Tuesday, January 6, 2015

More Guidelines Than Resolutions, Really ...

So many of my style-bloggy buddies don't make a pile of resolutions for the New Year. Imagine that! Old cultural customs die hard, but it might be time to rethink this traditional process that causes us to make long lists of lofty self-improvement goals that we may or may not even remember past the first week of January. It is telling that we usually embark enthusiastically on this hopeful project just after coming through a joyful-stressful Very Important Big Holiday season. We've just concluded an intense and often expensive family celebration, after which we ritually finalize the year with an often calorically rich, frequently boozy, and occasionally embarrassing New Year's Eve ritual. That's followed by a sometimes regret-filled New Year's day spent on the couch, recuperating from the always unintended excesses of the night before. It's then that we decide to re-assess everything.

Of course I'm not talking about YOU, dear reader. Perish the thought. I'm talking about almost everyone else.

I'm always drawn to the idea of "doing better this year," but I just can't take it too seriously. As you may know from last week's post, I dance around the commitment that it takes to grimly impose FIRM RESOLVE on a goal (hello, instant failure) by softening the commitment level to a more gentle and foible-forgiving aspiration.

So far, here is my list of wardrobe and style improvements that I may or may not accomplish in 2015, and for which I certainly will not feel even a moment's self-loathing if I forget it all by spring.

1. Keep my end of the closet tidier.
Hahahahahahahahahahaha. I always imagine how that might be done, but rarely get past a half-hearted seasonal weeding. Frankly, the most effective way of gaining more usable space for myself is to pester convince Dan to clean out his end. Poor baby. He is saintly in his tolerance.

2. This is the year that I transform our extra room into my dressing room.
Speaking of Dan, I need to pester urge him, somehow, into lots of help in making this aspiration a reality, and sooner than later. We talk about it a lot, but it's always in the planning stages. I need to remind him that he could have our whole bedroom closet all to himself if I had a whole room for my wardrobe, including shoes and accessories. Would I resort to bribery? Oh, yes. Of course.

3. Keep adhering to the "Love It or Leave It "rule that worked so well last year.
It's always good to put at least one fail-proof aspiration in your list. It's especially effective to aspire to something you've already largely accomplished or perfected. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and be proud to claim it again.

4. Seriously, renew your commitment to closet diving and constant remixes.
Some of my best outfits lately have been new/old match-ups. It's masses of fun, and very satisfying. Remember that all my pre-pixie cut items look very different on me now, so let them see some sunshine.

5. This year, remember to be my own best style adviser.
Old age is a wonderful time to rely on the personal taste you've been constructing for a bunch of decades. Taste, at it's best, can evolve and change but still define your best core aesthetics.

6. Take the time to write scorching letters to style and fashion institutions, blogs, magazines and individuals that are dismissive/insulting/condescending or just ignorant about how older women actually still have and maintain style lives.
Not much feels as good as punching that "send" button. Join me in this one, if you like. We should start a movement.


On another subject entirely ...
I have a lot of coats. You will see more of them in the coming weeks. Winter always seems short when it comes to getting all the chances that I'd like to wear some of my favorite wardrobe staples. The outfit underneath always seems more important, somehow. But for two nights in a row last week, I had anxious dreams ... not quite nightmares, but more like quandary-solving dreams ... about styling a particular coat I haven't worn in a couple of years.
I have no idea why I dreamed of this coat. To dream of a particular article of clothing one night seems like mere stage-setting for my usual subconscious issue-processing during sleep. But two nights? In a row? That's a clear sign to make a blog photo of it.

The plaid is a dark purple, black and cream.  The cut is sort of retro-swing, and it does move beautifully when I walk. It's Nine West, and a couple of years old.  Aren't these the prettiest shaped shoes?  And such a great color ... from Gianni Bini, like my boots from last week.


I hope you have a wonderful and peaceful beginning to 2015.
Late Breaking: Joining up at Patti's Visible Monday ... I also hope you come with me to see what we're all up to!


