Creative people need a creative outlet. Alice Warren has found hers. By day, she is a banker, but in her spare time, she’s a fashion blogger. Alice is the founder of Happiness at Midlife.
Alice insists she is no fashion guru, and she that she simply started her blog three years ago as a way to exercise the part of her brain that didn’t get used at work. She wanted to prove that even though she worked in a conservative office, she could still be herself and express herself through clothes while not feeling frumpy or old just because of her age. All of Alice’s posts are of outfits she actually wears to work or plays around in on weekends.
Today this smiley 42- year-old from Southern California has a loyal audience who enjoys following her adventures in mixing and matching patterns & colors.
Here is my interview with this Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer.
Deb: How would you describe your style?
Alice: I would say my style is classic feminine with a fun twist. My style is dependent on my mood, weather, and occasion. Work is much more structured, while weekends are very laid back to keep up with my seven-year-old.
Deb: Has your style changed much over the years?
Alice: I would say my style has really evolved over the last several years, mainly from the influence of different bloggers that I follow. I follow some bloggers for their writing and a different sense of style. For example, I have recently started following Katie of Hello Katie. I love her use of colors and patterns in her outfits. I have been following Suzanne Carillo for years. I love her use of vintage pieces and making looks so relevant. I love that we have some similar pieces in our closets, and our way of styling a piece can be so different. It has really helped me get out of any style rut.
Deb: What trends are you currently enjoying. Are there trends you wouldn’t touch, or are you timid about trying?
Alice: One trend I never thought I would love wearing is fur. I always thought it was a bit over the top, but somehow, now I love the faux fur vest and scarves that I own. My trick to wearing faux fur is to keep the rest of the outfit simple.
As for trends, I wouldn’t touch them. I try to wear things that fit my lifestyle. For example, I can’t wear off-the-shoulder tops and cut-out tops to work, so it seems silly to buy one and wear it just on weekends.
Trends that scare me? This one is sort of silly, but I’m so afraid of wearing floral or leopard pants. I love patterns, but somehow, seeing them as pants on me makes me cringe, and I just can’t do it.
Deb: You talk about your love for color. Have you always been fearless about color? What does color do for you, and what colors are you most drawn to, and why?
Alice: A long time ago, I only wore colors and rarely any prints. I thought it was the best way to mix and match your wardrobe. I don’t really shy away from too many colors; I think all colors can work for anyone. I do know that mustard and citrine are colors that I tend to avoid near my face since it does not compliment my skin tone. If I wear these colors, it will be mixed in with other colors (like a floral top), or I will add a layer (blazer/ scarf/necklace) to break up the color.
Deb: You also mix a lot of patterns which can be tricky for the average person. When mixing patterns and colors, are there any general rules you like to follow?
Alice: I keep my pattern mixing very simple. When I pattern mix, I try to find a similar color in the top and bottom, and that’s about it. Some great pattern mixes that always seem to work are stripes with polka dots, stripes and leopard, floral and stripes, and leopard and plaid.
Deb: You wear a lot of polka dot pieces. What is about polka dots that you love?
Alice: I have never met a polka dot I didn’t like :) I love how fun and feminine polka dots makes me feel.
Deb: What’s your biggest fashion challenge? How do you get around it?
Alice: My biggest challenge when it comes to fashion is stopping myself from buying everything I see. I think having a fashion blog and active social media; you can get caught up in the “Keeping up with the Jones'” syndrome.
In the past couple of years, blanket scarves have been very popular, and I love seeing them on everyone. They add great interest to an outfit, and if you live in cold temps, they are so cozy and keeps you warm. I was lured by how cute they are and bought one last year. I live in Southern California when cold is in the 50s, so a blanket scarf is not necessary. I was sucked in by the hype and will have a blanket scarf ready when I do visit someplace that is actually cold.
I am trying to be a better shopper and putting things in a shopping basket and wait a few days to see if I really need it.
Deb: Five days a week, you dress for work. Have you ever found yourself stuck in a work wardrobe rut (wearing the same pieces over and over again, lack of inspiration, etc.)? How have you pulled yourself out of the rut?
Alice: Yes! I have many days that I am overwhelmed with the number of choices and feel like I have nothing to wear. I know a lot of people use Pinterest for outfits, ideas but I rarely use it. I do snap pictures on my iPhone and have an inspiration album that I find on mannequins at the mall, magazines, or blogs that I keep for ideas. Some pictures that I snap are color combos from furniture stores too. I also participate in style challenges on Instagram that make me pull out items that I have not worn in some time.
Deb: What advice can you offer other 40+ women who work in corporate environments and are struggling to inject some creativity into their office wardrobes?
Alice: I say start with small changes; it could be adding a pair of patterned shoes or a pretty scarf. You can keep the same wardrobe but make a big difference in outfits with accessories.
Deb: Dresses are a wardrobe staple for you, whether it’s a dress for work or the weekend. What is your favorite style of dress?
Alice: I do love wearing dresses. For work, I prefer to wear sleeveless dresses because they are great for layering. You can wear a collared top underneath it or a blazer over it. Personally, dresses without sleeves give me styling options. I tend to wear fit and flare and sheath dresses the most. My favorite dresses for the weekend are maxi because it’s like wearing pajamas!
Deb: What’s the biggest thing you have learned about fashion or your style by writing this blog?
Alice: I have learned that style is all about your attitude. If you have confidence, you can wear anything.
Deb: Thank you so much, Alice, for sharing your colorful style with us. You are Fabulous!! Ladies, be sure to visit Alice at her blog, Happiness at Midlife.