I Would If I Could…Cold Shoulder Top!

Hey everyone! You’ve probably seen many cold-shoulder tops this spring. I’ve tried on about 5 different versions of this top trying to find one that looked nice and hung well. This is a cute one!

Some cute Spring Tops! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This one I like because of the patterned fabric and it skimmed without clinging or billowing out. Why didn’t I get this top? I felt chilly in it! I’m just not at the point (or, really, Michigan is not at the point!) where I feel the need to show skin. I’m sure many of you are living where it’s nice and warm and this top makes sense, but I’m wearing a sweatshirt now as I write this and there is frost on the grass!

Some cute Spring Tops! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This shirt below is a classic top with a twist. It’s a nice, basic top but has a bit of fun with the ties on the sleeves and the hem has some interest with the little kick flap. It’s also available in pink.

Some cute Spring Tops! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I didn’t get this top because I have a similar one and I ended up purchasing several others you’ll see on the blog soon. Ugh, the lighting in these dressing rooms make me look crazy!

Some cute Spring Tops! - www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, there are a lot of cute shirts out now that are off the shoulder or have skinny little straps. I like the look, but know that there’s no way I can wear a strapless bra under them. So, I’m on the look out for cute shirts that we can wear and are flattering and have some of the fun, on-trend details, like these two. A couple more coming up soon! Happy Monday everyone!

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Too Many Stars of the Show!

Hey everyone! Last post I showed an outfit that was pretty basic. Nothing too exciting. Nothing really stealing the show. This outfit is completely different!

Too Many Stars of the Show! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This outfit has two shining stars. One too many. The jacket and the dress. Both are eye-catching and should be the star, instead of crowding each other out.

Too Many Stars of the Show! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This is one of the photoshoots I wasn’t going to show. I tried this dress with my black leather jacket here and in my mind, both jackets worked, but when I saw these photos I knew there was just too much going on. I felt like I couldn’t appreciate either because my eyes were looking at everything and getting dizzy!

Too Many Stars of the Show! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This is definitely an example of why you need to have quiet, supporting characters in your wardrobe too. See how pretty this jacket looks when it has a nice, plain dress underneath? When I first started figuring out this fashion thing, I kept buying eye-catching items and then would always feel on display wearing them (even when running out to the grocery store) or they were all so special it was too much for one outfit. I then started purchasing things like a black turtleneck, a plain white jacket, gray sweater, etc… — just items that are classic and unassuming, to go with the stars.

Too Many Stars of the Show! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’ve learned (well, sometimes learned) to balance the stars with the supporting characters to have a more successful production! (Too many stage metaphors?) Oh well, have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. The dress is crazy on sale at $19 if you’re interested. I’m wearing a size 16 and they go up to size 18 and have plus sizes too.

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Boring You With My Favorites!

Hey everyone! Yes, I know. The jean jacket again. Sorry! I’ve been wearing it a lot, so it ends up in lots of pictures!

Boring You With My Favorite Jacket! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

It’s a great jacket to throw on and I love the seams in the back. Very flattering. It’s way on sale here and they have plus sizes too!

Boring You With My Favorite Jacket! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’m wearing it with my super cute booties and my leggings/pants. My exact booties are sold out, but they have a really similar pretty tan pair available.

Boring You With My Favorite Jacket! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I guess they’re not really leggings because the fabric is thicker and looser, but they are stretchy like leggings. However, unlike leggings, I don’t feel the need to cover my rear. Now, I believe that anyone can wear whatever they like, but I have seen some women over 40 wearing leggings with a short top where their backside was in full view and thought it was not very flattering on them. The fabric is usually sheer and clingy and besides seeing the elastic outline from their underwear, you were also able to see every dimple and wrinkle. For me, if I’m wearing leggings, I’m also wearing a long tunic or sweater or something to keep my backside covered.

Boring You With My Favorite Jacket! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Looking at this outfit, I think I should have added a gold necklace, or some kind of necklace. It just looks kind of boring with a simple collar, solid color shirt and low-key earrings. Oh well, I’m still learning!

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A Versatile Vest For Spring!

Hey everyone! As you read this, I’m on my way back from North Carolina, so this is a quick post. We were only able to do one photoshoot down there so I thought I’d show you my new vest.

A Lightweight Vest! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I have been looking for a long black vest since last fall because I only have a long sweater vest and it is used a lot (you’ve seen it many times including here) but it is a heavier sweater knit. This vest is a medium weight fabric so better for warmer weather. Plus, I really like the long slits in the side of the vest. It’s also available in white which will be nice for summer.