  1. Okay, you are just one hot mama in this ensemble, my fave color being plaid and therefore making me slightly biased notwithstanding. And the shoes are to die for! If I hadn't already pledged to pare down the spending as an ongoing aspiration/goal/prediction, I would be all over the interwebs looking for them.

    As for your personal aspirations: I like #3 for me as well. But perhaps a little help - how would you define "love"? Because my definition of it changes on demand. 😜

  2. HappinessatmidlifeJanuary 6, 2015 at 11:58 PM

    I am envious that you will be turning an extra bedroom into a freezing room. Our spare bedroom right now is a quasi closet by default since I have all my extra clothes in there. I love coats too but don't need them here so I always have to stop myself from buying them. This is one striking coat - I would be dreaming about it too.


  3. Good luck with the sorting organising, a spare room sounds perfect, imagine all the treasures lurking in the back of the closet unseen for some time.(maybe thats just me).
    Funny how as seasons pass ,we need less and enjoy what we already have and are more able to mix about with old and new.
    I am with you on coats, one of my favourite items and this plaid one of yours is a stunner , to say nothing of those killer shoes.
    Hope your New Year is going well and your car troubles are sorted.
    P.S. On the gas price front, husband tells me your prices are a quarter of what we pay.

  4. Hi Jan, I love that you called them guideline rather than resolutions. Hubby gets the same pestering to clear his side of the wardrobe so there will be more space. Just the other day he said to me that he thinks I needed a new shoe rack, just because I bought another pair on sale ( how rude lol). I would also be getting all sorts of dreams if I owned a beautiful coat like that. You've styled it beautifully and those shoes are superb. xo

  5. Happy New Year, Jan! If that checked coat is anything to go by then 2015's going to be a super stylish one.
    Your goals sound great.
    My attitude to magazines & magazines which piss me off? I don't buy them. As you wisely said, we're old enough to be our own style advisers, I don't need a rich stranger to tell me what to buy and how to wear it. xxx

  6. Great post Jan, it just confirmed my own lack of keeping up to new years resolutions hence my decision to just keep on doing what I am doing and aspire to take my ambition to higher levels instead. I do however resolve to stop piling up things in my wardrobe that is already bursting at its seams, and to let at least 3 things go for every new item. The Italians say that new year is a good time to let the new in and the old out. Perhaps I should adopt that right now. Have a great new year and keep up the entertainment! O I love your coat, and the entire outfit!!

  7. Happy New Year lady! You are lookin' spicy : ) I think it is hilarious and speaks volumes about the seriousness of your fashion choices when you are dreaming about them.

    I don't "do" resolutions. I hate setting myself up for failure. How is that for a defeatist attitude? That said, I have already worked out 3 times this week and gone through half of my closet, to tidy, reorganize and pull out a few items to take to the consignment store. Thankfully they aren't resolutions though so I don't need to continue past January! LOL

    I do hope you get your dressing room. Think of all the fun you'd have in there!


  8. What a beautiful, classy coat! I like your list, and a dressing room sounds so delicious! I'm doing a bit of reorganizing myself as well, just added a few shelves for my shoes and hung up a mirror (my first full length mirror in many years, who would believe it!). I wish this year will bring you all that you need and some delightful extras, dear Jan. Happy 2015! xxx

  9. Lookin' good here, Jan. Love the way you've styled the coat. As to your list, may I just give a bit of extra applause to your #6. Bravo! After all, it is we women 40 something plus who have the most disposable income. You'd think they respect more for that if nothing else.

  10. Hello lovely Jan!!!! Don't you look pretty! I am loving your coat and in fact spent last night stalking Ebay in search of something similar!!! I've not actually made any resolutions except for thinking I'd like to be in bed by ten but the earliest I've managed since Jan began is 12am!

  11. ...oh yah...I remember that you bought some great clothing racks for your closet. Now that was quite a while ago, so please try and make #2 happen! :) And show us the end result of course. And, it's nice to read your honesty when referring to your 'end' of the closet, whereas most of us might have said 'half'.

