There's nothing like being in the dressing room and finding a lovely dress that's perfect for the occasion that looms on your horizon. You look in the mirror and can't really believe it.
The waist is deceptively slimming while the material just glides over your hips.The dress is perfect without being too tight. As you inch that little frock up and think about taking your credit card out, you suddenly hit that moment of horror and shout ….oh no, never, never, never.
If you're like me, cap sleeves are your enemy – as are sleeveless dresses. A halter top? I can't even type those words without having convulsions.
We love you Dr. Jill Biden, but most of us midlifers wouldn't DARE wear a sleeveless dress to an event like the big luncheon yesterday that was broadcast around the world. And Mrs. Obama, you stunned in that gorgeous red dress at the commander in chief ball. We loved that major accessory known as your uber toned arms.
The truth of the matter is most women of a certain age hate their arms.
Or we live in those little shrugs.
That's fine in the winter, but what about when the weather gets warmer. You can't go to the beach in a bathing suit and a little sweater. It's not that chilly in June even if you're in LA and it's an overcast day.
What to do? I asked my favorite fashion guru Jacqui Stafford, author of "The Wow Factor," to answer some of your fashion questions.
Today: Do I have the right as a midlifer to bare arms? The answer is yes and you can even look slimmer with these tips.
LOOK SLIMMER EVEN WITH FLABBY ARMS
"I can easily speak to women who say, 'I hate my arms,'" Jacqui says. "I hate my own arms, but the key here is nobody would ever guess that I hate my arms because I use a few of my fashion tips that help me live with this area."
Jacqui's Tips if You Hate Your Arms:
"You do want to avoid sleeveless dresses. If you're not going to feel comfortable in them then just don't wear them," she advises.
"That doesn't mean you have to wear long sleeves to hide your arms," she says. "Go for a thinner strap and a more decorative area perhaps on the bodice that doesn't focus on your arm width.
"A halter dress or top is extremely flattering for most women," she says.
Also avoid too much material. "If you go for a high neck with sleeveless, again, it calls attention to your arms. Don't go this route if you don't like your arms," she says.
She says there is one universal, flattering length. "The most flattering length hits just below your elbow," she says. "Women who are over 40 rarely have heavy forearms, so this hits at just the right spot.
"You're not wearing long sleeves, but you can cover what you want – even in the warmer weather. It's also perfect for the transition months," she says.
Those length shirts are often hard to find although Nordstroms does currently have many of them. (That's Cindy talking because I collect this length!)
Jacqui says that you can improvise. "Wear something lightweight and just push it up to your elbows."
She says that there is one style to avoid at all costs.
"If you don't like your arms pass on cap sleeves. Anything that's short and tight in the sleeves will literally cut your arms in exactly the place where it will make your arms look large," she cautions.
A few more tips from Jacqui:
"Do buy billowing or dolman sleeves," she says. "Those are extremely flattering for most women, stylish and hide what you want to hide!"
Order Jacqui's new book "The Wow Factor" on amazon.com.