As popular as they are, wearing leggings for non-sporting activities seems wrong in my style book. However faux-leather leggings have received a tremendous amount of publicity this winter and fashionistas everywhere are not prepared to give up their seemingly essential trend of choice for that carefree effortless look that also boasts a svelte silhouette.
Despite my reluctance to embrace the wonder leggings, I was surely tempted by the ease of wear, certainly the faux-leather texture ups the style quota whilst minimizing the sport vibe. Looking beyond their lack (in my opinion) of creativity I could see the versatile benefits that come with wearing a piece so simple and basic.
Admittedly I purchased and returned more than one pair having tried them out in the comfort of my own home with various looks. I didn't feel they lived up to their reputation. Specifically, the Spanx leggings ($98) were a definite no-go for me, too much like wearing tights, too legging-like and, not a natural leather look - a rather blotchy and unrealistic finish. They also rolled down at the waist which they claimed not to... although the odds are stacked against them with my midlife midriff!
Another pair I tried were the Sanctuary leggings ($99). Whilst these did have a better faux-leather finish than the Spanx, it was a tad too polished! They have additional detail around the body to make them look like a jegging as opposed to a straightforward legging. Worst design flaw... the inside of the waistband is the faux-leather fabric turned inside which sticks to your skin and ultimately becomes a sweatband! Yuck.
I decided to give it one more shot before throwing in the faux-leather legging towel and as luck would have it my perseverance paid off. Say hello to my legging friend... Commando!
From the day I brought these babies home I've never looked back and will certainly NOT be taking them back. These are keepers for sure!
They may possibly be the perfect pant to wear with combat boots, which makes them worth hundreds of dollars more than their $98 price tag given the viral popularity of said boots.
And, never underestimate a 4-inch heel with Swarovski-like crystal embellishment to establish who exactly is in "Commando" around here! Yes indeed... for leggings they scrub up pretty well for a night out on the town!
Just in case your day is all about action, a sweater or tee and sneakers is still going to give you that movie star incognito vibe... a sporty chic disguise for a girl boss in Commando!
As you can see from this closeup, the leather look is very real, yet the wear-ability is amazing from a comfort perspective. An all-directional stretch without sagging, soft and pliable but supportive in all the right places - very important from my 58-year-old point of view!
I was initially concerned that the hems were not finished off. I wondered if I should cut them to a desired length and take them to my tailor to hem professionally. Then I realized the unfinished hem left them open to much more flexibility. Since they don't fray there is no need to hem them, and when left to their original length they come long enough to grip nicely around the lower ankle for wearing under socks and boots keeping them securely in place with no bulk or riding up.
Alternatively, when wearing with shoes or sneakers, the hems can be invisibly tucked under to the required length allowing any amount of ankle display desired... ingenious!
Oh, and a couple of very important last-minute thoughts... there is no fear of a camel toe because of how well structured they are, the high waist is truly a high waist, not one you need to pull up to excruciating heights! Secondly, there is a re-enforced silken inner waistband that performs slimming miracles and I know this for a fact because I virtually (actually had to) wear them non-stop through the Christmas frivolities and they literally saved the day, every day... Commando to the rescue!
The sizing is as you would expect. I'm wearing a medium and they're snug although super comfortable. They mold to your body as you wear them and become a second skin, only a smoother taught skin. The best part is, they make you look about seven pounds lighter... got to love that!
If you're looking for that perfect legging to put you back in charge even if your holiDAY ended up being a holiMONTH as mine did, these bad-ass Commandos will have you strutting about with all the confidence of a whippersnapper!
Linked below these leggings, which also come in metallic hues... oh so fierce! I've also added some other pieces to create similar looks shown here.
There are affiliate links in this post which means I may receive a small percentage of sales made. This does not affect the price you pay.
From custom blends and designer brands down to drug store standbys there are thousands of perfumes at all price points, but if you haven’t found your signature fragrance yet, trying out a myriad of choices might be costing you a pretty scent!
Once found, the perfume that’s right for you will embody your essence, please you and those around you and blend harmoniously with your natural body aroma. A scent adds to your persona, can alter the way people relate to you and how they remember you, it should be subtle however... not hit you like a freight train coming through!
A perfume should be worn as a hint, not a full-blown statement! Don’t be that person who walks by leaving a trail of nose invasion, wearing too much perfume or a scent that opposes one’s natural human odor is not attractive, it’s tacky! Your perfume should be a gentle waft, a subtle suggestion of the woman or man you are, sexy, strong, deep… you get my drift!
I have only three fragrances in my repertoire used for different occasions. My everyday perfume which I’ve considered my signature scent for over 30 years. The second is my summertime occasion perfume and the third an evening scent for dressed up dates and special events. If you're still searching for the one that embodies your spirit, then read on for my suggestions... or should I say "hints"!
