Nurturing Beauty Style Secrets Blog

What You Can Learn from Three Top Fashion Icons over 40

Hollywood is definitely youth-obsessed and so it is not surprising that we hear more about young Hollywood actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone than the three super stars below (although Oprah is certainly in a class all her own!). The younger stars are fresh and new, but more seasoned stars have a wealth of knowledge and life experiences to share and they offer wonderful reflections of what women over 40 can be… fashionable and fierce!

Jamie Lee Curtis
Three aspects of fashion can be learned from this former horror movie star: Evolve your look, be true to yourself and stay fierce. Despite straight, uncolored hair for instance, she spikes it giving it a hint of the same knockout look for which she has always been famous. She believes fully in accepting your body, thighs, tummy and all the areas she’s sensitive about and even went so far as to have her picture highlighted in More Magazine ( as she posed, without airbrushing, in her underwear. In fact, it was the only way she would agree to the interview. As she said in the article, “Glam Jamie will pose only if Real Jamie gets equal time.”

Photo Credit: s_bukley /

Jamie Lee Curtis doesn’t keep up a façade of having the body of a teenager and is not afraid to let her image evolve as she gets older. Above all she is real. She maintains her fierceness with her spikey naturally gray hair and simple elegance (often dressing monochromatically) as well as in her role as mother, actress, children’s book author and activist.

Sarah Jessica Parker
Instead of staying stuck in the 90’s with her icon character Carrie Bradshaw that catapulted her to fame, Sarah Jessica Parker has embraced aging gracefully. Much like Carrie, she has never shied away from the fairy tale flowing dress but her day to day living is much more natural and comfortable—her stilettos giving way to more flat shoes while always maintaining a sense of elegance and fun.


In a very telling interview with Katie Couric for the February 2014 issue of In Style magazine, Sarah Jessica Parker shared that “she chooses clothes because she responds to them, not in the hopes of landing on some best-dressed list (though she often does). ‘So I think pulling it off or not puling it off, that almost doesn’t exist for me because, really, I’m looking for experiences, not some report card.’” So well said!

Oprah is not a shrinking violet and never has been. Like Jamie Lee Curtis, Oprah has a fierceness and is not afraid to show her passionate, intense side through her clothes or her new eyeglasses.

I am writing this as I am about to head out to shop for eyeglasses with three of my clients. It is fun to see that Oprah, in true Oprah form, is not shying away from the fact that she wears glasses. She is embracing them front and center on her face. Forget a rimless, unobtrusive pair. Hers are right on trend (eyeglass frames are getting bigger) and make a statement—very fitting to her big personality. From distinctive tortoiseshell frames to a black and gold pair that says pay attention: even her sunglasses are bold! She doesn’t care if anyone else likes it. She dresses for herself.

Photo Credit: s_bukley /

Each of these icons has a signature style. Whether it’s Jamie Lee Curtis’ minimalist approach to fashion, Sarah Jessica Parker’s quiet elegance with a hint of whimsy and fun or Oprah strong presence and bold statements, each of them has one thing in common:

They are each true to who they are. They aren’t trying to be someone else or fit into a mold. This becomes more and more critical as we get older. Being ‘real’ and true to yourself is what it’s all about.

Do you risk making a ‘mistake’ that way or disappointing other people? Sure! Do you also get to enjoy expressing what makes you special? Yes, again!

In fact, all of this becomes more critical the older you get. Allow your style to evolve, be open to new possibilities, tweak your accessories to stay current and comfortable and never change who you are to please anyone else…even if the fashion magazines (or anyone else) tell you to.

Categorized: Fashion

How to Look Great on Any Budget

Believe it or not, money is never the reason you don’t have a wardrobe you love. I know it’s so easy to think, “Oh, if I only had more disposable income I would look as good as so-and-so. She has the money to buy anything she wants!”

But, here’s the clincher…having lots of money doesn’t necessarily mean you will automatically know what to buy. If it fits badly, the color makes you look like you’re on your sick bed or isn’t made for your body type or your personality, all the money in the world won’t make it look good on you.

