Appreciating style at any age
Dressing well has become less age-sensitive and more effortless, while beauty practices (thanks to research) have developed far beyond the basic. Style is more about how you wear clothes than what you wear. It’s also not just about age-appropriate dressing, but about style-appropriate dressing, too. Today, clothes are ageless. Women often share pieces from their wardrobes with their daughters, personalising the items with accessories to create the difference. Youthful irreverence can make even the mundane or the primly conservative look edgy. Women of any age can pull off attention-grabbing looks easily, merely by selecting one piece as a focal point (say a shirt) then teaming it with other more reserved items. Great style though, does mean exercising restraint when necessary. For example, short skirts (6cm or more above the knee without opaques) look inappropriate on a woman over 55 even if she does have great legs. The other styles generally only suited to the younger set are figure-hugging satin gowns or excess cleavage unless, that is, you happen to be Iman or Sophia Loren. Dressing age-appropriately is about having confidence as much as feeling comfortable in your fashion choices. It also helps if you love clothes and view dressing as a pleasure – that’s when it really shows. 1. For less corporate days, wear a tailored black pant suit with white sneakers and a white T or singlet.
If you’re wearing an off-the-shoulder or sleeveless top or boob tube, and showing a little skin, keep jewellery pieces simple – modern and sculptural rather than dated or ordinary.
When in doubt, tailored pieces always work, even in the evening. A tux or tailored satin or velvet jacket will never fail, even if other women in the room are flamboyantly turned out.
A vintage piece teamed with a modern outfit will give you added style. Consider wearing a denim jacket with a vintage shirt or a white Edwardian lace blouse with black jeans or leather pants.
If you have a special feature like great legs, shoulders, arms or neck, then why not work your clothing choices to feature that asset? Women with a beautiful square shoulder line, for instance, look great in off-the-shoulder tops. Women with great legs should wear skirts and feminine shoes, and so on.
Never undervalue the enduring style of fashion icons – like cashmere sweaters, trench coats, riding boots, polo jeans, tank watches and white shirts. They’re the items you’ll always turn to when in doubt. Classic pieces worn with a trend item are safe and stress-free.
If your mirror says you look boring it’s usually because you need either a splash of colour, a great belt, an accessory at your neck or more texture in your hair.
For women who don’t do jewellery, consider adding a great or fun watch, a stylish scarf or a throw.
Understand that certain items work on only a few women, so don’t ever go there if they’re not you. Example: ankle straps, shorts, tight anything, long hair after 60 (worn out), tucked-in anything or leggings worn as pants with short tops.
Be aware of the current trends and incorporate one new season item into your look every time you leave home – then you’ll never look ordinary.
Fashion well executed spells style with a capital ‘S’, but style only comes to a woman through experience. Stylish women spend years quietly learning the flow and feel of fabric, the shades and shadows of colours, and the complexities of cut.