In 1988 I discovered my forever fragrance which came about on the recommendation of a gentleman friend with exceedingly good taste. He told me about a new perfume just launched by the house of Boucheron which he believed to be the sexiest scent he’d ever smelled on a woman! I tried it, fell in love and from that day on entered a lifelong relationship with this exotic perfume! The unique scent blends into my being and becomes one with me. It’s complex, light but spicy, notes of floral but not sweet, sensual and classic. I recommend the Eau de Parfum for daily wear, linked HERE.
I also love the body lotion of the same scent which I sometimes use instead of the perfume. It's luxurious, melts into the skin and gives an all over gentle hint of fragrance. I recently purchased a fabulous deal which is still available offering both the Boucheron Eau de Parfum and the Body Lotion in a beautiful gift box at a great price, linked HERE.
Boucheron fragrance notes (Source:basenote.net)
Lemon, Bergamot, Blackcurrant, Basil, Orange blossom
Tuberose, Jasmine, Lily of the valley, Geranium, Iris, Sandalwood, Cedarwood
Tonka bean, Civet, Oakmoss, Benzoin, Amber, Olibanum, musk
My husband discovered this perfume, a man very much into old classics… that’s why he married me! Whilst the perfume itself is one of their newer ones (2011), the company, Acqua di Parma was founded in 1916 in Parma, Italy. The Gelsomino Nobile is an exquisite perfume of floral jasmine, tuberose and mandarin among other notes. Every time I wear this, I receive a compliment and asked what it is. To me it’s a very summery smell, it’s pretty and fanciful, it’s laughter in a bottle!
Upon writing this post I discovered that it is no longer available, discontinued... well that was rude! There is another scent from Acqua di Parma called Magnolia Nobile which has very similar notes to the Gelsomino. I haven't tried it myself so I cannot give my recommendation at this point. You can read more about it along with reviews at www.basenotes.net
My third scent which I save for evenings, going out and special occasions is Black Orchid from the Tom Ford collection. This is an exotic, intoxicating scent which can drive a person crazy with desire (from my experience)! It’s deep, rich, luxurious and expensive but so worth it! A very little goes a long way and it lasts well.
Black Orchid fragrance notes (Source: basenote.net)
Jasmine, Gardenia, Blackcurrant, Lemon, Bergamot, Mandarin
Orchid, Spicy notes, Fruity notes, Lotus
Vetiver, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Incense, Amber, Chocolate, Vanille
Perfume is a very personal choice but if you already wear or like one of these perfumes there is a good chance you will like my other picks too... makes perfect scents, don't you think!
scentsible perfume tips!
Apply perfume only to your skin, never to clothes:
The oils can discolor and damage fabric and the whole purpose of perfume is to mingle with your own body oils which is what creates a unique smell solely yours!
Never rub perfume in:
When you spray it or dab it on leave it to dry by itself or pat dry at the very most. Rubbing it in can dissipate the smell so that it doesn’t last.
Best places to apply perfume:
Warm parts of the body that will omit the scent such as the neck, décolletage, the inside wrist. I know there are other warm body parts, but I’m assuming they will not be out in public, so no point wasting your expensive perfume there!
Do not store perfume in direct sunlight or where it can heat up. Room temperature and neutral light is best. Perfume does go off although it’s rarely labeled with a ‘use by’ date, so if you’ve had a bottle for years… yes that dusty old bottle at the back of the bathroom cabinet which looks like it contains a liquid resembling a malt whisky, it’s probably gone off… throw it away!
Best places to buy perfume:
I recommend to only buy from reputable stores or the perfume house itself. I once purchased Boucheron from an online perfume discount seller and I’m sure it was a dupe. It smelled similar but there were some ever so slight differences in the bottle and the color of the perfume, it also didn’t last for very long when I wore it.
What to do with partly used old perfumes:
You can donate them to women’s shelters or other charitable organizations. You can sell on Ebay, there is a good market for them. I don’t recommend purchasing them this way because there are lots of dodgy sellers out there, plus, they are usually past their “use by” date!
The availability of realistic high-quality faux leather fabric has enabled the fashion industry to expand the repertoire of luxe goods without the guilt. Likewise, consumers can purchase with less restraint due to more choices, generally easier on the purse strings and of course the feel good factor - no animals were hurt in the making of these pants!
Society has progressed toward a vegan (not just for food) trend for many years with influence from designers like Stella McCartney. Still producing her coveted vegan leather handbags and still charging a whopping $$$$ in most cases. Never judge a bag by it's cover!
Growing up on the fringe of the English countryside involved endless days playing in the woods, long bike rides through country lanes gathering wild blackberries along the way, and many an adventure with school friends exploring previously uncharted territory for mysteries that needed to be solved! This was the norm during the school holidays. It was an idyllic childhood, and undoubtedly the foundation upon which my love of country style began. Yet despite this I did not hesitate to abandon the familiar territory and dip my well-traveled rural young toes into a cosmopolitan metropolis and start my career in some of the swankiest hotels in London.
