2011: Looking Ahead and Scanning the Horizon

January 2, 2011 by  
Filed under World

Last week, we called on WVFC contributors to look back on the high (and low) points of 2010. Then we asked them to look ahead to 2011, and what they think is worth our keeping an eye on in the new year.

If you have a prediction of your own, feel free to join in.

International Events

If  Hillary Clinton can make a case for American diplomacy—and I think she can—what about women over 40 around the globe?

I will be looking to see what happens to Lui Xia (right), the wife of  Chinese Nobel Prize winner and human rights activist Lui Xiabo. She is currently under house arrest—19 countries, from Afghanistan to Serbia, declined Nobel invitations to Oslo because China is too important to their weapons programs and economies. I also want to see what contributions Burma’s Aung Sun Suu Kyi is allowed to make, now that she finally is no longer under house arrest, alledgedly. I want to follow the astonishing Solar Cookers international, led by Margaret Owino, which is empowering women across Africa and into Central Asia. I am very interested in what Shirin Ebadi (who herself won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003) and Mehrenguiz Kar are able to do for imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, now being held in Evin Prison, in Iran.

Female activists, heads of state, and game-changers are not influential because they are female or over 40. But they often have to be cannier, they are often braver, they are often more holistic in their approach. That is why girls’ education is so fundamental in the developing world. These prominent women can set the tone globally. I think women are ever more powerful in influencing global politics and events at home; I want to see that trend strengthen so that it is not, in and of itself, remarkable.

Jacki Lyden

U.S. Events

Though far from perfect, the health care and financial reforms enacted in 2010 are good beginnings. I want to see Democrats—in the White House as well as in Congress—fight for these nascent programs and protect them from being defunded or repealed.

Probably the single most important figure to watch in 2011 is the rate of unemployment. The economy is slumping because there is a shortage of demand, not capacity. Cutting back spending will help scale back the deficit in the short run, but it won’t increase demand. Without spending to help them meet their budget shortfalls, the states will have to fire many teachers, firefighters and police, thereby adding thousands more to the unemployed and stripping them of their buying power. Some of the long-term effects of increasing the numbers of unemployed are diminishing the tax revenues (which by itself increases the deficit) and further depressing the economy.

Diane Vacca


In terms of Supreme Court cases to watch in 2011, all eyes are on Dukes v. Wal-Mart, in which the Court has agreed to consider whether the women who won a multimillion-dollar antidiscrimination suit could legitimately sue as a class. Dukes is the highest-profile of the “class-action trifecta” to be decided this spring (including this one, which we noted in a recent “Wednesday Five” roundup).

Also expect new efforts on a revised Equal Pay Act, and a spate of full courtrooms discussing the women’s-health provisions of the new healthcare law.

Chris Lombardi

Women’s Health

I am keeping an eye on our movement in the medical community in this country to focus on maintenance of health and wellness. Attention is beginning to shift in a major way towards disease prevention. This is an exciting time in American medicine, as we are focusing new energy towards keeping our patients healthy instead of solely focusing on the treatment of their illnesses.

Elizabeth Poynor, M.D.

Women’s Heart Health

Although there are many exciting technologies being developed which will advance the treatment of heart disease, I believe our biggest challenge as a society is to live healthier.  This disease is largely preventable, but we are losing the battle here.

Despite Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity, the only part of our country where childhood obesity did not increase this year was Washington, D.C. We need to be more active, trim our waistlines, stop smoking, practice stress reduction and get regular check-ups. Make 2011 the year to start taking care of you.

Holly Andersen, M.D.


Unfortunately, 2010 was a year in which women lost a lot of ground in Silicon Valley, feeling a disproportionate share of the recession’s job cuts. So in 2011 the thing to watch is how women fare with the jobs and startup investments that will be coming back.

Rachel Rawlings

Book Publishing

This is a tough one. I think it’s fair to say that our concerns with the form are prevalent over our worries regarding fresh content, and that will continue to be the case in the 12 short months to come. Ebooks, called (by now famously) the book’s “bastard cousin” by Andy Borowitz, will continue to haunt or enrich us. For me, the question comes down to creativity and copyright. The latter may just be a passing phase in modern history, coming to an end in a time of cutting, pasting, borrowing and meshing. As for the former—well, when you mesh and paste images, film clips, and sound bites into an electronic version of Alice in Wonderland or War and Peace, is the consumer’s experience still one of “reading,” or is it a new form of “multimedia intake?” And is that good or bad? (I know that for me personally it’s a bad experience. But I am, happily, old! And a luddite on my best days.)

Agnes Krup


This year saw the landmark collaboration between Lanvin and “fast fashion” powerhouse H&M. I think we’ll be seeing many more of these types of partnerships in the coming year. It’s already been announced that Emma Watson will be designing a line with Alberta Ferretti and Alice Temperly will be feminizing that British stalwart Barbour. That and the continuing trend of mixing high and low will afford women widening opportunities for creative styling on a more realistic budget. And with lines like Talbots and Ann Taylor upgrading their images to enter the more fashionable arena, I think 2011 will offer great choices for the over-40 woman to easily enhance her fashion profile.

In terms of celebrities, everyone is waiting to hear who will be chosen to design Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. That will certainly start a trend of sorts. And the unexpected departure of influential Carine Roitfeld from French Vogue leaves a huge void for someone—most likely fashion director Emmanuelle Alt—to step in and set the tone for European styles.

