I got nostalgic the other day and looked through old style posts. Above you see my first attempt at a decent outfit photo. Vintage Chanel jacket, Tory Burch top, Seven for All Mankind Jeans, and some Manolo Blahnik flats. Floating against a paper backdrop in all my best.
Well-dressed, well-focused, self-conscious.
Several years later, when a reader said my photos made her feel sad, I tried again. Here, anchored by an orange car and orange shoes, my embarassment battled with the adrenaline required to dash into the street and pose before my self-timer went off. I hoped nobody would run into the tripod I’d stationed on the sidewalk. The shot blurred.
Eventually I got comfortable enough with passers-by and images of myself to show curves – both societally appreciated and the not so much. You have to make peace with midlife midriff.
However, most of my favorite photos have been taken by friends and family with great eyes. Credit here goes to my son, last summer, in Edinburgh.
My stepmother, the photographer, took this one. I wanted to show I dressed for traditional corporate life for Sally’s blog, Already Pretty. (Sorry I can’t find the actual post this morning!)
And finally, this is by Sue at Une Femme, from our trip to Vancouver. An expert.
Other favorites pictures, oddly, featured trains. Instant drama, I suppose, a story implied. A good camel coat helped. Max Mara. Dress by Leota.
Even a little down jacket looks more polished in the station. UNIQLO. As you see from Edinburgh, I got a black one too.
Another good prop? Not so oddly, motorcycle jackets. Transport, all sorts. A study in black and white.
Selvedge jeans, vintage Marc Jacobs bag and all the hair to meet a wildly cool young friend for whisky.
And, one of my favorites of all time and still my LinkedIn profile photo. With GAP jeans, Gravati oxfords and red lipstick.
Some places give good photo op no matter the clothes. From San Francisco’s Chinatown, hydrated in neutrals with auspicious pinwheel,
and from London, in brights and black lace. It is so much easier to take a good photo when your eyes don’t have to meet the camera.
Sometimes the details do it. Jewelry, for example. I learned to show it in black and white, so as not to overwhelm the image with crevasses of my aging skin. This pretty Blue Nile necklace might have been my favorite of all my giveaways with that brand.
How about a new haircut? A good one rescues a person from the indignities of bathroom iPhone selfies. Loved that wood watch – eventually it broke.
Sometimes I loved my blog photos neither for the style, nor the light or my hair, but the experience. That time my sister and I got questioned by a highway patrolman.
That time my son and I crashed New York Fashion Week. Sue and I had fun too.
Finally, that time when Ray-Ban said “Yes” to my pitch for a sponsored post.
I took these photos myself out on the coast, at sunrise. I felt, true or not, as though many threads came together. I traveled; I felt both creative and unabashed; my mother would have found my outfit very good-looking. Also a wave got my tripod.
Thanks for indulging me in reminiscence. Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Sometimes you’re accomplishing more than you know.
What a gorgeous survey of your blogging photo-history! I love the range of moods and levels of dress-up you’ve shown here — my favourite photograph of these is the one your son took — I’m such a sucker for a long-ish skirt with sneakers, and then there’s that wall, your stance, and something about being captured through your adult child’s eyes. . .
@Frances/Materfamilias, Thank you. Of course, yesterday afternoon I had an attack of the horrors, “My god what have I done? An entire post saying I like photos of myself!?!?!” But it’s funny, I think of them as separate from me, if that makes sense. They have become objects of a sort. In that light, I love to hear people’s favorites. I too loved the idea that my son had seen me like this and decided, of his own accord, to take a picture. <3
A great selection, all of them – and they got progressively more interesting. Have a good weekend!
@Jane, Thank you – and I’m so pleased that they got progressively more interesting, I hope it’s because I became better at and less afraid of putting myself out there.
I love this retrospective! And I was just looking back over photos from our Vancouver trip yesterday. We need to think about another visit…
@Susan B, Thank you:). I’d love to see a retrospective from you if you ever felt like it…
And we should plan another trip this summer! Maybe we all meet in Portland?
Love these. I do remember that first photo. I adore you in the photograph in the camel coat and red shoes in front of the train. (Since I live here, I can hear exactly how that sounded in that station:). I love the shot in particular because you look beautiful and happy, and because of the captured moment of movement. My other favorite is the Gap jeans, Gravati oxfords, and red lipstick shot. Again, you look beautiful and happy, as well as a bit mischievous, and I love your hair up in a bun complexity on your neck. I do think it’s easier to look good in a photo someone else takes. In my experience, I look more relaxed, and therefore often better, when I’m not concentrating on the idea of a photograph. No matter how many selfies I take, there is a level of, “This is ridiculous,” at work in my editorializing brain. xo.
@Katherine C. James,” there is a level of, “This is ridiculous,” at work in my editorializing brain. xo.” Ain’t that the truth! And yes, my gosh, why are our trains so loud?
I do love your selfies though. Seems they became an art form of their own.
Love these. I know you’ve moved on, but I still miss these style posts.
@MaryAnne, Thank you. xox.
It all looks so effortless.
@sue silva, Oh my gosh the best possible compliment! In my culture, the worst is to appear to be “trying too hard.” So I can’t do fussy, or fancy, or dramatic – I’ve had to find a way to be fully comfortable and still enjoy the aesthetic. Thank you!
Fabulous and this just confirms my appreciation for you as a style icon…
@Bungalow Hostess, Aw thanks!
