Jeannette Perez was a mechanical engineer for the U.S. Army at the Department of Defense when a very challenging life experience made her rethink what she was passionate about. Eager to share her lessons in self-growth and her love of fashion, Jeanette took to the computer and started blogging in her spare time.
Miss Jeannie and Her Closet, was born in June 2014, literally out of Jeannette’s closet! She says it is the one place she can go to find peace and get ideas and inspiration for her writing. On Jeanette’s blog, you’ll find personal growth and fashion posts including dozens of gorgeous, feminine shots of this stylish 45- year- old from Orlando Florida. I got a chance to chat with Jeannette recently about her blog, and what makes her a Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer.
Deb: Eight months. This all pretty new to you. Tell us about your first shoot. What was it like putting yourself out there for the world to see?
Jeannie: Deborah, I was so nervous about getting pictures of myself taken and posting them online for everyone to see, but I didn’t allow my nerves to stop me from doing it. My daughter volunteered to take the pictures, so I gave her my DSL camera and told her just to point at me and shoot. The first photo session was quite an adventure. I was wearing a long green chiffon skirt and a denim button up shirt. We ended up with hundreds of pictures of me posing and spinning around. I felt so happy and in my “zone”, and I wanted to show everyone how much I loved that skirt.
The idea of putting myself out there took me a while to digest, but I didn’t let my mind- created fears and insecurities take over my so long “in captive” heart desires and goals. I took the challenge as a self-growth experience always reminding myself to not worry about what others may think of me as I have no control of their minds. And I did it!
Deb: How would you describe the way you like to dress?
Jeannie: I love wearing super feminine and classic pieces mixed with trendy and chic ones. As an example, for work and business related functions I enjoy wearing classy midi dresses and different types of skirts (not shorter than knee length) paired with classic pumps or stiletto heels ( yes!, I love wearing heels!). I have a soft spot for skirts, and I own too many of them (my mom and tailor are always making skirts for me). For casual outings and gatherings with friends or family I enjoy wearing jeans (any type) together with cute, feminine tops and of course, heels! I also like to wear casual and cute dresses with sandals or a pair of extra chic wedges.
Deb: Has your way of dressing changed much over the years?
Jeannie: Yes, it has. I now feel more confident about expressing who I am and wearing what I really like rather than following other’s expectations of how I should dress. And even though I enjoy looking up to others for inspiration I always end up wearing what makes me happy and feels right to me.
Deb: Favorite things to wear and things you like to steer clear of?
Jeannie: I feel the most feminine and at my best when wearing dresses, skirts, and high heels. Wearing a classy midi dress or a midi skirt paired with a feminine top and a pair of high stiletto heels not only boosts my confidence but also empowers me and makes me feel great. I steer clear of wearing deep V cuts or showing too much of my upper chest area. I am super conservative when it comes to wearing tops. Now and then, especially for the blog, I get out of my comfort zone wearing pieces I wouldn’t normally wear. Sometimes I end up loving them but sometimes, after looking at the pictures I am like; “Nope, this is definitely not for me”. The blog, as you can see, has opened the doors for me to experiment with fashion, be creative and try new things, and I love it!
Deb: If your closet could talk, what would it be telling you?
Jeannie: Please de-clutter me or get a bigger piece of real estate to accommodate all the stuff you have!!! This year, it is one of my goals to re-organize and de-clutter my closet and only keep what I really wear, like, and fits me best. Re-defining my personal style has been an ongoing process that started a few years back, and just like any other process, there have been many trials and errors. Consequently, I have ended up with a few or too many things I no longer need or wear and that I really need to find a new home for.
Deb: There’s a lovely romantic quality to your style. Are you a romantic at heart? How do enjoy expressing your femininity through your style?
Jeannie: I actually showed this question to my better half, and he immediately said to me: “I am really looking forward to seeing how you answer that question!”. Of course, I smiled:-) I have to admit that I am personally not the most super romantic human being when it comes to relationships (I really need to work at it!). However, I tend to gravitate more towards romantic pieces, and lady-like looks when it comes to my personal style. I feel like I have a spiritual connection with the romantic era and the legendary and fabulous Ms. Audrey Hepburn.
