If This Wasn’t A Fashion Blog…

Hey everyone! To finish up 2016, I thought I’d show you some of my favorite photos of the year that didn’t make it into the blog. We have found that when we photograph we get distracted by the surroundings. We often have to remind ourselves that the outfit is the star of the photo (ok, maybe I say I am the star, but you know what I mean). So, even though these pictures were good, they don’t serve the purpose of the blog. However, I think they deserve a mention and should be enjoyed. These are the interesting and beautiful surroundings we found ourselves in this year…

If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
The roses were so distractingly beautiful in these gardens and I had a hard time just picking one for this post!
If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
Our small town courthouse in the background along with a grapevine-filled wall were so cool.
If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
The stonework was an interesting shape that my husband insisted we photograph, though I kept asking “are you sure you can see the shoes?”
If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
Pretty self-explanatory
If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
One of our favorite places to photograph. This is a small alley in my town with lots of painted doors and brick walls to photograph. We would get very distracted here.
If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
Too fun to pass up!
If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
Too dark to show the outfit but the architecture here by Zaha Hadid is so striking
If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
The Henry Ford Estate had beautiful gardens and this heavy wood door leading into a rose garden
My photographer was having a good time experimenting with this structure where he felt it looked like old ruins
This mural was so striking I felt that the outfit, and me, were completely overshadowed by it
If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
A Detroit mural that is amazing. The small black rectangle near one of the feet is me
If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
My border collie Kip who likes to be in photos
If I didn't have to focus on the outfits! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com
And one of our cats, Skittles, who knows she is the star of the photo!

That’s my wrap-up of 2016 and I’ll be back in 2017 with some new things for the blog that I’m excited about. I didn’t know where this blog was going when I started, but now I’ve got some great ideas and will be implementing them in the new year that I believe will add to this community we’ve created here! Stay tuned and happy new year!

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Behind the Scenes of the Madness!

Hey everyone! Instead of doing a top 10 list or a wrap up of the year, I thought I’d do a behind-the-scenes post that shows the madness! No, actually the photos show windy days, closed eyes and bad faces, however there is some fun and this is so much more interesting than seeing my top 10 favorite outfits of the year. So I hope you enjoy the behind-the-scenes reality as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

So, being a fashion blogger isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. You spend a lot of time in awkward positions.

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Wind is your enemy.

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Your eyes water a lot.

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Your photographer needs more direction.

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

You forget to put on your heels.

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

You don’t agree with your photographer.

 

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

You’ve had enough and you have to make a crazy face.

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

And sometimes you just have to bust a move!

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Bloopers from the blog -www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Ha ha! But, through all of that, I’m still having fun bringing you real fashion for real women who have real lives behind the scenes! Happy holidays everyone!

 

 

 

 

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My Favorite Sweater in Gray This Time!

Hey everyone! A couple of posts ago I showed you my favorite sweater. I can’t believe I hadn’t shown it to you before even though I own it in three colors so I thought I’d show you the gray version I own. Favorite gray sweater - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I showed the black version in the first post and I felt it didn’t photograph well. I think the gray shows the cut of the sweater better, especially how it hangs flatteringly over the bust and also how it dips in a bit at the waist. Don’t despair if this sells out. They’ve come out with this sweater the last 3 years since I bought my two versions. They also have it in white and tan.

Favorite gray sweater - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This pink top is new and is a crepe type fabric so it hangs really nicely without clinging. It has some weight to it too so it gives no indication of what is happening underneath! It’s also sleeveless, which I like to wear if I’m going to be wearing a warm sweater inside or if your shoulder/armpit area of your top layer is tight. For some reason I can’t find it on Macy’s website. It’s Alfani brand and the closest I can find is here so maybe you’ll have better luck at your local store.

Favorite gray sweater - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I could have gone with a scarf that had a pink, black and gray pattern but I decided to go with a somewhat contrasting color with the bright green. The scarf does have black and gray in it so it does pull those colors together. I just felt like going with another bright color. Also, knowing that being too matchy-matchy makes you look dated (though that is a hard habit for me to break!) the green is an unexpected jolt of color I think.

