Ask Allie: An Active Casual Capsule Wardrobe for a Woman Over 60

I am about to retire and would love to have advice about a capsule wardrobe to fit my new situation. I am a young 62 and pear shaped. I’m planning to focus on travel, enjoying grandchildren, blues festivals, yoga and walking. I like classic styles and love blues and greens.

Congratulations! That sounds like an amazing way to spend this new point in your life. And I love that you’re considering a capsule wardrobe so you can focus on life instead of what to wear each day. Purchasing carefully, slowly, and while considering all you currently own can get you to the point of having a small quality wardrobe of hard-working pieces that have you ready for whatever comes your way.

capsule wardrobe casual active over 60

For this casual capsule wardrobe I didn’t focus on yoga and walking as I figure you have gear for those activities; however I did try to create a collection that will move with you, be comfortable for long spans of time outdoors taking the grandchildren sightseeing or to the park, or sitting on a blanket in the grass enjoying live music.

As a pear-shaped woman, it can be hard to find bottoms that fit and flatter. For skirts, those with an a-line, a flare from the waist, or that are softly gathered will flatter your figure. A skirt at or below the knee not only balances your frame but provides modesty when chasing after little ones or sitting on the ground. While many women avoid shorts, they’re so practical and so many lengths and styles are now available making it so any woman can find a cut that she likes. For a pear shape, a straight short that hits right at the top of the knee is best. Here I offered a stretchy denim style with a cuff, and a stretch twill Bermuda that can dress up or down nicely. A “boyfriend” jean is great for pear shapes because they’re more relaxed in the hip and thigh area and the cuff makes them have just the right amount of taper and color contrast to not shorten the leg like traditional cropped pants. Many women choose dark bottoms to minimize their hips and rear, but a pair of opaque white jeans can be quite chic and flattering (and it also makes primary and jewel tones look so luxe). It’s not ridiculous to pay to have jeans tailored (if you purchase them from Nordstrom they will tailor them on-site); go up a size for a comfortable fit in the hips and thighs and have the waist and hem adjusted for a custom fit. A straight jean is on trend yet will still be stylish next year; such a cut also balances hips nicely.

For tops, I kept things simple but incorporated elements to balance your curves. Boatnecks, cap sleeves, and gathered necklines add interest and also balance the bottom half of your figure. Choosing tops that highlight the slimmest part of your torso are also great; look for empire waists, built-in belts (or add one at the waist or at the ribs over an untucked top), and details like ruching and knots that define. Notice I kept prints to a minimum and those prints quite classic – prints can look dated very quickly. Sticking to solids and classic simple prints will keep your wardrobe from looking passé or frumpy. Breton stripes are a classic and look chic on women of all ages; while florals can be seen as mumsy this simple white and blue print in a stretch silk or synthetic will look quite modern, especially when paired unexpectedly with boyfriend jeans or shorts.  A graphic print in your favorite color can easily be switched out for the floral.

With dresses, I incorporated the same concepts from the skirts and tops.  Fit and flare styles, cap sleeves, details to emphasize the waist, and skirts that hit at the knee or lower.  Do know that models are often taller than average; a dress that looks thigh-high on a website may be knee-length on you.  Consider the measurements offered as well as the photo (and customer reviews, if available) before judging a dress or skirt.

While a shoe with a bit of a heel will balance a pear figure, I believe in function over fashion and a flat shoe will do you better with your new lifestyle. Choosing shoes that match your bottoms or are low contrast to your legs will be the best choice; a metallic flat is a great way to dress up casual pieces but they’re also a great way to get away without wearing heels to a wedding or other social event.


Accessories are what take a capsule wardrobe from ordinary to extraordinary. Statement necklaces are a great way to draw attention to your face, add personality and also a youthful touch to your outfit. A silk scarf can look matronly, but in a bold print it adds personality and class to simple knits.

As for bags, choosing a crossbody means you have your hands free to hold on to your grandchildren, take a photo, or grab a pair of drinks for you and another at that next blues festival.  I can’t stress the importance of accessories enough, especially with a pared-down wardrobe of staples.  Accessories show your personality, show that you are young at heart, and that you are aware of current trends and care about style.  Don’t be afraid of a sparkly necklace, a metallic slip-on sneaker, or a statement watch or bag from a popular brand.

