Fab Collab: Pastels for All Ages

It’s that time again when the ladies from JTouchofStyle and I pool our memories and photos to create a Fab Collab that spans the generations. Since it’s springtime, we’re diving into the sweet tradition of pastels in Spring. Over this coming week we’ll share style-memories from our past as well as ways we style these colors today. 

My story kicks us off, but I hope you’ll come back to see Jodie’s, Nancy’s, and Charlotte’s stories too. As many of you know, each of us was born in a different decade: Charlotte is in her 70s, Nancy is in her 60s, Jodie is in her 50s, and I am in my 40s. As a result, our memories offer quite a range of fashion history!

Below is a sneak peek!

The Old Rules of Pastels

Growing up in the South in the Seventies there were two fashion rules everyone knew and abided by.

Rule one:
On Easter pretend you’re a Monet painting and swath yourself in pastels.

Monet painting and photo of two girls in the 1970s dressed in pastels for Easter.
On the left, a Monet painting. On the right, my sister and I in pastel dresses with matching capes. My mother made those outfits and she assures me it was a battle to get me into mine–lace collar and all that.

Rule Two:
After Labor Day, lock those colors away and act like you’ve never heard of them.

Okay. So I’m exaggerating. Kind of.

But we did (and do) love our pastels for Spring. Below is the outfit I wore to the graduation ceremony for my dad’s doctoral degree in Memphis, Tennessee. The ceremony took place sometime in May or early June and I made sure to have a pastel-colored outfit to wear to it.

Pastels for graduation day.
Pardon my bragging for a moment, but I have to say how proud I am to have worn the same colors for my masters degree that my dad did for his masters and doctorate. We both studied theology in our graduate programs. That’s what the red hood represents. Not exactly a color related to pastels, but it still makes me feel good to look at this photo.

Traditions Change

Eventually my life took me out of the South to live in places like Washington, DC, Minneapolis, and Seattle. With each move the palate of my wardrobe got darker. That is, until we moved to Phoenix where the whole game changed.

Pastels tend to be lighter weight in fabric as well as color. That means I wore these colors I long associated with Spring year round!

Pastels after Labor Day.
I wore a pastel green top and cream-colored jeans to welcome the sweet pooch in the photo into our home in Arizona in late September, 2012. He wasn’t too sure about us then but he quickly learned we would love him forever.

My friend Suzanne over at SuzanneCarillo.com was under the impression when I saw her in February that the only colors I wear are pastels. (Okay. She knows that’s not true because I buy half my wardrobe from her Etsy shop and none of it has been pastel!) Still, I can see where she might get the idea that I wear these colors a lot. When we had our blogger meet-up in Arizona in February I wore the cardigan you see in the photo below a million times. It’s just a great layering piece for “winter” in Phoenix.

Over 40 Fashion blogger meet-up in Arizona.
Fashion Blogger Meetup in Arizona! Links are embedded in italics for each blog. Diane of Fashion on the 4th Floor, Patti of Not Dead Yet Style, Rena of Fine Whatever Blog, Suzanne of SuzanneCarillo.com, Margo of Wave Productivity, and Yours Truly!

Continuing the Tradition

Even after all these years living all those different places I equate pastel colors with this time of year. It’s kind of a sweet tradition–reflecting through fashion what the world is starting to look like outside. It’s a celebration, really.

So, to celebrate this tradition and to kickstart our first Fab Collab of 2017, I give you a look I have been wanting to share since last May. (For whatever reason, the timing just never worked out before now.)

Both the dress and the topper are vintage pieces I bought at Lula Vintage in Saint Paul, Minnesota when I visited there last year. Lula specializes in clothing over 25 years old. They’ve been holding high vintage fashion court at the corner of Selby Avenue and Snelling Avenue South since 1992. The owner knows her vintage. She wouldn’t be caught dead selling low-quality stuff.

If memory serves, both the dress and the topper date back to the 1960s. They’re made out of silk and, apart from one barely noticeable seam coming undone on the jacket, they are pristine.

You can see from the back how the seams of the jacket come in at the waist. What’s harder to detect is how roomy the bottom part of it is. It adds a little swing and movement when I walk.

I wear the topper over other things as well–including a dress I have plans to share in the next few weeks!

The dress I’m sharing today is a very light-colored baby pink. I don’t use this word often, especially with regard to something I wear, but it really is precious.

The back has a belt with two buttons. I love that detail! So Mod!

