These gifts will keep on giving!

Do you ever have luck with gifted clothes or accessories?  Tell your story here.  And don’t forget to visit Not Dead Yet Style, to see what the other VISIBLE bloggers are wearing this week!

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About Anne @ The Frump Factor

Reflections on beauty and style, for women who weren't born yesterday. Bring your sense of humor and "Fight the Frump" with me!
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27 Responses to Visibly gifted: Pushing the casual envelope

  1. redkathy says:

    The outfit totally you! I love the t-shirt and would most definitely wear it. Anyway, that’s our style from back in the day as I recall it. With that, speaking to are you too old to wear the outfit, hell no we invented it :)

  2. I agree with Kathy – no *way* you are too old for this outfit. It’s perfect on you, Anne. And wow, you have great relatives, my friend! Thanks for participating in Visible Monday.

  3. This is a great summer outfit and definitely not too young! You are lucky to have such a wonderful in-laws.
    I cannot imagine a world without denim. That denim skirt is perfect on you.

    • Oh, do I ever agree. At times I worry that I am in a denim rut. During the summer, it’s my 2 denim skirts that I wear into the ground. The rest of the year, it’s one of those same skirts, and my jeans. But I just love how denim blends with other items, for both casual and more polished looks. And I never feel more like “me” than when I’m wearing it.

  4. Gail says:

    That’s a great outfit and no way is it too young for you. You’re lucky to have things gifted to you…..I don’t think anyone has ever given me anything in the way of clothes!

  5. Perfect summer look! The tee is the part I liked best. We’re never too old for “pretty”!
    Thanks for coming by my blog! I use Idye from Dylon, it’s easy and the best dye ever.

  6. denise:) says:

    You look great! It’s not too young, too old, it’s just right!! I’m loving the embellished Ts right now- one of my favs has a trio of rosettes in the same color (white) as the T. It looks like a plain white T until you see it up close. :D
    Today I’m wearing a new peasant blouse in a pattern that caught my eye as I left the store- had to go back and buy it!

    This is something I would normally not even notice or wear, and I’ve already been complimented on it- it’s good to break free from the norm!

  7. poet says:

    This t-shirt is beautiful! And I love how you paired it with the skirt & belt!

  8. MaggieT says:

    You look hot (not as in sweaty, but as in sexy). Look at you, woman—why on earth do you avoid fitting T’s? It’s nice to see blue on you. Looks great with your coloring. Rock on!

  9. Beryl says:

    When I lived in Seattle, clothes weren’t that big a deal – think the Grunge Look – so I would just wait for my single friend to give me all her old clothes. She wore subtle, classic, expensive clothes. So even though they were good clothes, they weren’t my style. The only clothes that were actually my style were the gifts – often yellow, since it is my favorite color. (My friend never had anything yellow since it looks ghastly on her.) Now that I’m retired and living in Tulsa, I have the time and money to dress my own way and I don’t get clothing as a present anymore.

  10. Terri says:

    Repeat After Me: this outfit does not make you look like you are trying to look young. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

    The colors in the tee are vibrant and beautiful on you. Plus, I like how you have belted over it. More like this. I actually think you could wear this to work.

    • Thank you! And to all of you who are so kindly reassuring me about the age thing — thank you! To be honest, I wasn’t really THAT worried. (Note to self: Curb the casually self-doubting asides). I appreciate all of y’all for cheering me on.

      Wear to work, you say? Hmmmm…..I’ll have to think about that one. But I AM sometimes looking for a quasi-rebellious, playful outfit to wear to work. JUST to prove that I can, of course!

  11. Paula says:

    so I wont be redundant in the stating of the young look thing. I do love this tee tho, for a tee! So maybe this is your style: the casual, hippie look.

    • Could be, though I also like looking more classic at times. I do think there is almost always something in my outfits that has a casuall, natural and/or boho vibe. (Maybe this is why I was so uncomfortable with the “corporate/first floor” look that everybody loved in my post about wearing colored tights! I thought it looked good, but I wasn’t sure who I was.)

  12. tammy says:

    Age is as age does……….I’m 53 and just try to have fun without embarrassing myself or my boys!
    Most times I’m pretty classic. It’s fun to pop out of the box and rock a younger look!
    You are rocking this one to perfection!

  13. angie says:

    The tshirt fits nicely to the denim skirt and fits alot with brown accessories. I would call it a boho look which I think might fit you a lot. and I wouldn’t call the outfit too young but rather a casual relaxed version . So there you have it all your worries have disappeared. Now enjoy the visible you!
    It’s nice when people take sometime to think about what you might like to wear and buy this as a gift.

  14. GingerR says:

    That’s a nice looking casual outfit. Does the bracelet have an agate stone?
    You aren’t flashing a lot of boobage, your underware isn’t exposed, you don’t have a picture of a celebrity or some obscene saying on your chest, your knee is just barely poking out.
    I know many people who’d have put Keen sandals or Birks with that but you kicked it up a notch with the wedges.
    It might be too much exposure for some cultures but it’s just fine for here. Count your blessings that you got a mother-in-law who remembers your size and gives nice gifts!

  15. I really like this one you. It is NOT too young of a look; it looks great! I would have to give up half my clothes if I dressed my age…or at least how people used to dress at my age. I think everything is blurring to a certain extinct. This color looks great with your denim and naturals. Debbie

  16. You did everything right as far as fit and accesorizing so it totally works. It’s nice to have friends and family who give you things you can wear, right?

  17. This is such a good idea and I must join in! I do like mixing up high street and sturdy basics.

  18. Abby says:

    Great outfit – definitely not too young! Said mother in law does have a good eye – she has gotten me things I never would have picked out for myself but wind up loving. Nice bracelet too btw :)

  19. BigD says:

    I’m chuckling to myself.
    Ever since I turned 40 my MIL has decided I need to dress in a more “mature”–strike that!–let’s say “matronly”–manner. By my estimate, I’m about 2 birthdays and a Christmas away from an Alfred Dunner top and pants set.
    It’s making me nuts! Fortunately, she lives out-of-state and usually tucks the receipt in the box.
    But, before I can make the return, I just have to make sure someone takes the happy picture of me smiling and holding up the heinous jacket to send along with the thank you email!

  20. Fashnlvr says:

    Love that top!! The colours and pattern are great. As most have said > you did a great job styling it and it is definitely right for you, regardless of age.
    Thanks for the nice comment you left me!

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