Welcome to The Lovely Ride’s first “Fierce Over Fifty” profile, featuring inspiring women who are fearlessly “growing bolder.” Women in that age range are savvy and smart, and are valuable and vital assets to our communities and workplaces. Why deprive the world of our gifts and talents? Whether it’s starting a new business, discovering a new creative outlet, becoming a trusted mentor, volunteering for a cause, or (…ahem…) starting a blog, there is always a path and a purpose. So, with that in mind, there’s someone I’d like you to meet (although it’s likely you already know her).
Fashion Blogger, Southern Shine
During Jane’s years as an advertising sales representative at Mississippi Magazine, she became a gypsy—calling on locally-owned boutiques all over the state—taking photographs and delivering media kits and magazines. Her sense of style and helpful personality made her a natural fit for this line of work, and she jokes that she probably spent as almost much as she made, racking up on the latest looks while always encouraging everyone around her to support those local businesses. Now, she is employed full-time at CMPDD, an agency geared toward empowering Mississippi city planners and developers. If you’re a college football fan, you may have seen media coverage of her tent at The Grove at Ole Miss (affectionately known as the Zebra Tent) which has been featured on Pickler & Ben, ESPN’s Game Day, Southern Living’s website, Mississippi Magazine, and many more media outlets. She and her husband Lantz, along with several other couples, host about 700 people on average at every game in Oxford, in what can only be described as “extreme tailgating.”
Having a full time job and coordinating the Zebra Tent team would be more than enough to tackle for any woman of any age. But she never fumbles, and the goal line is still not in sight for this 53-year-old Southern spitfire. Just over a year ago, she started a fashion, beauty, and entertaining blog, Southern Shine. In that time, she has gained more than 15,000 Instagram followers (@southernshine2017). There you’ll find bold style choices, over-the-top decor and food presentation, and lots of bite-size videos with tips and tricks to look your best. All with a good dose of humor, remembering not to take herself too seriously.
I sat down with Jane to talk about football, fashion, and finding a passion.
The Lovely Ride: You are an incredibly busy woman! What drove you to begin a fashion blog to at this point in your life?
Jane Foster: When you approach fifty, you start to think, “How much time do I have left?” I know it sounds morbid, but it’s realistic. You start to think, “Have I accomplished everything I am meant to accomplish?” We all want to leave a mark, and so, it’s time to get serious.
TLR: But why fashion?
JF: It’s just a lot of fun for me. The entertaining is really my love, but I had people tell me that they were more interested in the fashion. There really seems to be a demand for people our age who want to still look fashionable. It’s almost like they need someone to say it’s okay to stand out. My mother was a preacher’s wife, but she wouldn’t hesitate to put on her animal print. And when someone would raise an eyebrow and make a comment, she would say, “There’s nowhere in the Bible that says you can’t wear leopard print.” We don’t have to blend after 50, and that is my message.
TLR: So what’s the short-term goal for Southern Shine?
JF: I want to reach 10,000 Instagram followers (update: She did!) so that I can use the “swipe up” feature in Instagram stories. It will make it easier for my followers to shop. Yes, I will benefit financially, but it’s more about trying to be on the cutting edge.
TLR: You and your friends are known for your extreme tailgating at the Zebra Tent in The Grove at Ole Miss. How has that affected your desire to begin this blogging adventure?
JF: Receiving so much attention for the tent, I guess it made me realize that maybe there was something this over-50, small-town woman could do that would set the bar. Growing up, I would never be the best at anything. But I would give it absolutely all I had. My mother would say, “Well… you are an encourager.” I certainly don’t want to give the impression that I have done the Zebra Tent by myself—because we have a great team that makes it happen—I do think that this is one area where we have set the bar. And now I am passionate about showing other women that even over 50 we are capable of doing that. When we start to go down that “hill,” our emotions change and the way we feel about ourselves changes. We should always be striving and climbing. I see some of my friends going into depression. They are counting the wrinkles. When you have too much time on your hands at this age, that’s what happens. You start counting the wrinkles and the pounds. I always want to be doing something geared toward the future so that I am not thinking like that. I want that train to keep on moving until I go off the cliff (She laughs). Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about some Botox and I do watch my weight but I don’t want to waste my life worried about it. I want to worry about what I am going to accomplish next.
(More after the video link)
TLR: Now that football season has begun, will tailgating tips make their way to the blog?
JF: I hope to bring more entertaining to the blog, but if the people don’t like it, I won’t do it. But as much as I focus on fashion and beauty, I don’t feel that we are well-rounded people if that is all we worry about. I would like to show women that we have to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. I want my friends and family to say, “She loved us so much; she made us feel special.” That’s why entertaining is my love language—so I can roll out the red carpet to make someone feel loved.
TLR: You have such a strong background traveling around Mississippi and encouraging local businesses and communities. Has that affected your choices?
JF: I think Mississippi networking is what propelled me from the beginning. People are fascinated with Southern women. We reach a lot of people from other parts of the country now, and hopefully I can help show Mississippi in a positive light. When someone from a part of the country that doesn’t really do tailgating the way we do asks about it, I tell them to Google it. And they are always amazed. I want people to see a steel magnolia and understand what’s in our hearts—that we are affectionate and welcoming and loving, especially through our passion for entertaining.
TLR: What do you see when you look ahead to age 60 and beyond?
JF: I hope I’m still doing what I am doing now. I have blogger friends that are over 70 years old. I’m amazed by them. They are not sitting around counting wrinkles either. My mother was cute until we buried her. I can’t ever see losing that youthful attitude. People tell me I am going to wear myself out or I am going to wear my husband out, but we’re talking about fun and love here. Yes, it’s work, but if you are just sitting around, that’s a recipe for depression. So, we will always go hard, even if we have to go slower.
TLR: Other than style inspiration, what do you hope other women over 50 can take away from your blog?
JF: I hope when people see what I am doing with my passion, it inspires them to find their own passion and go for it. I am technologically-challenged, and it is a real learning experience for me to be able to meet those demands. But if I can learn new things in order find my joy and my niche, anyone can. Mine is fashion and entertaining, but hey—find your own passion, and just go for it. Leave your mark.
JANE’S THREE BIGGEST TIPS FOR OVER-50 FASHION
1. Comfort Counts
If you are unhappy and your feet hurt, you’re not going to feel fashionable. You don’t have to be in stilettos to be cute and sexy and fun. You may have to go with a platform or a wedge, or even flats. You have to invest in shoes. As far as the outfit goes, you may feel more comfortable covering some parts of your body up, but you don’t have to wrap up like a mummy. Most women’s shoulders still look great for example. And another thing—I love me some Spanxx, but if your outfit is beautiful, and you can’t walk or breathe, it’s not worth it.
2. Always Accessorize
Don’t forget that accessories can make an outfit. Get some good neutral looks and jazz it up with accessories. And it helps to categorize your looks: Casual, dressy, work. Then you can easily add different accessories to compliment that look.
3. Haute at Home
We also need great pajamas and loungewear. Don’t get in the habit of coming home and getting in your husband’s t-shirt. Don’t ever start that. Don’t lose your edge when you walk back in the house.
Follow Jane at southernshine2017.com, on Facebook at Southern Shine, and on Instagram: @southernshine2017.