Sunday, January 4, 2015

3 Things Women Over 30 Should Never Wear

Ew. As an English major and general snob, I really dislike using the word "things." But if I'm going to skewer the sad, crappy masses of clickbait barf, I felt like I should do it right.

This is a post inspired by my buddy Bobbi, who shared an article some weeks ago that dictated in farcical detail everything that ladies over 30 should not wear, up to and including crop tops and mini skirts.

I went dancing with my momma a couple weeks ago and as a foxy 60-year-old with all the best dance moves, I'm telling you right now that you can pry Mom's mini skirt from her cold, dead hands.

IMAG1804
You can't really tell, but that's my mom, second from the right, in a mini skirt and about to destroy the dance floor with her brilliant moves. Also pictured: My sister's mother-in-law Mary, my sister Laurie and me, looking too weird with straight hair.

I'm 31 myself and, while I didn't cave and click the accursed link of forbidden fashion items, I truly loathe the idea that any style is off limits to me for any reason.

Bobbi is smart and stylish and recognized the article for what it is: poisonous dreck with an intent to make aging ladies just that much more insecure about changing bodies and changing fads.

Bobbi - 20 things women should stop wearing after 30
Well said, Bobbi.

I've been thinking about it a lot in the last few weeks. One of my self-imposed blogging rules is that I never give advice. I'm no expert, just some bozo with wifi, like most of the globe. But what the hell. One of my other rules is that I break all of my rules.

So, here it is: Three Things Women Over 30 Should Never Wear

1. Clothes that don't reflect your experience.

I am the queen of impractical fashion. I hike in finery, dance in dragging ball gowns and have a pristine record of never wearing an appropriate coat.

DSC06101
A paragon of impracticality

However, I like to think that I can learn from my mistakes. After wearing spike heels on an adventurous date, I've decided that I'd rather be the kind of companion that can keep up on outing without slinking to a barstool and whining about my bleeding feet. So, I choose shoes that will let me keep playing as long as I please.

This is not an argument for practicality (shudder) but a plea for people to respect their own experiences. Do you feel like a dolphin tangled in a tuna net whenever forced to don a bra? Then respect that experience, and let the ladies fly freely. Do you know that you'll feel more comfortable exploring your city if you're not feeling the weight of expensive jewelry? Then stock up on costume baubles and haunt new neighborhoods.

You've survived your twenties. You've learned what works for you. Never ignore that.

2. Clothes that don't respect your vision of yourself.

I wrestle with the idea of items that "age appropriate" because, again, appropriate isn't part of my fashion vernacular. I literally just came home a few hours ago with hot pink sparkly tights, and while at the store, justified the purchase to my brother-in-law by saying, "Oh, I have a wig that will match these!"

So, yeah, age appropriate I ain't.

Question of the day: Am I too old for high-waisted skinny jeans? #ootd #streetstyle #redhead #headband #skinnies #highwaisted #momjeans #1980s #retro #vintage #fuzzysweater #urbanoutfitters #skinnyjeans #30something
I really wrestled with whether or not I'm comfortable wearing high-waisted skinny jeans. I just really like the sartorial possibilities they offer!

However, there are items I've worn for years that seem to no longer reflect who I'm growing into. I've got these cotton babydoll minidresses that were wardrobe staples for most of my adult life and now, I can't seem to find a way to wear them that fits with my current tastes. I'm not forbidding myself from a certain style - I have an orange babydoll number from the 1960's that I can't wait to blind you with - but these particular pieces just aren't my bag anymore.

10-02-08
Me, wearing something in 2008 that I would never wear today.

As our lives change, it's easy to keep wearing items because we've always worn them. Keep a sharp eye on your closet for those clothes that are no longer speaking to your soul.

