Trying Out A New Silhouette That Forgives My Midlife Midsection


I’ve always preferred a fitted waist, to work with broad shoulders and a long torso, but I may be ready now to trade that off for comfort. Breathe an actual sigh of relief; I’ve been sucking in my stomach for a decade now.

This will require some experimentation.

So, last week my middle sister, my brother and I exchanged presents, as our birthdays fall in August, October and September respectively. I asked my sister for a top that would be kind to my middle.

Up-A-Hill-in-Black-and-White

She came up with this Free People tee which I quite like. Available in all kinds of colors – some of which have a visible burnout pattern – and sizes up to XL.

I wore it to the i2 conference, with pieces I already owned. Distressed narrow (but not quite skinny) white jeans (to balance the top’s volume), patent leather loafers, and progressive lenses so I could see to walk the city hills. Realities.

The deep vee of the tee addresses some of my concerns about volume.  Of course, it makes me worry in turn about decolletage, but let’s make that sigh of relief global.

Middle-Aged-Lady-In-Biker-Jacket-And-Distressed-White-Jeans-After-Labor-Day

Pretty easy to layer under a biker jacket. As one does.

 

Earrings-by-Vicente-Agore

The earrings are by Vicente Agor. I wore them to my wedding rehearsal. The wood watch, from JORD.

When trying out something new, I like to keep the rest of my outfit as minimal as possible. I figured that with black, white and transparent as a background, to say nothing of denim and flats, I could focus on silhouette. The outfit had just enough texture, what with biker ribbing and frayed knees. The shine of patent leather balanced glints from the earrings.

Down-A-Hill-In-Black-and-White

The shirt’s hem is lower in back. All kinds of experiments going on. As an aside, I know we call Paris the City of Light, but San Francisco gives her a run for the money, on a summer morning as the marine layer recedes.

Biker-Jacket-And-Glasses-And-Long-Gray-Hair

I’d thought to recreate this photo but, I’d left my iPhone in my back pocket, Big flat rectangle seat alert. We’ll crop that right out, shall we, and do a detail shot of the biker ribbing instead? I like the way San Francisco gave me a red light accent, like an imaginary earring. Gifts from sisters and the universe, useful in change of any sort.

I might also try high-waisted pants, tackling the issue from another perspective, as it were. Small steps.

Clothes Like What I’m Wearing

Biker Jackets

White Denim, More Or Less Distressed

Tees What Look To Forgive A Belly

Quartz Earrings, Wood Watches, Red Lipgloss

Affiliate links may generate commissions

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33 Comments

  • Love the whole look Lisa…the tee and especially the biker jacket! It works perfectly on you..I am envious. ;) Thanks for all the recco’s….love a shopping list!

    09/15/15
    9:36 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jeanne Henriques, Thank you, it’s my pleasure!

  • I really enjoy my visits to your blog. You look great in everything and have inspired many of my outfits. Thanks for keeping it real!!!

    09/15/15
    9:36 am
    Lisa said...

    @Dianne, You are very welcome, and thank you in return for listening.

  • I like the silhouette. I now definitely go for A line T shirts. Much more flattering and no clinging round the middle, which according to nutritionists we need after the menopause so that we can continue to produce oestrogen although I think mine may have flatlined.

    09/15/15
    9:38 am
    Lisa said...

    @Chicatanyage, Hahahaha! Flat-lined indeed. And I didn’t realize my friend the flub was doing yeoman’s service. I will continue to fête her then, in flowy shirts!

  • Looking good! Your hair is just stunning.

    09/15/15
    9:38 am
    Lisa said...

    @Leslie K, Thank you very much!

  • I like it! Changes are welcome,from time to time,no?
    White jeans-my favorite uniform for summer!
    Black leather (or tan) jacket-great!
    A little moving with earings and top,gorgeus hair,great,so familiar( from cinema!,of course) background……rock queen!
    Dottoressa

    09/15/15
    9:39 am
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, Yes, Sue’s just pointed out too that the earrings and shirt both flowed, while the loafers and jacket constrained. You guys are good, I hadn’t even noticed! And San Francisco is a gorgeous and inspiring place. Well worth a visit, and great for photographs.