Deb: I love the spiritual self-growth lessons you share that you intermix with your style shoots. Tell us more about that.
My blog is a vehicle for me to manifest my passion and love for fashion and to share my very own spiritual self-growth experience as I move forward in life. A few years ago, I went through a very challenging life event that brought me significant human pain and forced me to develop a powerful spiritual awareness that continues growing and impacting my life in so many positive and wonderful ways. It has now become a passion for me to share the understanding I have gained in life with the rest of the world and that I continue gaining throughout the journey.
Deb: What are the greatest self growth lessons women can learn through developing their style?
Jeannie: To stay true to ourselves and be who we are. Live free and not be afraid to experiment or try new things, as it is with the change that we get to experience great things and new possibilities in life . And to do what brings joy and makes us truly happy.
Deb: Great hair! Any tips? So many of my readers want to keep their long hair but feel the need to cut it at a certain age. Have you ever been tempted to cut it. Do you think there will ever be a time when your long hair feel “inappropriate” because of your age? (or it just silly?)
Jeannie: Thanks! I have kept my hair below the shoulders for a very long time. The way I wear it now is the longest I have ever had it. I keep reminding myself to make an appointment with my hairdresser to get rid of a couple of inches, not because I feel I may be too old but because it is super challenging to keep. I will admit I do take good care of my hair. I don’t wash it every day, but instead, I use dry shampoo in between washes. One of the challenges that comes with getting wiser or older is hormonal dysfunction and consequently dry and dull hair. I do conditioning mask treatments at least twice a week and use a few drops of argan oil to add shine to the ends.
I don’t have any gray hair yet (thanks to my dad’s good genes!), so I keep my hair natural and dye-free except for a few highlights here and there. Instead of looking at my age to determine whether I should cut my hair, I look in the mirror and ask myself, do I like what I see? And yes, as of today, I want to keep my hair long. That may not be the case tomorrow, but I will wait and see.
Deb: Do you think there is such a thing as age appropriate dressing. Why, why not?
Jeannie: I feel this is a very controversial question as the answers can go in many different directions, but I will answer it with my most sincere heart. Age is just a number and shouldn’t dictate the type of clothes I wear. Instead, I go by what fits my body type best and how I feel when I look at myself. I personally wear what makes me feel good and happy as ultimately, that is what life is all about, right?. I am not saying I will be wearing a mini skirt after I turn 46 or five years from now, maybe yes or maybe not! I rather enjoy the moment always using common sense and worry about it when I get there.
Deb: You seem like a natural model. Were you ever one? Any aspirations to ever be?
Jeannie: Thanks so much! I am very flattered, but no, I have never modeled before or taken modeling classes in my entire life. Growing up, I did express interest in enrolling in modeling classes to participate in fashion shows and wear all the pretty clothes, but to be honest with you never thought of it as a potential career. I now enjoy posing and modeling for all my blog pictures, and I am having so much fun with it. I am getting the hang of it!
Deb: What do you think makes a woman, especially a 40+ woman, beautiful?
Jeannie: The way we carry ourselves and the confidence we all share. The love and compassion we have for our bodies, our hectic minds, and for others. The experience we have under our wings and the lessons we take from it to move forward in life and to pass on to others. Beauty comes from within, and to be beautiful, we must feel beautiful no matter our life conditions or situations as they are part of our divine purpose.
Deb: One piece of fashion advice you would like to pass onto my readers?
Jeannie: To look at fashion as a source of inspiration but also to create and develop your very own style. Fashion is always changing and evolving, but our true style is unique and, in essence remains the same. It reflects who we are. Finally, wear what makes YOU feel happy and good about yourself and forget about the rest.
Deb: Jeanette, Thank You for sharing your lovely style and inspirational messages with us. Ladies, be sure to drop by Jeanette’s blog, Ms. Jeannie, and her Closet.