Welcome March!
Happy 20th Anniversary Ready to Wear & the Art of Being a Badass Grandma

March is always a special month for me, and this year it’s extra special. Twenty years ago this weekend my book, Ready to Wear: An Expert’s Guide to Choosing and Using Your Wardrobe, was published by Penguin, forever changing the footprint of our firm.

Overnight we were able to serve more people with our proven Dressing Well Methodology which the book allowed me to document for the very first time. We're proud to now have these same guiding principles in a self-study video course available to all and to teach them in all our online programs too. The book has certainly kept pace with modern technology while promoting timeless style, proving that an organized and systematic approach to dress can last a lifetime, even when trends come and go.

We are also grateful for all the people the book has brought into our world, including many of you. Thank you for your ongoing support.

One of the special people the book attracted to us is Dr. Ellen Chaffee, known throughout her home state of North Dakota as one of the original “badass grandmas!”

Ellen bought my book when it was first published and was drawn to its practical advice and easy to implement strategies. Like many of you, she was navigating the busy world of work, leadership, and family life, and the book brought order to her closet.

Although she regularly traveled to Boston to visit her daughter Kerry and grandsons, she never found the time to connect with us to schedule an appointment. When she learned she could join our online programs and work virtually with us, she (and Kerry!) were all in.

My first call with Ellen was lively. I learned that she was the past President of not one, but two colleges in North Dakota and had been active in local and state politics after leaving university life.

Paired with Dressing Well Stylist Jen Coletti, Ellen retired her “college president” suiting (and persona!) to make room for more casual and updated styles. Little did I know that our adventure with Ellen had just begun.

This past August, Ellen reached out to me again, this time looking for assistance building her professional wardrobe back up for what she described as her true calling and dream job. I certainly perked up!

Becoming a Badass Grandma

At age 79, she was about to step into leading AGB, the Association of Governing Boards for colleges and universities across the United States, as its new President. She was uniquely qualified given her professional experience and deep commitment post-career driving legislative initiatives as part of “the badass grandmas,” a group of 20 mostly retired women political activists in her state that she (a Democrat) co-founded with her friend Dina Butcher (a Republican).

The group was named by Dina’s 17-year-old grandson Owen and his friend Cole after seeing Ellen and Dina on a billboard promoting their work. The group remains active and is united by a deep desire to stand up for more accountability in state government. Read this article in Forbes for the rest of this inspiring story.

On our call in August, Ellen confided that the first thing she did after accepting the AGB position was to schedule time on my calendar. She wasn't sure if the organization knew her age and wanted to be sure it didn't become a topic of conversation or a distraction from the work at hand. Let’s just say her next trip to Boston included a shopping trip with me!

Shopping Success

On Ellen’s shopping list: smart business separates (we discovered she was much better suited in petites than she realized), colorful jackets, tops and blouses to brighten her up while elevating her presence, an outfit with just enough bling for an awards ceremony in DC, and modern yet still comfortable shoes. Her new job requires monthly travel to meetings, conferences and the like.

So how does dressing well support the art of leading and living well
while being a badass grandma too? Shares Ellen:

When Dressing Well came online, l joined their programs immediately. It was freeing to part with so many clothes and get help identifying new things that I was excited to wear. Suddenly last fall, I agreed to lead and represent a national association with 40,000 highly distinguished members and three national conferences. The call to Mary Lou was a lifesaver. I am not only confident and comfortable with everything in my closet but also enjoying more compliments from peers in every age bracket than I have ever received in my life. Yes, dressing well is cool, even for this badass grandma!"

Photo Note: Ellen (in her "badass" leather jacket, purchased prior to our trip!) and daughter Kerry after our successful shop. We hit four stores in 3 hours and emerged victorious! The teal jacket has been altered to perfect the fit. Everything else was “Ready to Wear!”
What’s Your Next Chapter

We all have next chapters. What’s yours?

I’d love to learn more about you, your lifestyle and current style aspirations. They do change from year to year and chapter to chapter.

It would be our pleasure to help you rediscover the power of dressing well in your own life and empower you to emerge with a new pep in your step!

From all of us at Dressing Well, here’s to you!

Mary Lou Andre
Founder & CEO
Dressing Well, Inc.

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