Favorite gray sweater - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

And to address the elephant in the room… yes, these are my horses and my little farm. Another snow storm kept us from going out to photograph so we decided to photograph at our house (thanks Mom for the suggestion). We have 6 horses and 10 acres and assorted other little animals. I don’t know if we’ll photograph here in the future (the horses do not take direction well!) but I promise to keep these photos interesting. I enjoy finding new places and new ways to photograph. If I just kept doing the same scene and location (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) I’d get bored. So, expect more “non-traditional” fashion blogger photo shoots in the future!

This post contains affiliate links to items I own and love!

 

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A Winter Coat I Can Button Up!

Hey everyone! If you are an apple shape, you know it is near impossible to find a coat that you can button up without having it be gigantic everywhere else. I never expect my jackets to button up and just buy them to fit my shoulders and the rest of my body. However, living in the north, I have to have a winter coat that buttons up. Luckily I have found one!

A winter coat to fit a big bust - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

It’s from Anne Klein’s brand and I find she has several styles that fit our shape. Here is the link to this style and it has many color options including classic black and gray but also beautiful red and merlot.

A winter coat to fit a big bust - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Here is a link for a longer version in black if you’re interested in that style since I am 5′ 2″ you can see this short version works well for me.

A winter coat to fit a big bust - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I also discovered that leopard print goes really well with this blue so I wear these gloves a lot. I also have a really cute bright violet pair that I wear too. And my new purse goes really well with the coat!

A winter coat to fit a big bust - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’m also wearing my boots that don’t have any heel to get around in this snow but also to keep my legs warm! They are a nice way to add style without having to worry about twisting your ankle in any kind of heel. They fit my wide calf (17″) well and allow me to wear some thick socks too. We have gotten a lot of snow and cold this December so they are my go-to boot right now. Happy Wednesday!

This post contains affiliate links to items I own and love!

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Let’s Just Use This As A Teaching Moment…

Hey everyone! So, originally in this post, I intended to talk about the vest I’m wearing and how it’s another thing I bought while on vacation and don’t wear much but love the textured fabric and straight cut and how it hangs and how it has pockets, but I don’t like the hood and how my husband compared me to Obi-Wan Kenobi when I first wore it …. but, when I flipped through the photos I found a much more relevant topic: I’m done with white shirts.

White is not my friend! See more on my blog!

Yikes. This shirt does not cut me any slack. In fact, it points out areas I didn’t even think were problem areas before. Wide arms? Emphasized. Wrinkles under the bust? Check. Waistband dent showing? Check. Midsection highlighted? Check. This shirt is even making me re-think these jeans that I’ve loved and worn many times to great success and rave reviews.

White is not my friend! See more on my blog!

So, is it just the color? Well, the knit fabric does hug curves more, but I have this same turtleneck in black and you’ve seen it here. I would argue it’s the white and it’s play with light and shadows. It even reflects light under my chin emphasizing my round face. White be gone with you!

White is not my friend! See more on my blog!

I even tried the magic belt and it was a big flop! If you’re a new reader, let me quickly explain. I’ve used this magic belt (really just a regular shirt belt that’s elastic instead of leather) on numerous occasions to rein in a dress or to give an illusion of a slimmer waist but here, with this devilish white shirt,  I look like a Power Ranger (yes, that comparison came from my husband too…sigh).

White is not my friend! See more on my blog!

Of course, I’m remembering my dressing room advice to keep repeating “It’s not me – it’s the clothes” as I thumb through these photos to choose which bad ones to show and there are many. These were the only ones I could bear putting out into the internet universe.

White is not my friend! See more on my blog!

So, even though these images are making me cringe as I look at them, I am offering this up as a lesson we all can learn from and to let you all know I’m keepin’ it real. No glamorous lifestyle blogger here. Just a regular woman trying to figure out what looks good on her midlife body…though these booties are beyond reproach and are super cute and on sale!

On a side note, you may have noticed the new blue rectangle on the right hand side of the screen saying “featured on Discover”. I was an Editor’s Pick at WordPress Discover this week (and through which many of you have discovered our place here – welcome!). They’re also interviewing me for a feature article coming up soon! Super exciting! It’s all because it’s a rare thing on the internet for a woman over 40, who is not slim or a celebrity, to be talking fashion and showing her real midlife body. Wow! When everything else is out on the internet, we are not. Well, we’re changing that. We’re getting out there. We’re done being invisible. And you ladies encourage me every step of the way with your comments and shares and spreading the word because we rule!