I once talked with an owner of a company who wanted me to work with one of his senior executive employees. He said they had tried giving her money to buy a new wardrobe, but she used it to buy more of the same type of thing she had been wearing. Without new awareness about what worked and what didn’t that was the best she could do. Money alone couldn’t fix the issues since she didn’t know what look good on her or what was appropriate for her career.

Yes, generally speaking at higher end stores, the fabrics are finer, the finish work is more ‘finished’ and elegantly done and the colors and details can be richer and more creative. But, if your budget doesn’t allow it, all is not lost. It does not mean that everything that costs less is worthless. Not by any stretch of the imagination. You can still find nicely made, beautifully designed items anywhere.

You just need to know what to look for and be open to the possibilities.

One of my favorite ways to shop when on a budget is thrift or consignment shopping.

With her permission I’m sharing a story from Hilary who lives in the UK and is a part of my ‘Who Taught You How to Dress’ community ( I have never met Hilary in person, although some day I hope I will have that pleasure. In the meantime, she has been actively using the online forum that is part of the ‘how to dress’ program with great success!

She has done much of her transformation by shopping at thrift stores.

Hilary loves an elegant look with touches of bohemian style. With the help of the forum she has refined her colors and discovered that she rocks skinny jeans! She had been reluctant to spend a lot of money on something she wasn’t sure would work, but when we suggested she try it, she found this pair of charcoal skinny jeans at the supermarket, no less! She said it was the best £7 ($11.41) she ever spent there.

Here she is wearing her new jeans with this great navy jacket and white blouse:

As well as a fun casual look

Two of the pieces she found unexpectedly for her upcoming New Year’s Eve outfit (a great example of buying something you love when you see it rather than waiting until right before actually need it!) came from a thrift store. The navy cotton velvet Jeans and an amazing beautiful beaded/sequin over blouse cost all of £2 ($3.22)!


She doesn’t stop at clothing, handbags, like this one that still had the tags on it, complete her outfit. She got it for £5 (approx $8):

She has become very discriminating in what she chooses to bring in and with her new focus she is building a very versatile wardrobe. Hilary recently shared that, “This is what I love about the forum – great ideas, some of which I would probably not have thought to try – to step outside my comfort zone.”

One of the nicest things about thrift and consignment shopping is that there is a price point for everyone. I like to take advantage of both ends of the spectrum.

This past summer I found a fun Ann Taylor sundress at a local consignment store (The Mint Boutique in Beverly) for $7.50! It fit me perfectly and, as an added bonus, didn’t need a stitch of tailoring.

Then, this fall I discovered this stunning Armani jacket at The Turnabout Shoppe in Wellesley for $225—a far cry from what it would cost at full price.

Tips for Shopping Consignment (or anywhere!)

As you can see, there is no reason to let your budget limit your personal style as long as you keep the key components of creating a wardrobe in mind:

  • The colors you choose still matter. No, black will not necessarily make something look more expensive if black is too harsh on you or the design doesn’t work with your body shape.
  • Reflecting who you are is critical whether you are shopping at Saks or Goodwill.
  • Fit is important: tailoring is often still necessary whether the garment is expensive or not. If you are not willing to tailor it (even if you only paid $5 for the garment), then leave it at the store!
  • You still have to complete the outfit. Every outfit is composed of several pieces including shoes and other accessories. Knowing how to combine them can make an inexpensive piece look fabulous. And there is no savings, no matter how little you paid, if you never find a way to wear the garment.

The takeaway: You can have a beautiful wardrobe at any price point. Start exploring the thrift stores and consignment shops in your area. There are more and more popping up every day with hidden treasures and perfect additions to your wardrobe.

