How to mix subtle color with classic and tomboy chic elements – A style interview with Lisa

by Sylvia

lisa from amid privilege

During my last trip to the USA I had the privilege to meet another of my favorite bloggers: Lisa from Amid Privilege. I caught up with her at a very busy and exciting time in her life, just a few weeks before she got married!

Lisa’s blog talks about fashion in the context of culture and every now and then she showcases her own relaxed casual chic style. I was curious to find out more about her and her style, so let’s move on to the interview!

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

I’m 56 years old, will turn 57 at the end of this month.


Can you tell us a bit more about your blog amid privilege and why you created it?

I started the blog initially because I retired. I had always wanted to write – about issues other than software features that is. I began by addressing my demographic from a narrow perspective – personal historical background – and wound up writing more inclusively about women’s style over 50.

Can you tell me about your own style, which you describe as Quiet Dressing with Impact, of Classic with an Edge. Can you elaborate?

Fashion is currently dominated by pops of color, pattern-mixing, and outrageous accessories. I just don’t have the temperament for that look. I work with classic and mostly structured silhouettes, layering in textures and subtle color play. My jewelry is all precious metals and stones, but subtle. Impact without overkill, if you will. Oh, and I don’t wear visible logos, if I can help it.


Can you tell me where you live and how that influences your style choices?

California absolutely influences me. We don’t do fussy in Norcal, as the kids call it. And given our temperate weather and cool nights, we layer natural fabrics in all seasons. Living here also allows me to dress “young,” or youngish at least, without raising anyone’s eyebrows.

How does your work style differ from your home style?

At home it’s all about comfort. Shoes are flat, pants are loose, shirts stretchy. At work it’s still about comfort, but to a point. So I wear walkable heels, pants that fit, some button front tops, and lightweight jackets. I wear no makeup at home – I pay attention to it for work. I wear little jewelry at home, it’s my key accessory for the office.

Sturdy Gals don’t like fuss, but we insist on dressing appropriately for our environments:).


What inspires your outfit choices the most?

It’s definitely an internal thing – with little points of input from the fashion media. I look for balance above and beyond everything else: of texture, hue, silhouette, and sheer degree of flair. Not too much, not too little. I look to the media – blogs among them – for ways to stretch and grow. Sometimes bloggers like you give me new ideas, sometimes Vogue and show something from a designer that makes me think, “Hmmm, that just might do.”

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

Not consciously, but in terms of a visual scan for balance and harmony, yes, absolutely. I’ve always known I looked terrible in yellow, just didn’t know that meant I was a Cool Color person. I’ve always known I had broad shoulders and narrow hips, just didn’t know that meant I was an X or V shape. Doing the research in the blogging community has helped put a name, and additional expertise, behind what my eyes had always told me.

If eyes can talk, that is;).


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

Yes, but it’s funny how other people are much better at describing it than I am. I’m going to ask you what you think!

Has your style changed at all after turning 40?

It got better.


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

I think “age-appropriate” simply means to dress with for respect yourself and your community. There are a million ways to interpret that statement, but there are a million cultures and sub-cultures, and blanket statements just can’t apply everywhere.

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, less afraid.


Why is the way you look important to you?

Because it’s the primary way that other people experience me. Because I’m a visual person myself, and always carry around a sense of what I saw in the mirror this morning. Because it’s the easiest way to amuse myself, from day to day.

Which of the outfits on your blog is a personal favorite and why?

My wedding dress, of course;). But in regular life? I love this Dries van Noten dress. I’m also fond of this Commes des Garcons PLAY t-shirt, the UNIQLO jacket, and these Levis, and I was goofily excited to pair an aubergine tweed jacket with a blue and brown striped buttonfront, here.


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

I just don’t know if fashion HAS trends any more, instead I notice “IT” objects. Right now it’s the “winged” bag, started by Celine and buyable even at Target. Oh, and studded shoes, like the Valentino Rockports and Chloe studded boots. I think maybe we have Alexander Wang and his original studded handbags to thank for all the prickly accessories. But trends, um, the dominant silhouette is still Show Your Legs. Beyond that, anything goes. Even Hiding Your Legs.

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

Look in the mirror and embrace what you see. Use your vast experience to research, learn from the experts, and enjoy yourself. There’s no one answer, only a host of good resources out there free and available to everyone.



