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Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell is the inspiring writer behind the style blog Over50Feeling40, and the Editor in Chief of San Antonio Woman and 78209 Magazines. After discovering a love of fashion when she turned 50, it became her mission to help women figure out what looks great on them, and to help them discover how to uncover their best selves. We were happy to have the chance to absorb some her great attitude with this fantastic interview.

Products inspired by this look: Sheer Poncho, Cailyn Bib Necklace, Samara Watch.

Tell us about yourself: Name, age, occupation.

Pamela Lutrell, 63, Editor of San Antonio Woman Magazine and 78209 Magazine; writer; and blogger for women over 50.

What drove you to start your blog?

Just after my fiftieth birthday, I received a brutal wake-up call: my new driver’s license came in the mail! I looked at the woman in the picture and was shocked. She looked elderly, worn out, and downcast. She was overweight and wearing an oversized man’s polo, making her appear much larger than she actually was. She had no makeup and frayed, gray hair. The picture communicated that she was tired and had given up on herself. On that day in 2003, I realized that I had given everyone in my life (my family and journalism students) every drop of my time and put myself on the back burner. I had internalized criticisms. And so, with vigorous determination, I began to reinvent myself. I learned our appearance communicates something about us and controlling those messages is empowering. My look was telling others that I had given up on life. That’s not what I wanted though: I wanted to communicate strength and confidence.

The journey has led me to fun, joy, peace, confidence, and new directions…but is a continuous process.  Transformation and confidence are empowering and can be done…it just takes the big decision, and courage, to do it! After a complete head-to-toe makeover, I began to share with friends all that I was discovering and learning about life after 50. My best friend, Gail, said, “You should start a blog! You need to share all of this online.” I wasn’t even sure what a blog was, but I studied hard and worked diligently to learn all I could. It was a total surprise when followers and loyal readers showed up. I have been so blessed by their encouragement and emails, and have made many new friends through this experience. Over50feeling40 is a statement of hope that no matter how far past 50 you are, you can still feel and look your best and have fun at any age. In fact, I think I’m having the most fun now!

You recently started a new job—what it is? How is it going?

With my newfound confidence came boldness. I decided at a very young age to major in journalism and become a writer. I never deviated from that path but did deviate with my plan. I spent 16 years teaching high school journalism. When I left teaching at age 61, I began to accept freelance writing positions and to develop my blog. I wrote for a local publication called San Antonio Woman, a bi-monthly regional print publication. A few months after I started, the editor announced she was leaving. So, at age 63, I was offered the position as editor of San Antonio Woman; and 78209 Magazine, a 668-page full color neighborhood magazine. It’s my dream job and it proves the adage IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. Of course, I am still blogging too; a little hard work never hurt anyone!

My advice for women who want to pursue their dream job later in life is:

  • Be bold! Be confident and bold to share your talent with others. Tell employers why you are the best choice. We are so often too meek and I am here to say: go for it!
  • Balance your confidence with humility and a desire to serve in the workplace. Shortly after I arrived at the publication, I would ask each individual, no matter their position, how I could help them. I let everyone know I was here to make their jobs better.
  • Pick your battles wisely. Age does bring wisdom and it helps so much to be back in the workplace now. Wisdom means we do not overreact, and we show empathy for others while balancing that empathy with the bottom line for business success.
  • Look at yourself as a mentor to younger employees. They need and often welcome the guidance.

The holidays are upon us—how are you celebrating? What traditions do you have?

Products inspired by this look: Cotton Cashmere Double-Face Poncho, Estelle Bib Necklace, Eloise Bangles.

I LOVE the holidays! It is a joyous time! And I love every song, meal, shopping… all of it! Christmas is my favorite time of year. I grieve on December 26.

My family always goes to church and then we have a large dinner on Christmas Eve. Everyone gets to open one gift. Then, on Christmas Day, we have a special breakfast, gift opening, and stockings for adult children and grandchildren. I have three grandchildren and I believe we all will be together this year… weather permitting!

What do you love about this moment in your life?

This moment in my life is just the best. I am doing work I love, enjoying my adult children, having fun with my husband, and being the coolest GIGI ever to Luke, Mathias, and Kinsley, which keeps me forever young. I love working hard. I love my audience for the magazines and my blog. I do not just have one Avis (DeVoto, the editor) to my Julia Child, I have many… how cool is that?

How do you feel about getting older—the good/bad/ugly?

We age and cannot stop it. I never let challenges hold me back. I embrace them!