Stacey Bewkes


One upbeat prediction: more museum space and screen time for over-40 women artists, especially in New York. Here are two shows to kick off the 2011 calendar: Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism, through January 30 at The Jewish Museum, and Lorna Simpson: Gathered, January 28-August 21 at the Brooklyn Museum.  And on March 3 at MoMA, Gloria Steinem will introduce Lynn Hershman Neeson’s documentary on the Feminist Art movement, !Women Art Revolution. Enjoy.

Susan Delson

Fashion Update: Loving Leopard

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Fashion

As I’ve mentioned, probably more than once, this season is all about the classics. And that means: if ever there was an abundance of great fashion for the over-40 woman, it’s here and now. So many collections feature beautifully tailored, useful pieces that are timeless investments. As Daniela Agnelli, Style Director for the London Telegraph Magazine pronounced: “Fall 2010 is all about a proud and confident woman; the clothes are really wearable and easy to translate from the catwalk into a real life.”

Finally! And how to put a little fun into the mix of classic neutrals? The hot accent this season is leopard.

Now, it’s not as if leopard had ever fallen out of favor. But as Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz declared, it’s time to “take all these animal prints out of the jungle and into the city.”

The leader of the pack, in terms of extravagance, has to be this Balmain chain-embellished calf hair coat, which at over $20,000 is already out of stock. (Maybe it’s true that the luxury market is making a comeback.)

For the rest of us, though, no worries: there are many more financially feasible ways of seeing spots this season. As with camel, one of the most obvious is with outerwear. Many of us may initially fear this option as too bold a statement. But take a look at how effectively these designers have envisioned it.

One of my favorite designers, Phillip Lim, created this leopard print fur coat for his 3.1 line. While still a splurge item, it’s a mere fraction of the Balmain and is an elegant, timeless design that will look as good in two decades as it does today. Leopard may be the hot pattern this season, but it still qualifies as classic. Years from now, you or you daughter will be happy to pull this coat out of the closet again. 

Tory Burch’s slightly retro, leopard-print rabbit jacket is a fun luxe version that would look fabulous over your favorite little black dress.
And Dries Van Noten’s rabbit fur gilet was so popular, it sold out in no time.

Adrienne Landau’s leopard printed rabbit vest, at a reasonable $350, would look fabulous over a thick turtleneck on a chilly day.
For those of us who are non-fur buyers, Kate Spade’s adorable Galleria Lynda Fur Chubbie offers the same look in velvety faux fur. The cropped length and ¾-length sleeves ensure that it will look equally chic over a dress, as shown here, or over straight black slacks for that more casual Audrey-inspired look.
But my favorite leopard outerwear piece is this fabulous velvet coat from Talbots. At $209.25, it can’t be beat. Talbots has made a huge push to reinvent itself, and now boasts many truly stylish pieces.
If you prefer to wear your spots closer to the skin, dresses are a great option. From high to low price points, there are many choices. This subtly shaded Lanvin example is so elegant and flattering with its hint of ruching. And with the new Lanvin collection for H&M, I’m sure there will be leopard choices at throwaway price points.
This Moschino Cheap and Chic option hits the spots in a black and gray palette, for a more monochromatic effect.
Leopard is never out of favor at either Dolce and Gabbana  left) or Roberto Cavalli (right), both of whom frequently incorporate it into their collections.
And again from Talbots, at a very reasonable $179, is this chic and simple dress. Very “Mad Men,” don’t you think?
I’m confident that all of us own at least one black skirt or pair of pants, which would pair well with either of these tops. The more tailored St. John (below left) would even work beautifully with a black suit; the blousier version by Nanette Lepore (below right) would be lovely with wide-leg velvet or silk pants for an at-home holiday party.

And of course, the easiest way to add zip to a wardrobe is always accessories. Lucky for us, leopard abounds in this category. Take a look at the shoe and boot offerings below. As always, there’s a range of styles this season, from the very fashion-forward designs of Christian Louboutin (on the left) and Giuseppe Zanotti (right) . . .
. . . to the more elegant choices from, again Louboutin (below left) and Jimmy Choo (below right). Just add either of these to an all black, camel, or gray outfit and voilà! Instant chic. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Here are some similar options that won’t give you sticker shock. The lovely Ann Taylor pump on the left is a great buy at $198. And while the charming Kate Spade Chariot slingback is not quite such a bargain, it’s a relatively mild splurge at $398.
And everyone’s favorite flat, the Tory Burch Reva, is available this season in, yes, you guessed it: leopard.
I could have written this entire article on leopard bags alone. From Valentino and Gucci . . .
. . . to Celine and Prada . . .

. . . almost every collection this season offered a leopard bag. And for those of us who don’t want to blow our entire clothing budget on one, I’m happy to report that other lines also have bags in this category as well. Either Coach at $298 (below left) or Talbots at $179 (below right) would be good alternatives.

And how adorable is this Santi clutch at $133! I’m considering this myself as a holiday clutch to wear with all my dressy black outfits.
And for those who want to get in on the action in a subtle way, how about a scarf or pair of gloves? This Adrienne Landau fur option would be very cozy at $200.

And this chic gauzy version from Ann Taylor is currently on sale for $58.
I’m in love with these elegant Portolano gloves. They’re a bit of a splurge at $395 but perhaps a little note to Santa might do the trick.
With all the ladylike fashions this season, leopard belts are a perfect accessory. Wrap the Ann Taylor version (directly below) at $48 or the J. Crew  (second below) at $39.50 around a classic sheath and you will look totally on-trend with practically no dent in your wallet.

So whether you want to make a major statement or give a passing nod, there are great options at every price point for a walk on the wild size this fashion season.

(To see even more photos of fashion- in-leopard, check out the photo album on WVFC’s Facebook page.)