Every so often, I like to profile a 40+ blogger friend whose personal style is distinct and inspiring. So this week, meet Annette Hoeldrich.
Annette is the creative force behind Lady of Style, a fashion and style blog for mature women. Each week she showcases her outfits in a series of photos taken in her hometown of Bavaria, Southern Germany.
In a world where many women are trying to cling to their youth by dressing ultra-casual and even very racy, Annette is a breath of fresh air. She always looks polished, modern, and lady-like. Annette has a fabulous style and the confidence and class to carry it off. I chatted with her recently about her lovely way of dressing that makes her a Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer.
Deb: Annette, How would you describe your style?
I love and feel most confident in classy, feminine—elegant attire worn with chic and trendy accessories. Dresses are my favorite garments, especially figure-flattering wrap dresses. When I incorporate trendy pieces in my outfits, I always make sure to give them my signature. I am not a fan of too casual looks, and when I wear jeans, I prefer dark blue ones. I like to style jeans with a classic blazer and heels.
Deb: If you could go back in time to experience the fashion of a particular era, which era would it be?
Annette: Probably the glamorous era of the late ’40s and ’50s. Think of Chanel, Dior, evening robes, or style icon Grace Kelly. They’re my style. Current designers and celebrities whose style I admire include Victoria Beckham and actress, Olivia Palermo.
Deb: Do you think women our age have more freedom than ever when it comes to dressing, or do you believe there is age-appropriate limits?
Annette: This is quite a controversial topic, and even my blogger friends have different thoughts about it. While I always have been quite strict and maybe sometimes also restricted myself a bit, I am a lot more open and flexible now, I’d even say I am more adventurous now. There are limits, but most of them are more dependent on your body shape rather than your age. A mini skirt might not be suitable for some 25-year-old women.
I wouldn’t wear a skirt that ends above my knee; I just don’t feel comfortable any longer and find a length around or only above my knees more flattering. I think a leather pencil skirt even looks sexier at that length anyway! I have always loved a feminine style, and over the years, I mainly wore sophisticated, elegant looks.
I love dresses and usually style them with classy pieces like a blazer and heels, which are a very safe option. I still wear this look to the office or more formal social events where this is the appropriate dress code. However, I now might pair a dress with a black leather jacket or wear it with booties instead of heels or classic knee-high boots. I especially love a style mix of classy and current, trendy pieces.
Deb: How often do you shop, where, and what are your favorite things to buy?
Annette: Since I live in the countryside with not much choice of local shops, I shop 90% online. When I am traveling, I love to make extensive shopping trips to my favorite stores. My daughter is studying in London, and when I am visiting her, I take the opportunity to have a look around, often together with her. As she is studying Fashion Communication and Promotion, I love her insight and style advice. She is always encouraging me to wear new and trendy pieces and introduces me to new brands.
Favorite things: Dresses, Tops, blouses, accessories, handbags, shoes.
My least favorite: Swimwear!! Haha…for obvious reasons ;-) Buying a bikini or bathing suit when you are not yet in bikini shape plus very pale, and then a neon-lit changing room is probably every woman’s shopping disaster!!
But I also don’t like buying jeans. I don’t have many and rely on NYDJ as I know they will fit my body.
I shop at Mango and Zara; I like Massimo Dutti, and when I am in London, I visit Banana Republic, Jigsaw, or J. Crew. Unfortunately, Ann Taylor is not available here in Europe, and shipping costs and taxes from the States are quite expensive. Otherwise, I think I’d be a regular customer!
Deb: We all have style challenges. What are yours?
Annette: The weather! Here in the Bavarian Alps in Southern Germany, we tend to have a long period of cold weather with snow. I cannot always dress the way I would like to but often need to wear warm clothes. Now in winter, that means snow boots, coat, gloves… Often I take a pair of extra shoes to the office and change there.
I am a 100% summer person, and I am struggling with winter!
I am an hourglass shape, and most trousers either fit around my hips or my waist. As I mainly shop online, I have tended to order one size up when I am in doubt. Luckily I have a very skilled seamstress who will alter everything for me.
Hemlines – why are so many dresses and skirts so short?
Deb: What type of accessories do you prefer, and do you have any unique ways you like to wear them?
Annette: Jewelry is a must! Until recently, I wore a lot of statement necklaces, but currently, I am especially fond of more delicate or refined pieces. I feel naked without a necklace! Only when I am wearing bigger earrings like chandeliers, I don’t want to overload my look and will refrain from a necklace. Shorter necklaces and statement pieces I will always wear under my blouse or top, although it is fashionable to wear them on top.
I do wear scarves, but they are not my no.1 accessory unless it is for keeping me warm! Handbags, for sure! Unless I am using a classic, basic bag in a neutral color, I will always change and match them with my daily outfit!
Deb: What’s the best style tip you have ever received?
Annette: Trends are not for all people, and trends go out of style. Personal style never does. But if you do love a trend, learn how to incorporate it into your style. And I love Coco Chanel’s quote, “I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”
Deborah: Do you have any words of wisdom you want to pass on to Fabulous After 40 readers?
Annette: Find the right balance for YOU and don’t try too hard to look younger – you don’t want to compete with your daughter and her friends! Stay open to trends, but always make your outfit your own. 1. Wear what flatters you 2. Wear what you feel competent and confident in 3. Wear what’s appropriate for the occasion Thanks, Annette, Keep on bringing us those great outfits!
Ladies, be sure to check out Annette’s excellent blog, Lady of Style. You’re sure to pick up a few great ideas!