A Great Vest For Spring | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’m pairing it with my jeans you’ve seen before (here)  I now have a new name for them. My husband saw me changing out of them and he said “Oh, are those control top jeans?” I said, “You don’t read my blog, do you?” So, now I have a new name for the maternity jeans thanks to my husband’s lack of interest in reading my blog! These “control top” jeans are also available in plus size.

A Lightweight Vest! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

If you’ve been reading this blog this spring, you’ve seen this top. I have been wearing it a lot because it’s so easy to throw on and go. You can see more of it here as well as these cute shoes from last spring.

Forgive my super poufy hair! My hair has a mind of it’s own and with high humidity it is emboldened to take up lots of room! I’ll be back in Michigan for Wednesday’s post so hopefully my hair will be better behaved! Have a great week!

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How You Can Learn To Love Your Body!

Hey everyone! Since my last post was about how I learned to love my body, I thought I’d re-post the second article in that series today. I wrote these in the beginning of the blog, when I only had a handful of readers, but think they’re important enough to be re-posted. I hope you agree!

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This is second in a series of posts I started when I was asked by a reader to explain how I’ve come to accept and love my body. First post here.

Hey all you beautiful apple shapes! By the way, apples are delicious and nutritious. Apple a day keeps the doctor away, so it’s actually healthier to be around us apples. Plus, I suspect, we’re more fun!
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Anyway, if you’ve stumbled around on the internet looking for ways to dress an apple shape or looked for clothing that would work for your shape you’ve come across the description of the apple shape: large stomach, large midsection, carries weight around the middle, blah, blah, blah. Then, like all the other shapes, it tries to come up with the positive parts of your body to highlight and for apple shapes they say it’s slender arms and legs. If you scoffed at that, like I did, you know often arms and legs are just as chubby as the middle. Or perhaps they have visible veins, cellulite, stretch marks or scars. Either way, you’re not in a hurry to show off those parts of your body either. If you’re like me, those body parts went south way before the mid-life middle came into play.

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Actually, I feel whomever wrote those descriptions about apple shapes just threw in the “lean arms and legs” to give us something to work with even though they know we have the most challenging body shape to dress in the current forms of clothing that are made. So, again, reading “advice” for my shape, I felt that I wasn’t getting realistic advice and it was not written by someone who has my shape or any experience dressing my shape.

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So, let’s take it from a real apple-shaped body perspective:

Learn to love your wrists. They are graceful. Put pretty bracelets on them. Admire the slender way they attach your arm to your hands. They’re so graceful when you hold something or turn a doorknob. Play up your wrists by showing them off with shorter sleeves.

Love your feet. They are muscular and shapely. They probably are bigger than when you were a lithe teenager but they’re still strong and curvaceous. Find some cute, comfy shoes. Make them a bright color or get a fun pattern. Get a pedicure to celebrate bare feet. A stylish (but always comfortable) pair of shoes can elevate any outfit and they’re starting to make shoes that are cute and aren’t painful to wear. You can be a fashionista just by the power of shoes!

Love your collar bone. Even if you are carrying weight in your bust and midsection you probably have some collar bone definition. Especially with gravity pulling your bust downward. Wear a necklace to draw attention to that area. It’s very flattering to have a necklace length hitting at the collar bone. Choose shirts that showcase your collar bone and look for pretty necklines.

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Now, I challenge you to find one other area to love if you are the apple shape without the slender arms and legs (or even if you are). Perhaps your earlobes? You can find very fun earrings. Or your cleavage? Necklaces and interesting collars could play up that area. Perhaps your fingers or toes? Rings, toe rings, manicures and pedicures can all be ways to show off those areas.

For me, I’ve come to love my ankles. Though they are not slim they look slim compared to my man-calves and they are shapely. I don’t mind showing them off. I showcase them with ankle length pants and cute shoes and while writing this I’ve decided to give an ankle bracelet a try!

How about it? What parts of your body can you love and show off? I guarantee you will have, at the minimum, one part to highlight. I’d love to hear which you choose.

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How I Learned To Love My Body!

Hey everyone! I’m in Charlotte and haven’t had time to do an outfit photo shoot, so I thought I’d do one of my posts from last year since I’m not sure how many of you have actually seen it and we have a lot more readers here since last April. Enjoy!

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So, one of my lovely readers, Bette, asked me:

“May I ask, have you always been able to think so positively about your body? Or did you have to train yourself? And, if the latter, how did you do this? IMO, this would be a great blog post — learning to love our “big, beautiful canvasses” in spite of society. Ha.”

