Fab Collab: Celebrating Summer in a Sundress at Fifty-Plus

Summer Sundresses for 4 generations.

Summer Sundress: Then & Now

It’s time for another Fab Collab! Sherry from Petite Over 40 is back and this time we’re featuring that favorite summer staple, the sundress. If you joined our first Fab Collab where we shared styles and stories behind our pearls, you know that each of us represent a different decade in life. Sherry is in her 40s, I’m in my 50s, Nancy is in her 60s, and Mom is in her 70s. 
All this week you’ll see how we’re styling sundresses these days and read our own personal connections to a particular dress from our pasts. Sherry got the week started styling a Lilly Pulitzer sundress and sharing a story about  a dress that made her feel as elegant as Meryl Streep in the movie Out of Africa. Read her story here.
We hope you’ll join us all week for the Fab Collab Fun!
Summer Sundress for 4 generations.

The sundress from “then” is pictured below on my 20 something year old body, along with my wonderful grandparents from my dad’s side (they would have been in their 80’s in this picture). This must have been before dental school as I had my fingernails painted—woohoo!! And, of course, I had a pearl necklace on as my accessory, since this picture was taken at a cousin’s wedding—isn’t that what everyone wore to a wedding?

Summer Sundresses for 4 generations.

The history of this dress is that my mother made it (of course) just for this occasion. Well, I loved the dress as it was very colorful and fit me perfectly (yes, it’s very nice to have clothing custom made for your body—thanks mom!). Looking at this picture, I might feel the need to wear a camisole under it nowadays, but at that time I didn’t. And yes, I used to try to tan (that’s why I look so red in this picture)—thus the skin cancer scars on my face now!

This was an item I wore the heck out of throughout those years. But what it really reminds me of is an instance from dental school.

As juniors in dental school, we were assigned patients that we treated for all of their dental work. One such patient was an elderly man (ha—he was probably only in his early 70’s—my how my perspective has changed). He seemed like a very nice man, and I treated him as if he were my grandfather. I would help him to walk to and from the clinic and talk with him about his life when we were waiting for the instructor. (There was a lot of waiting time in dental school. Procedures took around 3 hours due to the fact that each step had to be overlooked and graded. Thus I found it very enjoyable to chit chat with my patients during this time and learn more about them.)

One day, this patient commented on this dress. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I took it as a compliment and thanked him. I liked wearing this dress in the clinic because the skirt was flared and long enough that I could work around the patient chair easily, and it was short sleeved which made it cooler for under my lab coat.

A couple days after this event, I got word from the office that this elderly patient had requested a change of dental students. When I went in to talk to the counselor, the fact came out that this patient wanted a male dental student to work on him in the future. It was quite devastating to me, although I really shouldn’t have taken it so personally. Looking back I could see how a man from his generation, would only think that dentists should be males? Or there could be so many other factors, right?

But to me, I blamed the dress. It was feminine and colorful. Being a dentist should be a serious and professional occupation. Especially as a female in this occupation back in those years. So because of this event, I felt that I needed to dress more businesslike and masculine. And I did just that for many years. But luckily getting older started changing that perception and making me realize that although my clothing is my outside image, it can also be somewhat fun & interesting.

And now, my version of the sundress below, isn’t really that different (besides shorter, a different color, more covered up front—but really, not that different, ha ha!)! And if you’re interested…I found a dress very much like the floral one above to get nowadays here!

If you missed it yesterday, don’t forget to check out Sherry’s (the 40’s model) sundress and the story behind it on her blog: Petite Over 40! You’ll get to see Nancy’s & Charlotte’s later this week!

Summer Sundress for 4 generations. Summer Sundress for 4 generations. Summer Sundresses for 4 generations.

Jodie’s (50’s) Outfit: I did buy this dress recently and you’ve already seen it two other times on the blog (here & here). I like it because it’s a gauzy material, thus nice and light for hotter weather. There is also a full lining attached, so it’s not super see through! It could actually be a little too short in the waist for me, now that I look at these pictures (since my belt always seems to fall down below the waistband), but it’s super comfortable and it certainly wasn’t expensive.

I’ve been enamored about wearing a small scarf close to the neck recently (I started seeing it on Andrea of Andrea’s Wellness Notes), so therefore I went with some very small earrings. Mom just recently relegated this bracelet to my collection and I thought it was perfect with this outfit! And yes, it is a watch, but it’s not working ! (I bet the bracelet is older than me!!)