What are your plans for your blog and how do you see it develop over the coming years?

I have just launched an initiative where for the first time I use commission links, and I am donating all proceeds to Dress For Success, a global charitable organization that provides appropriate clothing for women entering the workforce. Otherwise, I just hope to keep getting better as a writer, and more useful.

Anything further you would like to add?

A huge thank you to my readers. Their commentary is insightful, civil, and entertaining. And to you Sylvia, the opportunity to speak up here is much appreciated.


Note from Sylvia: Thanks Lisa. It was great reading your answers and meeting you in San Francisco! I especially like your answer to the question on why style is important to you: “because it’s the easiest way to amuse myself from day-to-day”. I think that is also why I like clothes so much and it feels like a great justification for buying some nice clothes that make me happy! Be sure to visit Lisa’s fabulous blog Amid Privilege.


1 Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

Thanks for this, Sylvia. Great interview with a very stylish and smart woman! Lisa, if you’re reading this, your wedding dress is beyond beautiful.

2 Lisa

Thanks Patti!

3 Ann

Great interview with one stylish woman. I must say her wedding dress is one of the best I have ever seen!

blue hue wonderland

4 Koko

What a great interview! Thanks so much, I am really inspired by Lisa’s chic, personal style!

5 Lisa

Thank you all so much! And Sylvia, such a pleasure to meet you in San Francisco, and thanks again for doing me the honor of interviewing me for 40+ Style!

6 Amy

A woman after my own heart!
Love the style and especially the whitish hair that says – this is me!
And the wedding dress is so right.
Romantic in a timeless and ageless way. Just beautiful.

7 Amy

A woman after my own heart!
Love the style and especially the whitish hair that says – this is me!
And the wedding dress is so right.
Romantic in a timeless and ageless way. Just beautiful.
Lisa, what you do with clothes I strive to do with jewelry, really enjoyed reading interview with you and will look for your blog

8 Lisa

Thank you. Look forward to seeing your jewelry.

9 vicki archer

A great interview and I do enjoy and agree with Lisa’s thoughts on style and fashion… Ageing and fashion are now two words that belong in the same sentence… How good is that! xv

10 Jill Pontiere

This gal is a class act. Love her style and she wears it well. Thanks for this sharing, it’s so refreshing to see real women of age and maturity rock the fashion scene!

11 Barbara

This is what I’m talkin’ about!!!!! Beautifully done. She is dead on about the pattern mixing, etc…….very clownish.

12 Marie-Ève

Lisa, you are one of the most beautiful and stylish woman I know, of ANY age. I can only hope to walk in your footsteps one day. Much love.

13 Lisa


14 denton

love the clothes and the interview!

15 Buckeroomama

A great interview with Lisa! What a privilege it must have been to meet and interview her, 🙂

16 Monica P

Wonderful interview .. glad I shopped by.


17 Greetje Kamminga

Nice interview. I was a bit puzzled because it says that she started to blog after she retired. But later in the interview she answers the question what she wears to work. So ???
You are showing an outfit with high contrast, the lavender dress with the b&w jacket and a trouser outfit in dark colours. It says with the latter: Better. … Hmm. Not in my opinion. I like the high contrast better. Just goes to show that it is not only a matter of what suits you or what becomes you, but also very much, what do you like yourself. As the high contrast is obviously my style.
The wedding dress is the best wedding dresses I have ever seen. And I have seen many, I can tell you. Oh I wish it could have been mine. Congratulations Lisa, hope you have a happy marriage for the rest of your life.

18 Sylvia

She retired and then she got asked for another job and she went back to work! The outfit where it says better was taken from a post where she compared several similar outfits, so it should really be read in that context… It was not a ‘followup’ to the outfit I posted before (just a coincidence).

19 Lisa

Sylvia has answered the questions just as I would have. Sorry for having been absent here, family illness, mom’s now on the mend.

20 Heidi/Frantic But Fabulous

Love her. What a great interview! And that wedding dress is just absolutely stunning. Simple, elegant, amazing.

21 Amy

Lovely woman. And I like her style, but probably because it is very similar to mine. I’ll be checking out her blog.

22 Susan

Fabulous interview. I love Lisa’s style–a great mix. Thanks!


