Tania Stephens has a message: 50 is Not Old, so why dress that way?
The 55-year-old fashionista from Grundy, Virginia has only been blogging six months but has already attracted a strong following who love her colorful outfits and energetic, youthful style.
Tania is open and friendly, a modern Nana, who reminds readers that style at midlife starts with the right mindset. As she says, “Age is an attitude, keep yours young.”
I recently had the chance to chat with Tania about her love of fashion and her perky style. Here’s my interview with this Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer.
Deb: How would you describe the way you like to dress? Has it changed much over the years?
Tania: I describe my style as eclectic; I like to mix classic, trendy, and vintage pieces all together. My husband describes my style, as “Classy with a little Trashy.” He said that means a classical look with sex appeal. He told me to think Marilyn Monroe. I’ll take that!
I’m sure I’ve changed over the years; I’ve even changed from last year to this year. I think that is one way to keep from looking older; you do not want to become too set in your ways.
Deb: Do you think it is important to follow trends?
Tania: I love trends! I think you should try to mix trends in with your current look; it helps you appear relevant and youthful. Going head-to-toe trendy might make you appear like your trying too hard.
Deb: What current trends do you love and which trends would you never touch? Why?
Tania: I love the plaids and stripes that have been so big this season. I also like red lipstick and distressed jeans, even though some say a woman my age shouldn’t wear distressed jeans. I’ve learned never to say “never.” Since there is no “actual” fashion police that will come and haul me away, I will wear what I chose. Haha
Deb: Why do you think many women over 40 give up on fashion and beauty?
Tania: I think when you are a teenager and in your 20’s, you think mainly about yourself. But as you age and start a family, your focus can turn to the husband, children, and even the house. We as women tend to put ourselves on the back burner, and we forget how to put ourselves first. Remember, even on a plane they will tell you to put the mask on first, and then take care of those around you. So put on the makeup and fashionable clothing, then tend to others, at least, you’ll look good.
Deb: Your tagline is “Age is an attitude. Keep yours young.” How can women over 40 achieve this without looking like they are trying too hard to look young?
Tania: I think we need to quit taking ourselves so seriously. Try new looks. Go for that pattern you felt was not for you. Wear color, and don’t fade into the background! Laugh at your mistakes and celebrate when someone younger compliments you on how nice you look.
Deb: There’s a lot of buzz on age appropriate dressing. What’s your take on it?
Tania: Phooey! What one person, or even expert, considers appropriate may not be the same as another. I think you should dress in what makes you happy. If you wear dowdy or frumpy clothing, Deb, that is how you feel. I feel young; therefore, I am going to dress young.
Deb: It’s obvious looking through your blog that you love color! I do too! Any advice for women on wearing color at midlife and beyond?
Tania: My sister is a prime example of this. Even though she is 5 years younger than me, she tends only to wear black, gray, and navy. These are classic colors, and there is nothing wrong with them. However, you need a little color to brighten you up. Start small, maybe a scarf or pin. Then you can build up to a solid color top or cardigan, and when you feel ready, then go for a print.
Deb: You’re very open about your size, your weight, etc. Tell us about your body type and tricks you use to highlight your figure.
Tania: I am straight as a stick. No real curves, and no defined waist. Since that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon, I can camouflage the problem areas. A blazer or jacket is wonderful for creating a waist, and a V-neck on a top is one of my best friends. Also, I try not to wear my clothing too tight; I have bumps and rolls, but you don’t need to see them.
Deb: You are Nana to four grandchildren. What do they think about Nana being a style star on the Internet? Also, What advice would you give to your granddaughters about how to develop their style as they grow up?
Tania: Style star? LOL!!! That’s downright funny. The grandbabies do see the blog occasionally, but they think it is just like FaceBook. My two granddaughters, who are 7 ½ and almost 3, have already started developing their own style. It is funny how you can see their little personalities starting to show in their clothing and accessories. One is very prissy and the other, not so much. I think younger girls need to experiment and see what works for them.
Deb: You unapologetically love to shop. How does living in a small, rural town present shopping challenges for you?
Tania: I do love to shop, and I buy a LOT of things. But, I bargain shop and don’t pay that much for my items. I don’t get that many shopping opportunities, so when I travel, I tend to shop the whole trip. But, since I do live in a small town, I have learned to shop my wardrobe and supplement with what is available in my area. The Internet is open 24/7, so I can shop any time the feeling strikes.
Deb: What are some of your favorite stores whether you are shopping in person or online?
Tania: I love Talbots, Ann Taylor, Express, Old Navy, Stein Mart, TJ Maxx, GAP, and several on-line boutiques to name a few. My mother says I have never found a store I didn’t like. Haha!
Deb: You love vintage. Any particular era that you like?
Tania: It really depends. I love the 20’s for their Art Deco, and I love Bakelite and Lucite jewelry. In the clothing, which I can’t fit into, I love the 40’s and 50’s dresses. Women just look so feminine in that era. I can wear the coats, and I have a Leopard print coat with a Lucite buckle that is one of my favorite pieces. My mother and her friend host Vintage Fashion Shows several times a year, so I find most my items there.
Deb: The one thing that stands out in all your photos is your modern hairstyle. How important is hair to a woman’s look at 40+?
Tania: Hair is very important to women of any age. That is the one part of our bodies that we cannot hide. I don’t get bent out of shape about my hair. If I cut it too short, then it will grow. If I don’t like the color, then I can change that. I do recommend that you go to a stylist that looks modern and has an updated hairstyle. If she doesn’t look current, chances are that you won’t either.
Deb: Anything else to add? Thanks!!
Tania: Yes, I want to say how thrilled I am that you asked me to take part in your Styleblazer Series. I am still in the newbie phase, so I appreciate you taking a chance on me. I am honored to be among the other wonderful ladies who have gone before me.
Deb: The pleasure is all mine, Tania. Ladies, be sure to visit Tania’s blog, 50 Is Not Old where she shares her everyday style and tips on fashion, beauty, shopping, and more.