The Appropriate Trap & Link Up On the Edge #60

There’s a lot of talk in the blogging community as well as in the fashion world about where women of a certain age fit into the whole spectrum. And by a certain age, I mean my age, or midlife, or any age over 30 really. We are told by society what’s appropriate at our age as far as our style goes which includes everything from our clothes, our shoes, our hair and makeup. In fact, it is being dictated exactly how we should act, feel, and present ourselves once we cross that threshold (30 years) into official “mature adulthood”.  Whatever the hell that means.

I figured it was high time I jumped on the mature woman bandwagon and shared my thoughts on all this hogwash. My opinion is simply this…fuck that. If I am being completely truthful, I did fall into this appropriate trap sometime in my 30’s. I had some people tell me I looked ridiculous trying to dress like I was in my 20’s. Or worse, why was I trying to look like a teenager? And even worse yet, why do you dress simply for the sake of getting attention? Yes, I was once accused of trying too hard to look outlandish.

I must dispute that…first of all, my clothes are by no means outlandish in the world of fashion. Second of all, I don’t really try all that hard.  It sort of comes naturally.  And third, I dress for no one’s attention. I dress the way I do so when I look in the mirror, I see a put together confident woman with a smile on her face. And that is really the only reason I dress the way I do. If I can inspire others to look and feel their best along the way, well then, that’s just icing on the cake.

I also refuse to firmly plant myself into a sartorial box of sorts. For me, every day is a new opportunity to get dressed up according to what I am feeling that day and tackle the world in style. I cannot put my personal style into any specific category. I love vintage inspired clothing. I adore the easy feel of boho looks. I am completely game for a power outfit that screams “this woman is in control”. I also have a tendency (about once a week) to return to those Goth roots of my teenage years. Basically, if you were to walk into my closet, you would see that just about anything goes! And I like it that way.

We are forever changing beings. That is the nature of human existence. We evolve as we gain experience and wisdom through the years. We are introduced to so many new and unique things. Especially in this age of technology, we are bombarded with option upon option. Fun and interesting things to try that we may have never thought would be in our wheelhouse.  We are fickle.  Coincidentally,  the world of fashion is just as fickle as we human beings. But once we reach a certain age, we should have the confidence to embrace our fickleness and try all the new things without fear of judgment.

For me, the only rule I follow when putting on an outfit is that I feel exactly like myself on that particular day. Sometimes, I do look in the mirror and I think “That just looks ridiculous. I’m not feeling it.  It’s not me today and I don’t feel good wearing it.” And guess what, I don’t have to wear it! I am an adult with a mind of my own and I can wear whatever the hell I want.  I also can decide to change my outfit 15 times during the day if I feel like it. There’s nobody telling me that I can’t.

So as far as I am concerned about this appropriate trap, if you are wearing something that makes you feel great, makes you feel confident, makes you smile, makes you stand a little taller and walk a little bolder, then you will always be appropriate.

Outfit Details
My entire outfit is from Torrid Salmon Run Mall.
Black Lace Duster: Sold Out.
Skirt: Torrid Striped Sheer Flared Skirt.
Shirt: Torrid Black Foxy Cutout Tank Top.
Belt: Torrid Double Strap Faux Suede Wide Belt.
Jacket: Sold Out (c/o Zaful).
Boots: Steve Madden (from at least 10 years ago).
Earrings: Burlington Coat Factory.
Bracelet: Cato Fashions.
Clutch: Poshmark.

What do you wear that makes you feel amazing?

Now let’s check out your favorite fabulous links from last week!

Jodie, Nancy, and Charlotte of Jodie’s Touch of Style are showcasing some beautiful outfits complete with accessories from Soft Surroundings in their post 3 Generations of Fall Outfits with Soft Surroundings.

Jodie, Nancy, and Charlotte of Jodie’s Touch of Style

Yvonne of Funky Forty shared her post 3 Wardrobe Staples Every Woman Should Own for Fall 2017. She is looking ever so fabulous in her Fall styling with some great options for your shopping convenience!

Yvonne of Funky Forty

Nicole of High Latitude Style shared her post I am in color crush with this beautiful bag. I have to say that I am totally crushing on her bag, too!

Nicole of High Latitude Style

Also, please stay tuned this month as my article “The Midlife Sex Conundrum” will be appearing in the Fall issue of Resilientista Magazine! Coming on September 22! Be sure not to miss it by subscribing right here! It will be sent directly to your e-mail inbox.