A pair of black plastic sunglasses are a classic; I recommend purchasing a classic yet popular brand and a style that is pretty classic to show you are aware of the trends but wearing them in the way that is best for you.  While I featured the classic Ray-Ban Wayfarer in the collage, other styles are equally chic; I chose a few that caught my eye and have them in the widget above.  With sunglasses and bags, I recommend buying the best quality and brand you can afford.  These are accessories you likely will wear every day; quality will last and also elevate your basic wardrobe staples.

What I Wore: Tiger’s Roar

tiana b dress review hsn dagne dover clutch review hsn tiana be dress review
Dress: Tiana B. Printed T-Shirt Dress c/o HSN | Bag: c/o Dagne Dover | Tights: Spanx | Shoes: ALDO “Spelonca” Stacked-Heel Leather Wedge c/o HSN | Bracelets: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) Nordstrom (similar), Bauble Bar | Lipstick: Revlon Matte ‘Really Red’

This is my second outfit partnership with HSN, and a second time for me to be utterly impressed by them.  The selection of brands in their Spring Fashion Collection, The Fashion Edit, are awesome. Vince Camuto, Sam Edelman, Kelly Osbourne, IMAN, and June Ambrose just to name a few. This dress from Tiana B. is part of the collection, and it’s that perfect stretchy fabric that isn’t shiny or clingy. It’s made for travel because it doesn’t wrinkle and can dress up or down with ease.  I chose this tiger print, but it also comes in a pretty blue floral.  Since it’s still cold I paired it with opaque tights and closed-toe shoes but come spring I could see myself pairing it with a denim jacket and tan sandals.  I hadn’t heard of the brand Tiana B. before but have become a fan; all pieces are from easy-care materials, plus sizes are available, and the line is manufactured in the USA.

I adore these shoes from ALDO via HSN; they’re surprisingly comfortable for the height; I wore them to work two days this past week and was able to dash across streets and stand for long spans of time.  The zipper detail on the back is a nice touch; I like them so much I am seriously also considering them in the cognac color.

This post is sponsored by HSN.  While I was compensated for it, everything I wrote is my own opinion.

Marching Forward…

How is it already March??? The beginning of 2015 went by in a flash, but the beginning of the year always does for our family. Birthday after birthday, Valentine’s Day and Girl Scouts and hey… one year since my arm first broke. We didn’t celebrate this milestone (arm, you’ve come a long way baby), but every time we have a crazy or difficult day Karl and I say to each other, “Well we’re doing so much better than we were a year ago this day.” It helps put things in perspective, and remind us of how blessed we are.

Friday night I went to yoga for the first time in a long while. Before Emerson, I used to go to Karl’s classes three times a week and Karl and I would start our mornings with a few sun salutations. After Emerson it was impossible to attend since someone had to stay home with baby and I woke before K, so our family sessions were few and far between. A little over a year ago, my mom started coming over Friday nights to put Em to bed so I could go to yoga. My mom has been going to Karl’s yoga class twice weekly since he started teaching and she knows the benefits from flexibility to a chance to let the mind be still. With the broken arm and the lack of flexibility after the casts and braces came off, it was near impossible to get through a class. And then winter hit, family illnesses and heating issues in the building where Karl teaches. Needless to say, Friday night’s class was a long time coming. It was exciting to be able to do every form, to put weight on my right hand and arm without pain or fear, and to get away from a computer and decompress.

With the weather, I’ve dropped my morning walking. A bit gun shy from the ice last winter, I’m pretty nervous outside in this weather and don’t feel confident enough to walk around, especially in the dark of the early morning. I try to do some yoga in the morning but I’ve gotten really out of habit. This month I am getting back into the swing of things, giving my body the movement it needs and deserves.

