Tag Archives: shape

Making Summer Fashion Decisions

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Jim Scholz

The summer wardrobe of any and everyone over 60 is a definite challenge to coordinate.

I just tell it like it is: A body that’s older than 60, even slim and in the best shape, needs more camouflage than exposure. If you care about how you look to others, shorts and short skirts are of a previous life. I’ve never seen pretty knees on anyone over 60.

The length of capris is very personal. Find the length that looks best on you and have your capris hemmed there. When wearing capris, the shoes or sandals you wear with them are very important for making a style statement. Comfort matters, too, but you won’t be happy with your look if your summer footwear isn’t stylish. When wearing sandals, NO scaly skin and callouses allowed, and keep toenails polished to perfection!

Tank tops, halters, and tube tops are not necessarily of your past. You can still wear them but not alone. Under a cardigan sweater, a jacket, a stole, or a loose-fitting shirt, they can be fabulous! Use them to add a splash of color, print, or texture to monotone separates. Dark-colored ones can be very slimming. Sundresses…hmm. There are many cute ones that I love in fresh, young florals, but they are indeed for the young.

Blue denim can be dangerous at 60 or older. It has to be worn with an attitude, and it’s usually not the attitude that 60-and-overs have. Comfort jeans are only to be worn around the house. Denim jumpers date, age, and frump you. But black denim, white denim, and fashion-colored denim jeans and jackets are must-haves! Be sure, however, to buy a cut that flatters you. The cut is not about your age. It’s about your shape.

Summer clothes must look fresh. When you’re hot, whatever you’re wearing wrinkles. Press the wrinkles out of every piece you wear before you return it to the closet. If washing first is necessary, do it, but if a garment shows wear after washing, retire it. NEVER wash black cotton separates. They may say washable, but washing sucks the life and color out of them. Dry clean only! Linen is of its own world. Clients used to come to me saying, “I want you to design and make me linen clothes that don’t wrinkle.” Impossible. Linen wrinkles, regardless of how it’s designed, made, or treated. If you wear linen, you must accept wrinkles.

As for Summer 2013 colors, avoid pastels even if on-trend. They look fresh if you’re under 40 but give you a grandma look if you’re over 60. The colors best on you depend on their relationship to your hair and skin tones. To play it safe, wear black or white, together with orange, lime, or turquoise when you want to add some pop.

Accessories are what it’s all about. Use them to style and personalize your summer looks. Bold-colored beads on a loose linen shirt, a fringed stole over a tank top, or a studded belt hanging loose over a calf-length skirt can take your look from everyday/everybody to a unique and stylish you! Scarves are important but not by day when it’s hot. In the evening, they’re both useful and fashionable tossed over your shoulders to break the chill of the night and air conditioning. Summer purses should have a lighter look than the ones you carry through winter. Color, texture, and fabric should relate to the season and to what you’re wearing. If black is your color, choose a poplin, straw, or woven bag.

Summer hair and makeup should be easy care. A lipstick color change is often necessary, and if you wear foundation, a darker tone might be better. Always wear sunscreen!

Finally, swimwear, OMG, it creates a crisis for almost everyone, regardless of age. After 60, no bikinis except for home swims and tanning. There are plenty of flattering one- and two-piece swimsuits you’ll love, and many of them are shaped and color-blocked to slim you.

The season is short. Enjoy it with confidence knowing my advice will make the BEST of you!

I welcome your feedback and invite you to send questions to sixtyplus@omahapublications.com.

Mary Anne Vaccaro lives in Omaha. She designed and made couture clothing for an international clientele of professionals and socialites of all ages. She created ready-to-wear collections that were sold from her New York showroom, and she designed for the bridal industry. She designed for three Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Balls and ran a fashion advertising business in five states for a number of years. Invisible Apron® is one of several products that she has designed and developed. She still designs for select clients and works as an image consultant, stylist, personal shopper, and speaker on the subjects of fashion, art, and style. For more information, visit maryannevaccaro.com or call 402-398-1234.

There Are NO Fashion Rules!

February 25, 2013 by
Photography by Jim Scholz

I can’t tell you how many times people come to me with a question regarding whether or not they can wear a certain, usually trendy style of a jacket, pant, skirt, top, etc. My reply is always, “It depends on what you wear it with.”

Too many people follow the trends too closely, thinking that, in order to be fashionable, they have to wear what they see, as they see it. Fashion is a lot more forgiving than most people think. It’s more general than specific, more enabling than disabling. It’s “change” that you are in “charge” of! There are no fashion rules, just styling relationships to pay attention to.

When it comes to color, some people still believe there are only certain colors they can wear. The only colors that matter are the ones next to your face. I happen to look horrible in almost every shade of pink, but if I wear a shirt or a scarf in a flattering color under a pink sweater, pink works for me! I don’t look good in beiges either, but if I stack silver necklaces and wear silver earrings with beige, it goes from terrible to terrific on me. So if you’re worried that you won’t look good in emerald, the color of 2013, play with what you pair it with or limit emerald to your skirts and pants.