    You've styled your coat brilliantly, and YES, I am lusting after those shoes!!!!

  12. I have to confess I made no resolutions for this year, but my closet is shouting for help! I wonder if in 2015 I will find the time to throw away those clothes I haven't been wearing for years...
    The idea of having a dressing room sounds a ... dream!! You should!

    Beautiful plaid coat in a lovely colour! And relly pretty shoes!
    A hug...

  13. I have to say Jan I've never been big on resolutions, I'm with you can't take myself or my resolutions too seriously. I have a thing for coats as well, love them! Loving the purple in this coat, so great with your hair color. And LOVE the shoes! I think you should make the converting your extra room into your own dressing room a definite goal! Sounds heavenly.


  14. Shelley@ForestCityFashionistaJanuary 8, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    I occasionally will plan my outfits for the next day in my head as I'm falling asleep at night, but I don't know that I've ever dreamt of a specific piece of clothing. Mind you, that coat is worth dreaming about - love the shape and the pattern! I confess to having a real thing for coats and jackets and the majority of my closet space is devoted to housing them all.
    I would kill to have a dressing room, or a big walk-in closet (no, really, I would, if I could only find the right person). I don't make resolutions, but I am going to try harder to stick to the Love It or Leave It rule this year.

  15. When you have a mo, pop over to:
    Pseu has a great post that mentions Betty Halbriech's famous quote:
    "I tell all my clients that you should love yourself in something immediately; nothing gets better the more times you look at it in the mirror." That's a better version of what I mean by garment "love." I attach another idea to that, though. I need to love the "idea" behind the garment, and that's a tougher one to describe. The easiest example to use; I love a great Moto jacket iteration ... it always has a bit of the version of "edge" that I like. I honk on about "narrative" in much of the music and visual art I love ... same goes for clothes. Then, ideally, I should love how it looks on. I'm so guilty of picking up stuff because I think I "should" include it in my wardrobe and that happens much more with items that most think of as classic, as opposed to trendy pieces. Often, the items just look "meh."

    Thank you, kiddo. Glad you liked my stuff. I'd still like to know why I dreamed of that particular coat twice. Probably feeling pressed to do a post on plaid! I'm just enchanted with those shoes, as you see. They're from Dillards, and I saved my pennies for them. Not much wear yet, but the color is coming on and back, I think!

  16. I'm not surprised you dreamed about that coat - she's a beauty! The outfit is your trademark blend of elegant and classy with a funky twist - classic Jan!
    I'm not one for resolutions; we can have plans and goals at any stage of the year, and some guidelines are lifelong, aren't they? Like knowing your own styling heart, and only buying what you truly love!
    A walk-in wardrobe or dressing room? Oh how I would LOVE that... Come on, Dan the Marvellous Man, make it happen for Jan! xxx

  17. Luv your dream coat, Jan. Now for the extra room turned dressing room. That's what we did, easy as pie. We made 2 free-standing wooden bookshelf like racks that also hold shoes at the bottom. They're about 5 feet across, 7-8 feet high. Just last week, we made another one. And you can move them around to fit whatever size room you have. I also have a plain wooden chest of drawers, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, it was easy, looks good, works well, and has lasted 20 years so far. Just saying.

  18. Is winter short where you live? In The Netherlands it is from about November up to and including March. I think you have put together a very ladylike outfit. Very pretty coat, gorgeous shoes and you forgot to mention the beautiful bag.
    As for resolutions... I only have one: wearing more skirts and dresses. I have already begun. Laughed over your pestering (sorry suggesting) Dan into doing things you want haha. Like your love it or leave it. Have to do that as well. I just rediscovered a cream Acne tunic which is brilliant with my skinny jeans and new silver high heeled booties and new necklace. Yes.. I am rediscovering as well (so proud of myself).

