Welcome to Deirdre !
Hi, I’m Dee Shupe. Fashion designer, over-50 blogger, and advocate for positive attitudes towards aging.
Powered by a love of fashion, fabric, travel, good books, and tennis. Supported by my soul mate of 30 years, 3 wonderful children pursuing their own entrepreneurial and artistic dreams, and my sweet Molly, an old black lab who smiles at everyone and wags her tail even while sleeping. I also have 2 cats who think that, being human, I walk this earth primarily to do their bidding.
As the curtain went up on my second act of life, I found that clothing options for my new figure were dwindling. At first, I was disappointed with my body. But, hey, Nature designed my body and it would require a 24/7, all-in, herculean effort to try to stop Her march on time. So I stopped blaming my body and instead became frustrated and angry with the fashion industry. Where are the exciting, stylish clothes that flatter this changed figure? Why isn’t the fashion industry addressing and dressing us? With 50+ million women over the age of 50 in the USA alone, why is it so hard for women of a certain age to find clothes that are fabulous and figure-loving?
With my kids growing older and the nest emptying, I made the decision to take action and pursue a long-ago passion that was rekindling. So at age 53, this phone call:
Me: Do older people enroll in the Fashion Design certificate program?
Parsons School of Design: Absolutely. We have people in their 20, 30s — even 40s.
Me: And 50s?
And thus began 3 years of commuting to Parsons School of Design in New York City, quite a trek from my home in the Virginia countryside, outside Washington, DC (#traintravelrocks). Shout out to Parsons students and instructors for their genuine, unwavering support of this non-traditional student!
My goal for Deirdre is to create clothes that fit, flatter, and delight body types most designers ignore. I want to clothe us in confidence and ease, allowing our inner creative self to shine through. Currently, I’m developing designs and sourcing fabric for our first effortlessly chic collection. But Deirdre is much more than clothing. That’s why I started the blog deirdreccc.com – Clothes Cause Community.
I believe passionately that style can transform us. Many of us have a gap between how we feel on the inside and how we look on the outside. The closer we get to closing that gap, to achieving congruity between our vibrant inner self and our outward appearance, the happier, more confident we become. We all know how much better we feel when we’re wearing an outfit that thrills us, right?
Shopping is becoming harder. It takes a lot more time to find clothes that look good, provide coverage without making us look frumpy, and match our inner selves. If we’re lucky, we’ll find something that satisfies one of those criteria. Even maternity shopping was easier!
I am always searching for flattering cuts, style lines, and accessories, and will use this blog to share some style treasures and tips. Let’s investigate what’s out there – or even what’s overlooked in our own closets – that speaks to our soul. And has sleeves. And isn’t too short. (Ok, maybe that’s just me.)
I will keep you posted on the Deirdre collection and would love to hear your thoughts on clothing — what you like, what you don’t like, what makes you feel invincible. Please don’t hesitate to email me at: Dee@deirdreccc.com.
My hope is that this site is more than style inspiration. It is a place for us to be visible. My daughter, the Media Studies major, says that if you don’t see people like yourself in the media, then society underestimates your population. Without more, and more accurate, representation in the media, we are likely to stay in the margins of society. How many stylish, confident women of a certain age do we see in ads, on TV, and in movies? There may be a little more now than 10 years ago, but our vibrant group is still woefully underrepresented.
While we may resign ourselves to invisibility, do we want our daughters and granddaughters to do the same? Do we want them to dread hitting 40, 50, 60 and beyond fearing that life will be dull and that they will no longer be a part of society’s conversation? Or do we want them to live in a world where older women are respected and viewed as having active, engaging and sparkling lives?
In creating this space for us to be visible, I am going WAY out of my comfort zone. I hate being in front of the camera. I also don’t post much on social media, preferring my privacy. So why create something as crazy as a fashion blog when it goes against my instincts?
Representation. Because when I see someone like us in the media, it’s a gift when it should be the norm.
Seeing an older woman dressed with a modern edge, confident and happy, or hearing about her new career or interesting hobby fills me with optimism. I want to see more of these stories and images in the media.
My goal is that our conversations and photos (mine and yours) will provide much-needed representation, celebration and inspiration as we take our place in the age positivity movement.
With older women noticeably absent in the media and particularly in fashion, we have few role models to show us options as we navigate the landscape of growing up after 40. At deirdreccc.com, we want to share what women our age are doing for work, for hobbies, and for fulfilling lives, as well as what they’re wearing, where they’re travelling, and what makes them laugh. You’ll find inspiring women sharing their lives with us in our Second Act Stories series.
We all want to see what other women our age are wearing and how brands fit a grown-up figure (remember, we can’t find this in ads!) so we have our WIRLL Girl sharing section: What It Really Looks Like.
And of course respectful comments, questions, and conversations are always welcome on every post!
Background (aka How Did I Get Here)
I was fortunate enough to grow up with a mom who was an incredible dressmaker and fabric store owner and I am even more fortunate to have access to her expertise now. She let me design my own clothes and flawlessly turned my dreams into reality. Through her, I discovered the world of fabric and design, and the transformative power of fashion. I worked through high school and college in fashion retail where I delighted in matching clients with clothes that made them feel confident and look great. I became a fashion aficionado (#afashionado).
A love of business and tech saw me through a BS in Commerce and an MBA at UVa with a career in software engineering in between degrees and after. Entrepreneurial ventures have been sprinkled throughout as an expression of my interest in various aspects of fashion.
I was constantly studying not only design and what elements flatter a woman’s figure but also how to build an accessible, stylish wardrobe through mixing-and-matching and accessorizing. This inspired me to start a part-time personal shopping business after college. After grad school, as the idea of children came on my radar, my mom and I created a colorful, mix-and-match children’s clothing company. I embarked on the next fashion enterprise three kids later, and after many moves up and down the East Coast, job changes, and being a stay-at-home mom and volunteer. With the kids growing older, I started an embroidery/monogram business with a talented, can-make-anything friend. Time passed and we were both ready to move on to the next adventure so we sold the business. Preparing for the empty nest, I leaned in completely to fashion and went to Parsons with the purpose of making clothes that fit, flatter, and delight women in midlife and beyond.
It’s clear to me that in today’s world — a wonderful world that values organic food and clothes, and encourages everyone to embrace their true selves with respect to emotions, body size, gender identification, and sexual orientation — that in this age of authenticity it is time for the authenticity of age.
Want to join me and be part of this positive community dedicated to fierce and fabulous women our age?
— Sign up for our newsletter and get blog updates
Want to collaborate with me, have questions, or want to share what you want to see in clothing designs?
— Email me at Dee@deirdreccc.com
With mirth and laughter , let old wrinkles come .