Style is not fashion, and fashion is not style. How do you tell them apart and which one do you choose to represent you? Join us in discussion with style blogger Susan Good who’s happy to share her tips. Enjoy the show!

 

Margaret Manning:

My guest today is Susan Good. A wife, a mother and a grandmother to 25, Susan is also the author of a new book called Stories for My Grandchild. I want to welcome you here today because we really look forward to hearing your comments about lifestyle and fashion.

You’ve spent your life trying to help women over 50 feel optimistic and positive about their style, which is fantastic. So, welcome, Susan. It’s great to have you here.

Susan “Honey” Good:

Thank you. Let me say that the word ‘style’ is often associated with the word ‘fashion’. I think, though, at our age, we already know ourselves, so we should not concentrate on fashion. We should concentrate on style because style depicts who we are and what we do to feel good.

I’m a feminine woman, and as such, I love to browse the fashion magazines. So, I noticed that this year they’re showing a lot of plaid. I’m really not a plaid woman, so I’m going to pass on that trend.

But I also noticed that they’re showing leather, which is definitely my style, and the item I wanted to buy was a leather skirt. Firstly though, here’s a point I really want to make: Don’t clutter your closet with just any trend. Instead, fill it in with the new things of the season that you really need and that fit your style.

Margaret:

Thank you for making that distinction between fashion and style. To me, style has to do with the whole package – not just the clothing itself, but also the attitude and self-knowledge you bring to it.

Susan:

Well, even though we are older women, we can be sexy, and sexy women don’t wear a low décolletage. A sexy woman knows how to smile, she’s got that walk, she’s got that great personality. She’s got that wink and maybe a dab of red lipstick. Being older makes us better because we’re also wiser.

Margaret:

That’s so true, and self-knowledge helps you too. When you understand your style, it helps you make good decisions that fit your personality. So, let’s see where your sense of style took you with the skirt.

Susan:

My skirt is full, because I’m a bit wider at the hips. It also has pockets because I like to put my hands in my pocket when I walk. It gives me this attitude of being happy. I chose the skirt first, then I saw this belt which has pearls on the buckle.

I decided that pearls are never out of style, so there you have it. I wear it with many things, but it is an addition to my wardrobe. Now here is another belt. It’s 70 years old and it was my mother’s. This belt is as fashionable today as it was in the olden days.

Margaret:

So, I think one of your tips about being stylish has to do with not being afraid to wear the things that you feel comfortable with. Like you said, pearls are ageless, so they never grow old.

Of course, we should not buck the trends, but we should always stay true to those things that define who we are and make us feel good, like the pockets in your skirt. I’m a pocket person, too.

Susan:

I think that it’s wise to save the things that we love because everything eventually comes back in fashion. So, whatever you love, save, and whatever you don’t love, get rid of it.

I have a friend who said to me one day, “I hear stress in your voice.” I told her, “I’m in my closet. I don’t know what to do.” She said to me, “Anything you have not worn in a year, even if it has a price tag, please give it to someone that’s going to enjoy it.” I did, and I felt really good. I’ve never missed anything I had given away.

Margaret:

Holding on to things that you love is a great tip. What other tips would you give to people who are trying to define their style?

A lot of women in our community have asked how to find their style after they’re done with their corporate career. In many cases, the company dress code defined their style. So, how do they do that now?

Susan:

I think deep down, we all know who we are. Don’t be afraid to express it, and don’t get bothered about others’ opinion of what you’re wearing. Go with the flow, try new things and experiment, and never be afraid of your own feelings.

You could always ask for advice when trying something new. Ask a friend or the saleswoman. She’s not going to deliberately hurt your feelings.

Margaret:

That’s a really good tip, to ask people’s advice. Maybe you could also start by defining the words that describe you. So, what words would you use to describe yourself, Susan? I’d like to call you, Honey, because I know you like being called Honey. What are your words?

Susan:

Well, let me say that Honey is my grandmother name. All my grandchildren call me Honey, my husband calls me Honey. Everybody that’s around me calls me Honey, and it’s a very upbeat, happy word.

So, I would describe myself as a woman who knows who she is. I get myself and I choose to be with women who mirror me. I don’t try to mirror others, but I do want to keep learning and improving.

I wake up on the sunny side of the street, and I’m the kind of woman who, at 6:00 a.m., when I walk my new pooch, doesn’t leave home without a dab of lipstick and a spritz of perfume. I do it not because anybody sees me but because I feel good about myself.

I would describe myself as loving and very empathetic to others. When I walk into a room, I feel visible, even at my age.

Margaret:

What you’ve said is an important part of defining your style. You just know what makes you feel authentic and real. Then, when you go out shopping, you’re not competing with multiple personalities.

You are truly you, and your choices depend the things that you want to be influenced by – the colors, the style of skirt, the pockets, etc.

Susan:

I love the word that you used. ‘Authentic’ is such a powerful word, and I think that at our age we’ve earned the right to be authentic. We should be authentic in our style, so that what we wear puts a smile on our face, whether it’s a dab of red lipstick, a certain scent or a belt. Just go with it because you’ll be happy.

Margaret:

We started off this conversation looking for tips that can help women determine their style. So far, your tips are, be authentic, be positive and confident, and don’t throw away things that you love.

Susan:

I think that’s the essence of it. I had a woman ask this question on my website: “What age should a woman be when she stops wearing tight-fitted jeans.” My very honest response was, “There is no age. If you have great legs and you’re 95, wear your tight jeans and show off your legs.” Don’t make an issue about your age. I certainly don’t.

Margaret:

You’re not alone in that attitude. A lot of the women in our community are educated and healthy. I think we’re also more comfortable with ourselves, so we are not going to stop being stylish, sexy, vibrant or visible. What’s your advice toward women who want to create a style that makes them feel visible?

Susan:

I strongly believe that 80% of a woman’s beauty comes from within – from our character and personality. We often see beautiful women and go, “Oh, wow! She’s beautiful!” But after talking to her for five minutes, you realize she’s not that beautiful.

Then the other 20% is our outer look. I think that to feel visible, you have to feel relevant, to believe in who you are and like who you are and continue to grow as a woman even up into your 90s. Just be curious.

Margaret:

I really like how you turned this conversation into something so meaningful. So, in a way, fashion is all about that 20%, the outer beauty. Style, though, is the essence, and so it makes up those 80% and includes attitude, confidence and authenticity. That’s really nicely put.

Susan:

Style is an expression of our inner beauty.

Margaret:

It truly is. Before we close, please tell us more about your book because it sounds intriguing. It’s called Stories for My Grandchild.

Susan:

Actually, the book is not a story about me. It’s a journal which includes prompts for grandmothers to fill in their life story and to leave their wisdom and advice to their grandchildren.

It’s in free sales on Amazon and other sites. The debut is on February 5th, and I’m really excited because children love stories. For us, to include myself, to leave a journal of our thoughts and our history is the loving thing to do.

Margaret:

It’s great. I’m really happy that you mentioned it, and I think that women who don’t have grandchildren can also use it to share the story of their life. It’s just that discipline of telling it, and everyone’s got a story.

Susan:

Everybody has a story. We’re having a story right now.

Margaret:

We are. It’s unfolding. It was wonderful to have you here. Thank you again for all your advice.

What’s the attitude of your style? Do you try to limit yourself to fashion, or do you go all out with a style that is unique to you? How do you go about shopping for your clothes? Please share your tips and thoughts in the box below.

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