Dress: Old Navy (similar here or here sleeveless or here off the shoulder or here)~~Shoes: Payless (similar here)~~Belt: (similar here)~~Scarf: (similar here)~~Earrings: (similar here)~~Bracelet: (similar here)

Thanks for reading—Don’t forget to share your sundress story in the comments—it’s just as fun to learn about you!!

Here are some above the knee dresses—don’t worry, they’ll get longer as the week progresses!

  • Nikki Gwin

    I love your picture of you and your grandparents. I don’t think I have one with mine. And you made me think of a sundress that I had waaaaaaay back in 5th grade. My mama made it and it was sleeveless and v-neck and it tied in the back with a slight opening where it tied and I LOVED it! I’d like to have one like it now.
    🙂 gwingal

    • Thanks so much Nikki!! Isn’t it amazing what memories these old photos will bring up??
      I bet you 100 dollars you could find a dress like that again!! It amazing how the styles come back!!

  • The photo of you with your grandparents is lovely. What a wonderful memory. There could be a million reasons the man asked for a male student and it had nothing to do with your skills. But your story reminded me of a recent story I saw on the news where a woman was criticizing a pink dress Ivanka Trump saying it was “too girly” for the occasion. It was so sad to me, that we as women can’t be “girly” and professional at the same time, according to some people anyway.

    • You’re exactly right though—how is it that feminine doesn’t correlate to professional. Why do we have to dress like men to be “working” women??
      I did read that the millennials are bringing back the pinks because they don’t have that same thinking…so maybe that’s good??

  • Kathleen McDermott

    Jodie, you look lovely in that gorgeous summer dress. It’s a timeless style. I can’t believe you sunned! You certainly don’t look like you did. I sunned when young, though not excessively, and regret it deeply. I’m fair like you and can see the effects now. Should have listened to my Irish mother who shunned the sun.

    P.S. Charlotte’s sewing skills never cease to delight me. I always loved making dresses the most, though I made blouses, skirts and pants well into my 20s till working full-time.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Yes—I have a couple of basal cell cancer scars to prove it! But it was the time…remember Bain de Soleil? Everyone wanted to have brown skin!!
      It’s taken me a long time to be okay with my pale skin. Of course it didn’t help that my mom always puts down her pale skin too!! You’ll have to boost her confidence about skin too!!

  • Oh gosh, you got skin cancer. Makes me feel bad about my sunbathing. I know I am taking a big risk, but so far so good. I am not really in the sun that much and never between 12 and 13.00 hrs, when the sun is at its peak. Nor do I ever burn since that one time when I was 22. I hope I can get away with it. But you haven’t I gather. I have never noticed any scars in your face though.
    The white/red dress was indeed stunning, I would have worn the heck out of it as well. I like you with a fringe (spelled right this time haha). I like that little blue number tou are wearing now as well.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I used to tan terribly (and in the sunbeds)—and the difference probably between you & me, is I have no melanin in my skin! I mean, look at that “tan”—it’s not even a brown shade—it’s a red shade! But luckily, I’ve finally embraced my whiteness—too bad it took me 40 years!!
      I like my hair better with bangs too—and soon I’ll probably go back to them (to camouflage the wrinkles & scars), but I really wanted to change it up these last couple of years. We had a dental school reunion a couple years ago, and most of the women hadn’t changed their hairstyles in over 20 years—-I didn’t want to be like that (silly, reason, huh?)

      • I know what you mean but f.i. with me, a bob with bangs is what suits me best. Trial and error. So I am sticking to it. I think I changed enough in other fields to go to a reunion with confidence. By the way, most reunions suck.

        • Jodie Filogomo

          Why is that? You get so excited to see these people that you haven’t seen for ages…and then it feels like nothings changed. And the “funny” thing is that there were supposed to be 7 of us planning it and yours truly ended up doing much of it (of course, that’s my perspective…maybe everyone thought that?)

          • I don’t think people fundamentally change much after primary school. Only a few exceptions. The rest hides behind a thin layer of “civilization”. Things like bossyness, shyness, always wanting to be first, things from the playground, usually come back in work situations, a little disguised. Well that is my opinion.

  • Hi Jodie
    Love the pattern on that dress you wore in your 20s. How strange is that, where the man asked for a male dental student! If you are good at your job, your good at your job! I think he was distracted because you looked so pretty! 🙂 Love this light blue on your current dress and the neck scarf a pretty color with the blue.
    Thanks for linking up with turning heads tuesday!
    jess xx

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Funny…that thought that I was pretty never entered my mind. And when life comes down to it…that statement is the truth for everything—if you are good at whatever, that’s that—not because of sex, race, color or anything else!!
      Thanks for giving your voice, Jess!!

