Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I read the newspaper every day,
and this is how I imagine I look.

This is how I really look.

Meryl and I are the same age, but we have a different style.
I want her style!

Shaking the Family Tree is a new book by a woman named Buzzy Jackson. She's a Jewish historian who got interested in researching her roots to see if she was related to Andrew Jackson. Anyway, after she got really involved in her hobby, she decided to visit what she called genealogy mecca: the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Although she was a little afraid of all the Mormons here, she came to Utah in 2009.

I loved how she detailed her whole trip but particularly Mormon women. Describing our style as Amish-lite, she told how we wear a uniform of conservative, long skirts; flat, sensible shoes; short effortless haircuts and name tags. The men, she said, all looked like accountants.

Now, I know she was referring to the senior missionary couples who volunteer at the Family History Library. The women wear longish skirts so they can look professional without having to wear nylons or concentrate on keeping their knees together. Comfortable shoes are a must because they're on their feet from eight a.m. to five p.m. and they're usually over seventy. But it was interesting that Mormon women in general were described as Amish-lite.
Pretty cute, I think

The book How to Have Style says:

"Style should never be confused with fashion. Fashion is in the clothes. Style is in the wearer. Style is a celebration of individuality. It glorifies the fact that we are all different. It exposes as preposterous the notion that there is an ideal body, an ideal woman—that there is only one perfect way to look, that any one way is perfect for all women. Style always delights because it is a revelation that the possibilities for originality are limitless.

"Style presumes that you are a person of interest, that the world is a place of interest, that life is worth making the effort for."
by Hara Estroff Marano
Style should evolve, but it's easy to get stuck—I want to buck the stereotype. But I need your suggestions. Picture a short, roundish woman of a certain age: with that image in mind, tell me what you think of:
  1. Leggings with longish tunic-type tops
  2. Flats
  3. Ankle boots
  4. Long/short hemlines
  5. A signature look
"Each and every day we have to present ourselves to the world, and like it or not, other people judge us based on the way we look . . . Ideally your identity, your uniqueness, is something that you project in your image. It's the visual presentation of your inner and outer self. It is the manifestation of your personal style." Kate Mayfield

"I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn't itch."
—Gilda Radner


Christie said...

That's hilarious. Amish-lite. Eeesh.

I actually think of you as QUITE stylish and try to copy lots of your outfits. You have a fabulous fashion sense. Whatever you're doing - it works!

Gordita said...

I'm with Christie. You are fantastically fashionable and stylish. I love your jewelry and hairstyle and makeup and clothes (but especially the jewelry). I can only hope to be as cool as you are when I grow up.

Diane said...

I laughed at you comparison with Meryl. I do the same thing. Sometimes when I walk in front of the mirror I'm shocked at what I really look like (How come I'm not 18 anymore?)

You have an individual sense of style that is delightful - you do not look like a sister missionary. Our sister missionaries are supposed to "blend in" and not stand out.

I would trust your daughters especially to help with any fashion/style questions. They will not steer you wrong.

The Grandmother Here said...

Funny how we base what we know about a large group by what we see in a small sample. "I meet an Australian once. She was funny. Therefore all Australians must be funny."

the wrath of khandrea said...

i would take a day with you over a day with meryl 9 times out of 10. (the 1 time i wouldn't would be if meryl brought george clooney along. i'm just sayn...)

i am no fashionista. i would love to take my fashion up a notch, a la diane naylor, but i'm just too cheap. i mean frugal.

the wrath of khandrea said...

oh. your points of discussion:

1-5: i have absolutely no idea. try it on, if you like it and it doesn't make you look weird in any way that causes people to stare or mock, then go for it.

how's that for a fashion theory?

polly said...

I love this post. I feel that style is more about the person. I can look at a picture of our Grama Bagley in her garden with her lilacs (you know the one) and think what a beauty, because that was her style. Your picture on your blog with your glass over your nose is gorgeous because it expresses who you are and your interests and that is beautiful! I am now into looking at women over 60 who are wise. They all have a different look and style and are all very beautiful, because behind those eyes they have seen and learned so much. That is what style is to me.

Alisha Stamper | Photographer said...

WELL, here's the thing: the "40-20" is a BIG issue to me. I think it does a disservice when mormon women dress like they are 20 when they are 40 (AND that goes for older ages as well). Its like they are REFUSING to be the matriarchs of society that we need, and I think we DO need them, especially here in salt lake. The problem is that with the clothes go the wisdom sometimes. its almost as if they don't take themselves seriously, so why should anyone else. They don't seem comfortable in their own skin because they are hanging on to who they were pre-kids. Its like they didn't grow with the mother thing, they're just glad to be done with it so they can go back to themselves as the only kind of individual they know--- them at 20. (These, of course, are just opinions, so take them for what they are worth) With that said, I think the distinction between fashion and style is an IMPORTANT ONE. Think classic lines instead of trendy duds. Beware the "mom jeans" with their everpresent pooch, but you can have stylish jeans that AREN'T skinny, or leggings, OR humongous flares. Same thing with ankle boots (yuck). Just think: Ann Taylor vs. forever 21. I'm for Ann Taylor.

I will say that one of the reasons I love your blog is that you DON'T do that. You are wise. And you love reflecting and continuing to grow from your experiences you've had and continue to have. It isn't in most of my realm of reach. (Though the women in AAUW are all matriarchs and AMAZING. maybe you should come hang out with them as some field research on this!)

Heidi said...

I love skinny jeans, leggings and tunics on my four daughters. I have yet to try any on. Ankle boots, maybe if I was wearing long pants. Signature style - yes everyone needs one. Mine is as easy as a popped collar, a bangle and a jean jacket. Those things are doable whether I'm a size 4 or 14. Style is like grace - you just want to have it & not look like you're trying so hard. (Although you may have it written in lists on your ceiling walls.) Luckily, mom, you got it.

Michelle said...


Wow. I love you as-is.

Mrs. Organic said...

I think it's fun to play around with clothes rather than always stay with what you know.

I think you could rock any look, so long as you're comfortable in it. Confidence goes a long ways.

Go ahead and try those looks on, see how they feel and have FUN!

Susan Adcox said...

Interesting post. I agree with most of your commenters that this is a time for you to have some fun with fashion. From the pictures I've seen on your blog, you manage to do that quite well. By the way, I have a place on my website for grandmothers to write about their fashion sense. I'd love it if you would contribute!