  • Ah yes, the midsection we earn for having produced our wonderful children! Nice to be able to keep it to ourselves. I never knew such tees existed. Now I have to go shopping.

    09/15/15
    9:40 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mary anne, I guess the good news is that these are available at all kinds of price points.

  • I definitely liked a fitted waist. A fitted waist length top with a fuller, high waist pant was a standard on me for so long, and perfect on my long above the waist figure. But middle age is not kind and I am not comfortable with that look now. So I’ve been playing with and wearing more and more tops like the one you are wearing in these shots. It is so easy to hold on to the past, but sometimes it is even better to let go and try something new.

    09/15/15
    9:46 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, Have you found it hard to let go of? I have. I invested so much effort in figuring it out for a medium waist, having had a small one before children, that now it’s larger it’s a real step to find a new way to dress.

    09/17/15
    9:29 am
    Mardel said...

    @Mardel, I still struggle with completely letting go of the old silhouette, but perhaps it is a gradual thing, this process of evolving and accepting

  • Looking great! I love the whole ensemble…happy Birthday!
    I bought a similar tee from Aritzia it’s their brand Wilfred. No matter how much I walk or mind my WW points the midsection seems to be here to stay. So we work that art of camouflage. Well done.

    09/15/15
    9:50 am
    Lisa said...

    @Bungalow Hostess, Thank you! I’m the end of September, but, I have no issue starting the celebration now:).

  • You had me at “midlife midsection”!

    09/15/15
    9:50 am
    Lisa said...

    @K-Line, You’re welcome;).

  • As someone who is not straight-hipped I am leary of the long flowy top. I feel like it’s almost better to have the top fitted, or semi-fitted at the waist than to have it flow into a curvy bottom, which gives me a triangular look.

    09/15/15
    9:50 am
    Lisa said...

    @RoseAG, Yes, I can see that would create a different geometry.

  • You look chic, fresh and stylish, Lisa. Show that cleavage, girl!

    09/15/15
    9:51 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mamavalveeta03, Thank you! And really, at this age, maybe my cleavage deserves a brief moment in the sun;).

  • I really like how you’ve balanced the softness of the top with the crisp lines of the shoes, and the pattern in the jacket. Well played!

    09/15/15
    9:51 am
    Lisa said...

    @Susan (une femme), Thank you! You’ve caught things I didn’t even notice!

  • You look wonderful in this outfit! While it might be a significant change in silhouette for you, the effect is completely congruous with your aesthetic as you’ve established it here, at least. Polished Tomboy, the slightest hint of SF hippie in the top’s ease (I mean, it’s Free People!). A good dose of Street, played up/out through the obvious intelligence in your face (one of your biggest assets, imho!) hugs from Bordeaux

    09/15/15
    9:53 am
    Lisa said...

    @Frances/Materfamilias, Aw thanks! I feel like it’s Be Nice To Lisa Day! And I think that dose of Street is a really perfect way to articulate something I’ve been struggling to make clear. Exactly that. I always hope for a dose of Street. no matter how Lady, how Sturdy, how anything. xoxox.

  • I love this look! I have several similar pieces made by ‘Cut Loose.’ The brand has quality fabrics and forgiving lines.

    09/15/15
    10:38 am
    Lisa said...

    I think a few forgiving brands would be useful in the world;). I edited out that comment thinking you’d want me to, but I just realized I should have asked first – my apologies!

  • The top looks great with the biker jacket!

    09/15/15
    2:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Andrea@WellnessNotes, Thank you!

  • Rocking the biker jacket to be sure! You have such confidence which shines through the glorious backdrop that is San Francisco.

    I too recently purchased my first waist-less top and I’m enjoying the freedom that it brings with it, namely no tummy troubles. I’m now wondering why it took me so long to get there!