  19. Dream coat indeed! Plaid is so very "IN" so what better way to be fashionably fit for winter than blanketing yourself in a beautiful plaid. Plus those colors!!!! I'm quite loving the bit of purple. You did an amazing "dream" job, my friend in putting this together.
    Now for the resolutions or goals . . . I quite enjoy your take on this. Your new dressing room, well that just sounds like too much fun, I wouldn't stop nagging until I got my way on this one so good luck there.
    I would absolutely love to join you in pushing the submit button on a few fashion articles!

    To a great year!

  20. PinkCheetahVintageJanuary 9, 2015 at 9:54 PM

    2. This is the year that I transform our extra room into my dressing room.
    Please do this and then let me live vicariously through you! #livingthedream

  21. Happy New Year Jan! I've been in hibernation, like a huge portion of the animal kingdom, during winter.

    I love your list and I might have to borrow some of your resolutions especially when you talk about remixing clothes and keeping a tidy closet! I'm one of those you talked about when you refer to people who have resolutions and forget them by week 2 of January! I didn't write down any this year because I know it's a futile attempt. I often write my grocery list on yellow post its and still forget to bring them so I'm pretty sure a similar list will suffer the same fate.

    I'm in love with your Nine West coat! It's too pretty to be kept in the closet for a long time. That's why you dream of it often, it needs to be displayed and loved!

  22. Happy New Year Jan!

    I highly recommend # 2. I've had my own dressing room for almost three years now (part of the agreement for having to leave my little home on the river). Now I no longer have too many clothes. Problem solved. And when you have that dressing room, # 1 will be solved as well. I think sharing a closet is a bad idea. Isn't it enough that we have to share the house? Everyone should have their own closet. Who designs these houses anyway?

    As for your coat (as well as every coat you've shown us) it's gorgeous! You definitely need a dressing room with all the clothes I've seen you wear!

    Looking forward to seeing more of your coats!

    ♥ carmen


  23. Go for it. Bribe, beg or both until you get that dressing room. BTW you look fabulous in your coat and shoes!! Happy 2015. . . .

  24. really an amazing look, love your heels!!

  25. Freezing room? Has to be spell-check taking over! I get it, though! Thank you, Alice! Glad you like my coat ... striking is a good word for it. It's not a favorite, and I still wonder what made me dream about it twice! Who knows?

  26. Thank you, Jilly! Dan is succumbing to my pressure, but no time just now. I'm staying focused on it, and we all know what we focus on gets done!
    Glad you like the coat, and the shoes ... these will go down as favorite heels forever, I think. The coat is fine, but not a serious favorite. I'm still wondering why I dreamed of it twice!

  27. HappinessatmidlifeJanuary 12, 2015 at 9:43 PM

    Oh I am so embarrassed!! It would be interesting to turn to a freezing room but dressing would probably be better suited :)

  28. Hi, Elsie! I'd have taken him up on buying me a new shoe rack instantly! I still don't have any idea why I dreamed of that coat ... it's not even a particular favorite. But I do love my shoes ... the delicate curves knock me out!

  29. Yeah, I know you're not one to waste money on a glossy rag-mag. But monitoring their attitudes is a dirty job and some silly fools have to try it. I don't know if it does any good or not, but recently I'm reading a lot more pertinent articles about us oldies. A little outrage does sometimes net results.
    Thanks always for your kind remarks ... they always mean a lot to me as I know we have very different tastes and interests. You just rock in so many ways!

  30. Mrs_Jack_of_all_tradesJanuary 14, 2015 at 8:46 AM

    I remember when I told my husband that I wish I have a room to myself as my closet and he answered "Lets throw the boys out in the garage!" LOL! When I was living with my best friend pre-marriage back in the 90s, we had the 3rd bedroom of the house converted into a closet. It was fun as we actually did the whole room ourselves. She was an interior design major, so it sort of help :) I can't wait to see yours, Jan! Oh, I love, love, love this look, one of your best!

