How to have fun with fashion! Style lessons from Greetje

by Sylvia

Greetje Kamminga Haarlem
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Greetje is the most frequent contributor to my style forum, and although you might have thought that she was already a friend of mine, I had actually never met her until this sunny day in Haarlem. I was very keen to meet up with her since I wanted to take some high quality photos of her and get to know the person behind all the quirky posts and stylish outfits. Since my residential address in Holland was very close to where she lives, I was able to visit her in her house in Haarlem where she lives with her beloved husband, cat and dog.

As I imagined, Greetje is a true gem.  Warm, straight forward and extremely funny, she is a true pleasure to be around. Of course I could not resist asking her a few questions, as I feel that Greetje can teach us all a thing or 2 on how to have fun with fashion. Enjoy!

How to have fun with fashion

As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?

I am 58

How would you describe your style?

Difficult to say. Somewhat classic, sometimes conspicuous, trying to achieve “chic elegance” but usually not getting there.

What would you define as the main components of your style? What makes an outfit truly Greetje?

A twist. A conspicuous/striking feature (which makes “chic elegance” so hard to achieve).
Black and white, sometimes with an added colour.
(Off)white boots, bold necklaces, very bright colours near my face.

How do you go about choosing your clothes and what inspires your outfits?

Greetje in Haarlem

Sometimes I start with a scarf or necklace and work my way down. But usually “I go shopping”. In and out shops… some people hate it, but I love it. And anything that grabs my attention is a possible choice. Which is exactly why lots of my clothes draw so much attention that you cannot combine them with anything else or with just very plain things. And if your wardrobe consists of lots and lots of attention drawing clothes, you limit yourself in combinations. I am learning, but nowhere near my goal.
On the other hand I thought it was quite a strange but nice compliment that I got the other day. A friend of mine told me she liked it that there was always so much to see and discover about my appearance. LOL

Do you take things like colour profiling or body type into account when you dress?

Most certainly. It has prevented me from lots of bad purchases. But still, sometimes, I forget or disregard it. Usually stupid and regretful.

Would you say you have a signature style? And if yes, what are the main elements?

Greetje in black and grey outfit

Others say I have. I cannot really see it. You have to look at what I said at “What makes an outfit truly Greetje”.
I try to always create a waist with my clothes, either by clothes that go in at the waist or with tops that are wide and suggest you have a waist.
Pencil skirts are favourite and wide skirts (= waist), although the older I get the more conscious I am of the fact that wide skirts have more tendency to be girly than pencil skirts.

Has your style changed at all after turning 40?

Hester van Eeghen shoes

The hemline dropped bit by bit to the knee between 40 and 58. I have to be more and more aware of things that make me look too young. As I am tall and have a normal weight and size, I can buy almost anything. Which makes it difficult as you see yourself so different than others do. It is like anorexia: to you the mirror reflects your own perception not the reality. A photo of yourelf in an outfit tells the truth better than the mirror. So being more conscious of what I buy has changed my style. But perhaps not enough.

Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?

Yes and no. To me yes, I want to dress age appropriately. But that is me. If you have the personality for it, you will get away with nearly everything.

To me there are two different ‘age appropriately':

  1. showing a lot of flesh, which I think is not very cleaver but it is also a culture thing. This would not be my thing.
  2. dressing up with lots of attention drawing items, like the women of Advancedstyle.com. Lovely! Celebrate Life!

Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more, or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?

More interested. I was always interested, used to change clothes 3 times a day when I was 11, but now I have developed more taste, more style. I know more what becomes me and what not, so I know what to choose from this season’s fashion and what to avoid. And I have more money to indulge myself as I am not a person who has an eye for great pieces in a thirft shop. Only now and then I score there.

Why is the way you look important to you?

yellow taupe outfit

Because it is my only creativity. I like to make a picture. From head to toe and then present it to the world as my creation. It is a way to express yourself and it is a way to show you have respect for the people you meet. You have to made an effort. The world looks nicer by making an effort. And it is also a way to mirror somebody which can be cleaver, for instance when you have a tough meeting with someone. We were tought to interpret people on how they look from when we were very little. So you can use that to your advantage.

Which outfit that you have uploaded in the 40+ Style Forum is your favorite and why?

Oh gosh… what a difficult one. The wide Acne creme top with the black trousers and yellow necklace and shoes I think in the item Holiday casual wear… but a little chic. As it represents most of the things I strive for. And the item “The Rome necklace”. Those are the “me”s” I want to be. But again it is really difficult to choose as I have uploaded many outfits that I really like.

Do you follow trends? And if yes, which trends excite you at the moment?

Yes I follow trends, but only the ones that become/suit me. I am excited at the moment by the bright colours. Love them! And they love me. As you can see by my Kermit Green Jacket which I have uploaded.

Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?

Spend some money on a stylist to get to know what suits you and what doesn’t with regard to colours and style. Ask around who is a good stylist for obvious reasons.
It will bring you so much. And if you are interested in fashion, you probably already know 85% yourself. But you will be surprised by the extra 15% of information you will get.

Anything further you would like to add?

dog

Love your site! Hope more people are going to participate in uploading and/or commenting on your Forum? I sometimes feel a bit awkward and lonely there.

Here is what Greetje answered in person to some of my impromptu questions:

Note from Sylvia: Thank you for your inspiring answers Greetje. And I agree! Feel free to ask your questions or upload your outfits in our style forum. It’s fun to see how others have fun with fashion and all of us are there to help you to be more creative and look even better!

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Tracey

What a great profile. Greetje had a few tips I’ll have to remember, as I am also drawn by whatever catches my eye in the stores.

