Terrenea Beach, California

“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” – Bill Cunningham 

Outfit Details:
Red Ball GownB&W Tiered GownHaltered GownRed Dress, Cut Out Back Gown

You know those Vogue Editorial shoots with the gorgeous models in the most to die for and unexpected settings? I had a vision come to mind to create my own version, let’s just say a FIERCE version of an editorial spread! The inspiration came through as I envisioned an elegant ball gown in the most glorious shade of crimson, brimming with old-fashioned tulle and perfectly captured in a starkly, bohemian, beachy location. One minor issue? Those Vogue shoots come with full production teams and giant budgets and with models 3 – 4 decades younger. My production team consists of me, me, me…and my photog. I’m the model, the makeup artist, the hairstylist and the fashion stylist…oh…and I’m making it all up as I go along! The other issue we were facing was a barebones budget. I was determined to make my vision come true with less than $200. My mission was to find the perfect look that would be red carpet worthy without being red carpet pricey. Could the two of us, both 57 years young, make my dream come true? My belief? If you can found a Revolution…a Forever Fierce Revolution…in your mid-50’s…there’s are no limits as anything and everything is within the realm of possibility!

The perfect place to begin was in fashion that would typically be considered “Juniors” or generations that were decades younger than yours truly. Yes, at 57 years young, I STILL shop in the Juniors departments! And, you’ll probably find me there in my 60’s and maybe even my 70’s. Why? There are many advantages to shopping in the Junior departments with affordability at the top of my list. Another powerful reason for many women is a wider range of smaller sizes. Junior sizing is ideal if you’re on the more petite side. I’m definitely not considered “petite” from a height perspective yet I gravitate to wearing clothing that is on the smaller end of the spectrum.

I’m a big believer in style being ageless, timeless and affordable. Fashion should be fun as it’s designed to make a woman feel her most beautiful. I’m a passionate daydreamer and ideas and inspiration tend to fly through my mind…particularly in those rare quiet moments when my monkey mind stops chattering away. Since launching my blog 2 years ago, I’ve found my creativity expanding naturally as I absolutely love planning out photo shoots. The most delightful part is the unexpected…juxtaposing a red carpet moment with an outside the box bohemian setting.

After some time searching around the internet, I happened upon this satiny, billowing red ball gown that reminded me of Gwyneth Paltrow’s unforgettable princess moment at the Oscar many years ago. The dress was by a brand called Blondie Nites and is available through several different online retailers. I happened to find that it on sale on Amazon and with a price point beginning at $135, it was an absolute steal. At Nordstrom, it’s available at the regular retail price of $249 which is still a bargain when compared to similar looks. With the perfect dress, it was time to plan out the layout for the overall shoot. My vision was of an unlikely, bohemian setting with bare feet and minimal hair and makeup. I love the challenge of creating my own look. I’m a bit of a fashion rebel as I believe a woman should have the freedom to break the rules. Age should never dictate our purchases. The only rule I have is the look must make me FEEL BEAUTIFUL.

Next on the list was nailing down the ideal backdrop. The area surrounding the South Bay of Los Angeles contains some of the most picturesque landscape in Southern California. Majestic cliffs, gorgeous sunsets, expansive beaches with mind-blowing beauty greet you at every twist and turn. It made for quite a challenge to narrow down the final location. I wanted something that was stark, dramatic and absolutely unexpected terrain. My photog and I settled upon the public beach at Terrenea. Terrenea Resort, which lies on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, is one of the most beautiful resorts in California. It lies perfectly perched above the public beach and is the epitome of modern glamour and elegance. There’s a long, narrow walkway that descends through the grounds and winds its way onto a rocky shoreline called Terrenea Cove Beach. It’s surrounded by towering cliffs with the ocean waves lapping at the rocky shore and dolphins jumping in the horizon. During low tide, hikers carefully venture into the hidden sea caves.

We hiked down to the beach and it wasn’t long before we were attracting a crowd. Ball gowns and beaches are clearly a rarity and a sight to behold. If you’re looking for a fast track cure to shyness, I would highly encourage you to give fashion blogging a go! Growing up, I was painfully shy.. there’s nothing like putting yourself out there in the midst of a crowd and striking a pose to build your self-confidence and allow those inhibitions to tumble by the wayside. It only took me 54 years to achieve, but now, I don’t think twice of standing out in a crowd while they stop, stare, whisper and might be thinking…”Hey, who’s that crazy lady?” And…when you choose to scale the rocky cliffs of Terreana in a bright red, tulle laden fancy ball gown, you best be prepared for crowds to gather and the staring fest to begin! This girl was determined to have her Vogue moment, regardless of the 90 plus degree heat, the rocky terrain along with the pounding ocean waves and the spray of the ocean. We began by shooting on the rocky beach and couldn’t resist moving to higher ground. That meant hiking up that ball gown and trying to time my moves between the crashing waves and the slippery rocks. It dawned on me that it’s absolutely impossible to be a vision of grace and elegance while hoisting a tulle skirt up to your knees while scaling up the side of a cliff. But, my photog and I were on a mission to make that editorial vision come true and fortunately or unfortunately, that would mean scaling the cliffside terrain in true boho style. We came, we climbed, we shot, and we conquered. The essence of a fierce woman is nothing gets in the way of making her vision come to life!