Keeping it on the edge,


Linking up with these Fabulous Link Ups.


I am a 40 something Army wife and stay-at-home mother of 2 boys and 2 cats named Dave and Frankie. I have a passion for helping other women feel fabulous in the midst of this crazy, beautiful life.

58 Responses

  1. We do need to get out of that trap, Shelbee!! But I know it’s hard for women like my mom (the 70+ model on the blog) because they’ve heard it over and over!
    I think it’s fabulous that we can switch things up and wear what we want now. And changing clothes 15 times a day? Maybe that’s how I can finally wear everything in my closet….haha!
    ps: Thanks so much for the feature!!

    • OMG, Jodie! When I wrote that about changing 15 times a day, I was thinking the same thing…it is the only way I could possibly wear everything in my closet! And I love that Charlotte and Nancy are both so willing to try things and share them on the blog. It is so empowering to all women! And if your mom doesn’t say the eff word, perhaps she needs to…in reference to these silly ageist style rules! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts…and for just being fabulous!


  2. I love the outfit! The color combo is amazing:)

  3. Totally agree with you Shelbee, we should wear what we want, when we want, how we want! I do, and I dress in what is appropriate for me! You look fabulous in your outfit, love that skirt pink and black all the way!!! x Jacqui

  4. I was goth for a few months when I was 19. I had so many tubes of black lipstick!!

    • OMG, Jaymie, I can totally see you as a Goth girl! I think you need to show a Goth style on the blog! Maybe we collaborate…kicking it back to 90’s Goth! Thanks for stopping by and have an amazing weekend.


  5. Yes, yes, yes! What ever office you’re running for, you have my vote. Your closing line says it all … “if you are wearing something that makes you feel great, makes you feel confident, makes you smile, makes you stand a little taller and walk a little bolder, then you will always be appropriate.” As always, you look fabulous and totally appropriate. Thanks for the positive message.


    • Rena, thank you so much for your vote! And for your continued support! And for the validation. We always need the validation, don’t we? It keeps us at this blogging thing! I have to admit, I kind of loved that last line, too, when I wrote it! Sometimes I impress myself. Ha. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


  6. What a great read Shelbee! You really nailed this issue beautifully! I too have been told in the past that I’m too put together, or I must want attention if I get “dressed ” to take the kids to school, well phooey to that. I realized not so long ago, that I feel my best when I wear what I like, period. But still I can get caught in the trap. I recently shared a look, which I’ll link here today, that I felt aglow from the inside out because it was so me. Your outfit today is fabulous and you put together such a creative look, I loved seeing it! Keep sharing and btw, I’m loving the hair! 😍

    • Suzanne, thank you so very much for this inspiring comment! It is nice to know that I am not alone in getting dressed up to take the kids to school. Every. Single. Day. I am not functioning if I am not dressed. Period. End of story. I do it for myself and for no one else. And you are absolutely stunning in that ruffle floral dress! Thanks for reading…if you all keep reading, then I will keep sharing! Have a fabulous weekend.


  7. I am in love with dusters! And yours is no exception. You look fabulous and confident. I totally agree with everything you said.
    🙂 gwingal

    • Nikki, thank you so much! Dusters are my thing, too! I love the drama of them. They make me feel so fancy! I appreciate the lovely validating comment. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a fabulous weekend.


  8. No rules…wear what you love. You look fierce in this outfit. So great! XO

  9. Keep doing what you are you doing, you look wonderful. The boots, the fishnets, the skirt everything is wonderful.

    Thanks for hosting and have a wonderful weekend.

  10. it means nothing for me. I do it like you, Shelbee, I wear what I want. 😉
    I really love this post, this pictures, you look absoloute fabulous .
    XO Tina

    • Tina, thanks so much for this wonderful comment! And we should all do it this way, in my opinion! You always look so fabulous in your fun pieces and killer accessories! Keep being fabulous, my friend.


  11. That’s a great outfit with the pop of pink and the lacy kimono. It combines both feminity with toughness, really cool. Totally agree with you on the 30+ dressing. The sad thing is that most of the writers issuing these rules are women.

    • Gail, thanks so much for your kind compliment! The sadder thing is that most of the writers are women who are probably over 30! It’s like a self-defeat of sorts. And it’s so silly! Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend.


  12. You know that you have my 150% whole-hearted agreement my friend! You look freakin’ gorgeous! xo

  13. I agree 100% and that’s the great thing about fashion, everyone interprets style and trends differently. We should always wear what makes us feel confident! I love this pretty look on you! Your kimono is fabulous!