If you care about looking your best, your shape and the shapes of clothes you wear need to be compatible. Short women often tell me that they cannot wear long jackets. They usually determine that when trying them on over pants and skirts of a different color, which usually does make a short person look top-heavy and shorter. However, if you are short, the right long jackets can and will work over matching bottoms.

When it comes to skirts, the length makes a big difference. Length is always individual, and it varies according to what it’s worn with. Women with heavy lower legs usually look better in pants, but in fall and winter, they can wear dark tights and boots, and be confident about looking great in almost any skirt! In summer, ankle-length skirts with flat sandals are best.

The cut of your pants and jeans is very important. Never buy a pair of pants without examining how they look in back from a three-way mirror! Whether you can wear a wide leg, a tight leg, or a flared one depends more on what you wear it with than on the shape of you.

The shapes of what we wear shape us! I have proof of that. In 1991, when I was the Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation designer for the first time, the fashion look focused on waistlines. Pants, skirts, and dresses were wide-banded and belted at the waist. Almost all of the princesses and countesses had small waistlines. In 1997, when I did the ball again, fashion hadn’t changed enough to make much of a difference in body shapes. By 2002, when jeans were worn at the hip and below, girls had lost the definition of a waistline. Even thin and tiny girls had waist measurements considerably larger than those of girls their size in 1991. My relationship advice based on that is “beware of the comfort zone.” Clothes that are too comfortable are dangerous not only after a person is 60, but always!

I welcome your feedback and invite you to send questions to sixtyplus@omahapublications.com.

Mary Anne Vaccaro lives in Omaha. She designed and made couture clothing for an international clientele of professionals and socialites of all ages. She created ready-to-wear collections that were sold from her New York showroom, and she designed for the bridal industry. She designed for three Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Balls and ran a fashion advertising business in five states for a number of years. Invisible Apron® is one of several products that she has designed and developed. She still designs for select clients and works as an image consultant, stylist, personal shopper, and speaker on the subjects of fashion, art, and style. For more information, visit maryannevaccaro.com or call 402-398-1234.

 

Style at 60 Plus!

December 25, 2012 by
Photography by Jim Scholz

Sixty may be the new 40, but the reality is at 60, NOBODY looks like they did at 40! You can exercise for hours, spend a fortune on face creams, have this, that, and the other tucked or filled, but the reality is you end up looking great for 60 but not like you did at 40. Hair, makeup, and wardrobe all need to be addressed at 60 to make a new and fabulous you!

As a fashion designer for more than 30 years, I’ve spent thousands of hours in the fitting room with clients of all ages. I’ve seen and worked around the subtle changes that creep onto all of us over the years. I like working with women over 60. I love creating and styling for the woman who understands that it’s important at all ages to look fashionable, but that age and shape need to be considered when determining what fashion trends are right after turning 60.

Nothing looks worse than a 60+ woman in a dress that’s too short and too revealing, as she stomps around in shoes that are ridiculously high, rattling costume jewelry that’s “cute” rather than sophisticated. The opposite extreme that’s sad to see is a perfectly lovely 60+ woman hiding in boring, understated pieces that do not have a contemporary cut, and wearing belts, shoes, and jewelry from another time. Old clothes are especially taboo as we get older. They’re vintage and fun to 20-somethings. They just plain make a seasoned woman look even older.

We all need to embrace and glorify who we are at every age. That starts with an investment in Quality. A few classic, quality pieces speak a language of style that translates to fashion when accessorized for the times. Quality makes a difference in everything, especially clothes! It speaks volumes about you as a person and makes you feel better about yourself, too. Don’t let a cheap look bring you down, and remember, quality doesn’t necessarily mean expensive.

I believe in comfort, but clothes that are too comfortable make us lazy. Dressing up energizes us. I’ll admit it’s a job, and that’s why I keep busy styling people. Most of us accumulate and save too much. We become overwhelmed with decision-making as we dress for everyday and for special occasions. It takes someone with an eye for cut and proportion to determine what is flattering and right for the individual. That last comment brings me to relationships…so important in fashion, and I’ll write about them next time.

WARDROBE MUST- HAVES

  • Classic white shirts
  • Great-fitting Pants
  • Great-fitting blue jeans
  • Great-fitting black jeans
  • The right black jacket
  • Shell and cardigan sweater sets
  • Fashion eyewear
  • Statement belts
  • Oblong scarves
  • Fashion flats
  • Fashion heels (within reason)
  • Contemporary jewelry
  • A lightweight high fashion bag
  • Dresses, skirts, coats & boots are must-haves, too, but not the same for all!
  • QUALITY is a must for all!

I welcome your feedback and invite you to send questions to sixtyplus@omahapublications.com.

Mary Anne Vaccaro lives in Omaha. She designed and made couture clothing for an international clientele of professionals and socialites of all ages. She created ready-to-wear collections that were sold from her New York showroom, and she designed for the bridal industry. She designed for three Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Balls and ran a fashion advertising business in five states for a number of years. Invisible Apron® is one of several products that she has designed and developed. She still designs for select clients and works as an image consultant, stylist, personal shopper, and speaker on the subjects of fashion, art, and style. For more information, visit maryannevaccaro.com or call 402-398-1234.