  31. You look great ! Very nice shoes and short hair !

  32. Oh, so many things from last year I want to be rid of, Nicolene! May we both let go what needs go go and to keep what serves, or at least tickles our fancy! I'm slow to catch up (much going on right now, but I'll get back to all eventually!) but am so glad you stopped by!

  33. I dunno about the dreams about this coat, Suzanne ... not a favorite, particularly, or one I like well enough to dream about twice. You may be right, though. It might be all about process! I felt lucky to get to basic laundry this week, much less any real closet weeding. Not even going to discus working out ... you are too virtuous!
    Happy as always, to see you, and glad for your nice comments.

  34. There is nothing as useful as a good mirror ... I inhereted my mother's "skinny" mirrors, and I wouldn't trade them for anything! Never enough shelves in my life. Actually, there are never enough shelves I can reach. Always an issue!
    It looks like your year is off to a good start, so I'll thank you for your nice comments and good wishes, and return your New Year's kind thoughts!

  35. Thank you, Shani, for your kind thoughts and comments. I'm so tickeled with the recent strides older women are making as "the face of" this design house or that cosmetic lines, I'm cutting all the miscreants some slack!'
    So happy you stopped by, as always!

  36. Hello, Kezzie ... So nice of you to drop by with such great comments. Much appreciated, and I hope you get to bed as early as you wish too ... what a luxury! Great and smart aspiration for the New Year!

  37. I'm always thrilled to see re-mixes on blogs that I follow. They are almost always revelations, and so often inspirations. That's the whole point of having a closet full of things you love; mixin' it up to keep it fresh and interesting. And of COURSE we wear outfits again, and again!
    Always tickled when you stop by!

  38. We are back into a holding pattern on the closet-room .... but I have hopes. Bit by bit. When Dan has a free minute or six. I'm in the planning stages and have a bunch of projects that are calling my name (new drawing program, semi-exotic new camera to learn as my old one died, etc.
    Thank you, Sue, for admiring my shoes ... for tan shoes, they really call my name, and I wear them whenver I get a chance. They feel as sleek as they look.

  39. Hello, Dan! I know that you have a thoroughly curated closet, and that your things are beautifully organized! I'll bet some of your older items have new friends just waiting to combine! I'm not holding my breath on the dressing room. We'll get to it eventually, I hope!

  40. I really have to watch my planning, and remember that my adorable coat will have to be off for lunch, or dinner or in super-heated shopping areas, and there has to be substance under the coat, too! So happy you like the shoes ... the lines are special, and they are lovely, soft, classic handling of leather. Stay tuned on the dressing room ... still a goal. Baby steps!

  41. Hello, Shelly! I'm not so crazy about that coat that I see dreaming about it two nights in a row ... MUST be blog-anxiety, or process, or something more general! It's a good coat, but not a dream coat. Perhaps it will be clear one day .. or not! Coats are just as cool as bunny slippers, but more publically acceptable as outerwear. Nice to be able to take that comfort level out and about!
    Don't hold your breath about the dressing room ... it's an ongoing fantasy that my huz dangles like a carrot. Someday, in Jeruselem .
    "Love it or leave it" has becom the shopping mantra that I use most often!
    So good that you stopped by. Thank you for all.

  42. I thought you might take a shine to that coat. Such a kind comment ... I'll take it to heart, if you don't mind! Classic and funky-twisted. I can go with that.
    I've let the dressing room momentum lapse the last week or so ... never does to allow that slacking off! I'm like a Roman overseer, whipping the slaves. Gotta let them rest or they'll die in the traces, and then where would I be? Dan agrees. Poor man. He'll manage it this year, I hope.
    Hope your wintry blues are subsiding ... the weather here is warmer and sunnier this week, and I have a new camera to figure out ( a whole new sytem! ) I'm energized by the post-holiday relief. New Year, new possibilities!
    Hope your week rocks as hard as you do! Thank you for all.

