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The Softer Side of Style: What to Wear for the Great Return, Part Two

In our WFH lives, we've become accustomed to comfort. Here are our clothing picks for venturing softly, and stylishly, back into the world.

Like many of you, I’ve been thinking about some sort of return. To life. To work. To dinner and dancing and wheeling and dealing. And with that comes a bit of anxiety. I’d be lying if I said the thought of drinking office coffee again and kissing my beloved Nespresso machine goodbye in the mornings was not panic producing. Like so many, I’ve embraced working from home and love the space and freedom it provides. Plus, good coffee. And time with my beloved dog son, Khan.

And no rentrée conversation would be complete without a thorough discussion on what to wear. I’ve written about post-pandemic style here before but consider this an evolution. I wrote about this before right here, but as summer begins its sweet crescendo, I’ve done more thinking on the matter.

I visited the local boutique Meg in my Brooklyn neighborhood to chat with an expert, and I talked with the owner about what’s next when it comes to dress. As the conversation unfolded, I realized that many of us felt a bit shook from a less than soft landing back to reality. It seems like there was minimal transition as people jumped on planes for summer vacations past due and ran out to see live music, and yes, many have returned to offices at least a few days a week.

We will all continue to crave comfort as we get up and go. I’m imagining workwear having a softer side

I’m going with the following for this fashion observer — we will all continue to crave comfort as we get up and go. I’m imagining workwear having a softer side. Think materials that feel fabulous against your skin, loose silhouettes, and easygoing basics that are simple and stress-free, even down to our bras and undies. I can’t be the only one who’s noticed a boob rebellion of sorts against bras with wires.  We are all leaving home again, but we still want what we want.

So let’s go shopping. I have a few ideas on how to go softly back to life in style. If you favor a caftan (and why wouldn’t you, really), think about a great dress for the office.

EverbyX

I’m a big fan of a do-it-all dress, and I was intrigued when I got served this dress by Australian brand ever by X. Sourced from upcycled Japanese remnant fabric, this dress can be worn as a caftan or cinched or sheathed and then some. The idea of only one dress is a cool one, and I love its versatility that could go from home to office in a snap. Layer with a blazer or with a pair of tall boots for the fall. So good and comes in a bunch of fab colors, though I might break my no more black dresses rule and go for it. And this top from Cuyana is lovely and so perfect for work with a trouser or skirt.

Cuyana

If you are troubled by losing your sweats, I feel you. But these sustainable Tencel Lyocell Rag and Bone silk-like pants may button up like jeans but feel like pj’s. I’m obsessed with them and think if you work in a more creative or casual environment, these could work with a nice sweater or blazer come fall.

Rag and Bone

I’m calling it now that this fall will be BIG for knitwear due to my theory that comfort will still be queen

And speaking of sweaters, I’m calling it now that this fall will be BIG for knitwear due to my theory that comfort will still be queen. I love everything on offer from Jenni Kayne. A cocoon cotton sweater to sit cubicle side may be just the thing to ease the Sunday scaries. And these knit trousers from Proenza Schouler are so chic with just about anything. And though their prices are premium, nobody makes a better sweater dress. So comfortable and so good to go anywhere, at all. This one has a bit of lurex for a bit of glam goodness.

Jenni Kayne

Proenza Schouler

And this cardi from J.Crew is soft and stylish. I love the way they’ve paired it with a menswear-inspired button-down and pearls. Great with jeans but could look great with a slim trouser, too.

J Crew

If you’re like me and love a lingerie look at home, this inky Vince slip dress can go back to work when layered with a chunky knit turtleneck. Textures are a big part of the picture for fall, and I love the silky feel of this dress paired with something a bit more substantial like this Cloud turtleneck from Everlane.

Vince

Everlane

I also love a bodysuit paired with a skirt or pants and a blazer. My fav comes from Reformation, and I love the button-down Henley look that somehow feels like Elsa Peretti if you rock it with some great necklaces.

Reformation

A shirtdress is always a fabulous option. This white take from minimalist masters COS is stylish, and I like it paired with pants for a modern take on two-piece dressing, a look I have loved since spending a lot of time in Amsterdam in my late 20s. All the cool chicks in the ‘dam wore dresses with pants so they could ride their bikes in style and be practical all at once.

Cos

Suiting can feel relaxed if you get the proportions right

Suiting can feel relaxed if you get the proportions right. I’m still obsessed with a more oversized vibe, so I can’t get enough of Paris brand The Frankie Shop’s take on workwear. I love this suit. Both comfy and chic and can take you from desk to din-din.

 

Frankies Shop

This set from MM LaFleur is so up the right alley. Look how buttoned-up and professional a track pant and blazer can be. As for shoes, these slingbacks from Zara are a legit mood lifter due to their snappy color and Balenciaga vibes for a fraction of the price. And if you can get away with sandals at work, these from Gucci are super splurgy but so good.

MM La Fleur

Zara

Gucci

So as I sit here on my annual beach vacation, still under the duvet, I permit you to go softly back to life. Think skin-loving fabrics, loosened up silhouettes, and whatever you need to get to it and get through it. Because, as Glennon Doyle says on her podcast, “we can do hard things.” Particularly when tempered with a side of softness and a heaping helping of style.