Want a real life example of consignment shopping? Check out this video complete with an example of a do and don’t outfit:


Categorized: Uncategorized

How to go from Yoga to the Real World

Today there is literally not a moment available just to think. Most appointments demand our constant attention with “need-to-be-here’s” and “got-to-be-there’s.” That being said, how do you make sure you find time for me-things like yoga and still feel prepared for the rest of your day? Continue reading…

Categorized: Uncategorized

Three Tips Joan Rivers Taught Us About Personal Style

While she may have had a sharp tongue with her “What were you thinking?” fashion statements on Fashion Police, Joan Rivers was still a positive style icon in many ways. Aside from being the foundation of such transitions (whether you love them or not) as Kelly Osborne and others, her own style and beliefs have a few nuggets that you may not have seen on the red carpet but which were in her personal and professional beliefs about life, style and self.
Continue reading…

Categorized: Fashion, Personal style

How to Choose the Right Shoes to Make Your Legs Look Longer

You purchase an outfit at the store, get home and put it on. All is going well until you add shoes. You stare at the mirror wondering why suddenly the outfit doesn’t work. You try standing differently. You even try a different pair of shoes or adjust your posture. It doesn’t help. Finally, with great dismay you take off the garment and stick it back in the bag to return to the store.

Continue reading…

How to Get into Fall Without Fail

The chill in the air is starting to re-enter into our daily lives and the ads for back to school are now so consistent they can be ignored like the other ads.  It is fall.  But while you pack away the bathing suits and shorts, how do you move into fall with style?

Continue reading…

Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered: Fall 2014 Fashion Update

While I was not ready to see the glorious summer fade away this year, I have to admit I always enjoy witnessing the upcoming trends, especially in yummy fall colors. This season will not disappoint. While some trends are expected, like velvet and turtlenecks, others are a delightful surprise, like tassels and A-line dresses.  Then, of course, there are the ones that leave me feeling bewildered, wondering if the designers are either tired or are simply at a loss for new (flattering) ideas. Continue reading…

The perfect scarf tie

The Scarf Tie that Will Keep You Cool, Stylish and Pulled-Together Continue reading…

Back to School Fashion: How to Look Like the Cool Mom

The ads of kids roaming classrooms are everywhere and the evenings are getting a bit cooler…the summer is coming to an end. Another school year is in our near future. Although it is the child going to school, the moms will be just as busy…band practices, PTA meetings and carpools, oh my! But, while it is time to buy the backpacks and pencil sets, moms should remember they, too, need to get themselves ready as well.  But, with all that’s going on, who has the time to make sure they look their best, too? Just throw on the yoga pants and the handiest top in the closet, right? But while your body may be comforted, how is your confidence? Continue reading…

How to Dress for an Interview: The Good, the Bad and the Frizzy

In a recent article for Real Simple, entrepreneur icon Barbara Corcoran discussed an evolving error made by interviewees every day: missing the mark on what is acceptable; either wearing too much of the right things (“too much makeup and jewelry or impractical shoes”) or too little of the right things (i.e., inappropriate things like “stretchy pants, oversize tops, and sneakers”). So with the fall bringing in new opportunities for so many, let’s discuss three commandments to getting an interview outfit right in a way that will ease your mind and make a positive impression. Continue reading…

Jackie: Before
Jackie: After
Diane: Before
Diane: After
Amanda: Before
Amanda: After
Donna: Before
Donna: After
Jan: Before
Jan: After
Sara: Before
Sara: After
Marianne: Before
Marianne: After
Annie: Before
Annie: After
Meryl: Before
Meryl: After

Our front line tellers and customer service representatives participated in a 2 hour workshop that highlighted the importance of professional attire, color, and hairstyle. Ginger’s presentation was very interactive and she really made our employees feel comfortable asking questions. She also was wonderful at addressing the concerns of our younger employees. In particular, ‘How to dress business-like without selecting clothes that make younger employees feel as if they are dressed like ‘middle aged’ women.’ When Ginger finished her presentation, our employees had a much better understanding of what to shop for, where to shop, and how to determine what looks good on them. Our employees who attended Ginger’s session have definitely polished their appearance. 
Sandy Saltamartini Assistant Vice President/Manager of Training & Development, Andover Bank