3. Compromise clothes.

I was going to write a sizeable definition of "compromise clothes," but I suspect you already know what they are, and are thinking of pieces in your own wardrobe that embody this loathsome idea: it is the ill-fitting button-up I bought because I thought it'd be a good basic for the board room; the conservative heels that are too boring for words, but would work for a job interview; the trousers that were too tight, but purported to be my size, dammit; the obnoxious sweater a beloved friend gave me; the booties that everyone needed for fall; the earrings on clearance at Anthro that were too cheap to pass up.

11/6
I'm wearing a tunic here in 2009 to camouflage the muffin top created by these terribly-fitted trousers.

None of these are inherently terrible items of adornment. They do, however, represent a compromise of ideals. Board room basics? Over my dead body. Conservative heels? Why bother? A trendy shoe? It don't fit my aesthetic, sir.

Ugly sweaters on the shelf don't make you love your friends any more, and a bad fit is not fixed with regular wear. Anything that does not jibe 100 percent with who you are at this very moment is baggage that ultimately does nothing but make you feel crappy.

Final Summation

I've found that people respond, not to your clothes, but to the way you feel in your clothes. If you feel fabulous/sassy/powerful in your bikini/ruffle socks/Hilary Clinton pant suit, then those around you know it. I've felt like I was on fire in just jeans and a t-shirt and I'll be damned if I didn't set off sartorial smoke alarms waltzing into a party.

IMG950778
In my natural environment

It takes time to create a cadre of clothes that cocoon you in beauty attuned to your personal aesthetics, whether it's bellbottoms and beaded bras or dashikis and chandelier earrings. Women (and men and all genders in between) over 30 have experience that illuminates their own tastes and the opportunity to gather the garments that make them happy.

Ultimately, no one over 30 should wear anything that makes them feel less than awesome. And while we're at it, let's not read dumb articles that do that, too.

P.S. A thousand thanks to Bobbi for her inspiration, both here and in general.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How to Wear a Poncho

I've been singing the praises of the poncho for years, even writing a pun-trified tribute to the noble shawl on a friend's blog.

Look, this is me in my favorite poncho:

DSC06174
poncho villa

Toasty ecstasy.

I love spotting ponchos on other people, but I have noticed a disturbing tide of poncho neophytes who just don't know how to don them properly. Most abused is the style of poncho sometimes called a "wrap" - a quadrilateral length of fabric with a slit in the front.

It's often just tossed across someone's frame as though they are a flagpole, waving a sad blanket across their back.

This is what I mean:

Mara Hoffman poncho for Resort Ready to Wear 2014
This is definitely not the only offender I've seen; it's just the one I remembered to take a screenshot of.

Your magnificent knit mantle does very little when merely draped across your shoulders, as on the unfortunate individual above. We are not curtain rods, my fellow fashion frontiersmen. We need our outer layers to keep us from freezing.

We need our wraps to wrap.

Achieving heated heaven in your poncho is not hard. So, modeled on a somehow even more awkward specimen - myself - here is the proper way to don a poncho:

How to wear a poncho

1. Show off your poncho a bit. Bask in its fabulousness.

2. Drape across your shoulders so that your head is in the center of a sea of thermal material. Do not, as some have, stop here. Keep going.

3. Grab your right-hand flap of fabric...

4. ...And toss it across the front of your body. This is the part of you that would remain cold if you stopped at the second step.

5. Grab your left-hand flap of fabric...

6. ...And jauntily toss it...

7. ...Until it's over your right shoulder.

8. Feel both snug and smug.

Now that you are properly cocooned, you will reap the benefits of being both stunning and steamy warm.

Here's how it looks from the back:

DSC06199
wrapper's delight

I get approx. 928 compliments when wearing my poncho this way, even though this particular wrap is festooned in cat hair and snags and often smells like yesterday's pho because I wear it all the freakin' time.

People love it. And if I see you wearing a poncho like this, I will love it, too.

poncho gif

Can any outerwear compare to the poncho? Let me know your thoughts!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I'm an Instagrammarian.

