Fab Collab: Summer Get-Away Styles Over 40

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. Over this coming week we’ll share memories of summer get-away styles from the past as well as ways we style them today. 

My story kicks us off with memories of The Stratford Festival and the scarves I’ve worn there, 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!

Petite Over 40 and the ladies from JTouchofStyle for a Fab Collab

The Play’s the Thing

The first time I went to the Straford Festival it was 2003. Back then it was still called the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Hubby had gone there in high school and he wanted to relive the experience as an adult. What he hoped was to impress me with the quality of theater he was exposed to as a kid. What he didn’t expect was how I’d fall in love with it and have to return year after year.

Last year my parents went with me. Here we are in front of the Festival Theatre waiting for the house to open. “Say SHAKESPEARE!”

The Scarf’s the Thing, Too

Like the advice in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to always pack a towel, I always pack a scarf (or two) when traveling. Even in 2003, when I went to Stratford for the first time, I knew the value of a scarf (which is really like a fancy towel, for all you Hitchhiker’s Guide fans). Stratford in the summer is like Michigan and Minnesota in the summer–hot and humid. Outdoors, the sun and humidity combine to sear my skin and cause blisters, even with SPF-1-Million. A scarf provides a light layer of protection between me and that kind of heat.

Although this photo wasn’t taken at Stratford this was an outfit I wore there.

In addition, windowless, air-conditioned buildings can get chilly, especially when I sit still for two hours at a time. Never do I visit my beloved Stratford without a scarf to keep the sun off and the chill out. It is both an accessory and a necessity.

A Scarf for All Seasons

These days I go to Stratford in September. Sometimes it still feels like summer and sometimes there’s a nip in the air that hints of snow. And sometimes both seasons play out in the same week! Because of this, I carry scarves that are lighter weight cotton or wool, but I make sure they’re long enough to wrap around my neck or shoulders, depending on the need.

All scarves pictured above were purchased years ago. Below is more info about each.
Lefthand side of collage: Scarf from Eileen Fisher. Similar here and here.
Upper Right: Purple ombre scarf from Talbots. Available on eBay here or similar new here.
Lower Right: Talbots scarf. Similar on eBay here or similar new here.

Planning Ahead

This year Hubby and I are heading to Stratford together. If the weather holds up, I will take along this Marimekko dress I purchased on eBay.

Find similar Marimekko sundresses on eBay here.

And, of course, there will be a scarf to go with it!

blue wrap scarf with marimekko dress and sunglasses

This scarf is Eileen Fisher. Flecks of copper dot the blue lightweight wool like constellations. I bought it around the time I started going to Straford annually. It has made the trip with me several times.

Similar Eileen Fisher scarf styles here or similar new here.

marimekko dress with blue scarf, sandals, and sunglasses

Walking to See Shakespeare When It’s Hot

Stratford is a small town so when thousands of people descend upon it to partake of the THEE-ah-tah, parking is a premium. I prefer to walk than drive, but doing this requires extra planning when it comes to deciding what to wear.

In the summer, I think about heat and sweat. As I mentioned in a previous post, heat is a big deal to me these days. If I walk a mile-plus to my destination and the sun is shining, I need to wear a lightweight outfit and comfortable shoes that breathe. But I still want to feel good about how I look, right?

Here’s why this outfit checks all the boxes for a summer get-away like the Stratford Festival:

The dress is made of cotton, which is a breathable fabric. In addition, it has a built-in shelf-bra. One less layer to generate heat. Also, my body isn’t encased in synthetics so it can cool off naturally.

Synthetic fabric + Constriction = Swamp Boobs and General Discomfort.

The dress has a full skirt which has some weight to it so wind is not an issue.

I’ve learned the hard way that heavy shoes, hot feet, and long-distances do not mix well. Heels and distances are no fun either, especially when trying to deal with cracked sidewalks and brick roads. Sneakers could work but I want to wear something a little nicer to the theater, even if it is a casual place.

