What I Wore: This is 44

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Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen in a red wrap dress from Universal Standard

Guess who was born 44 years ago today?  Moi!  Happy birthday to me! I know a lot of people dread their birthdays, but the older I get the more I am glad I am able to be healthy and here to celebrate it.  And I feel stronger and healthier at 44 years of age than I did at 43.  Age is but a number, and while we can't stop the hands of time, we can make some small changes to better enjoy the time we have on this planet.  And I'm going to enjoy it rocking this red Universal Standard wrap dress!

universal standard red wrap dress 4

dress | necklace | earrings | shoes | ring | lipstick | lipgloss

red universal standard dress 3

Dress: Rivers Wrap Dress c/o Universal Standard (XS) | Earrings: Lovestruck Earrings c/o Jenny Bird | Necklace: Love Pendant c/o Jenny Bird | Ring: Baublebar | Shoes: c/o Talbots (same shoe but color sold out; similar shoe in the same color) | Lipstick: L'Oreal in Matte-traction Red | Lipgloss: Avon True Color Lip Glow Gloss in Flame

universal standard wrap dress 3


Valentine's Day is right around the corner and this look would be perfect for it.  I recently received this Universal Standard wrap dress.  It's a crepey fabric that doesn't cling and is opaque.  I love the gathering at the shoulders which ensures there's plenty of coverage at the bust. The sleeves have proper cuffs and buttons which makes the dress more work-appropriate and look more expensive. I wasn't sure what shoes to wear with it, but taking my advice from Friday's post where I say there should be one “off” thing, I picked these plum suede pumps from Talbots.  You've seen them before in this blog post.  I like the effect much better than black, nude, or leopard (the regular go-to shoes).

universal standard dresses petite 4

Jenny Bird sent me the earrings and necklace to celebrate her “Love” collection and they are pieces that are lovely now, but also after Valentine's Day.  I think the necklace is too cool, a very subtle way of writing the word while making it a cool sculpture.  Jenny Bird jewelry continues to be one of my favorites for the creativity, modern look, and the impressive quality.

universal standard petite dress review 3

So back to feeling good at 44.  In 2018 I started a new job (this here thing you're reading) and a new lifestyle.  I go to the gym every weekday morning for 30 minutes.  We usually do weight training, with a bit of cardio.  To be able to keep up with this exercise, my diet changed.  I am now someone who walks by the fridge, opens it up, grabs a handful of baby spinach and shoves it in her mouth as she heads to the laundry room. I drink maybe once a month at most, go to bed most nights before 10:30, and try to meditate at least once a week. I had a hard time getting into the rhythm of working for myself and working from home, but it's starting to kick in and I've learned a lot about myself and my work style. I'm still working on letting others know when I have too much on my plate, saying no, and asking for help.  But at 44, I feel more in control of myself and more comfortable in this body than I have felt in years… maybe ever? I am off to celebrate my birthday by taking most of the day off.  I usually spend it doing things I rarely have time for – sitting down and drinking coffee in a cafe with my Kindle, going to lunch with my mom, hitting somewhere my husband hates like IKEA or a thrift store. But do know I started this day off with a good birthday sweat at the gym.  It's not about being thin, a certain weight, a certain dress size.  It's about finding ways to live this life as vibrantly as possible!

Shop the Post:

Universal Standard red wrap dress and Jenny Bird "Love" pendant as seen on Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen


  1. January 13, 2020 / 11:12 am

    A birthday coming soon again for you pretty lady! And you still look 34!!

  2. Linda B
    February 2, 2019 / 8:16 am

    Happy belated birthday wishes, dearest Alison! I am sorry that my crazy week did not include time for reading (let alone responding to) my favorite blogs, so that my birthday salutation is nearly a week late, but better late than never.

    I am so delighted that you feel more yourself than ever, at 44. I think we truly have infinite possibilities to grow as we age, and get stronger inwardly and outwardly. Thank you for sharing your own inspiring journey with us. I am on a similar path. . . I don’t think I had made as much personal progress as you at 44, but at 61, I know what I need and go for it. Here’s to being strong, striving women!

    Last but not least, you totally rock that red dress with the violet heels.

  3. February 1, 2019 / 3:03 pm

    Happy Birthday. . . Enjoy every minute. Love your dress and dem Shooze. . .

  4. Grace
    January 31, 2019 / 3:09 pm

    Happy Birthday! Totally love this dress and color. Reminds me of my fave wrap in red!

    • February 5, 2019 / 12:44 pm

      Oh that dress is stunning! I keep meaning to check out OfMercer. They had a popup in Georgetown like two years ago and I loved the quality but was between sizes. I should check them out again, thanks for the reminder!

  5. Karen
    January 29, 2019 / 2:22 pm

    Happy Birthday Alison! Forty four looks fantastic on you.

  6. karen
    January 29, 2019 / 6:32 am

    happy birthday! wishing you nothing but the best for this year and for all the years to come

  7. Tara
    January 28, 2019 / 9:40 pm

    Happy Birthday! You look wonderful, I love that you took your own advice with the purple shoes, and I truly enjoy coming to your site each and every day. You are honest and inspiring and I am grateful for your hard work. My birthday is coming up in early February and like you, I feel like it’s a great time to be thankful and move forward joyfully!

    • January 29, 2019 / 2:47 pm

      Ah, a fellow Aquarian! I knew I liked you Tara! ;). Thank you so much!

      • Tara
        January 29, 2019 / 3:11 pm

        Water-bearers for the win! Ha ha!

  8. Lee
    January 28, 2019 / 7:36 pm

    Happiest of birthdays to you!

  9. Christine
    January 28, 2019 / 5:21 pm

    Happy birthday! I love the look and the shoes are scrolldown bling! (My just-made-up opposite of scrolldown fug, a-la the Fug Girls.)

    • January 29, 2019 / 2:56 pm

      LOL I like it, scroll down bling. I’m going to have to find an opportunity to use that phrase!

  10. Lindsay
    January 28, 2019 / 4:32 pm

    Happy birthday!!!! <3

  11. LORENA
    January 28, 2019 / 4:19 pm

    Oh we’re both Acquarius 😉 I celebrated mine last Monday !
    Hope you have a marvelous celebration, red is superb on you.

    • January 29, 2019 / 2:57 pm

      Happy belated birthday, Lorena. I am not surprised you are an Aquarius, I think it shows in your style!

  12. DWJ
    January 28, 2019 / 2:33 pm

    Happy birthday! You’re getting better and better every year.

  13. Stacie Scattergood
    January 28, 2019 / 2:23 pm

    Rockin that dress–and I love you did your workout this morning. I like to think about working out as my savings back for enjoying the time when I don’t have to go to work every day. And also, for helping me keep up with an active almost 4 year old.
    Happy birthday Ali–44 looks great on you. May this trip around the sun bring you continued joy and success.

    • January 29, 2019 / 3:01 pm

      Oh I love that mentality, it’s a savings account! And thank you so much, Stacie!

  14. Cynthia
    January 28, 2019 / 1:39 pm

    Happy birthday, Allison — you look FABULOUS!

  15. Carla Kohmescher
    January 28, 2019 / 9:40 am

    Happy Birthday, Alison. I hope you have the best day ever!!

  16. Krista Alexander
    January 28, 2019 / 9:32 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Now please excuse me I need to go over to the Universal Standard site and order this dress.

    • January 29, 2019 / 3:09 pm

      It’s a pretty fab dress, you’d look great in it!

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