When I read that I thought: “I don’t know. I don’t have anything to say about that. I don’t have any advice. I’m no different than anyone else.” I actually hadn’t realized how much I did accept my body or realize that many women my age didn’t accept theirs until she asked me that question. Ok. I do have some things to say.

Emotional support number one: ying & yang kitties
Emotional support number one: ying & yang kitties

First, I did recognize a couple of steps (though there are probably a thousand tiny steps) to get where I am today.  So, let me start by saying I did have to train my mind to accept my body. It was not as hard as I thought it would be, though I didn’t do this in a very conscious way. And because this is a complex topic this will take several posts to explain. Remember, this is just my experience and my opinion, so read it, analyze it, ask yourself if it makes sense to you and keep what you like and throw away what you don’t. Here’s the first step:

Accept what you can’t change.

So, we’ve probably all hated our body at some point in our lives, or many points in our lives. “Why are you ruining my life? Why can’t you look like so and so? How come I work so hard and you still look this way?” I always wanted to have a tiny waist, instead of the rectangle shape that I was, even at my slimmest and most athletic. One day I realized that there was about 1/2″ between my rib cage and the top of my pelvic bone. So, no matter how thin I could get, I wasn’t going to have a small waist because there just wasn’t enough room between ribs and pelvis to dip in to be a tiny waist. I’m just not built that way and no matter what I did it would be the same. It was physically impossible. I had to accept this fact.  I was born that way.  Ok. Truce. I accept you waist.

When I thought about the other parts of my body that I wish I could change, but were physically impossible, I knew I had to think of them in a new way.  I’m short. That’s not going to change. I have big feet. They will always be big feet. I have big boobs. I was born that way. I could go on and on pointing out what I think are not perfect body parts. But, to constantly be mad at these parts, when there is no chance to change them, seems exhausting and sad. It’s like I choose to drag a weight around my whole life with no chance of ridding myself of it. It’s like being mad at the sun for rising in the east. I looked at my body and saw the parts that were physically impossible to change and I decided to accept them rather than carry on this life-long disdain for them. They are what they are and I can’t change that. I’m tired of being enemies. I want to be friends. I approach you body, as I would a friend, with love and understanding and acceptance of your non-perfect parts. This was immensely freeing.

Now, with a new relationship with my body, and the non-perfect parts, I could concentrate on making the best of them. I figured out how to work with them, rather than against them, to look my best. I put my energy into finding the most flattering way to dress them and let me tell you, when I figured out how to dress these body parts, it was so much easier to accept them and like them because they weren’t that bad. They just needed some help to dress them to their best advantage. They weren’t perfect, but they weren’t that bad with the right clothes. Another reminder that it’s not me, it’s the clothes.

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Emotional support number two: sleepy newborn foal

And now another step:

Change up your thinking.

As a designer, I look at problems from many different perspectives to find the right solution. Looking at my weight from the same old worn-out perspective of “I’m fat. I hate my body” was not working and I was tired of that argument. I decided to look at it from another perspective, in fact from the complete opposite perspective.

So, my body is biologically wired to keep me alive and have me survive. It warns me of danger and injury. It wants me to live. Perhaps my body was gaining weight for reasons I didn’t understand. What positive, biological reason would my body want to keep extra weight around? Well, many:

It’s worried that I might be in an earthquake and be buried alive for 10 days and it was going to make darn sure I was going to be pulled out alive.

It listens to the news and hears about war torn regions where people are starving and wants to be prepared in case I’m ever in a war and starving.

Living in a cold climate my body knows there is a chance that I could be lost in a snowstorm for days and would have to stay warm and live on stores of fat and it wants me to survive.

Perhaps my body is worried that I might be on a sinking ship, in the middle of the ocean, and I would have to float to shore, so it made sure I had two large flotation devices that will help me get there.

Thank you body! You want me to survive! You’re thinking ahead and planning! As a mother, I would do anything to make sure my kids survived, and I’ve been thinking ahead and planning. My body was doing the same! It was working behind the scenes to make sure I would survive. It was looking out for me. It wasn’t trying to sabotage me or make me hate it. It was doing what it thought was best to get me to survive. Awwww, thank you body!

Emotional support number three: Kippy as a puppy
Emotional support number three: Kippy as a puppy

When I look at my body, I see a body that is hell-bent on surviving. My body, for whatever reason, has decided that survival means storage of portable food. Actually, pretty smart. She wants me to survive and thrive. I love you body! You’re taking care of me! While I’m busy caring for others, you’ve been caring for me. Thank you!

