After receiving an outpouring of positivity and support surrounding the feature, “Does the Industry Expect You to Age Out of Blogging?” it was time to reach out to the blogging community and speak with some wonderful bloggers who could add more depth to the subject. Below, seven bloggers weigh in on everything from taking outfit photos and what role aging played in the blog's branding, to the evolution of personal style and inspirational quotes.
As varied as these bloggers are, one theme unified the majority of the responses: turn inward, know thyself, and go with what feels right on the inside and out when wearing a garment or trying a trend in order to radiate true confidence and authentic personal style.
When you take your photos, do you consider what may be “age appropriate?” What is the process like for you in choosing your outfits, locations, etc?
“I always try to be as natural as possible for the blog. I don’t style outfits I don’t actually wear, or dress up just for the blog. What is featured on the blog is what I wore on a particular day, therefore, when it comes to my outfits, I wear what is appropriate for me. I don’t like posing in unnatural ways that may be too “model-y” because…I’m NOT a model, nor do I feel that at my age I should pose in a too cutesy way. It isn’t so much because of age appropriateness, but mostly because it just wouldn’t be “me”.” — Susana Fernandez, A Key to the Armoire
“Even when I started blogging two years ago, I still defended the term “age appropriate”. Although I was quite tolerant of what it meant towards others, I was quite strict with it myself. Now, at 52, I am a lot more adventurous with my own outfits and don’t actively use this term any longer. Like most of us, I felt quite embarrassed when we took the first outfit photos in front of my house and I was hiding on my terrace, anxious if I were to be seen by my neighbours (I live in a small town!). Meanwhile, I don’t care any longer. If I was not confident having photos taken in public, I think I had to give up fashion blogging. There are lots of tourists in my town and often we just blend in and honestly, I am sure most people don’t even care. It’s funny; sometimes people kindly offer to take photos of us together – that’s when I wonder whether Scott Schuman ever receives these questions!” –Annette Hoeldrich, Lady of Style
“I feel that over time this idea of being “age appropriate” has turned into “personally appropriate.” Women are all so unique and their bodies and lifestyles are all so different, that what’s appropriate for one woman at a certain point in life might not be appropriate for another. So for an example, I personally wouldn’t wear a mini skirt. However, I’m completely comfortable wearing a message tee with a silly saying. I’ve certainly seen both garments on an over 40 “don’t” list! But one feels “Dawn Lucy appropriate” to me and one does not! I think it’s important that we support other women and empower them to make those choices for themselves.” — Dawn Lucy, Fashion Should Be Fun
What do you love most about taking personal style photos?
“Good results! It's amazing how stunning you (and your outfit) can look in a well taken photograph in good light. But, actually, taking personal style photos is not my favorite thing. Looking very polished and good in photos as you age is not that easy and I find it tough to get all the elements right (hair, make-up, clothing etc.). It's time consuming, too. I sometimes do photography editorials with a photographer and I like those as they teach me how to become a better photographer myself.” — Sylvia van de Logt, 40PlusStyle.com
“I love the creative process of putting together a look and trying to get the best photo possible. It’s a chance for me to express the visual side of my imagination.” — Dawn Lucy, Fashion Should Be Fun
“I like the documentation process.
I’m very much into history, and I find it super cool to be able to document what this normal woman wore in this period of history.
I also love that the process “forces” me to be innovative in looking for new ways to wear my clothes. I enjoy being kept “on my toes” style-wise. ” — Susana Fernandez, A Key to the Armoire
“For certain business looks or evening wear I sometimes wish I had a more urban background rather than my picturesque Bavarian landscape! But my worldwide readers especially love these backdrops whether it is a winter wonderland as right now or mountains and green fields in summer. I always try to stay authentic and my readers appreciate to see a real person in a real environment. The weather can be quite a challenge here in Southern Germany and I also try to incorporate my daily life into the outfit posts to stay relevant — like a walk in the snow in a functional outfit, restyling a summer dress for our cooler autumn days or business appropriate looks as I have a full time job.” — Annette Hoeldrich, Lady of Style
What is the best quote that you've come across when it comes to women and aging?
“There are so many that inspire me but I love this quote: “Women always try to tame themselves as they get older but the ones who look the best are often a bit wilder. Thinking about age all the time is the biggest prison women can make for themselves.” (Miuccia Prada)” — Sylvia van de Logt, 40PlusStyle.com
I look forward to getting older, where what you look like becomes less and less of an issue and what you are is the point. (Susan Sarandon)
— Souri Sengdara, Fabulous Femme
“Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” (Anna Wintour)” — Annette Hoeldrich, Lady of Style
“The thing that comes to my mind is more of an observation: some people spend their whole lives trying to avoid aging, whether through clothing or surgery or whatever, and in the process they age ungracefully. On the other hand, those women who embrace their age keep themselves young at heart and mind. They constantly strive to behave like the best version of themselves, and I have noticed that they age gracefully. Even their wrinkles are soft and becoming! Therefore, I always strive for two things: to know myself and to be kind to others. Inner beauty is more important to me than anything else. It is the only beauty that keeps on making us more beautiful.” — Susana Fernandez, A Key to the Armoire
What do you feel is the most important message to send to readers about stylishly growing older?