The holidays was also terrible for my food intake. I went off the Whole30 rails, enjoying desserts, pasta, Girl Scout cookies, and plenty of cocktails and I feel sluggish and… well old. It made me realize how light and comfortable I felt when on a primarily Whole30 diet so I’ve gone back. I’m still enjoying a glass of wine from time to time, but again cutting out the grains, the sugar, and the dairy. Karl’s completely on board and makes Whole30-friendly dinners and we’ve agreed to again have the kitchen stocked with Whole30 foods to make breakfasts and lunches easy. I find it’s not temptation of the non-compliant foods; except for things like Samoas and potato chips I don’t crave the cheese, bread, or sweets that are in the house. I find I falter when it’s too difficult to figure out what to eat. Having ground beef, avocados, olives, pre-cut veggies, lots of fruit available makes it easier to stay on track.

I’ve been pretty stressed in general, but it hasn’t been bad things. I don’t know what I was smoking when I agreed to be a co-leader for Emerson’s Daisy Girl Scouts troop, it’s not like I needed anything additional on my plate, but I love it. I co-lead with two amazing fellow moms in my community and I love how we’re very different people bringing different skills and talents to the troop, and how well we work together. Right now it’s all about the cookies (as an FYI to those who don’t know, Girl Scouts doesn’t give troops any funding, the money for their troops to run and their activities to take place – even buying patches and badges comes from either dues or fundraising/selling cookies). Since we’re a brand new troop and have girls of different economic levels, we’re trying to make it with just fundraising profits and not dues. This weekend we had our Investiture Ceremony and the girls got their pins; they were so excited and we are thrilled to see how much they have learned and grown since we started just a few short months ago. Booth sales run through this month, but we’re starting to focus on the girls earning their Daisy Petals. I’m looking forward to our spring activities!

Work has been a bit crazy. My department transitioned to a new company, and so far it has been pretty great. They’re a friendly, collaborative group and have really made us feel welcome and part of the team. We’ve had a lot of moving around for the companies: most of our DC office moved to a new location this January, a different location’s staff is moving into our office in those empty desks this week, and come this summer my department will be moving to the new company’s location. It’s the time of year for annual reviews so I’ve been spending a lot of time after work hours writing evaluations. It’s also a time of the year for proposals and rebids, so we’ve also been busy with budgets. With the change to a new company, my staff changed so we’ve had to adjust with fewer folks and learning how to ask for help from our new coworkers. But there’s a positive feel in the air, we’re doing some fun new things with new clients, we’re getting energy from our new creative coworkers, and I think it’s going to be a great year for my department.

And the blog… well after ten years I think it’s time for some renovations! I hate it when my favorite blogs change so much I don’t recognize them and don’t know how to navigate them. As I do a bit of a facelift to Wardrobe Oxygen in the next couple of months, I’m keeping that in mind. I’d like to hear from you so I can be sure this site is still easy for you to read and access. The content isn’t changing, it’s more of a site makeover. What do you like, what do you hate, what does another blog have that you find really useful. I’ll consider all feedback, there’s no point in updating this site if it makes it less enjoyable for you to read and access!

I’m starting a monthly newsletter, which you likely noticed by the pop-up on the screen (mobile users don’t see it because I think pop-ups are a PITA on my phone and I didn’t want to do that to you). This newsletter will provide content not on the blog or social media – reviews of what I have recently read, listened to, or seen; upcoming events I’ll be attending or you may wish to attend; promotions and sales just for newsletter subscribers; I’ll also be answering reader questions and discussing personal style and current trends. Do sign up (here is the link), the first newsletter will go out this week and they’ll be a first week of the month occurrence. And as I request for the site update, I appreciate any feedback to make these newsletters better for you!

Fashion has been minimal with this weather. Lots of layers, wool, cashmere, and fleece. I said I was going to return these boots in this post… but I didn’t. The soles are awesome for the slush and ice, and I can step on what I think is firm icy snow and fall into a deep puddle of slush and stay dry. They’re not the most flattering but they’re pretty badass in how they handle winter. I wear with leggings or jeggings, and have worn under work trousers for my commute.  I can’t wait for warmer, dryer weather so I can get excited about fashion again!

So how are you doing?  Surviving the winter?  Anything new or exciting happening in your neck of the world?