    Doused in Pink

    • Jill, thank you so much! I had a friend just comment on Facebook about this post…and I need to share it here because it is right in line with what you are saying. My friend Hallie said this:

      “That’s my girl! People should wear what makes them feel fabulous at whatever age they are. I’ve never seen a tag on a garment stating this article of clothing can only be worn by women between the ages of … If we listened to that rule the world would be missing out on the likes of Betsy Johnson, Isabella Blow , Iris Apfel, and the list goes on. Fashion is art, art is fashion. BE YOUR OWN ART!”

      Thanks so much for stopping by and have a fabulous weekend!


  14. Preach it girl! I am so with you on this. That’s why I love Madonna so much because she is always saying how people are ageist when it comes to women. She continues to push boundaries of what society expects and I hope we do too. Love this cool edgy look. The layering is genius!

    • Kathrine, thank you so much! We need to keep empowering each other to be ourselves and dress the way we like! I have always loved Madonna and her trailblazing attitude. She takes risks and those risks have taken her far. And as long as you all keep reading and appreciating what I write, then I am going to just keep sharing! Thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous weekend.


  15. Shelbee- my style is classic – that’s what i feel my best in. Hence my love of all things Talbots! But I LOVE your style. It is YOU. And I particularly love this outfit. I could never think of putting those pieces together, but you did and it works. Thank goodness for fashion bloggers of all sizes, shapes & sensibilities who are freeing us from what society or the fashion industry tells us we need to wear!

    • Cathy, thank you so much for this comment and presenting from a different “style genre” so to speak! I, too, love Talbots and can go from this edgy look to a classic Talbots style in one quick outfit change! I agree with you completely, we need to appreciate each other’s creativity and personal styles. We are all unique and we are all fabulous! Thanks so much for stopping by and have the most wonderful weekend.


  16. I agree Shelbee! I wear what I want when I want but at times I hear voices pointing out the rules. But I ignore them and do what makes me feel good! I love your outfit today!This is a great post!

    • Cheryl, thank you so much for this lovely comment and the validation for what I do! Where do those silly little voices come from anyway? I literally get looked up and down every time I leave my house! And because I dress up more than others. Isn’t that ridiculous? Thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous weekend! (By the way, I was trying to comment on your post today, but I can’t seem to find the comment button anymore…)


  17. I saw this on insta and feel in love with the outfit! You look amazing shelbee! Dress as you want girl!

    • Stephanie, thank you so much! I love this outfit, too. I felt so edgy all night long. And people were staring at me! But whatever, I felt superb! I appreciate your kind compliment. Have a fantastic weekend.


  18. I about fell out when I saw that first pic of you on this post – that outfit is FANTASTIC, and I covet that duster mightily. Looking amazing and letting your personality shine is not something we age out of – you keep on rocking it!

    • Wow, Lynda! This is the best compliment! Thank you so very much for your kind and empowering words! “Letting your personality shine is not something we age out of…” That is freaking brilliant! Thank you so much. Have a fabulous weekend!


  19. “I dress the way I do so when I look in the mirror, I see a put together confident woman with a smile on her face.” – Words we should all live by! Way to go, Shelbee – another fantastic post! #truth

    Elizabeth |

    • Elizabeth, thank you so much for this fabulous comment! It is this kind of validation that keeps me doing what I do. I appreciate it more than you know! Have a fabulous weekend, my friend.


  20. I’m loving that lace duster! Such a fun look, and the color of your skirt is beautiful. I often ask myself if I dress too young for my age, but at the end of the day, if my outfit makes me feel good, that’s all that matters.

    • Rachael, thanks so much for the lovely comment! This was a super fun outfit to style and wear out! And I agree with you completely, if the clothes make you feel great, that’s all that matters. You always look fabulous!


  21. love the pop of pink!!! thanks for the link up! xo

  22. I agree! Wear whatever makes you feel good about yourself and makes you happy! Love your look today!

    • Thanks so much, Laura! As one of my friends said (I posted her exact words in a previous comment), Be Your Own Art! I just love that saying! I think I need to start hashtagging it! #BeYourOwnArt

      Have a fabulous weekend!


  23. You always look good Shelbee! I don’t understand why people should have to ‘conform’ to a particular way of dressing suitable for their age!
    That outfit looks really good on you and I would definitely wear it too despite being a good ten years older than you if not more!
    I agree that you have to be confident in what you wear and also dress according to your mood. 🙂

    • Judy, thank you so very much for this super validating comment! I have definitely never been one to care much what other people think about my clothes. Yet, I am human and have definitely fallen into the trap a time or two. But no more! And I think you would totally rock an outfit like this, too! Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic weekend.