    09/15/15
    2:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Chronica Domus, Thanks! The simplest solutions, right? And San Francisco was beautiful during that heat wave, if uncomfortable…

  • Yikes.
    That’s the tee I’ve been searching for! Thx Lisa <3
    At least you had a waist once upon a time.
    Pity us poor post 'pausal pomme de terre's.

    09/15/15
    2:39 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Rosie, My pleasure. Alliteration appreciated always;).

  • Many happy returns (on your birthday, not on your lovely shirt)! Anthropologie carries a brand (Bordeaux) of drapey, swingy tees in various styles, colors, and sleeve lengths that I find are very forgiving. I have a short waist and can’t (1) wear anything tucked or (2) stand anything constricting my waist; these shirts manage to suggest my waistline without calling attention to Pilates-resistant wobbly bits, and best of all, I’m free to BREATHE.

    09/15/15
    2:40 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Debbie (Artsy in Boulder), Thanks! (I do still have a couple of weeks left as a 58-year old). And I’ll look into Anthropologie.

  • Oh, I love this look on you! So casual, yet so chic. Funny, I would have thought that was afternoon light. I wonder if it’s a left coast vs. right coast thing?

    09/15/15
    2:41 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Patsy, Thanks:). Of course it counts as dressed up my current life but WTH. And the light might also have been influenced by the intense heat wave we had – but, maybe you are right, it is a Best Coast vs. Least Coast issue. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

  • Great look on you, and you wear it very comfortably. When I wear clothing with extra fabric around the waist, a voice whispers in my ear “today’s a great day for the buffet”, so I try to wear slacks with a snug fit waist as a reminder not to overindulge!
    Love, love your earrings. The biker jacket really pulls your whole outfit together.

    09/16/15
    7:23 am
    Lisa said...

    @Candace, Thanks! I do understand your anti-buffet approach.

  • Actually, I think this is the best casual look on your so far. I’ve never noticed anything wrong with your waist, but I just prefer more flow in tops anyway. I think they are more graceful and feminine, which is lost in so many clothes today.

    This is why I like Soft Surroundings. Their stuff tends to nip in just a little around the waist and then flare out, so you never look boxy.

    I like Free People too.

    09/16/15
    6:22 am
    Lorri said...

    Typo: best casual look on “you”, not “your”

    09/16/15
    7:26 am
    Lisa said...

    @Lorri, At a guess, some people are now saying to themselves, “Oh, I prefer her tougher tomboy looks!” To each her own. I confess I feel a little spark of crankiness when clothing with more fabric is referred to as more “feminine.” I mean, I was just as much a woman in my tight tees as I am with a wider hemline;). But that’s always been a bugaboo of mine – as many of my cognitive and aesthetic habits always verged on “masculine,” even as my sexual orientation, and even many of my preferred activities – taking care of children, cooking – were more traditionally “feminine,” I’ve always chafed against the terms.

    09/16/15
    12:03 pm
    Lorri said...

    Don’t get cranky! I said flowing clothes are (perceived as) more feminine; I didn’t say YOU were not feminine or not a woman.

    Besides, you used a label in your reply when you said your aesthetics tended toward “masculine”. So what’s wrong with labeling clothing with flowing lines “feminine”?

    Fashion magazines use the word “feminine” and “masculine” all the time to describe clothing or a certain look, and celebrate both. It’s not personal and I never would have guessed you’d have taken it that way. I would not have offended you on purpose.

    09/16/15
    2:54 pm
    Lisa said...

    I imagine you meant no offense, and that’s why I made sure to call it a personal bugaboo. I put quotation marks around “masculine,” to mean, “term often used but I’m suspicious;).” The two terms, masculine, feminine. have personal baggage for me – there’s certainly no general groundswell to indulge my crankiness.

  • Wow, you look hot, Lisa! And I mean hot, as in polished and edgy…not hot as in warm weather, nor hot as in those moments (that I still get) when we have our own internal heat source:)

    09/16/15
    7:26 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sue Burpee, Thank you ma’am! And yes, the internal heat source. Sigh. What sort of evolutionary role can that possibly play, we wonder!