I encourage every woman to allow space for her dreams to take hold and never ever allow age to be a factor. If anything, as I’ve grown older, I’ve grown wiser and far more fiercely confident than in my younger days.  I also encourage women to believe they can make those dreams happen. Belief is the most important catalyst to spark dreams into our reality. And, if your dream is creating your own Vogue editorial spread or dressing up like a princess and having your own red carpet moment, I would begin by searching for more affordable designers that tend to target younger generations. Think outside the box and remember style is deeply personal. It’s never about anyone but you. The only thing that matters, in the end, is the way fashion makes you feel. Here are some of my favorite styles that are gorgeous, glamorous and budget friendly. Personally, I like the idea of being a “Junior Citizen” rather than a “Senior Citizen.” I’m hoping you’ll join me! Cheers, Beauties!

22 comments

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You look absolutely gorgeous. I would have never thought you were shy at one time.
Love the dress, too

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Oh yes, shy for much of my life. I still don’t like large crowds. I’ll choose an intimate setting any day. I’ll always be half introvert and half extrovert. Hope your birthday was extra special!

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Talk about showcasing style and budget in the most gorgeous location ever (and on the most gorgeous woman)!!!
You always crack me up—and tell your hair stylist she’s doing a great job…LOL!!
XOXO
Jodie
http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

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You know me…gotta laugh…and not take myself too seriously, sister! Love you!

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You look like a beautiful rose in that stunning red dress. Your editorial shoot is amazing. I love all the photos and your stories are so well written. You may be 57 but it does not show one bit. Shine on sister!!!

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Awww, thanks sister! I adore you and we have to do one together one day. Enjoy NYFW with your girl. Finally and no snow this time!

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You are such an example of beauty from within shining through – your beautiful heart is just bursting out and illuminating you in these photos! Love everything about this.

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I try sister! This was definitely a favorite post of mine. I adore you and always light up when I see your sweet comments!

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Gorgeous! Making a $249 gown look like a million bucks. Your location is really beautiful as well. Great post.

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Thank you so much, Sue. I appreciate your kindness more than you know!

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Vibrant and full of life. You said you were going to do it and you did it…what a beautiful reward. The pictures are gorgeous and so are you, great post on shopping alternative sources…basically, never never give up.
Julie

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I sure did say and I try to do as I say! Thanks for always being so kind!

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I love the way you act on your visions. Dreams can be so much more than just dreams. Thank you for the inspiration!

Helen

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They sure can, sister…they sure can! Thanks, beautiful!

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You look stunning Catherine! I would never have guessed this dress was a ball gown from the Junior’s department. Style is what you make it. You are so right about what you said about blogging being the cure for shyness. I can totally relate. Believing in your dreams is important and having the confidence to go out there and do something about it is as well. I wish I was able to see this photo shoot in person, it sounds like fun!

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It sure is, sister and I appreciate you more than you know. Amazing job on Rebecca’s post too. You have quite a gift and I need her services too! My weak point. I sure hope you’ll come join us at FierceCon, sister! Much love, Catherine

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Beautiful dress and I love the artful photography. Hey, I host a link up party every Wed, so if you’re interested, you’re welcome to stop by and link your posts. http://www.thismainline.com

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Hi Julie,
I would love to join your link up. If you want to add me to your link up list, send me your link up emails, and I’ll join the party. Thank you so much for your lovely comments!

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Stunning, Catherine and what a statement the red colour makes. My motto is focus on life not your number because there really are no limits for women Over 50, only the limitations we place on ourselves. Have a beautiful weekend!

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Thank you so much, Sue. I love your motto and following your journey on social media!

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Fab look and a great number to be, (I’m 57 too)! Love the premise of your post and you’ve certainly achieved a stunning look. Debbie from Debs-World.com

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How kind, Debbie. It was such a fun post to create. I love the whole process and it’s truly made such a difference in my life.

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