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Fashion for older adults

Norma | Posted in Talk With Us on

I’m partially retired and I live in the Seattle area, the casual capital of the world. I love beautiful clothes, but have no place to wear them. I rarely wear dresses or skirts because that  means panty hose and heels, which I dislike. I would like suggestions as to attractive casual clothing (pants plus) that look as good as they feel.

Thank you.



  1. suesew | | #1

    Are you interested in sewing these garments for yourself? Thee are wonderful javket and vest patterns out there that go with slacks. You can make them as simply or as embellished as you like. Is this the kind of thing you're asking about?

  2. Barbaran8 | | #2

    Norma, I live in Seattle. In our climate, I find that I usually end up wearing slacks and a turtleneck in Winter, and slacks and a blouse in Summer. However, both seasons, I wear lots of wonderful vests that I make and embellish myself. So, make a vest, and go wild with the embellishment technique of the month. You'll eventually end up with an amazing and wonderful wardrobe of vests that work well in casual Seattle, yet are all individually you!

  3. Teaf | | #3

    Maybe you should call this thread "Fashion in Casual-land," as it also challenges me as a professional at an agricultural university where staff and faculty wear rainsuits and boots all winter and sweaters over skimpy clothing and sandals in our over-air-conditioned offices all summer!

    Vests, I agree, are a wonderful option that allow you to express your creativity, stay comfortable, and present a polished, fashionable appearance. With pockets (welt, especially), they offer tremendous practicality and disguise a remarkable number of figure flaws.

    Depending on the weather, light or heavy jackets, blazers, and dusters are other beautiful fashion elements that can stretch your creative skills and pay off in comfort and wearability. And, on days that you can wear both a vest and a jacket, you get twice the beauty and fashion!

  4. Wunmismom | | #4

    I was born and raised in Seattle.  However, I never thought of it as a "Casual Capital" of anywhere.  My sewing skills were taught to me by my mother and later refined by the Holy Names Sisters in one of their high schools.  We were taught to dress in a most beautiful lady-like way that I still adhere to.  What a precious gift that instruction was for a disadvantaged inner-city child.

    I am now nearly 60 years old and have been living in Nigeria since 1970.  The hot climate and rugged bush demand casual attire.  At the same time, the openness of the environment requires clothes that look good both in the sun and during the rainy season (rain in Seattle in child's play compared to this!). 

    In other words, I don't want people laughing at what I am wearing.  As long as you are alive with breath in you body, you will have somewhere to go where people see you.  Don't ever aspire to be the supermarket fashion freak, the filling station frump or the Second Hand Rose of waiting rooms.  People are there who will see you.  Don't mess up their day by wearing ugly--worse still--sloppy ugly.

    The other side of the coin is what the good sisters used to say to us:  "If all of your friends are running to jump off a bridge to drown, will you follow?"  I do not care how many people around me are wearing Reeboks, jeans, sweatshirts and baseball caps, I will never do it---never did it even when I was young.

    The sisters would never have allowed us to to come to school in such ugly attire!  Not even to mention the inappropriateness of it.  Ugliness is ugliness; sloppiness is sloppiness.  I don't care what proletarian dressing you put on THAT salad. 

    In the years since I left that most beautiful Emerald City, I have found that it also rains in Holland, Germany, Italy, Britain, France and Switzerland.  Rain and fashion do not necessarily result in a negative correlation.

    Browse the pattern catalogs and sewing magazines for wonderful DESIGNER PATTERNS of a casual bent.  When I come home, I always load up on wonderful patterns.  Someone in Seattle is dressing well or those patterns would not be in the stores.

    Think of expanding your options to include long skirts for both summer and winter.  I wear a lot of them over here.  They are cool, free and breezy in a hot climate.  And, they must be pretty.  I pair them with flat sandals, no hose when I want casual wear. 

    Look into Loes Hines, Cutting Edge and Park Bench Patterns if you don't want the hard-edge designer patterns.

    Bravo Seattle!

    1. GALEY | | #5

      Thank you for your elegantly expressed opinion.  I remember well the days when girls and women only wore skirts unless they were riding horses.  Now that I am very close to 60--the face is going, the figure is going, the hair is hopeless, the eyesight is fading--one thing we can control and enjoy is wearing beautiful and classy garments.  I can't believe we ever wore jeans and t-shirts-ugh!  Here in Louisiana, often May-September has days that are 90+F  and 90+humidity and skirts and natural fabrics and sandals are definitely the way to go.

      My husband's brother has worked in Nigeria for about 15 years.  I pray often for peace and prosperity for your beautiful country.  By the way, who is Wunmi?

      Edited 4/30/2005 9:36 pm ET by galey

      1. Wunmismom | | #6

        I am sorry about not responding promptly. There were so many things going on over here. This is exam time in Nigeria, from primary to university level. Most of these exams are entrance. My son is to sit for the entrance exam to senior secondary school and so he is in the midst of "exam fever". Of course this spills over to the parents. Two boys who live with us sat for unversity entrance exams on Saturday. I teach at a unversity here and have just finished grading my own students exams. Also in the mix, was the celebration of Mother's Day and my birthday. Parties, parties, parties.Wunmi is the name of my daughter: Omowunmi which means Omo (baby), Wu (love), mi (my) in the Yoruba language. I am thrilled to read that you are in Louisiana. My family comes from Shreeveport. My father grew up on Cane River. Of all the 13 children, I was the only one not born in Shreeveport. However, my father gave me wonderful stories about the swamp, Monroe County, Pleasant Hill that provided material for writing fiction. I was able to obtain a Bachelor's and Master's degree in creative writing from the University of Washington using that material. I cook in the Louisiana way as my mother taught me. Yes, I am Catholic and I can make a roux. I have a soft spot for the French language and French food in general and also couture sewing. As the French, I don't care if a dress is really comfortable or not (except when I'm out in the bush), just as long as it is beautiful.I would love to see Lousisana again.Wunmi's Mom

        1. RoseMarie | | #7

          Thank you for that lovely message. It seemed so familiar. We also were not an affluent family. Growing up, I saw all that  involved sewing as both my parents were tailors. That meant fabric stores, pressing, dampening with a real sponge, and utiful wools. However, they did not sit down to teach me. I learned from the Sisters of Mercy in my senior year, when I had all I needed to graduate and wanted a fun class.

          From that small beginning, I went on to sew so much of my wardrobe, then my daughter's, including a designer wedding gown, and on to many outfits for my grandson. I am not hesitant to try new methods.

          I, too, am a senior citizen, and lived in a part of our country where wearing skirts in the winter meant frozen legs.  Now I live in Arizona where the winters are mild and the summers are HOT! I look for fabric that can be worn for three seasons and then other fabrics just for summer. I try to find beautiful, or at least,  pretty fabric. Good quality seems to be difficult to find. So far, I've stayed away from black or dark colors that seemed to be the mainstay in the cold climate.

          Like you, I write. The difference is that I write poetry, and I don't hold a degree in literature.

          I enjoyed reading about your life. It seems so full.



          1. Wunmismom | | #8

            Thank you for saying something nice about our reverend sisters.  With all the negative noise over flowing about the Church scandal, positive comments are much needed.  Priests and sisters are human beings and therefore make mistakes.  Everybody makes mistakes.  Mistakes must be forgiven.

            Even many types of cloth forgives the bad stitches put into the grain***allowing the stitches to be removed without a trace.  I know that man is much higher than a yard of cloth.  So, why cant a human being forgive another human being.

            Wunmis Mom

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