These are just two ways of thinking that has led me to accept and love my body. There are other steps that I realize I have taken that I’ll share with you in a future post.  I cannot tell you how to accept and love your body. I can only tell you how I did it in hopes that you will glean something from my words or it’ll just get you thinking.

Yeah, I guess I did have some things to say!

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Wearing The Color Of The Year!

Hey everyone! So, you probably know that green was named the color of the year, specifically “greenery”.  I find adding one or two items with the trendy color of the year really freshens up your wardrobe and pushes you to try new colors and combinations.

Wearing the Color of the Year! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This sweater is one of the few green items I own. Most of my other green items are more olive-based. It caught my eye in the store about a month ago but I just passed it by since green rarely interests me. About two weeks ago, I saw it again, it still perked my interest and I gave it a try. I loved the fit, kind of like a sweatshirt, but it’s smartened up a bit because it’s made of linen. I own very little linen because it usually wrinkles easily unless you’re someone who hangs things up immediately and likes to iron (definitely not me!) but because this is a knit there were very few wrinkles.

Wearing the Color of the Year! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

It’s another Eileen Fisher sweater so it’s not cheap, however it’s made to last. I always consider how many times I’m going to wear an item to determine if it’s really that expensive. Like if I bought an item for $20 but only wore it once, compared to buying a $100 item and wearing it 50 times. You really have to compare cost per wear to see the real price of an item.

Wearing the Color of the Year! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’ve paired it with my cropped, flare pants and spring flats that are really cute (though size up a 1/2 size) and my newest necklace you’ve seen a couple of times already.

Wearing the Color of the Year! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, if you’re interested in giving green or linen a try I’d suggest this sweater is a great place to start! Happy Monday!

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Bloggers and Blazers!

Hey everyone! You’ve seen this blazer before (here) but I find it so pretty and flattering that I wanted to show it off again (and they’re now offering it in another color too!). This time I’m wearing it with another pretty dress and my new spring purse plus my trusty black pumps. Yes, I know. I’m a little bit obsessed with dresses this spring! But, they’re working so well for my shape and so easy to wear!

Bloggers and Blazers | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, one unexpected perk to blogging is making friends. I feel like a blog is the contemporary version of being pen-pals (remember those?). I write, then someone writes me back. Yes, it’s a little one-sided because you all can see me and I can’t see you (unless you came to my blog birthday party!) but I still feel the friendship in  your words.

Bloggers and Blazers | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

There is also a connection between other bloggers. I hear that the young women bloggers are more competitive and don’t collaborate much but among the over 40 crowd it is the opposite! I think because we know there are few bloggers our age so supporting each other is beneficial. But, I also think we’re at the age where we realize friendships make everything worth while!

Bloggers and Blazers | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I was invited by one of my good blogging friends, Anna, to collaborate with her Ping Pong Post bloggers. Every month these three ladies pick an item to style and invite another blogger to join them. I joined them this month and the item we were all styling was blazers. Such a variety!

Bloggers and Blazers | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

Here is Anna from Anna’s Island Style. She lives on a picturesque island off the coast of England. She swims in the sea around her island, which I find fascinating and read her swimming stories with such interest. She also is the most fearless dresser. She mixes prints, colors, sequins and high heels with such ease that I am in awe! Just see for yourself on her Instagram account!

Blazer: Vila Clothes Blouse: Jo-Ed Sophisticates Skirt: charity shop Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell, California Tights: Topshop Pearls: Debenhams Rings: charity shop

The blazer she is wearing was a gift from her husband and it is such an Anna item. Not only does it fit like a glove but has a great print. Anna doesn’t stop there though! She is someone who shows that “more is more”! She also does a lot of thrift shopping and finds really great items and then writes a blog post about her haul. They are some of my favorite posts!

This is Ann from Kremb de la Kremb. She is an American living in Tokyo. She is such an edgy, rebel dresser (despite being a school librarian!). She is always showing her exotic vacation photos and videos on Instagram. Plus, look at those legs!

Kremb de la Kremb Blazer 2Sunnies–Thailand Night Market in Hua Hin Earrings–Betsy Johnson (and one sadly just broke!) Necklaces–TJ Maxx Tank–Florence Market Blazer–H&M and then a swap! Denim Skirt–DIY from second hand shop Trainers–Adidas

She has a great story about this blazer. She bought it in Beijing but never really wore it so ended up giving it away at a swap meet. She, of course, started missing it immediately after that (don’t we all do that?). The next year she went back to the same swap meet and there it was! This time she bought it and now it’s made it’s blog debut! Her awesome t-shirt she bought in Florence. I think I’m having travel-shopping envy!

