Introducing women: Wendy Packer

Wendy fashion as inner strenght

Wendy Packer is a New Yorker fashion blogger, one of the first fashion bloggers to talk about women over 50. According to Wendy, fashion is just a way to feel good about yourself and others and increase self-esteem.

Wendy defines her way to dress up: classic with style, I would say that her style denotes good taste and charm: every choice seems not casual, but wise.

I invite you to read her interesting interview and take Wendy’s advice to heart.

 NotOnlyTwenty: Why and how did you decide to start your blog Fashion Over Fifty?

Wendy Packer- Fashion Over Fifty: I tried getting a job as a lawyer at 58 and couldn’t find one.  I decided to do something I have always been passionate about, Fashion. I would have gone in to Fashion design out of high school, but it wasn’t a big option then.  This past summer I took classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in NYC.  I was there a month and I plan on going back next summer too because it has always been my first love. 

NOT: Fashion Over Fifty has an incredibly engaged readership. What do you think is the secret?

WP: I have an engaged audience on Facebook. It started out as kind of a support group/magazine.I wanted to know what other women were feeling and I sought out women who were doing unusual things or who had reinvented themselves after 50. I presented content that 5 years ago, no one was providing. I think I was just a bit ahead of the trend.

 NOT: Do you think that women feel the society’s pressure to look fashionable, even in their 50-something and over?

WP: I don’t think there is pressure from society for women Over Fifty to look fashionable. That’s the problem. Society kind of writes our demographic off. Once you are a certain age, people start to ignore what you look like. Women start to feel invisible and their self-esteem starts to decline as well. It’s sad.

 NOT: Style advices from a fashion blogger can help women to feel more confident?

WP: Stay with the style that you have always liked. If you were preppy, just update your look with a bit more sophistication. If women think of themselves as more sophisticated in their tastes, they can wear classic pieces that never go out of style. Vintage designer clothes are very popular. Similarly, if you have loved boho chic, there is no reason to change. But, adding a bit of sophistication or toning it down might be more suitable.  However, there are those women who love to wear eccentric clothing all of the time. We have seen a trend in women totally rejecting all style rules and wearing as many colors and patterns as possible.This is so much fun, but it’s not for everyone.

NOT: Where does the style advice stop and where does rule begin?

WP: There are no rules.Toss those out the window.

NOT: You don’t have to be young to have style, but how important is budget?

WP: Today Marshalls, TJMaxx, and other discount clothing stores carry lots of name brands for less. You can also go shopping in your own closet and find the classic pieces that have always worked. Zara also copies runway looks for SO much less!! So, you can build your foundational pieces for a lot less today. If you have the money, adding a designer accessory can and a great flair to any entire outfit, but it’s not necessary. I try to show that on my Instagram page that you don’t need designer anything. In Europe, my favorite store is Primark. On Instagram you can find me at FashionOverFifty.wendy

 NOT: Who inspires you the most in fashion?

WP: Women who remain true to their classic style.

NOT: Do you think that fashion industry can change the idea that only thin and young women can represent beauty?

WP: It is already changing. Since I started doing this, 5 years ago, things are so different. Almost every department store or retailer has Plus Sizes whereas 5 years ago you couldn’t find anything. In magazines, you see women over fifty in advertisements and as models so much more.They are mostly in lifestyle segments, but that is also changing. You see women in catalogs and as models featuring the latest styles as well.

 NOT: What blog do you follow the most; and why?

WP: I don’t read blogs. I read WWD, The Impressionist, The Business of Fashion and other Fashion publications almost every day. I like to stay current with trends so that I can share them with my audience. I don’t look to others really because I try and keep the woman over fifty relevant. I do follow women on Instagram and my favorites are a few women from Germany.

 NOT: How do you describe your personal style?

WP: On the days I am not wearing jeans,I am very Classic. I am from the Midwest where we matched our purses to our shoes, and I still like continuity throughout a look. I love blazers, they go with just about anything. I also try not to buy separates because they just sit in my closet. If I do buy a separate, I have to have something in mind that I can wear it with. I haven’t really changed much from how I always dressed when I was younger. I guess I would call it traditional with a flair!

 NOT: What factors influence your style?

WP: My own taste is first, then price. As a blogger and person on Instagram I am always having to wear new looks.On a budget, which I have, it’s not easy when you have to constantly come up with new looks. Fortunately, designers send me things, so that helps. But, I always try and show women how they can look stylish in Fashion Friendly way for women over fifty, and you don’t need designer things either.