Do you remember when I posted outfit photos every day? What was I doing? How did I manage to achieve all that? It seems totally crazy to me now that I would snap a photo or five, download 'em, edit them and then craft a blog post damn near every day.

Perhaps it's because my life is so much more interesting and full now... Har har!

Anyway, this is all to say that I kind of miss the daily outfit posts, so I'll be using my Instragram to post my dorky outfits o' the day.

Look, this is what I wore yesterday:

Happy All Saints Day! #ootd #goth #paintitblack #fringe #velvet dress, #cowboy #boots and #leather coat - all #vintage, #thrift
I went to a pumpkin shootout, possibly the most appropriate place to wear fringe ever.

What will I wear tomorrow? What, if anything, am I wearing now?? The answer can only be found by following me on Instagram at @BeckyHaltermon.

I'll see you in the ether!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

From Taft to Tulle

How was your Halloween, party poodles?

Mine was pretty great. I work at the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area, so for my office costume, I dressed as Martha B. Taft. She was the first president of the League, and all-around total badass.

Happy #Halloween! Today, I am Martha B. #Taft, wife of Robert and first president of the #Cincinnati League of Women Voters. #ootd #1940s #vintageclothing #hats #Republicanpinup
Taft-ing at my chamber door

This is a pretty obscure one. Martha Bowers Taft was the wife of Robert Taft, who served in the US Senate in the 1940s. She was a feminist pioneer in Cincinnati, and helped found the League immediately after women's suffrage was ratified in 1920.

On the street, no one thought twice about my getup but in the League office, it was quite a hit.

As usual, I had to create an office-appropriate Halloween costume because my actual holiday disguise was in no way acceptable for a professional environ...

Labyrinth Halloween Costume 10
I just don't have her bosom... It's not fair!

Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I scoured area thrift shops for an affordable '80s wedding dress to butcher into this, the ballroom dress that Sarah wears in David Bowie's Labyrinth.

On the plus side, I got to break out my oft-neglected hoop skirt.

Labyrinth Halloween Costume 02
Our dumb cat Only is playing the part of Toby's teddy bear.

Quincy was baby Toby. We went to the Famous Neon's Unplugged in the Over-the Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, because their Halloween party was delightfully Labyrinth-themed. There were two (two!) Bowies, and I kept expecting one of them to try to toss Quincy into the air.

Thankfully, they were just super-friendly and fun and really into my ensemble.

We're ready to go forth and both trick and treat! #HappyHalloween! #Labyrinth #Taboo
I have to save Toby!

As you may know, I'm a big, giant ham who loves to be lavished with attention and compliments from tipsy strangers. Because of that, this costume was a great success.

I hope your hauntings were similarly awesome!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

At Any Costume

Holy moly, it's almost Halloween!

As a dress-up devotee, this is the most wonderful time of the year for me. Though I will confess: I haven't actually been waiting for culturally-sanctioned holidays to indulge in disguises. Here's a taste of the random costumes I've donned over the summer...

David Lynch Party
I'm Audrey Horne and I get what I want. 

In June, Quincy and I attended a David Lynch-themed birthday party at Tacocracy.

I will readily confess that I've only ever watched the pilot of Twin Peaks, but I did not let my lack of Lynchian experience slow me down. A half hour of rigorous googling, and I chose Audrey Horne to impersonate.

Audrey HorneAudrey is ready for the #twinpeaks party!
That's right, I rocked the mock. Also, a fake mole.

Not bad, eh? I actually found a brunette wig but, after hacking at it with kitchen scissors, decided my own hair looked more convincing than a mangled plastic wig. The top and shoes were thrifted the day of the party, and will always have a special place in my heart for the St. Vincent de Paul in Newport, Kentucky, for having the perfect wool skirt just waiting for me.

Quincy was the one-armed man. I thought it was pretty good for something he put together in the car outside of the party.

IMG_134308771006390
The one leading to the many is Laura Palmer. Laura is the one.

