Welcome to my series Spotlight On, Over 40. If you are not familiar with the series, I feature women over 40 each month in interview form. If you have missed some of the series and want to check last months’ click HERE. Otherwise, search for ‘Spotlight On” using the search bar. I plan on creating a sub menu soon on the blog with all of my interviews.
I am happy to introduce you to my friend and fellow Over 40 blogger, Jacqueline of Petite Silver Vixen. Enjoy!
When I was thinking of a name I knew I wanted petite to be part of it. I’ve been gradually going grey for about a decade now. It’s always been acceptable for men to be grey; how many of them are referred to as silver foxes. I thought I would be a silver vixen! The silver part isn’t just related to my hair colour though. It’s also a nod to how much I love silver things: jewellery, bags, shoes etc.
Yes, I am proud to be a silver streaked lady – I’m not silver all over – well not yet anyway! Whether I’ll stay my natural colour, who knows? The past 6 months it’s changed more rapidly and if truth be told I don’t mind being grey. Day to day it doesn’t bother me (I remember my grandma was silver haired and I thought she was one of the most beautiful women in the world!) but I mind more losing my brunette colour as I loved being a curly brunette! In my early 40s, I dyed my hair, right up until about 2 years ago. I stopped because it was getting so expensive and I was saving money for a training course I did. However, I could change my colour, so watch this space….2. Tell the readers about your eclectic style? Or can you “categorize” your style?
I think eclectic is a good word to use. Not from the point of view that I’m outrageous in the way I dress – far from it – more in a way that I don’t think of myself as having a particular style per se. One day I could be wearing a full skirted, polka dot dress to go out in, the next, releasing my inner tomboy and wearing leopard print Doc Martens, checked shirt and a beanie! I’m not hugely into trends but I like being contemporary with small twists here and there.
A common thread with all my clothes though is that they have to fulfil two criteria. They have to be functional ie comfortable, do the job they’re designed for but also have an element of fun. Take the Doc Martens example. They’re uber comfortable so the functional box is ticked and the leopard print design makes them fun!
3. What 3 items do you find a necessity when having a functional wardrobe?
Only 3??? Oh, that’s tough! Ok, well, comfortable footwear has got to be top of my list! I’m on my feet for hours on end in my work. Years ago I decided I wasn’t going to put up with uncomfortable shoes any more. They have been purged from my wardrobe.
A decent sized handbag is a must. I’m not talking necessarily big here as I’m not wanting to lug a suitcase around with me (!) but I can’t be doing with itsy bitsy bags or clutches. The ones where you put a lipstick in and you can’t even shut the clasp!
A well cut jacket. The kind of jacket that upgrades jeans, can be slipped over a dress for the office or paired with a leather skirt or trousers for a more evening look. I’ve just recently found my dream jacket – tweed in a gingham pattern that is simply beautifully tailored. Heaven!
4. What is the one accessory you can not do without?
A beret! Regular readers of my blog will know it’s become quite the signature for me. From Autumn to Spring rarely a day goes by when I’m not wearing one when I’m out and about. I have a small head and many hats don’t just fall over my eyes but my whole head. Berets I can wear at jaunty angles and everyone in my family says that I suit them. Last count I had 18 – plain, striped, patterned. I love them all.
5. What style advice can you give petite women?
To take with a huge pinch of salt all the style advice you’ve read for petite women! To be serious though, most of it is sensible, some of it is silly and some of it is darn right wrong.
There are ‘illusion’ tricks that can help petites such as thinner belts are usually better than thicker ones. Sensible.
If you’re extra petite, then avoid shoes that have straps around the ankle because they cut you off making your legs appear shorter. Silly. This is one I happily ignore because life is too short to avoid wearing shoes I may like just because of an ankle strap.
Don’t wear big or busy prints. The last one is wrong. I wear both. If a print is too small on a petite it can actually have the opposite effect and emphasise your smallness by making you look twee or girly in a non-flattering way, or the word many petites dread, ‘cute’! What will swamp a petite frame is if you’re wearing a style that doesn’t naturally sit with your personality or a cut or fit that doesn’t flatter you.
The ‘illusion’ tricks however, are really only fleeting because in real life, stand next to a taller person, you’ll always going to be the short one! I should know; my husband is 6’4″! A smile and a confident personality will always be a petite’s best armour.
The best advice I can give (which would be to women of any size and shape to be honest) is know your own body proportions and from there, always buy the best fit and cut that you can. For example, although I’m petite, my legs are proportionally the longest part of me; I have a very short waist. I’m also an hourglass petite. I look for cut and fit that will balance my shorter top half with my longer bottom half but at the same time working with my figure. Anything cropped or too broad on the shoulders and I look like a lollipop!
Don’t worry about sizing. I have items in my wardrobe that cross three departments – teens, petite and regular.
Oh, and know a good tailor, because you will always have to have something altered!
6.Tell us about ” The Seasonal Skinny” and your Style challenge? Does it help you focus on putting together looks?
