I don't want to look too much like The Mom, you know?
November 27, 2010 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Let's assume you are a 50-ish Lady who's wardrobe has diminished lately. What you you wear to a nice summer outdoor wedding when you don't own a lot of formal stuff and want to sharpen up your wardrobe from office-drab anyway? Where can you find these things? What places should you look? Whom should you listen to for advice? In short, what do stylish Over-50 Ladies wear to their various traditional and non family events on a budget? Ideally in New York?
posted by The Whelk to Shopping (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Chicos, my personal fave. Weddings nowadays are less formal. Not terribly expensive, but there are a lot of coupons and special offers available. There is a great site, Vibrant Nation for women of a 'certain age' that is a community of like-minded modern women where you can get advice, and More magazine is ripe full of great fashion advice.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 9:44 PM on November 27, 2010

Seconding Chicos. You can often find their clothing at upscale resale stores or on eBay. The sizing is a bit odd but their clothing is very comfortable and forgiving of figure flaws. Chico's Travelers collection is a mainstay of my wardrobe.
posted by Joleta at 9:57 PM on November 27, 2010

I was going to say Chicos too, but then I saw the 'budget' bit... on the other hand, although I wouldn't buy my whole wardrobe there for $ reasons, they do have some very nice staples that can do a lot to bring up an outfit - nice skirts, jackets, flashy belts etc. that can be used to dress up whatever else you're wearing. I'd think you can go shopping almost anywhere, to be honest - it's not like fifty is elderly, you're right there in the target market, and you probably have the advantage of not being susceptible to thinking that club-wear is appropriate for a wedding. For a summer wedding, you're probably not talking super formal - a skirt and something to cover your shoulders, or a calf-length not-too-bright floral dress. It depends on who's getting married, of course, so you'll know the formality level better than us. Maybe a bright colored blouse or some big pieces of jewelry if you're looking to get away from 'office drab'.
posted by Lady Li at 10:00 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

The other thing is that since you're looking for something to wear for a summer wedding, now is the perfect time to hit the sales racks at big department stores like Macy's and Bloomingdales. If you have the patience to claw through the racks, you will find deep discounts on out-of-season things, and right now that definitely would include warm weather clothes.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:06 PM on November 27, 2010

I'm an addict of Coldwater Creek, myself. They are in a similar price range to Chico's, and a similar demographic. Maybe a bit more northern California casual chic vs. Chico's urban casual chic. Reading through the product reviews on their website, I've noticed that many of their dress styles are popular choices for wedding attendees! Very non-drab.

They also have a very deep clearance section--deep both in the sense of a very large stock of products (right now they've got over a thousand different apparel items in clearance) and significant discounts off list price. They also run periodic sales--right now through Dec. 7 they're running a $25 off $100/$50 off $150/$75 off $200 sale both online (w/free shipping) and in their brick and mortars.

Now is the perfect time to pick up summer pieces.
posted by drlith at 5:41 AM on November 28, 2010

Well, I fit this profile exactly and I am going to give the thumbs down to Chico's -- the clothes are not so New York-y and a little bit frumpy. Obviously, there are many different 50+ variations these days but I'd go with dresses, dresses, dresses. To me, separates just scream 'older-and-hiding,' especially for an event like a wedding. Something flirty and fun -- there are gorgeous, flattering styles out right now for every shape. Lord & Taylor is good because it's never mad crowded, the sales are decent, and there are different departments for different style/age/sizes. Plus, with event dressing, ladies often need the right underthings to help it all work, so you can walk your dress over to lingerie and get some expert help. You can achieve all this at Bloomingdale's too, but it's kind of a madhouse. And if the budget is big ... head straight over to Barneys or Bergdorfs!! Have fun with it and enjoy the event.
posted by thinkpiece at 6:07 AM on November 28, 2010

You might also look at Lands' End, as they also do a great job of providing their pieces in different sizing (petite, tall, etc.) and have generally excellent quality for the money. For the budget-conscious, their Overstocks section is a treasure trove.

Here's a sleeveless knit dress which would be perfect for a summer wedding. Wear some colorful, chunky jewelry - yellow and orange look great when paired with brown or grey - and carry a light shawl or cardigan for cooler evenings. A well-tailored shift dress is a great multitasking tool in a woman's wardrobe.
posted by evoque at 7:20 AM on November 28, 2010

I think Chico's is a little frumpy, too.