  24. Hi Shelbee! I love how fearless you are!
    Thank you so much for hosting 🙂
    Happy Weekend!

  25. I agree, screw age appropriate. I just had this discussion with my mother who is about your age. I often play personal stylist to her and we talk about that often. I think age appropriation is both ageist and sexist. I think that should wear whatever you want to wear without having to conform to any beauty standards but your own. Due to a medical condition, I have scars all over my body. And I was feeling a little frisky and thought to wear this hot pink halter top. I had this old lady come up to me of the blue to tell me that vanishing cream would take that right out. I felt so embarrassed that to this day I don’t wear a lot of revealing things.

    As for your outfit, I love how you played on texture (with the lace duster and the leather jacket) and the boots. All together it’s super cute and bad ass. I can totally see you going to a rock concert or go out on the town in that outfit. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Gigi, thank you so much for this very validating comment! I can’t believe the nerve of some people…that a lady said that to you. That is awful! And I hope you get frisky enough to try something a little revealing again. Eff that lady and her dumb opinion. Also, there is so much in society about “size appropriate” too that drives me crazy. Anyone of any age and any size should wear whatever makes them feel great…not what gets the approval of others.

      And I actually did wear this outfit for a night out on the town and I went to an album release party for a local musician!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for always leaving such thoughtful comments. Have a fantastic weekend.


  26. You look absolutely stunning hon! I love your style and forget what the world thinks how people should dress. Shoot! fashion is fun and a way to be creative, it’s an art. Loves your outfit 🙂

    • Trina, thank you so much for your awesome comment! I think we all need to get to that place where we don’t give a damn what other people think about anything! Have a fabulous weekend, my friend.


  27. Ugh. This goddamn laptop is going to be the death of me yet. I touched a key by mistake and the entire comment disappeared.

    Anyway……I don’t give a flying fuck what others think of my inappropriate dressing for my age (I commented over on “Lamb” that I am my own style icon. I stated this in an interview with a skincare company that’ll be in their newsletter soon). We should all be our own style icon no matter what our age.
    Comments I’ve received IRL from people are usually very passive/aggressive. For instance: “Wow. That outfit makes you look so YOUNG!!” (i.e. you are too old to wear that outfit) and “Oh. I see you STILL enjoy wearing short skirts!!” (i.e. damn lady, you are way too old to wear a skirt that falls three inches above your knees!) and “Oh. My! That outfit reminds me of when we were in high school!” (i.e. stop trying to look like you are 16 again.) I feel a blog post coming up!!!
    Yo. Keep wearing what you are wearing. I love you!

    • Catherine, you are freaking amazing! I figured you would enjoy what I had to say about this “appropriate trap”! I love the one comment from a friend of mine that said “Fashion is art, art is fashion. Be your own art.” And you, my friend, are the most fabulous work of art in a human being that I did ever witness! Style icon, indeed. I adore you, your energy, your zest, and fabulous freaking style! You have great legs so show those beauties off every chance you get (although you clearly don’t need my permission!) I can’t wait to see what you said in this skincare interview! You rock.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a fantastic comment! And don’t hurt your computer!


  28. Hello, hello. It’s always fun to see what Shelbee will be writing about on the blog. You did not disappoint. I felt as if I could have been reading my own post when I came to these words: “It sort of comes naturally. And third, I dress for no one’s attention. I dress the way I do so when I look in the mirror, I see a put together confident woman with a smile on her face.” Yup. I like to change it up. I like to discover new combinations. I may be getting older, but that changes nothing. Well, except some muscle to fat ratio. Maybe even some consistency in skin. haha! Anyway, you look gorgeous! Thanks for another fun post.

    • Chrissy, thank you so much for such a wonderfully validating comment! I agree that nothing changes at all with regard to our fashion sense and our willing to try new things and take risks as we get older. If anything, we should be taking more risks with much less fear! My muscle to fat ratio went all askew about 10 years ago anyway, so now I will just jiggle my way fearlessly and fiercely into midlife! Thank you so much for always supporting my blog. You rock!


  29. Wonderful message and look! I am loving all of the layers and your bright pop of pink peeking out. It looks great with the fishnets and fab boots.

    Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Friday, Shelbee!

    Jennie – A Pocketful of Polka Dots