My grandmother’s long-strand “pearl” necklace seemed a fitting touch for this outfit that celebrates so many Spring memories. The other necklace suits the occasion nicely as well. My sister gave it to me for Christmas this past year. The stones in the pendant are hard to see here but they once sat atop a “Mother’s ring” my grandmother owned. She had two and my sister had matching necklaces made out of them–one for her, one for me. Even my sunglasses have special value — they are my mother’s from the 1960s when she was just a teenager.

The shoes are the only modern item in this entire ensemble! They’re Calvin Klein and I bought them on Amazon. They’re still available here if you’re interested.

Thank you for joining us on this Springtime Fab Collab! I hope you’ll check back in over the course of this week to see how Jodie, Nancy, and Charlotte create their own pastel celebrations Then and Now.

 


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  • Now, don’t tell your mother, but those Easter outfits looked like sleeping gowns at first (insert funny emoji here)!
    I remember a couple of sparring matches with my mother about wearing certain items—I’m glad I’m not the only strong willed child around–ha ha!
    But let’s talk about your present day outfit. It is the loveliest ensemble ever!! I know I told you this before, but it’s breathtaking. Really.
    And I hope it was okay to make the Lukas (did I spell that right?) photo as the main one on my blog—it just made me smile!!
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Ha ha! There was that time period when the little flower patterns on things had the same look as that found on sleeping gowns, right? Seeing the capes and how my sis and I are standing stock still with our arms down, I also think they kind of look like bishop’s robes–as in the formal robes worn by bishops and cardinals in the Catholic church! 🙂 Don’t tell Mom I said that. 😉

      And you *know* it was totally wonderful–and even preferred–that you used the pic with Lukas in it as your main one! He was my buddy and it always brings a bittersweet smile on my face to see him.

      Thank you for doing such a great job with your side of the Fab Collab, Jodie!! It is so much fun working with you.

      Hugs,
      Sherry

  • This is also again such a nice serie! I have never worn much pastels but seeing all of you make me want to wear it! The dress you are wearing is very elegant! Are that the fat ladys on the background?

    • Thank you, Nancy!! <3

      When you say "fat ladies in the background," do you mean the painting leaning against the wall at my feet in the photos? That's a painting of three women working on the ground. They have sacks on their backs and the sacks are filled with whatever they're harvesting, so they're large and possibly make the women look large as well. There are also large pots resting near each woman, which are round.

      We bought that painting from a local artist when we visited Colombia. The artist specializes in indigenous art. I love the colors and composition of it and the fact that it shows women working together.

      I hope you're having a good week so far, lovely lady!

      Hugs,
      Sherry

  • Your complexion, pretty blue eyes and hair color harmonize beautifully with pastels! Even though you may have fought the traditions of the past and bare some residual effects of “pastel paranoia” I think it’s pretty clear that when you dyed your hair that lovely shade of pink your subconscious pastel preference was shin in forth.
    Your vintage Robin’s egg blue coat and pale pink shift are so lovely on you Sherry!!! Your dear grandmother’s pearls are the perfect compliment.
    As we grow more mature we begin to resign ourselves to the truths of our mother’s self reported wisdom. Don’t you agree? She will probably be happy to tell you now that she knew you looked your best in pastels. Time to embrace your destiny. =-)
    By the way, thankyou for the great tip about the vintage clothing shop on Selby and Snelling!!!

    • Thank you, Jude! I was shocked last year when I rediscovered pastels, but it was a good shock! 🙂

      You’re most welcome about the tip for Lula. If you go there and find some treasures, I want to hear all about it!

      And, by the way, the only thing missing up there from that photo of our blogger meet-up in February was YOU! I don’t recall seeing one of all of us. Do you?

      Hugs,
      Sherry

  • This look is breathtaking, Sherry! Pastels are not my thing at all, but this captured me. Oh, and to be able to wear your mom’s sunglasses from back in the day – priceless. Also, I just love your humor. 🙂

  • Oh my! I thought your kiddie Easter outfits were nightgowns! Ha ha.

    I LOVE this whole look on you Jodie. The fact that it is vintage makes it even better!

    Yes it is true…I did see you wearing lots of pastels but I get the association with the dessert and hot climates. Plus I think with your fair colouring you look great in pastels.

    What a great family photo of you guys with Lukas.

    Learning of your family history is always interesting and so full of love. It is very touching.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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