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Because I want to understand your style and clothing needs, I’ve put together a simple survey with 20 questions that will help me with my Fashion Friday posts. Please take a few minutes to answer them. They’re easy-peasy “yes/no” or multiple choice. With your answers, I can better help you find the styles and clothes you like.

This is a blind survey, so you’ll remain anonymous. I won’t know who answered them.

We all have a more casual lifestyle than when we were younger. Perhaps that’s because we’re living in a more casual society where dressing isn’t as important as it used to be. Or maybe we’re retired and/or working from home, and we don’t attend as many events where we need to dress up. Even so, last fall when I returned from Florence I wrote about how the Italian women dressed with such style and took great pride in what they wore. Without exception, everyone who left comments on those blogs, my Instagram posts or emailed me privately, wanted to look more like the FASHIONABLE ITALIAN WOMEN OVER 50.

One reader said, “American women need to have a fashion renaissance.”

My fashion renaissance would take me back to the ’70s. I was in my 20’s and married to a gorgeous man in his 30’s who looked like he’d stepped out of a James Bond film. I joined him when he entertained business associates or went on business trips, and I wanted to be the female version of him. Then my fashion icon was anything Lauren Hutton wore in Vogue magazine which meant elegant, minimalist and generally monochromatic.

After having said that, I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but…

Somewhere there’s a picture of me, holding an auto racing trophy, wearing lime green, knit hot pants and pantyhose! And no… I wasn’t a “pit bunny.” I was the driver. If that’s not bad enough, would you believe I didn’t think anyone would notice I was wearing pantyhose? I think I was trying to be trendy, instead of wearing what I knew looked good on me. That is not a fashion renaissance moment for any decade!

If you were to have a “fashion renaissance,” what style and/or era would you wear?

Please don’t forget to fill out the survey!! xoxox, Brenda


  • Taste of France August 3, 2018 at 8:37 am

    I love the way Jackie Kennedy Onassis dressed. And Audrey Hepburn. Chic, even when casual. Not fussy.

    • 1010ParkPlace August 4, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Taste of France, Both women had such great taste, so I’m with you on these choices. Even though we can find most all of their looks, today…. If so many of us consider them our “fashion icons,” why don’t more of us try to emulate them and dress that way? Not ballgowns, but their chic, casual ways. Why are we wearing “cold shoulders,” ruffles out the wazoo and too short, ripped pants or workout clothes? Brenda

  • TJ August 3, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Darling Brenda, Don’t you look adorable in that hat, the chambray dress and the Aviators? Isn’t 38 a divine age? Did any of us appreciate when we were 38 how Gorgeous we were? I didn’t. I was always striving to be thinner, better, to afford more expensive clothes, to look more stylish and complete. I loved your survey, however, I am from the Antipodes, and I am worried I may have skewed your results. But I wanted to know what you were going to ask. I thought it was interesting that you brought home decor into the fashion equation. Now isn’t that interesting. I have met women who are brilliant at styling decor and yet look as drab as an old tea cloth. Funny how they have no idea about turning their skills inward and using them on themselves. Now, I LOVE everything – home decor tick, make up tick, hair done monthly tick, botox every 3 months tick, new clothes regularly – every week – tick – why? Because I get bored easily and a new top/shirt/lipstick/shoes will take the boredom out of my life. Somewhere I developed that neuronal pathway that new things relieve boredom. I love blushers, lipsticks, scarves, shoes, bags. I have been warned off buying any more bags by my husband. Not another one he says. I love jewellery. My most recent indulgent purchase was a new Longines watch. My eyesight has dimmed since hitting my 50’s so badly that I could not read the dial on my Dolce Vita watch (it was 13 years old and still looks like new and I love it) so I opted for a slimline classic round face with roman numerals – a massive 33mm dial Longines Grande Classique in stainless steel. I can actually tell time on it without glasses on. It’s masculine yet feminine in Katherine Hepburn kind of way (oh if only). I have spent thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, over the 30 years I have been married, on hair, makeup, beauty, nails, botox, clothes, bags, shoes and jewellery. And I just love all of it. But I do feel guilty because our retirement fund could have so much more money in it if I wasn’t a spender. Ok but here’s my other side to the argument: my mother died at the young age of 56 (I am fast approaching that age) due to a ravaging disease that ate her personality, her body and her life. She sat in a chair for 20 years wilting and smelling of urine. She loved all the things I love – this is where I get my love for these things, it must be genetic – did I mention she was a hairdresser and before she got sick, I would go to work with her in the ’70s as the youngest Tea and Tidy Girl ever?. I swept, emptied ashtrays, made tea and folded towels, from about the age of 8. I loved it. The smell of lacquer. The hairdryers. The way a woman would walk in dishevelled and walk out a Queen, all coiffed and freshly set, ready to face the world with her head held high again. Salons did that back then. It imprinted on me. And my mother had some very glamorous clients. Then she got sick. And it all slowly drained away. She lost her money, her choices, her ability to go to the salon, to go shopping, to wear normal clothes. She lost her beauty and her personality, and that was the saddest thing I have ever seen. I seize the day. I live each day as though it were my last. I eat lipstick for breakfast. I wear new clothes because I can. Oh and let’s be honest, I am frightfully insecure as well. So I’m sure that fuels half of my indulgences too. Anyway darling, there’s my 2 Aussie dollar’s worth. Carpe Diem. XXXxxxxx