Linking up with these lovely ladies at Not Dead Yet Style!

This post contains affiliate links to items I love and own!

 

 

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Winterizing The Basics…Here We Go!

Hey everyone! If you’re a regular reader, you will probably recognize everything here except for the skirt and scarf. The skirt I don’t wear that often. For some reason it seems like it’s a bit formal, but when I pull it out and wear it, it is a lot more fun than I remembered. It’s the stripes, I’m sure.

Fun Striped Skirt for Apple Shapes - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

It’s made of ponte fabric, so it has some stretch, and though it has a zipper I can just pull it on without undoing the zipper. You apple-shapes know what I’m talking about. If I can pull it on without unzipping or unbuttoning or unfastening then that’s a good sign it’s going to fit. I wish I could direct you to it but since it’s a couple of years old it is no longer available. However, a super cute skirt by the same brand (White House Black Market) and with the same material is available here.

Fun Striped Skirt for Apple Shapes - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

The jacket you’ve seen before here and I like it because it has the faux suede front but the cotton knit on the sides and under the arms so you get some stretch for your bust and midsection. It’s a couple of years old but I see this style a lot and there are several newer options here and here.

Fun Striped Skirt for Apple Shapes - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This scarf is from a trip I took to Venice, Italy 17 years ago. It is 100% silk velvet which is really rare. The color of it is amazingly rich and it feels like cold water running through your fingers. That is not an exaggeration — it really is that soft. I found it in a little shop, down a winding alleyway in Venice. The colors just jumped out at me in the shop’s window. I was torn between getting the blue one or this one and I wish I had bought both because I wear it all winter long. My only complaint is the silk is very slippery and slides off my neck which requires me to tie the fringe together to keep it in place.

Fun Striped Skirt for Apple Shapes - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’m also winterizing this outfit by adding thick tights. These pumps, you’ve seen before here, update the traditional black pump with the little cut out in the heel, the tie in the back and the pointy toe. They make a quiet statement of style instead of a loud statement. They’re also comfortable too because the heel is short. I just cannot wear shoes that hurt anymore, so comfort always comes first.

We’re in for a really cold week here in Michigan, so you’ll be seeing a lot of “winterized” outfits in the near future. Plus, I may have to start photographing indoors so we’ll have to find some interesting places to photograph. I love a challenge!

This post contains affiliate links to items I love and own or love and wish I owned!

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My Favorite Sweater

Hey everyone! After the last post where I talked about how I didn’t care for cardigans, I thought I’d show you the kind of sweater I really love.

Best sweater for an apple-shaped, over 40 woman - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This sweater gets so much wear October through April. When someone talks about a “wardrobe workhorse” this is what they mean. I wear it tons. Wash and dry it carelessly. Then throw it back on.

Best sweater for an apple-shaped, over 40 woman - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I know these pictures don’t show it well with the black blending into the black so I’ll try to explain it well. It has some weight from the knit jersey so it hangs nicely and has stretch. It has some structure so it dips in a bit at the waist then flares out a bit. It has this shawl collar that gives coverage and it has a nice vertical line.

Best sweater for an apple-shaped, over 40 woman - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

And it has pockets!

This is a comfort sweater. When I was anticipating a stressful day at work I would wear this. It looked good and gave me comfort. It was my comfort armor. I own it in black and gray (though I keep hoping the burgundy comes back in stock and then I will snatch it up) and I have the summer version in white. It is from White House Black Market and black is available here, gray is available here, tan here and white here.

About this dress. I bought it in the spring and realized that I loved everything about it but the hem was a bit too high. No problem. Just wait until fall and wear tights or leggings with it and all of a sudden it doesn’t look too short. This dress is from J. Jill and is old but a similar dress (though it’s a bit heavier material) available here.

Best sweater for an apple-shaped, over 40 woman - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

The scarf you’ve seen before here and it goes with so many items I own (I call it my girl-power scarf) and is available here.

Best sweater for an apple-shaped, over 40 woman - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Where we’re photographing

And how about this wind and cold? These were taken on the Detroit River last Sunday and it was cold and windy. Of course, it’s gotten colder since then so be prepared for lots of red-nosed photos for the next few months! And, yes, that is Canada on the other side of the river. So exotic!