 NOT: How your style changes with age?

WP: Mine hasn’t changed all that much. I am petite and petite women can get away with more, I am not sure why. If I do wear a short dress, I will wear it with opaque tights and boots which makes it more classic than youthful. I have always like to have fun with accessories and I still do. Any woman of any age can find fun accessories and not lonely make them work, but they can make the outfit. Except, I don’t wear heels over 2 inches unless I am going to a party. Even then, if the heels are too high I can’t wait to sit down and then I don’t have as much fun.That is something I need to work on.

 NOT: Do you think women should dress ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?

WP: There is no such thing as age appropriate today. I have seen lots of women over fifty wearing shorts with a 10 inch inseam, and they look great. My knees have started to sag, unfortunately, so I prefer bermuda short, at least a 13 inch inseam. Lots of women have kept themselves in great shape, so if a woman can rock a bikini, go for it! On my blog, cleavage has been a big controversy. Some women don’t approve of much cleavage and others love it. I think it is how you were raised that determines that. But I believe, as women over fifty start evolving their style, their sense of self and sensuality will start to change. Woman are also beginning to feel more sensual, which is fabulous because our souls never age.We are the same person inside no matter what your age. Sensuality, sexuality, passion and lust for life, never leave us.

 NOT: Is there something that you would say to Italian women about style? 

WP: Yes, can you please come to the US and give some lessons to the women here.

NOT: What do you think about the current  fashion industry?

WP: I think it’s changing in a great way. My hero is designer Christian Siriano who has put women in sizes 16-20 on the runway. He has embraced diversity and so many celebrities are embracing not only his style, but his dream. I think others will soon start to follow because fashion should be for everyone. Not just for the 20-35 year old woman who is a size 2-6. You even see low end fashions like H&M, Target, and Kohl’s collaborating with famous designers because everyone wants to look stylish no matter what their budget. Thankfully, these less expensive retailers are doing this.

NOT: What do you think about the fashion blogging world?

WP: It’s fabulous. I love all of the new bloggers and their creativity.I especially like the Instagram women from Europe. Like I have said, most European women seem to keep their sense of style no matter what age. I love seeing styles from everywhere .It is stirs my creativity as well

 NOT: A secret for success with social networks? 

WP: My biggest success is mainly on Facebook. First, it is my passion. That is the key to anything!!  I also really like to engage with my audience .I like to know how they feel which is something you can’t get on Instagram. No matter what your passion, follow it and put your heart and soul in to it. My first year, it was my lifeline .Both my kids went to college and both my parents died between 2012 and 2013. When I started on Facebook in 2013, I was really lost. I reached out to so many women not only to help others, but to help myself. Whether its baking or photography or surfing, if it’s something you love, you will find a way.

 NOT: What do you have to say about the growing interest on over 50 fashion bloggers? 

WP: It’s fabulous.The more the merrier. It means that more women are taking an interest in how they look and feel. I think it is a movement away from the stereotypes that women over a certain age have to look and act a certain way. That is all such rubbish.

 NOT: Style and life suggestions for the 40 and over?

WP: To anyone any age, try to stay connected to your passion. We all go through hard times, some people lose themselves, and many have bouts of depression. But, if you can connect to that 5 year old inside of you and what you loved the most, and then start from there, I think that’s a good start.

 NOT: I think that fashion is just a means to expressing ourselves, what do you think about?

WP: We are all designers. Every day you wake up and get dressed, you are designing who you are to yourself and to the outside world. Often the way you dress is a reflection of how you feel. When I was in Law School, during finals, I was so stressed. I wore the same pair of sweat pants every day for 3 weeks, without washing them.

 NOT: In an interview you talked about the Over 50 Movement: it’s not only fashion is the right to live our lives as protagonists. There is something you would say to Italian women?

 WP: I think European women are amazing. Italian women still put themselves together before they leave the house. I have been throughout various parts of Europe the past 5 years and I am always so happy when I see how women of all ages still looking stylish. I think the American women have a lot to learn from the Europeans. In America, women have kind of forgotten how to put themselves together.

 NOT: Your plans for the future?

WP: I have a dream of bringing workshops to women over fifty.I have done these workshops and they are so empowering. We do runway training, makeup tutorials, hair styling and other styling classes .In addition we have classes that help women raise their self esteem.




Rita Palazzi
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