  • Happinessatmidlife

    What a great post and love your then and now dresses. So sweet to hear the story behind the dress and photo.

    Thank you for being a part of TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you soon!



    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Alice!!

  • Jodie, that is a wonderful story about your floral dress and dental school! It really is funny how one tiny little thing can change our entire thought process! I love your current day dress. And I absolutely adore neckerchiefs. I used to wear them a lot back in the late 90’s, then stopped. And now I am wearing them more often again…the same ones from the 90’s, too! But lately, it’s been too hot and humid to tolerate anything tied around my neck! Anyway, you look lovely in this outfit! Have a fabulous weekend!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I totally understand about the too hot thing—the other day I actually went without a necklace or scarf (gasp!!!). Today, luckily is much cooler so I’m sporting a different neckscarf—for some reason, I just love them (I must have missed out on this trend in the 90’s…I think I was still trying to be Madonna then–ha ha)

  • isn’t interesting how our perspective on mode of dress changes over the years as we gain more and more confidence in ourselves? you current look is fabulous and I love the sandals.


    • Jodie Filogomo

      I think that’s why I’d never want to go back in time and be young again—-you don’t have all the experiences that you have today and are always questioning yourself!!
      I love the age I am!!
      Thanks for such nice words of encouragement Rena!!

  • Bernadette Laganella

    Thanks for sharing your story from the past. You look very enchanting in that dress – that probably was the problem for the patient.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Ha ha—well, I suppose you could be right Bernadette—funny, how I didn’t even consider that!
      Thanks for stopping by—I really appreciate it!

  • Such great sundresses everyone is wearing!

    I really love your sundress from the past! How very lucky you are that your mom makes clothes for your that fit your perfectly! But I know you know that! 🙂

    How interesting that the incident in dental school made you change the type of clothes you wore for many years! I remember 25 years ago, when I worked in law firms, female attorneys tried very hard not to look too feminine. Things slowly changed when I left that profession 15 years ago… It’s so sad that women are still often not taken seriously if they dress a certain way. I’ve been a college instructor for 10+ years, and there are still many who think you shouldn’t dress a certain way or pay attention to the way you look… As if it makes you less smart or academic???!!!…

    Andrea’s Wellness Notes

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Exactly!! Why is that? There’s such a stereotype with clothing—-and yet I understand how they are our outward appearance and reflect us BUT—it is also just clothing and we are females right?
      Thanks for giving your voice Andrea!
      How are instructors supposed to dress now? Do you have a dress code?

  • Maria Jørgensen

    I love the personal story in your post

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thank you for letting me know Maria!

  • Summer and sundresses, no matter what your age will always work. I loved your story of your then dress – so wonderful that your mom made it for you, and I’m sorry that incident made you give up on more feminine pieces for work during that time. I’m glad you found your way back though, your dress of today is lovely.
    Chic on the Cheap

    • Jodie Filogomo

      It does seem silly, looking back that just one incident can change the way you perceive things….but time does help!
      At least towards the end of my career, I was wearing fun shoes and more colorful cardigans!
      Thanks so much for reading Lydia!

  • Vettae-Fee Kling

    Nice outfit, love the association of bleu and beige is really insparing.
    Vettae – Simply Vettae | Lifestyle Blog

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks so much Vettae! I appreciate the nice comment!

  • Beautiful then and now.
    The summer dress of your 20s must have inspired Dolce and Gabbana for sure.
    You are sooooooooooooooo adorable.
    i am going to add you to my blogroll not to miss any of your posts

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Awww….your comment made me beam with joy, Sacramento!!

  • Hi Jodie, I just love sundresses too! My Mom used to make all our clothes when we were young … I just loved them! Back then clothes shopping meant a trip to the fabric store to pick out patterns and fabric choices … little did I know I really had my own personal seamstress lol I just thought money was tight and we couldn’t afford store bought clothes lol Thank you for sharing with us at #SimplifyWednesdays

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I can so relate Carla—I used to be so embarrassed when my mom would look at how a garment was put together in the stores!!
      We certainly get smarter as we get older, huh?

  • Very cute dress! Great accessories!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks so much Stephanie–I appreciate it!

  • Really enjoyed this post and seeing your now and then dresses 🙂 I love inspiration from the 50’s and think the cuts and prints are so feminine!

    Laura xo

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Laura!