There were a million great costumes, but these were my favorite. Natalie, on the right, was living Laura... Check out that extremely authentic "Best Friends" necklace. Theresa totally stole the show, however, with her dead Laura. She was truly wrapped in plastic! Amazeballs.

Anyway, back to me!

PicsArt_1405110847168
Maude squad

In July, I went to Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky as Maude Lebowski.

Unlike Twin Peaks, I have seen The Big Lebowski several times and love it. I snagged this green robe-looking-jacket at NVision for a song and wore a low-cut, push-up bathing suit underneath.

IMG959270
It just now occurred to me how hilarious it is that this guy is wearing a pager. Just now.

I was not able to go the night of the costume contest, so I didn't expect many other folks to be dressed up. There were several Dudes in attendance, however, and I have to guess that theirs was less of a costume than a lifestyle. The gentleman above was a total stranger, but how could I refuse this photo op?

Speaking of photo ops, I have several ideas for this Halloween, but I have yet to commit to one... Stay tuned!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Outhouse Outtakes

Saturday, I learned that I am terrible at racing outhouses.

Yep.

DSC05973
outhouse handout

Josh Flowers and I went to the Great Outhouse Blowout in Gravel Switch, Kentucky to watch as local folks and visitors from all over raced their custom-designed outhouses.

(People keep asking me where Gravel Switch is. Having been there, all I can say is that I still don't know.)

IMG_9862
Which latrine reigns supreme?

Josh and I coerced my super sassy little sister Laurie and her man Alex into helping us make a little movie about small town festivals and speeding privies. They aided as we interviewed people about the finer points of making a racing pooper.

DSC05959
That's me in the denim mini and Josh, getting the runs.

...And then they documented our attempt at actually racing an outhouse!

One of the teams needed a couple hands to help travel their toilet, so Josh and I (of course) accepted. Dressed for the occasion, as always, I was just barely able to keep up as my little skirt and heavy boots went flying.

You guys. pushing a poop house at top speed is much harder than you think.

DSC05996
Alex is the second guy from the camera. You can see is boot sticking out there on the left.

Alex stepped in at the last minute and... Well, you'll have to watch the video to see if he fared any better than Josh and I.

DSC05935
potty mouth

Regardless of whether we won the outhouse race, we did talk to a million awesome people. Ms. Jeanne Lane, the event organizer, was especially lovely. She was the epitome of Kentucky to me: funny, smart and friendly.

DSC05892
The Penn house penthouse

Jeanne runs Penn's Store, which is "the oldest country store in America being run continuously by the same family," and the Outhouse Blowout is their annual fundraiser in support of this historic spot.

Many thanks to Jeanne and our reluctant crew, Laurie and Alex!

DSC05891
crew cut

If you think these outhouses are interesting in photographs, just wait 'till you see them in action. Stay tuned for the video!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Whole Nine Yard Sales

...And then some. I like my weekends like I like my yard sales: long.

10461386_10152694170384994_8572022724075033828_n
When I learned that these were King Midget cars, all I could think of was Tyrion Lannister.

My birthday just happened to precede the 127 Yard Sale, also known as the World's Longest Yard Sale. I think it's pretty clear that the Fates determined that I should take a couple days off of work and peruse the castoffs offered up across the country.

Quincy and I took US 127 north from Cincinnati to the end of the deal-laden trail. We stopped just south of Lansing, MI.

We bought lots of amazing crap but it was only a small percentage of the mountains of indescribable oddities we ogled.

DSC05858
690 miles of this

10593173_10204789545922727_7922326776543922014_n
adora-bull

DSC05887
rummagician

DSC05883
mummy dearest

DSC05874
yard snail

DSC05882
wind miller time

DSC05872
open barn

First find at the #127yardsale #glitter #70s #discoshades
glitter done

These glittery '70s sunglasses were my big find of the sale... Only $5!