From Combat Boot To OTK: A Perspective On Being Ageless & StyleWe Giveaway

A little over a year ago, I wrote Age-Appropriate: Can Your Mother Wear Combat Boots? and followed it up two months later with Giving Age Appropriateness The Boot. Today, I’d like to offer up another perspective on being ageless from the viewpoint of the changing landscape of retail shopping. Oh, and bonus, I’m teaming up with the very awesome and most wonderful Shelbee from Shelbee On The Edge to give you a chance to win a fabulous giveaway from StyleWe and, extra bonus, there’s a link up on her site that you will want to join, too. Details on the giveaway and the #SpreadTheKindness link up are at the end of this post.

According to recent news, the landscape of retail shopping is changing as evidenced by the pending closures of 68 Macy’s Stores and over 30 Sears/K-Mart stores later this year. The Limited stores have all just closed and many other retailers are focusing on expanding their on-line business as they reduce their brick & mortar locations. Personally, I’m finding the practice of some retailers to offer greater discounts for on-line purchases very frustrating (I share an actual experience in Am I Repeating Myself?) because I truly enjoy the touch and feel of shopping.


Another look for my marl knit dress – camo jacket and combat boots

Truth be told, I don’t shop at Sears or K-Mart because there are other retailers in those price points that I prefer so those closures only bother me with regard to the changing retail landscape and for the loss of jobs associated with those stores. Nor will I be mourning the Macy’s closures but for different reasons. It’s my observation that Macy’s (actually it’s parent company Federated) has contributed to this current state. Shoppers are looking for a diversity of choice and options for goods and the expansion of Macy’s through the acquisition and closure of other same-market department stores drastically reduced those choices and options.

In my opinion, it’s because of those acquisitions that Macy’s is no longer the premier retailer it used to be. I can name at least four department stores chains in my region of the country that have all come under the umbrella of Federated. As such, Macy’s has little direct market-share competition and, over time, the merchandise carried seems to be repetitious throughout the departments. With each merger/takeover, another part of Macy’s unique flare was lost in the effort to satisfy the newly expanded customer base.

In my area, shoppers looking for alternatives in the realm of department stores either have to step up to Nordstrom and Bloomingdales or step down to J C Pennys, Kohls, or even Target (no disrespect, Target has some great stuff). The fact that I’ve not really shopped at or bought anything from Macy’s in over 6 months just goes to show how dissatisfied I’ve become with this retailer.


Combat boots – comfort and style for any age

So, how is this connected to combat boots, OTK, and ageless style? Another option to the traditional department store is shopping at smaller stores and at more specialized retailers. In this exploration, we can find a broader range of choices and opportunities to make new style discoveries. While the styles at some fast fashion retailers are truly more suited to the younger set, treasures can be found anywhere one is brave enough to look. No longer pigeonholed into “the missus” department, we are free to experiment and adapt any and all trends towards our own personal style.

No longer pigeonholed into “the missus” department, we are free to experiment and adapt any and all trends towards our own personal style.  Such is what happened last year when I first considered buying a pair of combat boots. My daughter and I were shopping and I asked her if she thought combat boots were age-appropriate for me. My ‘oh so wise’ daughter said that she didn’t think that they were inappropriate and, that the way she saw it, a woman can wear what she likes.

It’s an important concept to remember.  We can wear what we like and, even more so, we should wear what we like. Of course, care should be taken in consideration of fit, coverage, and occasion, but otherwise style is a personal choice. It should be an expression of who you are and not what mass market retailers want you to buy.  A trend such as combat boots or OTK boots should not be discounted solely out of fear of “inappropriateness”.


Style trend alert – camo and butterflies

There’s a whole world of options available so there’s no reason to limit ourselves and it’s logical that the next option to explore is on-line retailers. The offerings are increasing as on-line retailers are expanding.  All of this couldn’t be happening at a better time for me because I’m feeling that my style is evolving and the styles I’m looking for aren’t carried my local brick & mortar stores.  More and more, I’m finding myself looking on-line for the options I’m seeking.

