Visible Monday #12: Showing Body Parts, Tastefully

Welcome to Visible Monday #12! If you want to participate, it’s so easy: just go to the bottom of this post for the simple how-to.

A frequent fashion question for the grown-up woman is: How much skin to show? We — most of us — want to look stylish, modern and appropriate for the given setting. But, it is called Visible Monday for a reason: we don’t want to fade away to invisibility just because we are 40-something, 50-something, or any given age/size/shape.

I’ve written before that I usually cover my upper arms at work. Even though it is a casual workplace, I feel better with that body part sheltered. With this outfit, I broke my rule and let my shoulders show, for some of the day at least. I did wear a little black linen jacket when seeing clients.

I think if the rest of the outfit is modest — in this case, a high neckline, body-skimming fit and midi length skirt — it is OK to show a little shoulder now and then.  I love this recently thrifted floral blouse, especially next to my cool peacock bracelet from Forever21. The black knit skirt is an old favorite and sees a lot of rotation.

Blouse: S.L.B.; Skirt: Target; Belt: Guess; Shoes: Anne Klein
Return of the cat-on-shoulder pose
My sweetie girl, Stinky. We found her on the street as an abandoned kitten, November 2001

The guidelines to participate in Visible Monday are so simple!

  1. Any Monday, whoever wants to can join in! Just compose a post that includes any outfit, accessory, piece of jewelry, hairstyle, cosmetic or other adornment that makes you feel more confident, alive and visible that day.
  2. Include a link to Not Dead Yet Style somewhere in your post.
  3. Go to the bottom of this post and click on this cute little link:

In the “Next Step”, you crop the pic (easy tool) you want to display, and you’re done!

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  1. Remember when Michelle Obama created the big arm flap because she went to the State of the Union address with bare arms? Oh my. I thought that was great, because all of a sudden women wanted to have arms like Michelle Obama! My arms, on the other hand, keep waving after the hand stops. Another reason for going back to the gym! Patti — I really really like this on you! Very pretty print, and the cut is beautiful. Everything about this is perfect. But I know exactly what you mean about covering up for a client. There are times when you just kind of want your clothes to be androgynous, so you don't draw any attention to the clothing and instead all attention is somewhere else.

  2. Hi Debbi – I agree we over-40 bloggers are a modest group, as a whole. Maybe we should have a Visible Monday where we post pictures of ourselves from our 20's???? I may want to blank out my face  : >

  3. Yes, Anne, you are right about fit and comfort. And I find sleeveless is actually more flattering than a loose short sleeve, which can give off a little old lady vibe.

  4. We love our black kitties, don't we? Thanks so much for participating Debbie.

  5. Hi Susan – it's great that you can create your own clothing. I bet you'll look wonderful in your silk jersey.

  6. Hi Paula! (or should I say "legs"?  : >)  You're right that the pendulum can swing too far.

  7. Yes! I remember that too, the covering of shoulders in church. From my view, your upper arms still look great.

  8. I lost my Monday and can't find it anywhere!  I love your outfit Patti!  Your arms look fine.   Mine don't but I've been showing them this summer anyway.  I'm slowly learning to love me just the way I am. 

  9. Friday in yoga the teacher had us hold our arms out horizontally. I was horrified to look in the mirror and see my 'bat wing" arms flapping! You, however, have lovely arms and should go sleeveless whenever you can. When I worked, the dress code did not allow us to go sleeveless and that was just fine with me!
    Your outfit is very modest. I think that most of us over 40 bloggers are very modest. I have never liked to show too much skin. I hated wearing bathing suits even when I had the figure for one.

  10. You look lovely as always!  I show my arms a LOT at work, and I do sometimes wonder about the appropriateness of this.  But sleeveless tops are cooler and more comfortable.  And have you noticed how much easier they are to find in stores?  Easier to fit properly, too, at least for me.  I find it much easier to find a flattering sleeveless cut than a flattering short-sleeved cut.  (And I am FAR from flab free up there!  Short sleeves make it worse, for me, than if the shoulder bone shows).

    I totally agree with Serene's tip.  I also find that I am becoming a little more conservative with the necklines these days.  Just for appropriateness.

  11. Your arms look lovely! I really like the design of that blouse.

    I am reluctant to bare my arms, but just finished sewing a sleeveless silk jersey top I'll probably wear to an up coming cocktail party. It looks fine, not wonderful IMO.

  12. you've got nice slim shoulders, you should show them off more often. Great outfit, you look classy and charming.


  13. I think all of you are so right!  I am with Patti on not showing the arms-but yours are in great shape.  Less is more for us and you are right Serene–more in one place, the less in another.  Looks like we are all on the same page on this one~
    Oh and Terri you reminded me of a time I went into an Italian church and a lol came up to me and covered my shoulders with her scarf!  Imagine–shoulders were NOT TO BE EXPOSED!  I am glad we have progressed from that but maybe we have gone to far…..

  14. Hear, hear to Serene….young girls are showing too much skin!!  A high school football game can be almost pornographic…and I am not exaggerating. I have hoped that Kate Middleton might encourage some to be more modest with her classy beautiful style.  But, you Patti, look lovely here and this is appropriate in any circle.  I am jealous of your figure and great arms…this is a classy look!

  15. You look just fine with the bare arms.  I know the first time I realized that there was an unwritten rule about bare arms was in a Baptist church.  I looked around the congregation and realized that all adult women were entirely covered.  I will wear bare arms to work, but it is starting to get iffy–not because I am against bare arms, but because the upper arm is beginning to flesh out and become slightly flabby.

  16. Patti, I actually think that the skin issue is (most of the time) not age related.  Frankly, I think many young girls are showing WAY too much skin.  My rule of thumb is that if I show more up top, I keep more covered on the bottom and vice versa.  I love how you put this together.  The lovely cut out shoulders keep the skirt from looking TOO serious.  You look GORGEOUS!  Happy Visible Monday hugs!  ~Serene

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