So, the sandals, by Dansko, provide all the support I need. In addition, they have good grip on the sidewalk and they’re lightweight and the strap is adjustable around my ankle. This makes them comfortably secure on my foot and provides peace of mind when navigating uneven walkways.

I bought my sandals on Amazon here. 
Order a whole size down, especially if you’re in between sizes.

And, of course, the scarf is a winner because of all the reasons mentioned above:

  • Its lightweight coverage keeps the sun off my chest and shoulders.
  • It’s just warm enough to keep the chill out in the theater.
  • It looks nice as an accessory and finishes off the outfit without overwhelming it.

Test-Walk to the Theater

A few weeks back, I gave this outfit a test walk, minus the scarf. Hubby and I went to see the play Barbecue put on by The Intiman Theater group here in Seattle. Their plays are always so memorable. I can still remember shows I saw more than a decade ago and the emotions they stirred within me.

Before we went to see Barbecue, though, Hubby and I walked a mile to eat dinner at Meskel, an Ethiopian restaurant with a large outdoor patio. It was 80-degrees outside (26.6°C) but we walked the whole way and we sat outside in the shade. After we ate an entire vegetarian platter, we walked off the calories with another mile’s walk to see the play.

This was a good test because it is very similar to how we do things in Stratford. I was not disappointed. No blisters, no soggy mess–all was good!

I could have used my scarf in the theater, though. I got chilly!

blue scarf, marimekko dress, sunglasses, summer day

Be sure to come back again tomorrow to catch Jodie’s post! Or, better yet, head over to her blog now and subscribe so you never miss out on the fun.

Affiliate link disclaimer: Please note, some of the links on my website are affiliated links. By clicking the affiliated links and purchasing from those stores, I might receive a small commission. This commission supports the work I do and I greatly appreciate your support!

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  • Hi Sherry–love that sundress and scarf. My husband and I and another couple go to Stratford every year for a weekend of theatre and dining. We also are going in September and you’re right, it can be a variety of seasons all in the same weekend. We’re going September 22-24? When will you be there?

    • Hi Rose — How lovely to run into another fan of the Stratford Festival! Our visit overlaps with yours. We’ll be there the 18th-25th. Which plays are you seeing? Perhaps our shows will overlap and we can say hello to each other!

      – Sherry

      • Sherry–I’ll be on the lookout for you. We’re seeing “The Madwoman of Chaillot” on 9/22/17 afternoon performance and “Romeo and Juliet” on 9/23/17 also an afternoon performance. We used to go to evening performances and then one afternoon and one evening, but now we do both afternoon. We find we have a more leisurely dinner and not feel rushed to get to the theatre.
        You’ll be there much longer but you’re coming a further distance. It’s only a few hours drive from the Detroit area for us. What are you seeing?

        • Hi again, Rose — I’ll be at the same showing of “The Madwoman of Chaillot”! I hope we can run into one another. It’s at the Tom Patterson, which may make it easier since we all wait outside until he doors open. Truly, if the weather is warm enough, I’ll bring the dress in this post to maybe make it easier to find one another. If it’s not warm enough, I’ll let you know what I’m planning to wear. Also, let me know how to find you. I don’t know what you look like! 🙂

          You’re coming from Detroit? We fly into Detroit and stay with my husband’s parents in Macomb before driving up to Stratford.

          If you like, drop me a line at sherry@dryja.com so we can coordinate better.

          Hope to see you there!

          – Sherry

  • I love that you tried out the outfit before the actual event, Sherry!! Now that’s what I call smart thinking!! And that dress is really quite stunning on you. The colors, the shape—it’s so perfect!!
    And to think that dresses weren’t on your radar as much previously…..
    It’s funny how we evolve!!!!!!

    • Ha ha! Thanks, Jodie! I had been wanting to wear that dress somewhere special and things really fell together for it to happen. I do hope Stratford is warm enough for me to take it, even though I may have to iron it once there!