“Be true to yourself. Dress for your shape and in what makes you feel good. I asked my teenage daughter one day “when should mum stop wearing mini skirts?” where she replied ‘when your knees are wrinkly!.' My knees aren’t wrinkly yet, so I will continue to wear short skirts. Wear quality clothing. Good styles in beautiful fabrics always shines in a crowd.” — Souri Sengdara, Fabulous Femme
What role did your age play (if any) in the branding of your blog?
“I've always thought of my blog as an over 40 style blog, but I also don’t want to discourage any younger readers who might like my style.
I think by just being myself I attract women who relate to me, my style, and where I am in life.
At one point I’ve added ‘Style over Forty' to the tag line of my blog to make it easier for potential over 40 readers to find me.” — Dawn Lucy, Fashion Should Be Fun
“It was important from day one, which is why the site is also named 40+ style. It needed to be clear from the domain name alone that this was a site especially for 40+ women.”
“I was 40+ myself and I wanted to celebrate 40+ women (ALL women over 40, so also those in their 50s 60s and beyond) and show everyone that style does not have a used-by date. I want to inspire and encourage all women above 40 to have fun with fashion and style and show them easy ways to achieve that.” — Sylvia van de Logt, 40PlusStyle.com
“Fabulous Femme was started to inspire others to live life to the fullest. It was started to tell others that life doesn’t stop as you get older, gain a mortgage and definitely not after having kids! I’d like to think that my energy and positive outlook as a more ‘mature‘ blogger has inspired some to get out of the rut that they’re in and give life a good go.” — Souri Sengdara, Fabulous Femme
What is the biggest barrier that you've come across?
“Frequency is an issue for me because I’m pressed for time. I’m very busy, but I still want to keep the blog real, so I won’t take, for example, five sets of pictures on a weekend. I feel that it cheapens the experience and honesty of my blog. I try to post everyday, but if one day (or two or three!) I cannot, I simply don’t.” — Susana Fernandez, A Key to the Armoire
“There have been no big barriers, really. I love learning and am always striving to improve myself. I bought a better camera quite early on and even though photos could be much better, their quality is good enough for now. My site has grown really fast though and keeping up with hosting and technical demands is a challenge as I do everything myself. Currently I have many more ideas and plans for the site that I cannot handle all by myself so my biggest challenge will be to find ways to extend the site and perhaps build up a team that will keep both me and my readers happy.” — Sylvia van de Logt, 40PlusStyle.com
“Time!! I have a full-time job and only while my children are both at university I can use my evenings and weekends for blog work. Taking photos for my 2-3 posts per week, selecting them, writing (my blog is in English and German), answering comments and readers’ questions, communication with brands, PR agencies and affiliate partners, technical issues, constantly trying to enhance the blog, you name it! I am actively using social media and got quite addicted to Instagram, which doesn’t help with my time management .” — Annette Hoeldrich, Lady of Style
How has your style evolved, and what is most important to finding one's own signature style, being comfortable with the way one looks and dresses?
“When I was at primary school, the teachers thought the way I put my school uniform together was worthy of photographing. They were probably thinking it was a hoot. But I just thought it looked better that way. That individual way of dressing has never really left me, it’s not an effort but second nature. I don’t think I always look wildly ‘out there’ but let's just say I don’t feel myself drawn to the ‘Normcore’ trend! As you age you do develop a sense of what is flattering for your shape which will affect your style. I doubt I’d do the classic 50’s prom dress shape again (I’m too short-waisted) but mini skirts – yep.” — Helen Carey, Wight Catwalk
“To me it’s all about defining your style to yourself personally, whether that means an individual wardrobe mission statement or just feeling your way along by instinct, like I do. I think we all need to feel confident enough to express ourselves and comfortable enough to change our style as our personalities and lifestyle evolve.” — Dawn Lucy, Fashion Should Be Fun
“My style now is definitely so much better than it was before.
I have always loved fashion, but only now do I feel that I understand my style and can create cohesive balanced looks that reflect my personality and make me happy.
I think it's only going to get better as I get older! The key to finding your own unique style is to truly understand yourself. You personality, your body, your lifestyle, your preferred silhouette. Once I understood those and I learned more about style and dressing principles, I became a better dresser” — Sylvia van de Logt, 40PlusStyle.com
“I was always a tomboy and for me the lightbulb moment came in 1976 with the arrival of punk: I was seduced by the energy, the rebellion, the look. Pretty soon after, I started experimenting with my appearance. For years I'd make a lot of my own clothes or alter things that I bought from jumble sales and, if an outfit didn't work, then what's the sweat? It's no big deal — it's not permanent. When I lived in a city, one needed to look a bit freaky to stand out, but living in a more rural area now, and being much older, there is a danger of becoming the local kook, but it doesn't stop me continuing to experiment.” — Cat James, Wight Catwalk
For some great additional resources, please check out the featured, “The 40 Most Stylish Women on Instagram” 40PlusStyle blog and Advanced Style, the documentary, available through Netflix.