It also reminds me that I often forget about the forum. Will need to visit again soon.

Sylvia

Thank you Tracey. Glad you enjoyed it!

Marianne

When I look at the interior design of your house, I see Greetje. The style is great and colourfull , the items are tastfull, they are of good quality[that means expensive] and there isn’t a dull sight. And that’s the way I look at you and the way you dress. So in other words, good profile.

Sylvia

Thanks Marianne. It was great to meet Greetje!

Tangobabe

Great post about a colorful woman, inside and outside! Interesting to read about her ideas behind her style (as in your other style profiles of bloggers and readers). Beautiful pictures to go along with the article and the video is a great addition. Hopefully more of these posts WITH video will follow. Am already looking forward to them.
Greetje’s livingroom, cat and dog…they all come out as pretty as they are in real life (I know them in reality). Greetje herself is even more gorgeous if you see and meet her in person;-).

Something completely different:
One thing that surprises me is that whenever Sylvia posts about herself, many people comment, and when she features someone else, the number of comments is much less. I wonder why that is…. Can anybody elaborate on that? Just curious…

Sylvia

Thanks Anja. Working on it (more videos…)

As for the comments, I guess people just ‘know’ me better. I also comment on their blogs and therefore they want to reciprocate. As you know LOTS more people read articles and only very few comment…

The Style Crone

I enjoyed reading about Greetje. Very stylish and interesting woman. Thanks Sylvia!

Sylvia

Thanks Judith. I plan to do it more often. It’s great to feature women that practice exactly as I preach ( looking and feeling great after 40!)

Heather Fonseca

IvE seen greetje in so many comments I just assumed she had her own blog. Love her style! That lavender sweater is beautiful, and I love it belted. Her apartment is really great too. Thanks so much for introducing us.

Sylvia

Thanks Heather. There are many more of her outfits too on the style forum. Greetje truly embraces style and fashion!

Greetje

Thank you very much for your nice comment Heather.
I have no time for a blog. That needs true dedication as you know.
Commenting on blogs and uploading my photos to 40plusstyle Style Forum takes up all of my time. I usually upload in the sections Style and what I wore or How to dress over 40.

Anke

Greetje is my sweet, funny, crazy sister-in-law. I have known her for 38 years now.
When I first met her she was wearing a bright yellow blouse and jeans. In all those years I have rarely seen her wear the same outfit twice. Her fashion and interior styles have developed in an enjoyable way.
I love her house, I love her clothes, I love her personality!

Sylvia

Hi Anke. Welcome to the site! You are very lucky to have Greetje for a sister (in law)!

Greetje Kamminga

Darned… now I have tears in my eyes. Never expected this comment from Anke. Thank you very much. I am touched.

Saskia

Dear Greetje, You always look so fantastic and cute! You are a very special person, full of character with a beautiful personality. A true lady! And it shows. I have the privilege to admire you daily…. on the catwalk in the ABN central hall on the Fopp. Your appearance, always very surprising, subtle, colourful, stylish and with panache etc.

You are the real deal!

Kisses and love.

Sylvia

Hi Saskia, Thanks for your comment and visiting 40+Style! I apologize for having to translate your comment, but this website is strictly english. So I hope you don’t mind. I look forward to seeing you again on the site! By the way I totally agree with your comments on Greetje.

Greetje Kamminga

Oh dear.. So many compliments… I tend to hide in embarrassment in these situations. Blush on my cheeks and all.

Christina

Hello Greetje,
I only saw this profile of you now! Just want to let you know I really admire your style sensibility. You are using colours in a way that I have had to push myself towards. There is a wonderful aesthetic balance in all of your outfits. You seem like such a wonderful and fun-loving person! Too bad I live across the Atlantic in Montreal – otherwise, I would love to go shopping and have coffee with you : )

Greetje

OH… this is such a sweet compliment. Thank you. The stupid thing is that I don’t regard myself anywhere near your compliments. I see others like Jeannie of Gracefully50 or Trina of Tea Time with Trina or Beverly (whom Sylvia just featured) or Annette of Lady of Style, Lisa of Respect the shoes, Heather of The Style Confession…. the list is too long. They are all so much better in styling than I am.
But as I have often said: perceverance takes you a long way.

Christina

I have to disagree with with your overly modest assessment of yourself! In my opinion, you are up there with all the aforementioned. What I appreciate about your style; it totally works for you. We are all so different, in body type, personality, bone structure, colouring, etc., that it is impossible to take one look and apply it to ourselves without compromising our own potential to look our best. That was the mistake we typically did as teenagers : )
You, my dear, need to be commended for figuring out and arriving at a style that is truly great and all your own!!!

Greetje

I keep thinking “are they talking about me??” And I am not fishing for compliments or being fashionably modest. But I am very touched by such overwhelming praize. Thank you very much.

tgrandinetti

Love, love , love this interview. It was so much fun being able to actually ‘Hear” your voices, now I feel like we are truly connected. (great idea, Sylvia). Greetje, you already know I love your amazing style and extremely funny personality. Your sister-in-law spilled the beans on you, telling us all that she never sees you in the same outfit.
By the way, is this your home that you are sitting in because that is one incredibly great room.

Greetje

Yes this is my livingroom. My sister in law is a lovely woman but I don’t see her that often unfortunately, so it is not that difficult to surprise her with a new outfit. She and my brother used to live one street away from me in my twenties and we saw eachother three days a week. Not one bad word between us. Ever. Amazing isn’t it.?
(OK I will admit it, I have ridiculously many clothes.)

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