Absolutely it does! It also ensures that I post at least once a week!
Alison from Sydney Fashion Hunter did a year long weekly challenge I followed, featuring a pair of white pants. I’m sure many of your readers will remember it. It was The Wednesday Pants. It got me thinking I could do a similar weekly challenge but with my own twist. Prior to starting blogging last May, I’d spent 18 months studying/training for my Pilates studio certificate, whilst still teaching my matwork classes. I was literally spending 7 days a week in leggings and lycra! I was in one heck of a style rut; a weekly style challenge was the way to spice things up!
I wear skinny jeans most days, when not teaching but I had become complacent in how I wore them – usually a breton top and a denim shirt. A style challenge using them seemed the perfect choice. I looked at the colours I had and realised I had 4 that were varying shades of red. I suddenly had a light bulb moment. I had one to represent each of the 4 seasons; red for Spring, pink for Summer, burgundy for Autumn and wine for Winter. The Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge was born!
One reason for blogging is to wear more of my wardrobe to see what to keep and what to move one and styling 13 outfits for each pair is a good way to do that. Anyone can wear lots of different outfits but you’re forced to be much more inventive when you take an everyday item like jeans and see how many interesting and fun looks you can create. I’ve done date night, combined unusual colours together, built outfits around key accessories, even created an outfit inspired by a photograph of the formation of different coloured crystals I saw in an exhibition! The best part was, I even received a comment from the photographer!
I’m half way through the challenge and am loving it. Even my husband has noticed I’m wearing so much more of my wardrobe and having alot of fun with my clothes. I also do non-Seasonal Skinny outfits on the blog and doing the style challenge has also inspired them. The ripple effects of doing this challenge are far and wide!
7 High heels or flats?
Both! It really depends on the occasion. Although, I don’t like skyscraper heels so my definition of ‘high heels’ is probably more moderate in height than many I see being worn! The only flats I’ll never wear are ballet flats as I have low arches and they don’t provide enough support. Some of my favourite flats are actually boots, such as biker boots.
8. If you had a chance to design a look for petite ladies, where would you start?
Tricky question especially as petite ladies come in all shapes and sizes with as many different styles personalities as our regular sized sisters! Cut, fit and proportion go without saying but I would definitely be more adventurous in fabric choice and print than is currently available and with better tailoring.
Quite a few fast fashion brands have petite ranges but the quality is often poor and I don’t want to be dressing to look like a teenager! Of course I’m looking for great staples like the perfect jeans, the perfect pair of black trousers, that classic shirt but I get so frustrated when mid priced petite ranges seem to contain endless basics in boring colours. Where are the funky leather jackets, the velvet blazers, the amazing print maxi dresses, trousers in colours other than black, navy or brown? It has definitely improved in the last 10 years though, especially with online shopping.
9. Tell the readers something they may not know about you.
In my early 20s, I performed in a play at the International Edinburgh Festival Fringe in a quite bizarre and over the top re-working of the Alice in Wonderland story. I played the caterpillar and my costume was made out of a duvet! I wore elbow length gloves and a big turban on my head, both in lime green – so not my colour!
10. Besides blogging, you are a Pilates Instructor and Wellness/Health is a topic you like to cover as well. What are some wellness topics for ladies Over 40 we should be aware of?
A timely and very pertinent question, Jess! How long have you got? I’ve not covered this topic as much as I’d have liked on the blog, as to be honest it feels a little like a busman’s holiday for me! However, I do have a series planned focusing on health for 40+ women.
40+ women begin to face some potentially, pretty life changing health issues and being pro active about keeping healthy and strong is vital. The biggie here is obviously the menopause and everything that that entails. Whether you notice it or not, your body undergoes huges changes at this point that can have far reaching consequences for your health in later decades of your life. So ask, talk, read, research, educate yourself.
Women have a higher risk factor of developing osteopenia and osteoporosis than men, so having a bone density test done is sensible if you’re menopausal with risk factors or are post menopausal.
Make weight bearing, balance exercises and foot exercises part of your weekly routine! These are far more important than worrying about how you can exercise to get a flat stomach!
Look after your pelvic floor. Find out how to do pelvic floor exercises properly to maintain a healthy, responsive pelvic floor to minimise the risk of prolapse. If you have any kind of pelvic floor dysfunction or incontinence issues, please, please, please, don’t suffer in silence. Sadly, for many women this is still a taboo area.
One of the smartest things you can do is learn to be your own health advocate.
11. Favorite season for dressing/ Why?
Spring! It’s my favourite season of all. You’re emerging from Winter, you’re shedding layers and certainly for me, welcoming with open arms the return of colour in nature. You have all the glorious spring flowers – tulips, bluebells, crocii. I’m always inspired on so many levels by Spring. Every year I look forward to wearing lighter fabrics, lighter layers, even if in the UK, Spring often still requires us to wear coats and scarves for a little while longer!
Have a great weekend!