  • AngeliePangilinan

    Lovely dress! I am inlove with the pops of yellow through your belt and sandals 🙂

    Angelie // L’oreal Mythic Oil Nourishing Masque Review

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks so much Angelie!! Yellow had definitely been my favorite lately!!

  • This is such a creative and fun flashback post! It’ wonderful to see how times have changed in fashion but somehow they are still very much the same. Lovely looks both past and present! Enjoyed the read.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Maggie!

  • Stevie Turner

    Both your then and now sundresses are lovely, although personally I would wear one slightly below the knee now that I’m nearly 60!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      LOL….I have those featured on the blog tomorrow with Nancy’s story!!

  • Wonderful dots dress, I would love to find dresses in that shape more
    often. Love the blue Sherry’s dress and your grandmother. Too bad people
    question the ability of a person as the way dressed up.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Mihaela.
      Even though we hear the saying of not to judge a book by it’s cover—I think some people still do! Hopefully over time this can change?

  • What an interesting story about wearing that floral dress back in dental school–and how true that women are easily judged based on what they are wearing. I think your floral dress was absolutely lovely, and so is the blue dress of today!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Rachel! I really appreciate that you took the time to read and comment! Happy Wednesday!

  • I love the comparison! I can tell why you wore the heck out of that sundress!! It’s adorable!

    I love the story. I struggle with how I dress at times as well. Woman are often too quickly judged by just one glance. If someone were to take the time and observe, they would see that we are JUST as capable as men. Frustrating!


    • Jodie Filogomo

      That’s such a true statement Joti—and has been proven over & over (that women are judged more than men about their appearance). Did you hear the time a male news commentator wore the same suit for a long period of time and no one noticed? Yet his female co-hort had comments on her outfits quite often. And then even when Sarah Palin was in the political realm—it was the subject of many a news item—ugh!! I realize it is our outward appearance, yet it should also be fun & interesting (just like us).
      Thanks so much for giving your voice to the subject!!

      • It’s just sad. As long as we are mindful, but courageous, I think we will be fine. 🙂

  • Amy D. Christensen

    What a great story and to think, you don’t even really know why that man wanted a different person. Maybe you reminded him of a daughter that he had lost or a woman he used to love….who knows. Funny, how our perceptions of what we think people are thinking, may not really be the case. But it shaped who you were and how you presented yourself. See why I love storytelling…so many layers! I love the blue dress on you. The color is perfect and you look so cool and comfy, but still so stylish! – Amy

    • Jodie Filogomo

      I think those facts you pointed out are something we don’t learn until later in life, right?
      There are so many other issues going on with people that we have no clue about….yet we take a statement or event so personally.
      Maybe that’s why it’s good to revisit these times with others hearing the story—then you get different perspectives!
      Thanks for your wonderful support again!

  • Aww, you look so cute in the photo with your grandparents! I am glad you shared it and your story. So funny how certain things stick with us forever and the people who made such an impression on our lives have no clue whatsoever. I really like the soft yellow and blue together. The skinny scarf was a wonderful way to accessorize this dress!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      You’re so right Jennie….that patient probably had no idea how it affected me! And really, I shouldn’t have been so upset—but live & learn, right?

  • Such a cute idea! I loved reading about the first dress. 🙂

    pumps & push-ups

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks so much Brooke!! When I was remembering all of this it was quite depressing, but then I had to put it into perspective….the past histories make us who we are and should remind of us of how far we’ve come!! Thanks for reading!!

  • This was a fun post to read because it’s a different way to do a typical “fashion trends” post. I love how you talked about how things were different back then and gave a little history on the looks, plus your outfit is super cute!

     Sierra Berry | @itsberrystylish  

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Sierra! I have to admit, most of the concept that we include stories about an item from the past came from Sherry (at Petite over 40)! But I always love looking at the old photos so it’s been a lot of fun! The hardest thing is finding as many old photos of my mom & stepmom since they didn’t take as many pictures as people do now!! Thanks so much for reading and giving your voice to the project!!

  • Wow, look at how sun dresses have come a long way since then! Love your blue dress and such a fun touch with the scarf! Loved reading your story! x

    Ann-Marie |

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks so much Ann-Marie!!

  • Love a throwback photo & story! Thanks for sharing yours.


    • Jodie Filogomo

      It is so fun to see these old photos (although somewhat embarrassing)—and it’s always amazing how certain items can bring up a different memory!
      Thanks for reading!!