Our uniforms were stylish and chic including the shoes. The long shifts took their toll on my feet but did not deter my enthusiasm for a stylish shoe! That was then, when style inevitably compromised comfort, and my feet suffered accordingly! Forty years on, now in Arizona, my enthusiasm for a stylish shoe has never waned, but style AND comfort is a blessing and a necessity for my not-so-young-anymore toes!
By expanding on some old classics even those dating back to the Victorian era and beyond, current trends have been playing on the versatility of sleeves. Everything from exaggerated shapes in sheer organza to over-sized balloon sleeves creating bold silhouettes and contemporary designs. It's fashion at its best and totally fun for any midlife woman to partake in, especially those concerned about crepe skin and bingo wings, it's a fabulous camouflage and looks totally on fleek!
As a fashionista with a weakness for a cute trending handbag, it can be a costly endeavor and let's be honest, not all trends are here to stay or are worthy of a lofty price tag. If it takes three lifetimes to achieve a reasonable cost-per-wear then it's one I'll skip... NEXT!
However, this trend started floating about last year and all kinds of beaded bags have continued and still are a huge hit. But there is one that all others aspire to be and according to "Who What Wear", the one that wears the crown is the Antonia Faux Pearl bag by Shrimps.
Cargo pants may not be everybody's cup of tea, but relaxed wear clothes are becoming the norm and from a style perspective they're a step up from yoga pants... in many ways! This utilitarian, wardrobe workaholic can camouflage a myriad of midlife misfortunes! Even if a cargo or jogger pant isn't your style, there are a zillion twists on the classic version that likely will convert even the most steadfast objector not to mention there being oodles of ways to style them!
Many of us in our late 40's and 50's have thought about facelift surgery as a way to keep looking as young as we feel. But surgery is a big decision, and it can come with lots of questions about the procedure, the recovery process, and whether it’s all worth it.
For those curious about going the surgical route, I spoke with Dr. Jerold Olson, a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery in Tucson AZ, about what it’s really like to undergo a facelift. Check out what he had to share.
This season sees a revival of longer length shorts. Fashioned after the classic Bermuda shorts, they're more refined (with the exception of their denim counterparts) made with more modish fabrics and cut with a slimmer fit throughout. As such they're known as tailored or city shorts.
Zara can be an overwhelming store. It's big and bright (except for the changing rooms) and there's a lot to take in from clothes and accessories at eye level to shoes and bags at ground level and tables of flat lay clothes in between!
Tennis players and golfers are bound to own a skort or two, that ingenious invention of a miniskirt with a built-in pair of shorts underneath. Undoubtedly, ruffled miniskirts minus the risk of over exposure was a tempting draw to the game of tennis for me!
The skort is equally as practical off the court or the fairway! When it comes to bending over, a gust of wind, getting in and out of cars, the color of your panties will remain your secret!
Sedona is a scenic two-hour drive from North Scottsdale. One of the prettiest towns in Northern Arizona and home to the famous red rock mountains, some named according to the image they conjure up such as Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.
Visitors to Sedona are sure to leave better than when they arrived, if not on account of it's healing powers from the Vortex it is said to be - a swirling center of energy conducive to healing, meditation and inspiration. If the Vortex doesn't uplift or recharge your spirit, the sheer beauty, clean fresh air, good food and hospitality of the locals will not disappoint.
Here's how Sedona provided everything two shopaholic, hiking diva, food junkie midlife women could possibly want in 24 hours... minus anything Gucci!
A life of interesting stories leads to a face of interesting wrinkles!
I wasn’t overly concerned until my early-fifties, that is when the ravages of age laid it’s claim to my face. I’ve been afraid to try anything invasive including Botox… the needle, injecting something into my face, what if I don’t like the results? I’m probably beyond fixing anyway… if my face was Earth, some of the wrinkles would be relative to the Grand Canyon!
Thank you to two of my blogging friends Hilda Smith and Robin Lamonte who both nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Hilda and Robin are loyal insta-friends who I very much look forward to meeting one day. We've followed each other on social media for a while as women of a certain age with something to say… which we do via our blogs! I’m greatly chuffed that fellow bloggers like my work, the nomination is a lovely surprise.
In the never-ending struggle of wardrobe maintenance, ensuring a perfect outfit for every occasion from walking the dog in monsoon rains, attending a fashion show on a balmy spring evening and battling the furnace that is Arizona in the middle of an August day… let’s just say I have my work cut out.
Not only can this be a costly endeavor but an overcrowded one, and with neither a pile of money or a spacious closet, strategic measures must be taken.
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50