    • 1010ParkPlace August 8, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      TJ, What an entertaining response!! I loved every word of it. I, too, love nice things, but I don’t have the bank account or places to wear great clothes like I used to, so… My financial planner gave me a monthly amount I should try to stay within if I want to make it to age 94, like my mother. Mother was a model and then a buyer in couture, so my appreciation for well-made clothes comes from her. It’s not that I’m a snob about it. Rip all the labels out of the garments, along with the price tags, and I’ll tell you the ones that are designer labels! A dubious talent to be sure. And even so, mother was disappointed I wasn’t a clothes horse like she was. She once predicted I would die in a pair of blue jeans!! She died of dementia, so I understand the decline you described with your mother. “I Eat Lipstick for Breakfast.” That may be on of my all time favorite lines… from anyone!! I’d give it a Pulitzer Prize if I could. My ego is so secure… You’d think it was nailed to me. For that I am grateful. Thank you for filling out my survey! xoxox, Brenda

    • LauraM August 15, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      TJ, I don’t normally post….but I must say that you are an inspiration! I too watched my vibrant, beautiful, intelligent mother wilt away, but from auto-immune. As I approach the age when she became sick, I am trying to focus on those things that bring me joy…my family, feeling healthy and youthful. I may be 51, but I want so much to be true to the young fearless girl my mother raised me to be. And I want to give back and honor her. Thank you for sharing.

  • Diane August 4, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Yep. I’m pretty much lost when it comes to fashion. Sigh.

    • 1010ParkPlace August 8, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      Diane, I’d be interested to know why you feel this way or what caused it? I have knowledge about fashion because my mother was knowledgeable. She didn’t give me formal lessons, but they were classes, none the less. I ask this because I wonder if this is something that can be taught? Thanks so much for your feedback, Brenda

  • Mamavalveeta03 August 5, 2018 at 12:15 am

    I seem to recall that I was the only reader that didn’t care about looking like a fabulous French or Italian woman! I love the way I dress and so do my friends of a similar age (58) because they’re always asking me to help style them or shop for them. I must be doing something right. 🙂

    It’s all about casual comfort for me with a little bit of tomboy chic tossed in. I’d say it’s pretty classic American style: Sexy dark-wash jeans, a button-front shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a Chan Luu scarf, and a pair of cool ankle boots. It works for me because I feel confident…and most of all, like ME!

    • 1010ParkPlace August 8, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      You’ve described the outfit I need more of… Exactly!! I must get busy on that one! Maybe for a future Fashion Friday post… inspired by my stylist friend, Val. Most women must envy you because knowing what looks good on us is hard for so many women to achieve, much less feel confident in what they’re wearing. You can always tell if a woman isn’t confident about her clothes because she always tugging on the hem because it’s too short, or the waistline isn’t right… She just looks uncomfortable! Your girlfriends are lucky they have you to advise them! Me, too! xoxox, Brenda

  • Eileen August 8, 2018 at 9:06 am

    I am embracing the casual looks of Audrey, and Jackie. I don’t feel the need to wear ripped jeans or cold shoulder tops, or boxy oversized looks. At 67 I feel entitled to look classy. I’m turning away from “ comfortable/casual”, I want to be a role model, that is my goal, wrinkles and all.

    • 1010ParkPlace August 8, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      YES!! I hear you! None of those clothes are on my list either, even if they were free. Most of the time I’m overdressed for the situation… Or, I could say the times have changed and everyone, but me, is dressed down. Either way, I don’t care. I want to be “elevated casual,” which is classy and a notch above the usual pants and top or skirt and top. Sounds like you’re an elevated casual woman as well. Yes, wrinkles and all. That’s us! Thanks so much for telling me that, Eileen! Love your comment, Brenda

  • Barbara Torris August 8, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I would definitely go with Katharine Hepburn. I loved her tailored look. She was almost a cross dresser but so feminine she brought the world a whole new look that was uniquely her’s.

    • 1010ParkPlace August 8, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Good example, Barbara! I would call Katherine Hepburn’s style, “elevated casual.” She never looked like she threw the first thing on she found in her closet, but more than that… Her choice of clothes was very curated. She knew what she liked, what suited her body type, and she bought clothes with those things in mind and rarely strayed. I’m betting it was easy for her to interchange her clothes and create “new outfits” from what she had. Such a great example!!! Thank you! Brenda

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au August 9, 2018 at 12:20 am

    I look back at some of the “fashionable” clothes I wore and cringe a little – the flared jeans, the shoulder pads, pantsuits, and so on. I think the nice thing about the last couple of decades of fashion is that there’s been something for everyone. Maybe stores are finally realizing that not everyone is a teenager? That being said, it’s still a fine line between dressing too young or dressing like an old woman and when I find that perfect item of clothing it always gives me a smile.

