Gaby Basora was a stylist and costume designer before starting her own label, Tucker. Her first design, back in 2006, was a blouse that she created for herself, a working mom in New York City.
The blouse may have been intended for women like Gaby, but from the off, Tucker’s vibrant printed shirts and dresses appealed to a diverse range of women. Customers included Gaby’s stylish 90-something neighbor in the West Village to an adolescent Miley Cyrus, who wore one of her signature silk pieces on Jay Leno as a young teen.
Gaby, now 49, prizes the same ease and comfort and style that has always embodied Tucker, especially as she nears 50. Here’s what’s in her midlife survival kit.
Ballet Beautiful exercise programme, prices vary
One of the women I met through designing Tucker introduced me to Ballet Beautiful about 10 years ago. The BB studio was right near my store, so I had the pleasure of taking in-person classes.
Founder and former prima ballerina Mary Helen Bowers has also created an extensive online program. It’s an amazing library of classes of different lengths and abilities and needs or goals, whether that’s building strength or building flexibility. You can do it anywhere in the world. I do it in my living room, I do it when I’m traveling, I do it at the airport before I get on the plane – I do my swan arms on the airplane.
What makes the program so special is first, Mary Helen herself. She is extraordinary. She’s a mother of a few, which makes her very relatable: She understands the changes that take place in your body in different phases of your life.
There’s a sense of camaraderie in her classes. She will say when something is difficult for her as well, and she never is asking you to push yourself in a way that feels punitive.
As I’m approaching 50, there’s more wear and tear on my body, but I find this is a very restorative practice. I notice when I don’t do it, I have more tension in my hands. I have great posture now, and I feel practicing has allowed me to approach stressful situations with a sense of grace and humor.
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Plumping Serum by In Your Face, $67
There’s something indescribable that happens when you put this serum on: You feel a little bit more glowy and radiant.
Some creams don’t smell good or they feel sticky or they make you feel somehow duller than when you put it on. This feels good. It smells good. It’s not perfumey at all, but something unprocessed that seems like it could be a product from your kitchen. It’s not sticky.
It makes me feel and look rested and bright-eyed, and I highly recommend it. And the packaging is really nice.
Beaded Earrings, Philippa French, R375.00 (approx $26)
These earrings are extraordinary, and the designer, Philippa, is a remarkable woman. She works with artisans in South Africa, part of micro-economy building, enabling women to buy homes, women who are heads of their households.
I think of big earrings as the new red lipstick. I put them on and it’s an instant game changer that adds pizazz to any outfit, whether it’s a brocade dress for a dinner party or a T-shirt of my son’s and Levi’s. They’re also really light, which is good because when you reach a certain age your earlobes can start to droop. So now I can wear big earrings that don’t take a toll on my lobes.
Tucker blouse, $275
There’s a line in Bess Kalb’s book, advice from her grandmother, Nobody Will Tell You This But Me, about how every woman needs a dress – or blouse – that makes her feel she’s able to do anything she wants. That really resonated with me.
I started Tucker because I wanted to make something for myself. I was a woman and mother who had different places to be during the day and wanted something that would make me feel my best whether I was going to a work meeting or the park with my kids.
Molly Stern, makeup artist extraordinaire said this, which has become kind of our tagline: “Tucker’s what I wear when I don’t know what to wear and Tucker’s what I wear when I know exactly what I want to wear.”
My sister talks about her Tucker as a piece of armor, something that gives her confidence and courage. So I think every woman should have a couple pieces in her closet that give her that special feeling – and I hope one is a Tucker!
Long gloves, Max Mara, prices vary
A pair of Max Mara gloves (similar available on Vestiare Collective) were a birthday gift, a much appreciated birthday gift. I would say every woman in midlife needs a pair of gloves to protect her hands and keep them warm and agile.
This past year, gloves have become essential to me. I’ve been riding my bike more, I’ve been washing my hands more due to COVID and sanitizing them. My hands were becoming so dry no matter what I did. I noticed that the cold was really affecting the use of my hands to the point that I was nervous that it was the sign of a medical problem.
After a bit of reading, I realized that hands are sensitive and can be affected by the cold: It can bring on arthritis. So, taking care of my hands has become part of my daily regime. These Max Mara gloves are an exquisite way to do that. I’ve even taken to fancying them up with a ring or bracelet on the outside.
It’s something like the earrings or the lipstick or doing Mary Helen’s ballet moves: They are easy ways to uplift myself.