  43. So good, Pao, to know someone has done it easily! I'll just need yards and yards of picture molding for shoes (stay tuned ... there's a photo in my mind of the result!) I've got a bed and my grandmother's cedar chest to deal with, and about 5 years of Dickens Dinner costumes to shift ... I'm in business, then!
    Thanks so much for all, encouragement, etc!

  44. Hey, Sue! It's almost closing time at the restaruant, and am catching up with my Kindle Fire keyboard! Thank you for your invariably sweet comments. The closet is a grinding slow process... Dan is required and we are always so pooped on our days off together it's hard to put him to work on it. We shall see. I at least have dibs on it.
    Hope your New Year is filling you with creativity and the means to pull it all off!
    Hugs to you, darling Sue!

  45. Darling Greetje! No, not especially short. It varies quite a bit from year to year, here. Seems the Gulf Stream floats just over our heads, and we're on the cusp of everything. It will be winter through February, and we'll have a brief spring from March through April. Starts warming up by May, and by June we're hot and humid. But there's a lot of variety within that ... it's been 20 one day and 60 the next, with cooler nights.
    Good you're doing more skirts and dreses ... you wear them so well. I still haven't gotten over last weeks pencil with the glorious hosiery! Rediscovery is a great word for reviewing combinations in the closet. Some things just need new companions!
    Hope you're having a wonderful week.

  46. I could have sworn I got back to you on this one last night, Sue. Didn't go, it seems, so I hope this one will carry my thanks to you for your great wishes and sweet comments. Getting Dan's help ... he has so little time off these days ... is critical, so the project stays in planning. But in the end, my experience is that planning makes it all happen eventually, so I'm confident that someday will happen sooner than later! Ha!
    Gotta say, I'm enjoying my shoes! A lot!

  47. Thank you, Trina! Running late, but I'm appreciative of your sweet comments as always. I still have not a clue as to why I dreamed of this coat at all, much less twice. It was a good outfit, I think. Nagging is an option ... I call it frequent suggestions and motivation! Seriously, we're looking for time to get it done.
    You'll be the first one I call when I start the mature women's movement. MWM ... that has a real visual presence, don't you think?

  48. Your wishes to the gods' ears! For both of us!

  49. Adorable Karen! So glad to see your face ... I'm struggling to get around (lost of projects and real life demands these days) but delighted to hear from you.
    You may be right about the coat ... a little scary to think that my subconscious has a better idea of what's hidden in my closet than my consciousness does!
    Hope the New Year is treating you very, very well!

  50. Thank you Carmen! Gotta get around and by to say hello ... lots of time constraints right now that are not usually there. I'm so glad to hear from you, and always appreciate your kind comments and wishes!
    We inherited my mother's house plans for closets, and Dan has lots more clothes than my Dad did! He has every T-shirt he ever owned. All of them! We also have tons of costuming from Boar's Head feasts and Dickens Dinners at the restaurant.
    Am looking forward to getting all the shifting done!
    I'm looking forward to seeing your ideas and inspirations this year as well!

  51. Oh, yes. Bribe, beg ... blackmail! I persevere. Thank you, Neti. I'm tickled you like my get-up, and your wishes for a New Year go right back atcha'!

  52. Thank you, Romy. I'm so in love with the curves in these shoes ... glad you agree.

  53. I'm pretty sure my results won't look finished or even very pretty for a long while to come, but that's what I'd love to see eventually. I persevere, though.
    This is a pretty good look, isn't it? Glad you like it.
    Thanks, Mrs. C ... the boys will leave you an empty nest one day, of course. I hope you can feather your newly-roomy nest with your version of a snazzy dressing room. Just keep it in mind. We all deserve one, I know!

  54. Thank you! So glad you enjoyed my two favorite parts of this outfit! It's reassuring that I'm on the right track.

  55. I love all your coats. When I moved from Michigan to Az i had over 15coats, I was so upset to donate so many of them. I only had one fashion related resolution, and it is actually to shop for clothes. I spend all my money on make-up and now my closet is so bare.


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