Custom Gems

October 25, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Imagine twin waterfalls, tall and narrow, magically frozen in freefall. The tumbling cascades are the clear, deep purple of winter shadows. When brilliant sunshine splashes across the rough surface, it assumes the glitter of sparkling gems. Both images, a double waterfall of frozen water or of gemstones, are equally wondrous. In this story, the metaphor is the reality—the waterfalls of our fantasy are cataracts of amethyst crystals.

Nearly eight feet tall, the mirrored pair are the split halves of a geode that has been supersized. Since we’re already in the mood for magic, we can time-travel back 130 million years to the end of the Mesozoic Era. The earth is in upheaval. The colossal continent of Pangaea breaks apart; volcanoes explode; the ocean floor crashes. Dinosaurs are disappearing, flowers (okay, angiosperms) are appearing. Every subset has its own turmoil. Lava flows hiss and erupt in bubbles of every size, some round and others shot high. As these bubbles cool, they harden into hollow shells. Mineral-rich slip glazes their interiors…and crystallizes, forming jeweled chambers unsignaled by their mud exteriors.

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Zip! Back to Omaha at the end of 2012. Our location is Custom Gems, a shop at the back of Frederick Square Shopping Center, off 84th Street just few blocks south of West Center Road. Its exterior may be commonplace, but inside you’ll find treasures to spark anyone’s imagination: delicate, one-of-a-kind necklaces, a tray of sapphires in every possible shade of blue (and some that aren’t blue!), carvings, and fossils. Kids of all ages scoop gleaming tumbled stones—8 for a dollar!—from an always-full bin. Practitioners of holistic therapies choose gems for their healing properties; DIY’ers finger strings of  beads; and rock hounds pick up tools, magazines, and even the rough stones that eluded them in the wild. You might visit Custom Gems just to see the beautiful amethyst waterfall.

While I’ve imagined tumbling water, others experience a sense of sacred space, like the gem-encrusted walls of some medieval churches. “They’re often called ‘amethyst cathedrals,’” explains Tim Kautsch, owner of Custom Gems. The height, twinning, and deep color of this pair enhance their allure and their value.

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Nearby is another natural crystal formation, a wedge of clear quartz with a cluster of the icy crystals at its centerpoint. (The word “crystal” comes from the early Greek word for frost. Snow is another crystalline structure.) Color is determined by mineral makeup, and each mineral has its own crystal shape. The clear rods clustered at the center are long hexagons ending in pyramidal points, looking just like ice.

Quartz is the most commonly used mineral in jewelry, but all minerals are, in their rough state, just rocks. Compare that tray of sparkling sapphires to their rugged counterpart, corundum. Fine jewelry calls for precious stones that are carefully cut and polished. Tim is a gemologist certified by the Gemological Institute of America. The degree gives him an edge in gem identification and grading. He began to work here while still in high school and became owner in 2009. Soon, his brother, Kevin, joined him. “It’s a good fit,” he says. “Kevin is great at work requiring precision, such as designing and repairing fine jewelry.”

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Custom Gems offers jewelry in a range of choices—you can buy an irresistible finished piece; select a setting, then choose just the right stone; or refit a piece of your own with new stones. Some customers have jewelry with sentimental value recast into a more personalized or modern style. The brothers value the importance of getting to know their patrons, many of them repeat customers. They especially enjoy creating a unique design that best expresses the customer’s intention and the stone’s special features. Kevin showed me one of his designs, an amethyst in a sterling silver pendant that echoed and emphasized the stone’s unusual shape.

Fossils are another form of rock. In the case of ammonites, the sea creatures’ buried remains were transformed by the pressure of sand and mud. Their typical spiral shell identifies them easily, but patterns on the shell show great variety. On display is an ammonite which has been split into two perfect halves. Its creamy beige, brown, and white coloring is subtly dabbed with touches of pale melon, mauve, and green, the delicacy of its coiled chambers preserved in stone.

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Occasionally, ammonite’s external shell wall is thick enough to be removed. Coupled with the shell’s pearl-like iridescence, it offers a prized jewel, ammolite, to the designer. “It’s my favorite stone,” says Kevin. He displays several, each a different color. Vibrant red/green or blue/violet hues dominate, but all colors are possible. Red and green flicker across one piece, the surface crazed with a pattern called “dragon skin.”

Besides jewelry and gems, the shop has accoutrements for home and office—tiny carved animals (the perfect pet, in my opinion), spheres, elegant serving plates of fossilized limestone, and Chinese jade work. For impact, Shona sculptures from Zimbabwe combine primitive and modernist style.

And for fun, there’s the rock bin. On a fall day, 9-year-old Natasha chose stones with the painstaking care of a collector. “This place is awesome!” she says. Christy Hamilton came in to replace a stone she’d lost from a pendant and couldn’t help smiling. “I’ve come here forever,” she says. “Tim does beautiful work. And whenever I had my grandchildren, I’d bring them here and let them choose a rock.”

Custom Gems is a wonderful source for shoppers, hobbyists, and daydreamers.

Custom Gems Inc.
8487 Frederick St.
402-397-9606
customgemsomaha.com