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‘Fashionistas’ Over 40: An interview with Not Dead Yet Style’s Patti Gibbons

‘Fashionistas’ Over 40: An interview with Not Dead Yet Style’s Patti Gibbons
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BY NAAKAI ADDY

One of the benefits of the internet’s exponential growth is that it is the great equalizer of voices. Although the fashion world still often operates under the assumption women over thirty don’t even bother participating in fashion, the blogosphere has successfully demonstrated otherwise. To showcase some of those voices, we interviewed three incredible female bloggers in the fashion and beauty realm who have found enthusiastic audiences in women in their forties and up. In the first part of our series, blogger Patti Gibbons chats with us about the origins of Not Dead Yet Style and why it has struck a chord with women over the age that designers tend to target.

Patti Gibbons came to fashion later in life, but with no less passion and creativity than lifelong style gurus. On her witty and refreshing blog, Not Dead Yet Style, she has given visibility to the joy and fun that women over fifty can experience with fashion. Although designers and advertisers can be reticent to show mature women having a sense of adventure with their style, Patti’s site is a delightful remedy.

Patti Gibbons photo 1

  1. What prompted you to start Not Dead Yet Style–Were you always involved in fashion?

I was kind of a late bloomer when it comes to fashion (and to marriage too, I got married when I was 47). I have to give credit to early bloggers for sparking my interest in fashion and style. It seemed rather magical to just type a few keys and see real-life women wearing real-life clothes. Including women in my age group.

My blog name, Not Dead Yet Style, is courtesy of my friend Joni who used that expression over a coffee one day. She was describing our persistent love of all things stylish.  I think we can have fun with fashion as long as we are not dead yet, and I plan on that being 30 more years!

  1. How has the response been to the website?

I have been very fortunate in seeing my blog grow over the four years I’ve been publishing. It seems I am not alone, as a 50+ woman, in still caring about inner and outer beauty.  My regular link up, Visible Monday, has drawn many readers to my site, and for that I’m very grateful.

  1. What are some of the prevalent style challenges for women in middle age and above?

My readers know that I am no fan of “fashion rules” for anyone other than myself. For me the mantra has been “nothing too short, too tight, or too low cut.” But if an over-50 women likes to rock a miniskirt, that is cool with me. Wear what you love, no matter your age, and feel confident.

I do find at 60, I am more attracted to high-quality pieces, especially accessories. I prefer a good purse from a consignment shop to a mediocre purse at a big department store.  And I think I am finally old enough to wear real jewelry. Latest acquisition: gold peace-symbol earrings.

  1. How, if at all, has your own perspective towards fashion changed over the years?

I am more creative, fluid, and varied in my style now as opposed to my corporate years. It’s very freeing to be able to experiment with color, shape, and silhouette as I grow older. I don’t think fashion or style has an expiration date. I am thrilled to see more attention being paid to the over-50 woman.

Your own site is a terrific example of this.

  1. In an industry that can still be rather youth-obsessed, what would be your advice to designers, industry experts and editors regarding the representation or inclusion of women in their 40’s and up?

I enjoy seeing new lines come out for women who are not stick-thin or 19 years old. Melissa McCarthy’s new Seven7 line for larger women, for example, looks fresh and flattering. I also love seeing hemlines at the knee (my personal preference) and the use of comfortable, breathable fabrics. A little stretch is always welcome!

  1. Who are a few of the designers or retailers that offer great options for mature women? Anything else you’d like to add?

I don’t have many designer favorites, as I shop any/everywhere. But I do like Trina Turk, Diane von Furstenberg, and Nanette Lepore for grown-up, non-stuffy dressing. And a shot of Betsey Johnson for feminine whimsy.

Many thanks to Patti Gibbons for the interview! Stay tuned for part II of our series, where we interview Kim France, former editor-in-chief of Lucky Magazine.

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