  • PetiteOver40

    What a great story, Jodie! It fascinates me that we both had similar reactions to dresses in our 20s — for different reasons, maybe, but maybe not! It seems like we both wanted to be taken more seriously as 20-somethings and we blamed the dress for making us appear less serious/professional. You went on to realize you could wear dresses AND be taken seriously while it took me a couple of decades longer, but I’m glad we both came around to that idea eventually!

    Your modern-day version is so summery and fun! That color blue with that color yellow is just the perfect summer combination, in my opinion. Your whole outfit looks like it would fit in any number of warm-weather occasions — festivals, picnics, garden parties, a yacht! 🙂

    Thank you for the opportunity to work with you!! I just love it!


    • Jodie Filogomo

      It is an interesting reaction we had, huh? Yet our outward appearance probably dictates more than we even realize! But maybe getting older makes us realize that being serious is overrated?!! However, at that time in our lives, we couldn’t appreciate what we know now, don’t you think? We have to experience it in order to grow from it!

      I have enjoyed this dress tremendously!!

  • Of course, the first thing I noticed was your tan! How fab is that dress you found that resembles the one from your 20’s? #superfab I would have been upset over that patient too. Maybe he thought you were too pretty…

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Ha…that’s probably it—I was too pretty! (There’s always a first for that!)
      The funny thing about me tanning, is I never was a nice brown—it was always a reddish color! That’s what happens when there’s no melanin in your skin, I guess!!

  • Lovely outfit and lovely too see the picture of you in your twenties. I love that dress that you are wearing. Loved reading your story too.

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Gemma!! It is fun to look back in pictures…but I am glad I’m the age I am now!!

  • Laura

    I really like the yellow you’ve added to this outfit! It makes it even more summery! I need to pull out my yellow belt more! What a story-I think I would have found something to blame in that situation as well. It can be surprising how little instances can have such an impact on us in the long run. I’m glad you were able to change your perception back!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      You’re so right Laura –about how some little thing can be so influential on you. And really, how silly when I look back. And too bad I didn’t discuss it with my friends at the time (I was too embarrassed) because they might have helped me put it all into a better perspective.
      I think that’s one of the reasons I love being older….(usually) i can realize that many events or statements are truly insignificant over time.
      Thanks for your viewpoint!!

  • Judy Gramith

    How wonderful to see you as a young woman and clearly you were in love with fashion even if it had to be buried under a lab coat. Hey, Samantha at Fake Fabulous is still doing exactly that! The dress has a retro 40’s feel to my eye!
    I know it’s probably sometime in the 80’s ??

    You look beautiful in today’s version as well Jodie. You have your great figure and winning smile as your best accessories. The scarf is cute too! 😉

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Jude!!
      Let’s see….this picture was probably in the late 80’s—I used to be so good about labeling my pictures as a young kid—and then that went out the window!!
      It’s funny how having to wear the lab coat in school really turned me off to it—it’s a good thing I didn’t “have” to wear it as an adult—although Samantha handles it perfectly by creating fun & interesting combinations, right?
      Thanks for such a lovely compliment!!

  • Debbie Stinedurf

    Love both dressess…the dress from the past would be just as fabulous today…your mom has mad sewing skills! I don’t know whether or not people judge my teaching ability based on my style, but I certainly hope not. Although I wish when I was in school teachers dressed more like I do, it would have definitely made things more fun!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      That’s such a great question Debbie….aren’t we all influenced by not only the personalities of our teachers, but how they appear? I always hope we can get past the superficial layer of clothing, but it certainly colors our perspective! Being modern in our clothing choices would hopefully be beneficial to the students? Yet, I am amazed at how many people in real life consider the fashion & clothing industry as fluff—really?
      Thanks for the thoughts!!

  • The scarf looks great with your dress, such a fun touch!

    • Jodie Filogomo

      Thanks Tara!!

  • What a great shot of you and your grandparents! LOVE the dress. I knew it reminded me of one from ModCloth! Ha!

    I’m happy that today I don’t think people still think like that. At least I hope not. Gender or how you dress does not reflect whatsoever on intelligence or work ethic.

    BTW…when I was a kid we didn’t have dental coverage so my whole family got our teeth looked after at the university for many years.


    • Jodie Filogomo

      I had to laugh when I saw that dress on Modcloth—the memories it brought back!! That’s why I picked this dress—it’s funny how one memory will block out all the other times I wore this dress!
      And was your experience good at the university? At least at our school, I felt like the care was usually very good. It was so nice to have all of the specialties under one roof and since each step was checked, there were very few mistakes.