Recently, I was being interviewed on the Minimalist Moms podcast, and the conversation turned to dressing appropriately for our ages (and aging bodies). Specifically, are there things you have to say good-bye to as you get older? I highly recommend listening to the whole episode, but in this case, my general thought is "no". Dressing appropriately for your age is more about feeling confident in what you're wearing, than choosing an arbitrary cut-off age for wearing things you love. In your 30's but still love crop tops (and they way they look on you)? Go for it. In your 40's and still rocking short-shorts? Rock on.
But, while I still think articles like this are just plain silly (should ANYONE be wearing platform flip flops?), the truth is, our wardrobes DO need to evolve as we age, or we risk looking like we're stuck in a time-warp, or like most of my clients dread..like we're "trying too hard". Here are 3 ways to make sure you look age-appropriate when dressing your ever-evolving, ever-maturing self.
Don't Stop Being Trendy
Most of my clients live in fear of looking "trendy", so let's use my favorite word, "current" instead. Just because you've found yourself in a new decade of life, doesn't mean you should stop looking current. In fact, it's just the opposite. Eschewing current trends is a fast pass ticket to looking old. That said, you've got to be a little more careful in choosing trendy items as you get older, so here are a few tips
Finally, Look for the trends reinterpreted for your age range. The pearl embellished jeans at H&M this season looked way different than the pearl embellished jeans at Ann Taylor. Look to the stores that cater toward women your age to see how (and if) a trend is being shown.
Don't Be Afraid to Stand Out
Remember your high school days, when the most important thing was to have the exact same stuff as everyone else? Blending in was the singular goal. Thank God those days are behind us, right? As we mature, we become sure of ourselves, and unafraid to stand out. This is the time to develop a signature style, and to use fashion to tell the world who you are. Don't be afraid to buy the red shoes, or the bold eyeglass frames,
One thing I've always found interesting is the question on my pre-service questionnaire that asks my clients to name someone whose style they admire, and what they love about it. More often than not it's an older woman with great accessories, and the most common answer about what they admire is "She has individual style". Iris Apfel is the embodiment of boldness and individuality. Make it a goal to be more like Iris!
Don't Forget About The Rest Of Your Look
Wardrobe is just one piece of the style puzzle. Your hair and makeup need to evolve right along side your wardrobe. This is not a "women over 40 should not have long hair" rule...but I think it's fair to say that your hairstyle in your 40's should be different than it was in your 20's. Why is it important to switch it up? Hair texture changes, styles change, YOUR style changes. Also, as we age, we lose coloring from our hair, eyes, skin and lips, making your go-to makeup favorites less flattering over time.
Neglecting to update your hair and makeup over the years dates you and adds years to your look. Not sure where to start? Head to a makeup counter and let the pros make suggestions, or check out tutorial videos made for women in their 30's, 40's, 50's and beyond.
Regardless of your age, the trick to looking age-appropriate and youthful is to constantly be evolving and reevaluating. Don't be afraid to part with clothing simply because you don't like it anymore, and don't stop trying new things because you're afraid to look like you're trying too hard. Allow yourself to find a signature style, and then let it change as you do!
Worth checking out:
Cover photo from the Accidental Icon blog
This is a list I 100% agree with
Why fashion is actually more fun (and important) as we age--This is a MUST READ!