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  • Marie H.

Women’s Style, Shine, Transform in your 40’s, Advice from Jeffrey McAlister, a Milwaukee stylist.

When I close my eyes I envision myself as some kind of boho, effortless diva, decked out in a vibrant kimono, sleek lacy top or bralette, paper bag waist leather baggy pants and a pair of gorgeous but slightly orthopedic sandal (because comfort can be sexy too?). Images of a toned down Iris Apfel come to mind. The thing is, when I open my eyes, there are very few places for me to wear these clothes at the moment and I am just too damn busy being a mom to wander around stores for hours. My style has suffered. When I was younger, I dressed well, but did not have the funds like I do now to spend a little more.

Style is ever-present in all phases of a woman’s life. I hear some say how you dress is not about money, but a reflection of your imagination. Some of us parents know it can also turn into a perfect expression of our function, which is not always inspiring. Being creative and expressive takes effort and time, but what you create is yours alone.

Create your own style, let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” - Anna Wintour

This all leads us to the fashion looks of 2020 and a year we all will never forget. As for style, I was lost in the realm of mullets, mom jeans, and prairie dresses. Silently screaming, running out of each store thinking, “I’m done. I can’t and won’t be trendy or fashionable again if it means I have to submit to these styles from my childhood.” I loved Charlie’s Angels and Duke’s of Hazard, but no. Just no. Lucky for me there was a pandemic, and my yoga pants and curly bun made due.

Tired of getting bits of advice from this article or that, I decided to reach out to Jeffrey McAlister, a Midwest based stylist, branding consultant, model and fashion show producer. He has been kind enough to share a glimpse into his work and provide fashion advice for women like me who wish to keep their style fresh, relevant, and age appropriate. His business, FashionSense, is a styling service tailored to help individuals determine their personal brand in every situation. He is a fantastic Milwaukee-area creative that I wanted to share with all of you, as I believe style is a strong part of our personal development.

1. How do you assess what your client's style should be? (i.e. function, personality, etc.?)

I would say it is a combination of the aforementioned. I meet with clients to get a feel for what they are trying to achieve i.e. special event, branding or total revamp of wardrobe. Once that’s established, I try to get a feel for how “open” they are to move beyond their comfort zone. If I am given full creative control, it's on! Otherwise, I work to find a happy medium.

2. What are five (or more) items that you think are on trend yet appropriate for 40-something women this season? (women that want to stay stylishly relevant)

It all starts with building a foundation of a few key pieces that you can mix and match and that will take you anywhere. Then, simply add some trendy items each season to freshen things up and make you look modern and youthful.


Jeans are the ultimate in casual clothing, an ageless wardrobe staple that can be styled with anything. They have a relaxed vibe, but they can still look classy and chic when you pair them with the right shoes or jacket.

Statement Tops and Tees

T-shirts are very versatile and perfect for layering. Especially graphic which are a great way to inject a little personality into your wardrobe.

Relaxed Jacket Look

for a jacket that is casual, contemporary and suits your shape and lifestyle.

Capris and Cropped Pants

Both are great casual wardrobe building blocks.

Casual Dresses

A casual summer dress is usually cotton or linen. Typically, it has some stretch to it, so it is comfy and lets you move easily. Simple but fun “throw-on-and-go look” when heading out the house.

3. What do you think women overlook the most when dressing?

One thing I have seen is proper undergarments. Sometimes women can miss the mark in this area from the many areas of styling I have observed. You have to be very selective when it comes to what you wear underneath with certain styles.

4. What is the project / endeavor you are most proud of?

The project I am most proud of to date would be the winter lookbook I directed and coordinated for the Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District (BID). This past December, I pulled together 6 local designers and boutiques, 35 models, MUA team, Hair stylist and shot on location all over downtown Milwaukee.

Your readers can find it here :

5. What services can you offer the professional woman?

Fashion & Wardrobe Styling

Image Consulting

Personal Shopping

Closet Organizer

6. What are some of your favorite MKE fashion businesses or events?

Milano’s (Southridge Mall), Lela’s Boutique, Gg’s Collections, Rochelle’s Fashions, Nyla Rose, Retique (Third Ward), Torrence's House of Threads, Kelvin Hayden Designs, VYD apparel, NoFingerprints

For those of us ladies who are building up our closets “Post-COVID” and/or “Post-Vaccine”, taking it one piece at a time takes away some stress. I’m hoping this post will guarantee some satisfaction when you’re unsure where to start but you know you want more. More expression, more flavor, and less pajama-chic loungewear.

Thanks Jeffrey!

Connect with Jeffrey on IG @jmacjr03