Oh, I love all of these. And I remember many of them except the first couple. I miss your outfit shots. But happy to still be able to “visit” on the blog:)
@Sue Burpee, Thank you! And I am happy to pass the style photo torch on to you – you carry it well. Happy to be able to visit you too.
So happy to see the older ones,from before I started reading your blog :-)
Such a well curated exibition-every one of them with the story (and X Factor)
@Dottoressa, Ah thank you. X-factor. I love that:).
A few thoughts: You look great in each photo. I do not see the midlife midriff of which you speak. You are in really good shape. Also, you’re one of the few women “I know” (I put that in quotes as I don’t actually know you!) who have long grey hair and actually look wonderful with it (as opposed to looking a bit like a bag lady).
@Jeannine, I’m glad you like my hair – I will say that I think there are lots of us these days who are finding gray with style:). And thanks for the compliment, I suppose I judge my midriff against what it was like when I was 29. Not the best benchmark! I imagine many of us do similar things, and we could all learn to be kinder to ourselves. That’s one of the gifts this blog has given me, all you friendly people helping me change my point of view.
Love all of these photos, as well as some I remember that you didn’t post. What stood out for me, besides your beauty and style, is how often you BV bag was in the photo and how it sort of proves my justification about a great, splurge on a bag, especially when you dress casually, it just “ups” everything.
@KSL, It really does “up” everything. And that BV small messenger is such a perfect city bag that I do wear it all the time when I’m up in SF or traveling.
What a treat following a difficult week! I love that first photo with the Chanel jacket, and I like Sue’s as well. If I were to teach a style class for older women, I would want to use these to present guidelines. Not going to teach, but I will save this post for me.
@Susan W H, Such a wonderful compliment. Thank you very much.
I love this, and because I’ve been following you (and gathering inspiration from you) for many years I was delighted to recognize some of the photos. But not all! You have a singular, intelligent style that you wear so comfortably, thank you for sharing it with us all of these years.
Cheers to many more xxx
@DaniBP, It has been my pleasure. As you know, I have been inspired by you as well. I think your color stories helped me to articulate how I felt about color myself, and to put a lot of doubt I had behind me. Been a fun adventure ever since. Color doesn’t have to be blaring to be joyful; thanks for the lessons.
Loved the photos and remembered many of them. (I also remember your gorgeous wedding photos.) How nice to see this retrospective of your work. Trains and moto jackets are great props.
@MJ, Let’s all spend more time near trains in moto jackets, no one will ever think of middle-aged women as uncool again. And, we can wear comfortable shoes;). Thank you for reading all these years.
I’ve often thought that one of the big determinants of good blog photos is a photographer who cares about the craft.
It can’t be an impatient husband wanting to be done with it before he goes onto whatever he really wants to do.
@RoseAG, I agree, the photographer has to care – either because they do it for themselves, they like the craft, or, they are the subject themselves putting tripods in city streets;).
I really enjoyed these. Thank you for posting your view of memory lane – they all look great to me!
Suz from Vancouver
@Suz, Thank you so much for walking down memory lane with me!
YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY!!!!!!!!!!
Enjoyed this very much as I was not with you from the GET GO!!!!!!!!
@LA CONTESSA, I GOT BRAVER OVER TIME! People like you inspired:).
All of these photos made me smile–a lot! I love them! You are stylish woman AND very m much yourself–all at the same time.
@Susan D., Thank you so much. I owe so much to the blog and its readers. xoxox.
My favourite is the one of you in the Gap jeans, Moto jacket & oxfords. The red lip and your hair up gives you a sassy look. My favourite hair style has to be the Ray Ban bob. You have a comfortable but hip way of dressing. I know! The terms date me. Lol
@Joanna, Yeah, that photo has been such a kernel of personal growth for me. Fake it till you make it indeed:). And my hair is SO LONG right now, I remember thinking that bob was too short but I am kind of tempted to try it again, now that you mention it…
Fun to reminisce about our different fashion eras. In which outfit do you feel most yourself?
@Mamavalveeta03, Very good question. IRL I am most likely to wear outfits like the one in Chinatown, or the bathroom selfie, or in the UNIQLO jacket. But in this series, although I really don’t wear that Leota dress, I feel that the photo conveys something about me that resonates in my self although I can’t quite articulate it. Something about a willingness to get blown about, a love of elegance, and a secret girlhood.
@K-Line, Thank you!
Love this look back! You are such an inspiration.
@JH, So glad you liked it – thank you!
fantastic! What a wonderful restrospective, and filled with not only style but warmth and life.
@Mardel, Thank you – the blog made the warmth and life possible. I owe you all a great debt.
Such great photos! You seem so relaxed in front of the camera. Thanks for sharing!
@Leslie K, My pleasure – thanks! And it was about becoming relaxed over time. Laughing at my own lack of propriety really helped:).
Love your favorite as well as do many!! They are excellent!
@Jb, <3 <3 <3
Thanks for the memories! I remember you posting the majority of these so must have been reading your blog longer than I thought (time flies I guess). You look relaxed and happy in front of the camera.
@Chronica Domus, Time flies:). And I swear I want to go back to Alameda with you. I cannot let myself forget – that was so fun and I think I’d be much better prepared now to take advantage of the abundance!
These photos are so wonderful – your London colour palette is dead-on the shades in my closet right now – and I am still so grateful to give the Blue Nile necklace a home. Every time I put it on (and I wear it a LOT) I think of you and your style archetypes, and challenge myself to put a bit more artsy cousin into my sturdy gal outfits.
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