    • Brenda Coffee August 9, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Great point, Leanne. For those of us a certain age, there is a fine line when it comes to how we dress. I always laugh when I see giant shoulder pads. They make me think of Linda Evans and Joan Collins and their infamous catfight on Dynasty. It was also the days of BIG HAIR!! Thank goodness there are no longer such firm rules about what’s trendy and what’s out. There are a few women over 50 I see on Instagram who are slaves to fashion, and I always walk away feeling a little sad… like they’re trying to hard, or they’re not comfortable in their own skin. xoxo, Brenda

  • Cindylou August 9, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    I agree so much with what you have to say about fashion and being suitably dressed when going out, whether to the grocery store or a party. However, I do like cold shoulder (discretely cut) tops on over 50 women because it shows a little skin and it’s better than showing a wrinkled chest or too much cleavage. This thing about “being comfortable “, I find I’m very comfortable in well-fitting jeans or black pants, a nice cardigan or vest and blouse and scarf for color or warmth. I like casual dresses for summer here in Southern California, they’re cooler than pants. And I’ve joined the sneaker trend, usually Cole Haan or Ecco in neutral colors and metallic. I get so many compliments on my sneakers from young people. And I love wearing booties in the fall and winter.

    • Brenda Coffee August 10, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      Hi Cindy Lou! Except for the cold shoulder, I love your choice of clothes. I do agree about not showing a wrinkled chest or too much cleavage, but too often I see women wearing the cold shoulder who are over weight, and it’s just one more place that’s not attractive on them. I hope you’ll like my Fashion Friday post for this coming week. It’s a fall look, but has a lot of the elements you like. The sneaker trend…. Back in the day tennis shoes were so unflattering, but sneakers are a totally different animal, and I LOVE the metallic ones. I bought a pair last fall and keep thinking I’ll buy another pair, but haven’t as yet. LOVE Cole Haan and haven’t tried Ecco. Loved your comment!! Come see me, again, Brenda

  • Donna McNicol August 9, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    The older I’ve gotten, the important it is for me to be comfortable rather than fashionable. That said, I do think about what I am wearing before going out. I remember growing up in the 50’s and having school clothes, after-school/play clothes and Sunday clothes. Nope, you won’t see me on People of Walmart.

    The dressiest I ever get anymore is formal night on our cruises and I only do dressy, nothing anywhere near normal (I don’t own a pair of heels and if I did, they wouldn’t be higher than 1.5″). LOL!

    Good luck with the survey! #MLSTL visitor (shared on SM)

    • Brenda Coffee August 10, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      LOL Donna! You’re funny!… the People of Walmart. I feel bad for so many of them, but then again… You summed up my 50’s wardrobe as well: school clothes, play clothes and Sunday clothes. My how things have changed. I have some heels I don’t want to get rid of, but I’ll never wear them, again. 1.5″ is as high as I can go as well. Did you know we lose the fat pads on the bottom of our feet as we age? That’s one of the reasons we can’t wear heels. We’re putting all of our weight on our bones! Thanks for stopping by and sharing on SM! I’ll see you, again! #MLSTL Brenda

  • Donna August 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Hi, Brenda – I have always preferred comfortable clothing but needed to dress up for work (school administrator). Now that I am retired, it is yoga pants and long tees ninety percent of the time!
    I filled in the survey the best that I could. I hope that it is helpful!
    BTW – I am very impressed that you were a race-car driver!

    • Brenda Coffee August 10, 2018 at 9:50 pm

      Hi Donna, Thanks for filling out the survey! Ninety percent of the time I wear yoga pants and short tees, but then I go to the gym three days a week… I don’t have an excuse for the other four days a week except I work from home. When I go out with my girlfriends or to church, I dress up in what I call “elevated casual.” My first husband introduced me to racing, and I loved it. When I sold my house where I’d lived for 34 years, downstairs was wall to wall trophies. His and mine. I didn’t save a one when I moved. xoxox, Brenda

  • Hilda Smith August 11, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Love dressing up…..I wish I had money to buy fab clothes in the 60s and 70s. I love the clothes from those decades. At least the 70s is having a renaissance. I love colour.

    • Brenda Coffee August 11, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Hilda!! I always love seeing you here, and I love your style on IG. You look great in color and actually have inspired me to look for more color. Thanks so much for your input. xoxox, Brenda

  • Margie August 13, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Great column! Love your look and advice. Since I’m retired, I find that I need more of a casual update. While I can not afford “expensive” clothes/accessories, I do buy moderately priced (?) clothes or those that are more expensive but on sale….I can not afford to buy handbags/shoes/jewelry in the $250+ range. If you can feature items more in the under $100 (approx.) range, I would appreciate that. It seems to me that bloggers forget not everyone has the ability to spend a fortune to look “spiffy.” I hope I don’t sound “cheap” but finances are important…

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