While in Seattle on my book tour this week I found myself between appointments in the most charming little (women-run) boutique, where I wanted everything and wound up settling on a quite daring silver metallic dress (by Polder, see below), which I then wore with sneakers to an event in Berkeley a few days later! All this left me reflecting on fashion, and women our age, and what we wear.

What’s comfortable? What feels emblematic of who I am? How do I want to present myself? Do I have a “uniform”? In a recent conversation with designer (and Woolfer) Daryl K, she emphasized that at our age, fit and fabric are more important than ever. Clingy things may no longer work (too many random bulges now!) and anything too big makes me look like a bag lady. Great fabric elevates the whole show.

I’m also reminded that there should never be any goddamn rules about this stuff. I break my own rules all the time! I’m now wearing turquoise reading glasses and before long I’m sure I’ll be sporting gigantic chunky necklaces, two things that used to say “old” to me and now say “fun.” No rules, ever.

Check out this videoSkirt, from The Visible Poetry Project, exploring these ideas and more…

Love, Nina

What We’re Talking About

100 Mostly Unexpected Books to Read. If that’s not enough to keep you busy, here’s 100 New Books to Change the Way We Look at our Bodies. Runner Lindsey Crouse’s examination of Why Men Quit and Women Don’t, using this year’s Boston Marathon in freezing rain as an example. Two provocative articles looking at the connection between menopause and the brain: The Mental Side of Menopause and The Menopause Alzheimer’s ConnectionStephanie Dolgoff‘s expose on pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in The Problem with Our Private Parts No One Wants to Talk About. Navigating the minefields of sex with What’s Lust Got to Do With It? and Bad Sex, and What to Do Instead. We love them (sometimes), but Do We Need Men? Joyce Wadler’s take on an unspoken consequence of the high cost of elder care in Farewell, My Inheritance. The prep may be horrendous, but it’s worth it, just read How My First Colonoscopy Saved My Life. Amanda Hess on Amy Schumer’s new film ‘I Feel Pretty’ and the Rise of Beauty-Standard Denialism. And, on that note,  An American Women Quits Smiling, or long live RBF.

Woolfer Wisdom: Fashion

One of the (many) advantages of getting older is that we become more resistant to trends. You know what we mean, those passing fads like cold-shoulder tops or asymmetrical hemlines or harem pants. To be clear: This is not about “What Not to Wear After 40,” or 50, or 70, which makes us livid. No. This is about feeling comfortable within our own skins, sexy and empowered. We’ve learned the value, if not the art, of timeless fashion. So in celebration of spring, Woolfers weighed in on their favorite staples for the coming season to create the perfect everyday uniform: 1) white shirt 2) cropped jeans 3) pretty silk blouse 4) structured black leggings 5) wrap dress 6) cashmere cardigan/wrap 7) a true red lipstick. And, of course, no capsule wardrobe is complete without a feminist gold tee from Diana Kane. (For those of us looking for a work wardrobe recharge, The Woolfer teamed up with the fabulous MM.LaFleur for inspiration. Check out Brill Bundy’s post here about her experience with the company’s fashion bento box.)

Another reason for celebration? The days of no-fashion-model-over-40 finally might be waning: fashion is waking up to the older woman. Exhibit A: These gorgeous women featured in a Danish magazine. More, please.

Woolfer Wins

We’re totally intrigued by these interchangeable shoes from Cat Perkins. They work like this: You pick a base, whether in cork or black or white (the wedge is around 4″, but with the platform, it feels like 2″) . Add different “uppers” — a metallic strappy sandal, a suede fringe with ankle strap, the wide strap pictured above. With a few snaps, one pair of shoes becomes three or four. Perfect for travel or a Kondo-ed closet.

We have so many incredible stories of reinvention among us, like that of Margaret Solow, who became, in her late 40s, a successful jewelry designer after years of working in the film business. These stackable rings, pictured on Nina’s hand, show her signature style — gorgeous stones (in this case, two dark diamonds and a ruby, purchased at a WWVWD trunk sale at great discount!) set in thin gold. Margaret recommends imbuing every jewelry purchase with meaning, and these beauties are saying to Nina “New Stage of Life!”

Looking to branch out of the basic black dress for spring? We recommend shiny metallics or a colorful print. Two of our go-to designers are Polder (left) and Tucker (right).

Also, these! “Pinup pants,” a crazy-comfy hybrid of the cropped jeans/black leggings concept: side zip, high-waisted, lots of pockets, and made in the USA by a women-owned company based in Seattle, totally committed to sustainable fashion.

Woolfer Reads

We snagged an early copy of Amanda Stern‘s forthcoming memoir, Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life, out this June — and could not put it down. From her novelistic rendering of growing up in 1970s and 80s New York City to her very relatable adult relationship troubles, Amanda exposes with wit and candor what it’s like to live with a severe anxiety disorder from birth. On our blog, The Woolfer and Amanda discuss her new book, what she’s reading next, and finding a room of one’s own. Check it out here.

Woolfer of the Week

Lauri McCarthy, 43, Brooklyn, NY

“This is me with the Maximón, a boozy, playful, Mayan deity that guards houses in Guatemala. You give him gifts of vices or money to be polite when visiting friends.”

What’s the Biggest Risk You’ve Ever Taken?
I have led a colorful past, not willing to share my biggest risk hence I’ll go with 2nd place on this one: Staying a freelancer as a single woman. My feast or famine lifestyle has me going from food banks to the Hamptons.

What’s Your Career Now?
I am a Production Manager and Producer of commercials, events, and all things live action. Sometimes I sling a cocktail or two for others during the slow seasons.

What are you Most Proud Of?
I am most proud of my incredible resilience (if I can boast a bit) and my political activism.

What Are You Most Ashamed Of?
I am hands down most ashamed of hitting my sweet mother (Ma) in a time before I learned to manage my inner demons.

What Do you Regret Most?
I’m the type of girl who accidentally takes her remote control for the TV in her purse to work. I once wore two different black boots to my job site and had to pretend it was on purpose; but those aren’t regrets,  those are what I like to call TLB: Typical Lauri Bullshit. I regret the most not acknowledging my anger and anxiety issues sooner; and having them escort me through losing friendships of my own accord. I believe time heals all wounds and I am committed to time and healing. Also, I sure as heck wish I had children.

If You Had a Warning Label, What Would It Be?
Under construction.

Xanax or weed?
Yes please! Also, cheese, specifically night cheese Liz Lemon style.

Voices from WWVWD

Our Facebook group is like Vegas or Burning Man: What happens in WWVWD stays in WWVWD. But sometimes we just can’t resist sharing a post (with permission, always).

“A dear friend just confessed she has the hots for Robert Mueller. Who’s your most un-PC crush? I think mine is 50 Cent. Not for his looks per se, but because that song Candy Shop is so sexy somehow…”

In Case You Missed It


An epic – and we mean epic – 24-hour Spotify playlist of the best break-up songs ever, compiled by Woolfers. Thank you, Laurie Nardone, our anointed Spotify Goddess, for making it happen.

The Woolfer Newsletter Team
Stephanie Staal and Nina Collins have worked together and adored each other since 1994 when they were both babies in the world of book publishing. Stephanie is a lawyer, journalist, & author of READING WOMEN, and Nina is the founder of "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?" Hillary Richard is also a lawyer and co-host of the Raging Gracefully podcast. Sidney Morss is a recent NYU grad and the youngest member of our team.