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From Fashion Meltdowns to Fabulous Makeovers

True-life tales from the trenches

fashion forward woman

This look will put your ex into a tailspin! — Getty Images

Fashion meltdowns happen — whether it's "I’m not going out, I have nothing to wear!" or needing a stunning ensemble for that class reunion. Fashion panic can become a reality.

As in all things, the internet is here to help. And there we found the website for Halsbrook. We talked to the young founder, Halsey Schroeder, 32. Halsbrook focuses specifically on women over 40. There are other sites catering to this “grown up” audience, like the crunchy but very pretty offerings at the popular Gudrun or Kal Rieman known for their very unique, sophisticated shapes — but it was the hand holding at Halsbrook we wanted to know more about. Their “On Approval” subscription takes the anxiety out of what to wear by sending outfits to their customers, who then test them out before committing to buying — with styling and custom design services to boot!

Here are some “what to wear” tales from the fashion trenches, where Halsey’s stylists helped these ladies look chic and confident for some of life’s big — and victorious — moments.


fashion makeover: outfit for Las Vegas

Style lesson learned: Sometimes we need a second opinion about “tight.”

1. Fabulous in Vegas

The challenge
Barbara, 62, had never been to Las Vegas, when her BFF called and beckoned her to see Elton John. But what to wear? Elton John in Vegas brings visions of sparkly outfits and scantily clad showgirls. Barbara knew both sparkles and scant were out, but what outfit would make her feel like a million bucks? And not make her look like she wanted to be 20? (She doesn’t.)

Fashion “aha” moment
From the “On Approval” selection she received, Barbara opted for the quintessential little black dress (LBD). But when she first tried it on, she wasn't sold. "It's too tight! I'm returning this," she said. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, thought she looked fabulous. Barbara took the leap.

Every LBD needs accessories. This one was coupled with statement earrings, a bold gold bracelet and a beaded bag for some Vegas bling. The confidence to rock a body-conscious look wasn't the only Vegas jackpot: Barbara hit big at the slots and won more than enough to pay for that LBD. Cha-ching!

Disrupt Aging Style Tips

1. Get a second opinion. We get set in our fashion “ways,” and it takes an objective eye to let us know when something out of our comfort zone looks hot!

2. Invest in great undergarments. You don't need a perfectly flat tummy and lifted butt to rock a tight LBD. You do need confidence — and the right shapewear underneath.


fashion makeover: mother of the bride outfit

Style lesson learned: Fitting in is not always the right fit.

2. The Flawless Mother of the Bride

The challenge
Fifty-three-year-old Sandy was in a tizzy while trying to decide what to wear to her daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner — a summer fiesta in Mexico. She wanted to stand out from the crowd and not wear the expected sundress, which have long ago sunsetted out of her wardrobe. Sandy was not into showing skin. How to manage sleeves and pants in high temps and hot sun?

Fashion “aha” moment
A sheer, light chiffon tunic and pants combo checked all the boxes. The coral color was especially flattering against an older complexion. Sandy came off cool, sexy and confident in her uniqueness — not to mention her crafty way of covering up those upper arms. Olé!

Disrupt Aging Style Tips

1. Go rogue: If "festive dress" puts you in a panic, don't fret. If a skimpy dress doesn't suit you, embrace standing out in the crowd.

2. Subtle coverage: We’re not all built with Michelle Obama’s arms. A lightweight cardigan, wrap or shawl over something fitted can be your friend.


fashion makeover: outfit for work

Style lesson learned: Staying relevant feels good!

3. Office Redux

The challenge:
Julie was 58 and hasn't had a job in 20 years — but she had an interview! She needed an outfit to both boost her confidence and signal "hire me." And she knew what she didn’t want: de rigueur suits of the past or pussy bows best left to Melania Trump! She also knew she’d be one of the oldest people in the office. She wanted a look that was youthful, but said potential “boss.”             

Fashion “Aha” Moment: 
Julie rocked a short-sleeved dress, statement scarf and the designer lengthened the dress skirt you see here. This problem-solving set her attitude between “authority” and “creative.” And Julie nailed the job.

Disrupt Aging Style Tips

1. Take notes: Take the guesswork out of "what to wear" and just flat-out ask new employers about company dress code. Or turn to the internet and check out social media photos to peep the real outfits that folks wear to work functions.

2. Separates are your friend: Stock up on coordinating pants, tops, blazers and work dresses that all mix and match. Pair a blazer that has a pattern or multicolor texture over a simple black sheath dress. You’re gold!

There’s plenty of online help out there for the fashionably challenged. But sites like Halsbrook, Kal Reiman, Gudrun and the new interesting Universal for plus size women could help to bring out disruptor fashionista in you!

Reported By Anita Irlen
Look For The Woman

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