Our final blogger is Samantha from Fake Fabulous. She is from Scotland and describes herself as an average woman just trying to look good…and she does in every post! I mean, look at that cute haircut!

SHOES: Topshop TIGHTS: Gipsy SHIRT: Urban Outfitters BLAZER: Primark BROOCH & EARRINGS: Gifts BAG: FIORELLI SKIRT: Boden

She wanted to ditch the whole idea of blazers as being businesswear and stuffy and serious. So, she added the shiny silver shoes plus the big pops of color from the red clutch and brooch, not to mention the very colorful tights. Her favorite quote is “It is better to be looked over than overlooked” from Mae West. I’m sure she is never overlooked! You can see lots of her outfits on her Instagram account.

It’s been such fun to collaborate with these ladies! I feel like a real blogger with real blogger colleagues! I hope you’ve enjoyed this variety of blazers and perhaps met some new ladies who each have a unique style. Friendships come in all shapes and styles, don’t they?

Linking up with these ladies at High Latitude Style!

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A Shortie Wearing Wide Pants!

Hey everyone! So, conventional wisdom says a short person shouldn’t wear wide-legged pants because it makes them look shorter. Well, I’m anything but conventional!

A Shortie Wearing Wide-Legged Pants and Feeling OK! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I don’t think I look any shorter actually. Really, how much taller can a pair of pants make you look anyhow and why can’t I just look short? I’m ok with that!

A Shortie Wearing Wide-Legged Pants and Feeling OK! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

So, with wider, flowy bottoms, I needed a more-fitted top. As you know, I’m not really crazy about anything tight on the top, so this jacket is as tight as I will get. It does have some structure and shaping, so it’s a little bit more fitted. You could wear a flowy top and flowy bottom, and it’s a nice casual look, but to make this more work appropriate I wanted to have some structure and seriousness!

A Shortie Wearing Wide-Legged Pants and Feeling OK! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

These pants are from a Michigan brand called Haystacks. This is one of those vacation purchases (i.e. bought under the influence!) that is not usually something I would buy, but sometimes you need a few unique pieces of clothing. They’re really comfortable and I bought the most-outlandish pattern just to have something a little more crazy in my closet (besides an orangish-pink purse)!

A Shortie Wearing Wide-Legged Pants and Feeling OK! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

All of the photos from this and the last few posts were taken in the Eastern Market in downtown Detroit. It’s a historic farmer’s market/warehouse district, that has a bunch of great murals. My photographer/husband and I were in heaven finding great photo locations!

Detroits Eastern Market | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

This picture below is such a representation of Detroit now. Old, industrial city being revised and re-inhabited by artists and creatives. Such an interesting transformation. It’s still gritty but has jaw-dropping art in the most unexpected places!

Detroits Eastern Market | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

On a side note, I’m unexpectedly heading to Charlotte, NC this Saturday for a week’s stay. Don’t worry. It’s not for a funeral or anything bad. I’ve never been there, so I’d love to hear any recommendations from you if you’ve been. My week is pretty open for exploring!

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Craving A Classic!

Hey everyone! So, as I’ve been doing this blogging thing, I’ve been more conscious of trends and new things and what’s “in”. This spring, there has been a lot of trends, what with the big sleeves, florals and seasonal colors that I have loved but felt like I needed to balance those trends out with a classic. This blue sweater was the result!

This is a cashmere blend Eileen Fisher sweater. I’ve never bought anything before from the Eileen Fisher brand. It’s always been too expensive and a lot of the items were too flowey to look good on my shape. Though, I love her fabrics and her ethical business practices, I felt you had to be a real adult to buy her brand (something I rarely feel like!). But, after seeing so many trendy items in the store, that I knew were going to be out of style next year, I thought a little investment piece was ok.

Craving A Classic! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I’m pairing it with my very trendy embroidered jeans and very trendy ballet flats and very trendy purse in this spring’s trendy color as well as my trendy necklace! You can see why I was craving a classic item!

Craving A Classic! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I do like to add some trends into my wardrobe, especially if it’s inexpensive, since it’s a good way to update your closet, but I don’t want to get too carried away. It reminds me of when I was in high school, and everything I wore was a trend and I’d have to buy a whole new wardrobe each year. I’ve gotten a little bit wiser since then!

Craving A Classic! | www.whenthegirlsrule.com

I think a classic piece also grounds an outfit, making it look more grown-up. I don’t want to look like I’m trying to dress like a teenager. Adding a classic item gives some gravitas to the outfit and I could always use a shot of gravitas! Have a great week everyone!

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