Outfit details
Utility jacket – GAP (exact, but limited sizes, similar look)
Dress – Mossimo (exact but sold only in stores, similar look)
Combat boots – Rock & Candy (exact, similar look with fleece cuff)


Even as I begin to embrace on-line shopping, I struggle with the aspect of not being able to touch and feel as I shop.  Slow to load websites are frustrating as are the retailers that offer limited views and/or descriptions of the items being sold.  The delayed gratification that comes from the disjointed experience of purchase to when the item in hand is another component of this struggle.

On the flip side, there is shopping in your jammies on a cold and wintery day. There are new emmerging designers who are embracing the concept of ageless styles and offer a range of sizes not always carried in brick & mortar stores. Previously loved retailers that struggled with the costs of maintaining stores in shopping malls are finding new life through e-commerce and regionally based merchants can now tap into a national, and sometimes global, market.

Once again you must be wondering, how is this connected to combat boots, OTK, and ageless style?


Let me start with the camo utility jacket I’m wearing in the photos above. I first saw it during the after-Christmas sales and because its price had been marked down, the jacket wasn’t eligible for the store-wide additional 40% discount. It would have been less at 40% off than its marked down price and that bothered me. At the price, I wasn’t certain that it was “age appropriate” so I didn’t buy it.

The next day I was reconsidering that decision (remembering that I should wear what I like) and while at another mall, looked for the jacket but it wasn’t carried in that store. When I looked on-line, I found I could buy it at the discounted price plus 40% off (an option not available in stores) so I bought it.

There was no hesitation on my part in buying the blue open-front cardigan you see in these photos when I saw on the website of an e-commerce retailer. I’d won a giveaway (like you have a chance to do below but from a different company) and this sweater was one of the items I purchased. The colors, pattern, and texture are all design details that I adore and I think that the style and drape of the cardigan are flattering to my figure and stature.


Like with the combat boots, I was drawn to the look of OTK boots but unsure as to how I could incorporate them into my style. Nevertheless, they were on my wish list and when I found this pair on the clearance rack of my favorite footwear retailer, I bought them. I must confess that I haven’t worn them much yet but inspiration struck when the cardigan arrived.

Many women wear OTK boots with leggings or skinny jeans of a different color but I don’t think that look flatters me. I prefer a boots and skirt combo so paired up the cardigan and OTKs with a blue and black tweed pencil skirt. This one of the looks I sent to the ladies that run a monthly How I Wear My round-up on their respective blogs, The Rich Life In Wine Country and Everything Just So. The featured item for this month was tall boots and these OTK boots are the tallest ones I have. Click on the links to their websites to read the posts and see how the other contributers are wearing their tall boots.


Outfit Details
Cardigan – Chadwicks of Boston (exact, similar style)
Skirt – Ann Taylor, old (similar look, another option)
Top – Talbots, old
Boots – Steve Madden (similar look, another option)


Alright, now for the details on the StyleWe giveaway. Super stylish Shelbee from Shelbee On The Edge invited me to host this giveaway with her. How fabulous it that! Anyway, if you win the giveaway, you will get to select an item of your choosing up to a $60 value but you must live in the USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Italy, Canada, or France to be eligible. Entries for the giveaway will be accepted until January 30th and the winner will be announced on January 31st.

While you’re clicking through the inventory, be sure to get social with StyleWe on Facebook and Instagram.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, there you have it. Combat boots, OTK, and a perspective on being ageless as well as a chance to win a fabulous giveaway from a pretty great on-line retailer. Please do give Shelbee a visit if you haven’t stopped by there already and add a post or two to her new #SpreadTheKindness link up (you’ll want to browse through her on-line store as well).

Let’s connect! Subscribe, tweet, follow, friend, love, pin, stumble … all options are available and waiting for you. I look forward to hearing from you.


14 thoughts on “From Combat Boot To OTK: A Perspective On Being Ageless & StyleWe Giveaway”

  1. Rena, this is such a great post! Thank you for all that retailer information. I suppose I never really thought about all that, but it was super interesting read, for sure! And you look amazing in all of your styles here. And Yes! Yes! Yes! to combat boots! I am a huge fan! And I will continue to be no matter what my age. I recently met a woman at a vendor show where I had set up Shelbee’s Shoppe. I want to say she was probably in her mid-60’s. While she liked some of the items in my shop, she told me that she really only shopped at Hot Topic! I have to say that I absolutely loved that response! She was staying true to the fashion that she loved. She was all goth in a little black skirt and black combat boots. I, of course, had to praise her for completely throwing out any “age appropriate” rules that may exist. And she looked great!