30 COMMENTS

    • Thank you for your comment. I am shifting gears and rethinking the wayI approach fashion and style- we are at the mercy of an industry that only provides photos featuring young women and men, and though I may not be able to change the industry, I can change our approach, so please keep reading.

      • Thank you Sheri. There are many of us, all with different sizes, colors, shapes, style preferences who would love to model for you and AGEIST. I too, am disappointed that you did not include age-appropriate models. ND

  1. If I see one more website that caters to older women using millennial models I’m going to scream. What don’t you get? I work with models over 50. They are out there. Don’t be lazy. Be supportive and hire real models over 50.

    • Thanks, Helen. I am shifting gears so please keep reading. Never my intention to offend. At the mercy of an industry where we are largely ignored but I am working hard to feature content that speaks to where we are in life and is a much better representation.

    • Thanks for your comment. Working on some new ways to celebrate personal style that is more aligned with our audience.

  2. Although I agree it would be nice to see models our age, I also understand that the Ageist cannot produce (and pay for) fashion shoots every time they want to talk about fashion. So they rely on images provided by the brands… and the brands use yound people as models. If anything, contact the brands themselves to ask them to feature a more diverse cast 🙂

    • As long as we promote the brands that continuously ignore our demographic we are part of the problem not the solution. How about promoting brands that do use older models? They exist.
      When Lesley Jane Seymour, former editor of More Magazine (fired due to ageism) hired me to write a product review for her online magazine that caters to women 40+, I asked the company to send me the product and used my 67 year old self to illustrate the story. Using an iPhone and the great outdoors the cost? Nothing.

      • Thanks, Robin. I’m a writer not a model but totally agree we can get far more creative to be far more age positive.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m so glad you understand we have to rely on the brands to provide images, but no excuses. I’m excited to help reinvent the way style is celebrated for our crowd. 🙂

      • Sheri, thank you for your reply. I’ve worked on both sides of the camera all my life as a casting director and at 60 started modeling myself. I started casting women of diversity over 50 in a pre-digital world. Armed with my polaroid camera, I’d trudge around New York City looking for undiscovered talent. These women are amazing. I’m in the throws of redoing my casting website and will post all the women I’ve worked with, past and present. There’s no shortage of talent. I even work as an advisor for women over 50 who want to get into the business. There’s room for everyone. It’s an exciting time.

  3. While you probably got the images from the manufacturers…asking that they provide imagery with older models will put some market demand on them to hire more than just young. While you’re at it, consider adding some folks of color as well.
    As a curvy gal, I would probably look like a big lump in many of these…how about soft, comfy and yet still a bit tailored.

  4. Agree with the comments above. Feature mature models and encourage clothing companies to do the same! I want to see women in MY age group.

    • Thanks for your comments and wish I could move the needle on an industry that lauds youuth above all else but I can change my personal narrative when it comes to writing about style for women of our age and stature.

  5. I’d like to see an article with more affordable fashion. I was excited about the sweater dress, but when I finally found it ( there were no specific links to the sweater dress) the price was close to a thousand dollars!

  6. I recently posted a few comments related to a fashion story written by Sheri Radel Rosenberg. I was way too harsh. I hope I didn’t cause any feathers to ruffle. I was so impressed by her apology to her readers. She is a gem. It’s rare to find that quality in today’s world. I look forward to reading more of her work on The Ageist. She alone will keep me coming back for more!

  7. Sheri, thank you for being the catalyst that allowed women 50+ to voice their frustration with the fashion industry. Unfortunately, you became the scapegoat. In January of 2019 I attended an event in NYC about media’s lack of inclusion with a panel of fashion luminaries. Ageism wasn’t even part of the conversation until I brought it up during the Q&A. It was still swept under the rug! Women expressed their outrage to me. I speak out when I can. Your mea culpa for change is huge. You are a mensch.

  8. Sheri, hello from Sydney, Australia & thanks for including ever by X, my beloved brand. As a 48yo first time Mum of Twins I found the fashion brands I loved no longer met my needs (or cared to) so I created one dress with a difference. It supports a woman’s ever changing life; shape & size + adapts to all occasions, enhancing women of all age, concealing & revealing to suit. So
    after 12mos of R&D I launched as Australian bushfires & Covid struck. I could afford one model only & chose an incredible 35yo free spirited Greenpeace Volunteer, an American living in Sydney no less & you’ve included one of her photo’s. As a ‘small & slow’ dressmaker your article’s directed your incredible community to mine & for that I am convinced. You truly are mensch. 
    Kindest, Kerryl, Founder ebX

  9. I agree this article was a bit tone deaf for your target group. But seems like you have heard it loud and clear. There are so many amazing fashion bloggers out there that cater to the 50 and over crowd. Several cater to the high end space that you seem to focus on. Might want to check them out. If fact you could curate them and put them out there for folks to visit.

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Sheri Radel Rosenberghttp://sherimavenblog.com/
Sheri Radel Rosenberg has spent a life in advertising. Currently she's a freelance writer focusing on women at midlife and the power of reinvention. She regularly writes on her own blog and also works with brands to develop content in the areas of women's health, wellness, fashion, and beauty .She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and a ten pound ball of doggie fluff called Khan.

 

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