      Dresses were not only not on my radar, I avoided them! 😀 But this blog helps me challenge all my preconceived notions about fashion which has turned out to be a great eye-opener for me!

      Thanks for doing this Fab Collab with me! Can’t wait for everyone to see your posts in the upcoming few days! <3

      - Sherry

  • I love that you road tested your outfit!
    I do that sort of stuff — especially for NYC trips. I had a particularly painful winter trip timed just after a huge blizzard hit the city. A friend strongly suggested “snow boots” and I had some rubber equestrian boots. The problem was, I hadn’t worn them since my last “mud season” in Vermont, 1996. Since we were walking everywhere, I developed terrible blisters — I had to take elevators to get down to the subways. Clogs came to my rescue, but I had to wait until after the weekend for the clog shop to open around the corner from our hotel.

    I also love that your constellation scarf has been to Stratford several times!

    AND, built in shelf bras for summer dresses is the best idea ever. Maybe I should bring you a vintage one I can’t wear any more? (It needs MENDING!!!!)

    • Aw, man! Blisters in NYC??? That hurts me inside! There is nothing worse than traveling with blisters after a blizzard! It’s not like you can just throw on some flip flops and move on. You had to wait for a clog store to open to get something to see you through!

      That dress you mentioned sounds great! Think I could mend it? Drop me a note about it. I’m willing to pay for it if it fits and you don’t mind parting with it.

      Can’t wait to see you!!

      – Sherry

  • I just saw your collab in another blogger I read often–jtouchofstyle.

    I decided to read your dress post and you are literally pulling words and insecurities from my own mind! I always saved dresses for special occasions and hate the way my legs look (so white). I always feel “safer” in pants but realized after faithfully following so many fashion bloggers for so long, my wardrobe bottoms were severely lacking!

    I still hate shorts lol… but I now have three very bright pairs of ankle pants and I bought 4 midi skirts. One is the pineapple one from j crew which I love.

    Thank you for that honest post and encouragement to wear dresses/skirts with confidence!

    • Hi Teri!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and especially for commenting with your own experiences of dresses! It sounds like we have that in common! It also sounds like you are a fashion warrior, getting out there and facing your fashion fears! How cool is it that you own pineapple pants??? I *love* it!

      Your words, by the way, help me be a fashion warrior too. Hearing that my post was encouraging to you encourages me to keep going, trying things I never thought I would. Just wait–there’s more! And I hope to see you around here again to celebrate it.


  • Anything that celebrates the Bard sounds like a lovely thing to do to me! And though I mentioned it in your facebook comments, I just have to say again how much I love this dress! Even more now that I can see it more fully in these pictures! Just lovely! And it’s so flattering on you! Blue is definitely one of your colors!
    Big fan of Jodie and her crew, so can’t wait to read their stories as well! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Ronnie, thank you so much for your comments here and on Facebook! You are such a motivator for me to keep trying new things and sharing them here.

      Can’t wait for you to see what Jodie, Nancy, and Charlotte have planned for their part of this Fab Collab! I hope you enjoy it!


  • Oh, how I love Stratford. Every year in high school we would take a field trip there and the actors would come out afterwards for a Q&A with the audience. I may have even crossed paths with Mike?!

    I love how you test-drive your clothes and am glad this particular outfit passed the test. It looks great on you! And the shoes add a special touch. The question now is, will you ever wear pants again?! Heh. Great post, Sherry, Full of nostalgia for both of us.

    • Wouldn’t that be funny if you and Mike had been in Stratford at the same time??? Stranger things have happened!

      Pants are still definitely in my future! Once fall hits, I’ve got a great pair to share with you. They’re straight out of the 1970s. They are high-waisted, bright red, embroidered, and very “Mel-Chic”! 🙂


  • Oh this dress! I am swooning! The colors and the pattern are so fabulous. The black sandals are perfect with it, too. I also always carry a scarf wherever I go for the same reason. It is the perfect accessory and so utilitarian! I would love for you to stop by and join my link ups! I host them every Tuesday and Friday!