    Thanks for the lovely compliments. And thank you for joining me for this giveaway!


    1. Shelbee, I feel so lucky to have met you IRL and I’m so thankful for our new friendship. I was already working on this post when you invited me to participate in the giveaway and realized it would make a great connection. I’m glad you liked it and I hope that we can make collaborations a regular thing.

  2. I’m with you! I like to be able to go to the store and actually try on and feel an item. I do some online shopping, but the experience is not nearly as satisfying. Thanks for your insight. I work retail and can see this unfortunate trend changing the whole landscape, not only of the retail experience, but the job market in general. One thing I am hoping to do is start investigating local retailers who offer unique clothing in a cozier, get to know you atmosphere. Maybe that will become our newer shopping experience. Who knows. As for the boots…fashion is all about figuring out what works for you. I wear pretty much all boots now. Just need to get a pair of rain boots. Ha, ha. Thanks for posting and have a great weekend. – Amy

    1. Amy, I, too, need to do more exploring and find local retailers rather sticking with the malls. I think that part of the shifting in my style is about comfort and ease. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

  3. I have to say I really like shopping either way (I know, admitting that i have a problem is the first step…LOL). But the world is changing, so in order for stores to be successful, I think they have to change with the times. Just like blogging is something that certainly wasn’t around much 10 years ago, right?
    As for OTK boots—they have become my absolute favorites and go-tos! At first I only wore them with skirts & dresses and thought they were the cat’s meow because they closed the gap and kept me warmer.
    But i’ve evolved somewhat and have started wearing them with jeans too! It’s funny, how what we once thought of as strange and inappropriate (like animal prints) becomes the norm once we see it over and over!
    And that blue sweater cardigan!! Absolutely love, love, love it. Now if only I could knit one like it!!

    1. Jodie, you and I think so much alike. The first thing that caught my eye about the blue cardigan is that it has a handmade look and I, too, would love to make one like it but mine would be crocheted. Thank you for the lovely compliments.

  4. I do love shopping on line, so I don’t often go to the stores. I knew about Macy’s and ours in my town is really a mess with clothes strewn everywhere, so I dont go in! I love OTK boots, but am a big fan of combat boots, and I think anyone can wear them! My pair is from Sofft which is one of the most comfortable I have. Love this cobalt blue on you, the shape and the combination with your pretty grey skirt. Lovely outftit!
    jess xx

    1. Jess, you’re right about the condition of Macy’s stores. My husband and I were shopping just before Black Friday in 2015 at a local mall that has both a Macy’s and Target. The Target store was fully stocked and looked well organized while Macy’s was a wreck with trash on the floors and returned/unbought clothing piled up behind the registers (even my husband made a comment). It’s like they don’t want you to shop there. Thank you for the compliments and I’m learning from you how to bring more comfort into my wardrobe while still staying stylish.

  5. You know, I have to admit I love shopping online more! Though, I’m finding myself making the trips to the mall more often because of my weight gain…. I have to try everything on to make sure they fit as I want them to. LOL. I love your blue cardi, the details are beautiful…and you have the coolest OTK. Fabulous!

    Edwige |

  6. OK, I have NO idea how I could have missed this post but clearly I did. I love your daughters attitude about wearing what you like. She was raised impeccably well! 🙂
    Your blue sweater here is very pretty and looks very much like one I own in terms of the cut. I bought mine from CABI for way too much ( not my normal behavior being a bargain and thrift shopper) Anyway I must have missed this part of the presentation but it can also be worn “upside down” ( for lack of a better descriptor) . What you get is a short drape and lots of fullness through the body.
    I purchased some OTK boots last winter and haven’t worn them yet…can’t explain my behavior…
    I LOVED seeing the family pictures in this post Rena!!

A comment from you would be lovely