Here are the facts:

  • I have foot issues and can no longer wear heels, but there are the most beautiful flats on the market now! So much fun!
  • I have a torn ear and can no longer wear earrings, but have you seen Chico’s necklaces and bracelets? They make such bold, creative statements. I do not miss my earrings.
  • I have curves, but incredible designs like Juliet Pants, and Travelers styles fit my shape and make me look and feel amazing.
  • I have aging eyes, but I am so in love with my new eyewear, it has become a part of my brand. I do not do photos without glasses.
  • I pamper myself now! I matter. In the past I did not go for facials, manicures, or pedicures; but now, I do. Taking care of my skin is important.
  • Finally, I have Osteoporosis and had never set foot in a gym until I was 60! The past three years has been about strength training. It is not easy, but has helped me so much. Confront your challenges head on and do not allow them to hold you back!

Life is short and goes by too quickly! Drink from the crystal glasses, eat on the fine china, place fresh flowers in your office and do not allow challenges to depress you or set you back!

Keep up with Pamela on her inspiring blog Over50Feeling40 here. All photos by Eber Guerrero.

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64 Responses

  1. Marta Carranza

    This is very inspiring for women our age. I always think: “Am I too old to start doing something different? ” With this article, I have found my own answer to the question. Thank you Pamela! Thank you Chico’s ! Merry Christmas from El Salvador.

    Marta Carranza

  2. Pamela is an awesome inspiration for all of us! Her positive attitude and joy is infectious. I’m so honored to call her my friend. Way to go Chico’s for featuring this awesome lady!!

    1. Kaye miller

      I found this blog in July 2017. What an inspiring woman you are! I consider myself a young 71 and and I am loving your attitude on aging. It just came too fast☺️
      As you I have quite a few challenges. My back, my feet (I can no longer wear heels either.) and I too am doing things for myself now. I am at a point that I would love to help other women with my knowledge of living life. I do t know where to turn. Any ideas? I love the chicos lines but it would be too hard for me to stand on my feet all day.
      I am looking forward to the fall line and reading your blog going forward.

  3. Yvonne

    I have been following your Blog for about a year Pamela, and you are such an inspiration. Great choice by Chico’s on featuring you! Happy Holidays.

  4. So wonderful to read how your life has blossomed and you as well. You are beautiful outside and inside! Thanks for sharing so much insight into you and what makes you tick! Great interview!

    1. plutrell

      You are so kind! I take one day at a time and strive to find joy in each day! It is a purposeful decision…thank you for the kind words!

  5. San Antonio Woman is such a fantastic publication, and might I just add that you have STUNNING skin?! Whatever you’re doing, keep it up! This was such a great read…it was fun getting a peek into your life.
    xoxo, erin | sandsunandmessybuns.com


    FANTASTIC!YOU have come a LONG…..way baby!Do you remember that commercial?Cigarettes I think!
    Your story is INSPIRING!

  7. Janet

    Pam – how refreshing and inspiring! I appreciate you sharing your story including your challenges and how you deal with them too. So often it seems like everyone has got it together except for me! Thanks!

  8. Margit Monk

    Sorry to read that you grieve on December 26, which is only the second day of Christmas. It lasts for 12 days. Only retail dictates otherwise. Keep up the happy times and stretch them to their limits!

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  10. Pamela Roberts-Reynolds

    So glad to find this lady and love, love her name!! Have been looking at younger bloggers but feel that I am a little too ‘young’ for most of their fashions… have received good ideas for downsizing wardrobe though… I have trouble wearing heels anymore also and find it frustrating trying to ‘dress up’ very much so wear pants a lot… would like to find shoes that are stylish but do not hurt my feet… a real feat for me these days! I look forward to keeping in touch with you and those like you!

  11. Loved this interview. Pamela has something truly worthwhile to share. Just reading her admonition to be bold encourages me to do just that. I especially love that she tempers the boldness with a willingness to serve. Keep it up, Pamela. And thank you Chicos for such a great substantive interview. Well done.

  12. Loved the stories especially about Helene and the history of Chico’s! This store has been my go to store for 15 years! I feel great I. The flattering styles for my not-to-perfect figure! The styles and designs are so creative and always coming up with something new!!! When I feel a bit down in the dumps a purchase at Chico’s always perks me up! My local Chico’s is in McLean,va and I want to give a shout out to the stFf in this store! They all know my name (I am there often) and the staff always make me feel welcome like family! They let me brouse alone when I want to, but always help when I need help. They are honest about what looks good on me and tell me the truth y suggestion if the outfit isn’t quite right! Love you Chico’s!!! You are a big part of my life by contibuting to my positive self image!! Keep up the great styles and designs!!! Gail Abbassi

  13. Margarita Cuellar Bass

    Would love to receive and follow your fascinating iinsight to Over50Feeling40. Also, have read San Antonio Woman and love all the interesting information about fashion and your beautiful living. I am also a Chico’s shopper and live in San Antonio. Please send information as to receiving your email, Thank you!

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