  • I love your blog – I must say you are lucky to have broad shoulders – mine are very narrow and this sort of top makes me look like a pyramid, sigh. Waiting for shoulder pads to come back!

    09/16/15
    2:48 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Jewelry Lover, Thank you:). They will. I’m sure they will!

  • Looking good! Very cool. A good leather (or faux leather) jacket brings an edge of cool to anything, but that is definitely a good outfit for you.

    Re: waists, I tend to play around with mine. Sometimes I’m all hourglass and sometimes I’m all drapey and flowy. It’s nice to mix it up.

  • I love it with the jacket, not as much without. I always love a “third” piece. I think if there was less contrast between the tee and the pants I might like it more without the jacket. Your sister does find good tees, I remember the Jigsaw one!

    09/16/15
    2:50 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Kathy, Yes! The Jigsaw one! And I was thinking the same thing about the outfit. It is hard to find a top that carries a full look, without going over the, um, top:).

  • You look so hip and youthful, love this! That jacket is amazing! I have to watch those billowy tops. Being short, they overwhelm me and actually make my stomach look bigger. I find peplums work better for the pear body type.

    09/17/15
    7:04 am
    Lisa said...

    @Loretta, Thank you ma’am. Peplums for the pear, I suppose I am becoming more of an apple when I used to be, wait, what is an inverted triangle fruit?;)

  • You look fabulous! I love the lower hem in the back of the t. I’m now a biker jacket convert. The Balenciaga speaks to me.

    09/18/15
    2:22 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Linda @ a design snack, The Balenciaga is a work of art.

  • The second image, with the jacket, has ineffable cool. Brava!

    09/18/15
    2:23 pm
    Lisa said...

    @maryn, Thank you! I guess it’s never too late to find your inner cool girl, even if only for 15 minutes on a San Francisco hillside. xox.

  • Lisa,
    Love the new shirt with the biker jacket – great look! The City views in the background are perfect.

    Thanks for giving us mid-lifers dealing with midsection “issues” a range of tops to shop.

    Cheers!

    09/18/15
    2:24 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Cheri, Thank you! And you’re welcome. I figure we’re all in this together, right?:)

  • Ah, Lisa. You never fail to inspire. It was your original look with the moto jacket that got me out of my style crisis in the first place. Love the shirt, love the honesty. I mourn the loss of my midsection and the sleek sheath dresses that went with it. Nice to know I’m not alone and that coolness after 50 is not only attainable, it’s smokin’. (Imagine last word in italics.)

    09/19/15
    1:52 pm
    Lisa said...

    @GS, Ah thank you. And I can’t help but imagine the last word in Jim Carrey’s dulcet tones:). I guess we can be cool without a washboard belly, and good thing too, for the human race in general.

  • This whole outfit is definitely a winner. As an over-60, petite woman who still has a waist (for the moment), I think it would be a shame not to draw attention to it for as long as I (we) have one.

    A waist or lack thereof and a bit too much tummy are different issues. Nipping in on the sides can show off a waist w/out drawing attention to the tummy.

    You really look lovely in this post. As our bodies change (“hélas”) we need to rethink our clothing silhouette. It’s all about balancing our bodies the way we balance our lives.

    So delighted I found your blog.

    Cheers, M-T

  • You look fab, Lisa. I have a couple of t-shirts like that – they’re from American Vintage (a French label, I know).

  • Like the idea ( necessity ) of finding a T shirt that helps camouflage the midsection…. but the deep v-neck would drive me crazy….. cannot bend over or lean one way to the right or left…. so, I would just add a tank underneath… either in a print or a bright color — like a citron lemon? Just sayin’…..

    01/01/17
    12:56 pm
    Lisa said...

    I admit I’ve pinned the v-neck closed a little;). A cami would work too.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Lisa’s advice: When trying out a new silhouette or look, keep the rest of your outfit as minimal as […]

  2. […] and unsurprisingly, Free People has a nice option, in several colors. Free People brought me my midlife teeshirt, they seem to have this down. I’d probably go for lilac. Reminder: check for sheerness before […]