Beautiful woman! She looks fantastic, especially in black.

24 Anja

Great answers and a very beautiful and elegant wedding dress!

25 33

she’s obviously classy and smart, dressing her body and age wonderfully. I especially like her wedding dress that perfectly showed off her figure and class with min. fuss and max. flair.

as for mixing tomboy, i think one has to have the figure for it. she’s tall and lean, perfect for tomboy chic. for an apple shaped or curvy woman, it’s hard to do tomboy….

26 Lisa

Thank you for your kind words. I think you are right that tomboy does well with lean, or at least muscular, but I am not tall:). 5’5″, at this point, down an inch from my tallest in my youth.

27 Sandra Sallin

So happy to see Lisa featured here. She has style plus brains. This woman rocks what ever she sets her mind to. She just stuns in her wedding dress. Beautiful Lisa!

28 Trina Grandinetti

Sylvia, These tend to be my favorite articles. It’s so much fun and interesting getting know fellow bloggers. Lisa is one classy lady, I love the carefree way she goes about styling. Thank you so very much for all your work on this blog.

29 Elena

Syiva, many thanks for the opportunity to learn about this wonderful woman.

30 Lisa

Adding my voice of thanks to Sylvia for her great work too!

31 Yolanda Kenney

I enjoyed this article and the photos. She’s so chic and interesting. I do wonder though (and I do not mean this as a criticism, just an observation) about the hair. Hair style and color after 40 feels like the biggest challenge for me and here in every photo she just has her hair pulled back and not colored. Almost as if she’s taken it out of the equation. It doesn’t really add to the style. So if this chic fashion blogger can’t figure out what to do with her hair, what hope is there for the rest of us?!?

32 Sylvia

I think the long grey hair is her personal preference. Yolanda below also replied to your comment as to why many women prefer to keep their hair natural and grey. There is a great discussion about this topic here: where it is clear that every woman feels different about this topic.

33 Lisa

Again, Sylvia is spot on! I let my hair go gray because I like the way it looks. Now, in terms of the length, I grew it so I could have a lot of hair in an updo for my wedding. I’m currently trying to decide whether to go back to shoulder length, or keep it long and in a braid for a more Artsy look. I may ask my readers what they think!

34 Yolanda

Thank you for your reply, Lisa! I do think you look fabulous and the grey is nice on you. I wondered more about the style being pulled back with all of the looks. I am a hair-puller-backer too, but it doesn’t work with every look for me. Is your hair layered? Do you wear it down? I try to avoid blow drying because it is so damaging but it’s difficult to have a nice style without it.

35 Yolanda

Thank you for the reply, Sylvia! I appreciate the link to “To go grey….” Which led me to the “Hairstylesver 40” link! So much great information! I am still amongst those who color the hair and am not quite ready for grey but am always looking for hairstyle ideas because I think it is such a big part of the overall look.

36 Jill Pontiere

Regarding Yolanda’s comment on Lisa’s hair. At our 50’s, 60’s and beyond, we no longer have the texture in our hair that we did when we were in our earlier years. The majority of women seem to buy into, the media hype, that we need to color and torture our hair and ourselves to look twenty something again. I cut off my long hair because of the dead color on the ends and I’m growing it long again. I think Lisa’s look is sophisticated and I’m sure she wears her hair the way it makes her feel good and I have learned in my sixties to go with what makes me feel good inside, it will be reflected on the outside.

37 Lisa

Thank you.

38 That's Not My Age

Great interview – I think Lisa looks fab and writes beautifully.

39 Tabitha

Cool tomboy who can glam up when required!

40 pve

Beautiful inside and out and that is what radiates from Lisa. Lovely photo in her wedding dress and I always loved that first image with the leather jacket.
Nice interview and it’s great Lisa that you are passing on goodness to Dress for Success.

41 Francine Gardner

Great interview with Lisa. A smart, interesting , beautiful woman with style. In our society, we need to feel secure about ourselves, no matter our age bracket.

42 Nadine Bivins

I really enjoyed reading this post! Really helpful in encouraging us to embrace and love ourselves. Having just started a blog myself, I’ve been battling some age insecurities because I hadn’t discovered any older women doing it until today. You are both inspiring and lovely! Thank you!

43 Sylvia

Glad you enjoyed it Nadine and welcome to the site!

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