Dressing your age, dressing age appropriately, is something that strikes fear into the hearts of many women because, of course, we don’t want to look like Mutton dressed as Lamb, we don’t want to look like granny and we do want to look sensational! We want to change the way we dress to reflect the way we think and feel, and sometimes it takes courage; it especially takes courage if we decide to step outside the box and create a whole new style. We want to embrace age appropriate dressing, but not too much.
We may worry that our friends may not like it, or our nearest and dearest may not like it, but it’s important to realise at our age it’s about whether we like it … or not! As a Stylist, designer and change facilitator for many years, I have put together a short list of tips and tricks you may, or may not, care to adopt.
The key to dressing your age at any age, is very simple; don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s difficult and time-consuming; it isn’t and consists of:
□ the repeated adjustment of your style
□ the constant refinement of your style
□ letting go.
Moving into our lives as they are meant to be lived, letting go applies to almost everything; the ability to let go is intrinsically bound to our self-esteem which, in turn, is bound to the strength of our belief that the opinions of others are none of our business … the way you dress and the style you adopt is uniquely your own.
Embracing our difference:
This is not about our difference in terms of race, colour or creed; no, this is our difference as an individual! We are blessed in that we are all of us different, and this can be where the problem lies if we fail to recognise that we are each unique. How fabulous to be able to describe yourself as unique.
Desperately seeking perfection:
The quest for perfection is a waste if time; as much as anything because we are unique in our definition of perfection, and because we are all perfectly imperfect!
I often wish I had a dollar for the number of times I have heard women say I’m too fat, I’m too thin (actually, I don’t hear that very often), I’m too old, I’m too young (Don’t hear that one very often either), I’m not smart enough, My thighs are too big, My arms are too floppy, My waist is thick, My arse is HUGE
Seriously ladies … build a bridge and get over it! You’re gorgeous, just the way you are …
The Getting of Style Wisdom:
Looking back over the years is rarely productive, because we tend to focus on what we consider were the bad things. However, if you do focus on what has been, take a look at how you dressed when you felt your best! For example, I know I looked fabulous in the sixties and seventies and I loved the eighties (I seem to be in a minority of one here!). The nineties did nothing for me and I can honestly say there isn’t a lot about fashion that I like nowadays. It’s too androgynous for a woman with my body …
Which brings me to Coco Chanel who said “Only fashion fades. Style remains the same”, and how right she was!
There are only three key points to remember as we select our clothing:
1. Nothing looks or feels as good as clothing that is the right size, shape and colour. If it fits properly you are unlikely to feel constricted and you will look slimmer; it’s a mistake to think that wearing something big and baggy makes you look slimmer … it doesn’t! The slim look, achieved by wearing body skimming clothes, is far more age appropriate.
2. When we go shopping, we need to know what we are looking for rather than the size we think we are looking for; the sizes determined by the clothing industry are not regulated or tested in any way so if you’re looking for jeans in a specific size, you may have a hunt on your hands; sizes even vary between manufacturers. So a size 36 may not be the same in two stores next door to each other. If you would like an International Sizing Chart, click here.
3. Forget about the number on the garment label; it’s just that. An arbitrary number assigned to a garment by somebody in a factory because that’s what they were told to do! If you don’t like the number, cut out the label! If you’re buying something that works on you, whether the number on the label is size 16 or size 0, is immaterial.
When I turned 50 (which was when I started working with women over 50!), the major issue that worried the women I worked with was how to dress a body they failed to recognise as their own, to such an extent that I wrote a book on the topic of menopause and finding your own style; Hot Stuff: the Ultimate Guide to Style for Women of a Certain Age The sections on menopause may be irrelevant but style is the same at any age and at any time of life! Think of those amazing women Ari Seth Cohen photographs in New York …
My catch-cry for age appropriate dressing is that it is all about The way you feel, the way you look, and the way you feel about the way you look!
So tell me … how do you feel about the way you look? Have you opted for a new style? Do you have a different outlook on style, fashion and clothing generally, since you reached your sixties? Do you still want to look sexy?