I have excellent luck at thrift stores, but I think it would be worth looking at high quality consignment shops. When looking for awesome clothes that don't get a lot of wear, used is the way to go. The things you have to watch out for are pit stains and wine stains, both common bi-products of outdoor summer weddings.

I think the key to not looking frumpy is wearing things that fit well, so choose fitted over flowey. And good shoes that you can actually wear all day.
posted by readery at 7:32 AM on November 28, 2010

Lands end is way too frumpy. Coldwater creek can be good. Chicos is great if you pick through it, and their sale section is indeed in budget- perfect out of season. Ann Taylor, and Nordstrom Rack can be good, as can Filene's basement, but you have to be willing to work through the racks.
posted by kch at 10:03 AM on November 28, 2010

Land's End isn't going to fly in New York for anything but the most casual. Chico's is hit or miss. To me, J. Jill and Eileen Fisher are the go-to for 50-ish ladies looking for comfort over style; for 50-ish ladies looking for style over comfort, Lord and Taylor and Saks are the places to look.

I would go through L&T and Saks and maybe Bloomingdales for ideas, then look for the same labels at consignment stores. Tahari and Dana Buchman and Ellen Tracy are three labels that have great styles for grown-up ladies.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:11 AM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Eileen Fisher- Yes! I couldn't manage to pull the name out. J.Jill is great, but may be too casual.
posted by kch at 11:29 AM on November 28, 2010

sorry, to clarify- I agree with Sidhedevil that Eileen Fisher might be too comfort over style, but there might be some good pieces there, and it may depend on the look or the event. J.Jill IMO is just good for casual.
posted by kch at 11:34 AM on November 28, 2010

My mom (60s) is a big fan of Talbots.
posted by invisible ink at 11:37 AM on November 28, 2010

A Macy's in a nicer mall should also have staff that would probably help a 50-ish Lady find something appropriate. She might be able to hit Macy's on a sale day, if she keeps an eye on the local paper and doesn't mind crowds. She might need to wait until later winter to find stuff truly appropriate for spring/summer, however.
posted by maryr at 11:42 AM on November 28, 2010

+1 Nordstrom Rack. If you have a few hours, this is a potential goldmine. You will get no assistance but you can try on designer clothing all day and find something presentable.

As to what you want to wear - if you must go sleeveless (maybe not if you are 50+), pick up a bolero jacket. If you have grey hair, add colour - yellow is lovely in summer. Wrap dresses, high belted dresses, two piece outfits are somewhat forgiving and flattering. Buy Spanx.
posted by crazycanuck at 12:25 PM on November 28, 2010

Eileen Fisher is in no way budget-y, though. I would agree with those who suggested JJill. Their clothes are more affordable (around $60 per item vs much more at EF), and their sale racks are sometimes quite good. Their Wearever line has some nice, versatile, simple pieces that can go from nice-casual to dressy pretty easily. You could probably get away with one top, bottom, and cardigan from that line, and just change the accessories for each event, such as nice jewelry and sparkly flats for an evening wedding, or matte flats and a flowy, transparent flowery scarf for a daytime event.
posted by metarkest at 3:12 AM on November 29, 2010

I think Chico's is a little frumpy, too.

I (52) agree, and it positively screams "I got it at Chico's!" You can recognize it a mile away.

Eileen Fisher is as frumpy as it gets and so expensive!. You might as well wear a burlap bag.

Nthing Talbots, Nordstrom, and Macys. The Land's End dress idea is a good one if you really accessorize it.
posted by jgirl at 7:09 AM on November 29, 2010

Response by poster: Tablots got voted right now, no clingy pencil dresses, hourglrass and ruffles preferred we've got so many accessories that the Lands End could work..but right now ..torn between http://preview.tinyurl.com/2coe9d9 and http://preview.tinyurl.com/34mfys5 and this http://preview.tinyurl.com/28dmrgr
posted by The Whelk at 4:46 PM on December 4, 2010

Response by poster: voted out right now, yeah we're currently looking at this http://www.shabbyapple.com/p-511-g-cooper.aspx as the front runner, with a white clutch and black shoes and lots of crazy home-made jewelry.
posted by The Whelk at 5:03 PM on December 4, 2010

Very cute.
posted by readery at 7:40 AM on December 5, 2010

« Older Learning about learning   |   The phrase "staff of life" makes me feel like a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.