This post contains affiliate links to items I love and own or love and wish I owned! 

 

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Why I Don’t Wear Cardigans

Hey everyone! Do you ever put on a top and just think something doesn’t look right? That’s how I am with cardigans. Even though I love some of the styles and the prints, they just don’t look right. And I don’t mean just the traditional ones that every librarian owns. Even the long, slouchy ones don’t look right but I think I have figured out why they don’t look good on me. It’s the way they hang on my shoulders.

Over 40 Fashion for Over 40 Bodies! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, this is a pretty cashmere sweater with a fun bit of silk at the bottom to add some flare. It’s very warm and forgiving no matter what I’m wearing underneath. I bought this when I first started figuring out this fashion stuff because I needed something that wasn’t always making a statement so it’s a couple of years old but here is one that is similar.

Over 40 Fashion for Over 40 Bodies! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Most of the times I was wearing it with a scarf because it was winter but several times I didn’t and it looked weird. I took a long look at it and realized that it emphasized that my shoulders were sloping. This is a normal aging attribute, but something I had never noticed before. All of my other sweaters and jackets had some sort of collar to break up that line. This sweater did not. Also, the cut of it just feels like it pulls down and hangs, making me look tired and droopy.

Over 40 Fashion for Over 40 Bodies! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

As I started figuring out this fashion thing in my 40’s, I was having a love-hate relationship with shoulder pads and couldn’t figure out why. Once I noticed my shoulders sloped down, a lot was explained, but now I had to figure out how not to emphasize this silhouette. Enter the big scarf. This scarf breaks up the line of my shoulder so you don’t see the slope. Of course, I’m not photographing my sweater without the scarf and all of these positions have my shoulders looking pretty broad. If you want to see this sweater and what I’m talking about pop over to my Instagram account and look at one of the very first posts. That was last winter before I figured out that slope was showing and how to fix it. I’d love for you to follow me on Instagram while you’re there since that’s where I show more “behind the scenes” images.

Over 40 Fashion for Over 40 Bodies! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Jeans (similar) here. Boots (similar) here.

And you will all be happy, especially you long-time readers, that I have bought myself a new purse! I know, you were all so sick of that black one! So was I, even though it works so well and will probably be back in the pictures soon!

This post contains affiliate links for products I love and own or love and would like to own!

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Ok, I Need Your Help Again. Keep or Ditch?

Hey everyone! Here I am again. Another item I bought that I haven’t ever worn. I bought this over two years ago when I was looking for a holiday-ish shirt that didn’t look like a Grandma holiday shirt (not that there’s anything wrong with that – just not my style).

Over 40, plus-size fashion - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I thought the bright red and the festive flowers with all of that black would look elegant. Unfortunately, it just seemed flat when I tried it on at home. I thought perhaps it depended on what “third piece” I wore over the top of it. As you can see here, I’ve tried two different pieces over the tunic. Blah.

Over 40, plus-size fashion - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Remember a couple of months ago I shared the Tim Gunn article about how the fashion industry doesn’t design for anyone over size 12? One point he made was that clothing with a large-scale pattern made a bigger woman look like a float in a parade. I didn’t really get what that meant until I pulled this tunic out to give it another try for the holidays.

Over 40, plus-size fashion - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Supposedly with a pattern on an item of clothing, we don’t want too small of a pattern because it will make us look bigger and it ages us (think of your mother-in-law’s summer blouse. Ok, well, that’s what I’m envisioning). We also can’t wear too big of a pattern because it makes us look like we’re wearing a tablecloth. Sigh. More confusing “advice” from the “experts”.

Over 40, plus-size fashion - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I think  it’s the giant flowers that don’t work for me. That, and the big, white flower on my stomach. It looks like a bullseye. That, and if there is any indent from any waistband or any button on my bottoms at that point you will see it.

Over 40, plus-size fashion - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Similar tunic here. Leggings here. Similar jacket here. Similar vest here.

So, what do you think? Am I over-thinking it? What do you think about the size of pattern in comparison to the size and age of the wearer? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Linking up with these lovely ladies at Not Dead Yet Style and Pocket Full of Polka Dots!

This post contains affiliate links to items I own and love and items I wish I owned and love!

 

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