Fashion is a playful form of self-expression that can change your mood, boost your confidence and affect how other people perceive you. But going by mainstream style advice for older adults, you’d think style comes with an expiration date. Thankfully, there’s a host of pro-age style bloggers at the forefront of fashion for those over 50. And their style advice is, well, rather fitting.
6 Style Tips for Older Women
1. Know who you are and be proud of your body shape.
Style isn’t about your size or shape or age but rather about finding clothes you love that fit well and flatter your figure. “I’m rebellious,” says Lyn Slater of Accidental Icon. “I’ve always stood out for my sense of style and so, being a pragmatist, I understand that fashion can be used to creatively adapt to each new phase of life. There’s no personal style without a clear understanding and complete acceptance of who you are, flaws and all. You can put the same clothes on two different women; one will wear them with style, the other will be nondescript because she’s not being authentic,” Slater says. In line with Slater, Lisa Hale of The Silver Stylist suggests “maximizing what you like most about your figure”. This may involve choosing clothing and shapewear that highlight your best assets and features.
2. Find inspiration online.
“Whenever I feel stuck, I turn to is Pinterest,” says Beth Djalali of Style at a Certain Age. “Search the keywords ‘fashion over 50’ and, voila, all sorts of fashion inspiration will pop up on screen. If I’m stumped about what to wear to an event, all I have to do is refer to my Pinterest boards for instant inspiration.”
3. Ask a personal stylist for help.
A stylist can help you find wardrobe staples that fit your body shape and budget. They can also help you put outfits together for work, travel, events and everyday life. If you find shopping for clothes a chore, a wardrobe stylist can do all the shopping for you. Choosing from a tightly curated selection of clothes at home is a much faster process than competing with crowds at the shopping mall. “You don’t have to be wealthy to afford a wardrobe stylist,” adds Susan Kanoff of The Midlife Fashionista. “Older women will spend hundreds of dollars a month on their nails, hair, massages and facials but so often skimp on their clothing. A good stylist can help you determine your best styles and colors, and even put together great outfits right from your own closet — no investment necessary.”
4. Audit your wardrobe every year.
Before curating your closet, define your goals, says Dorrie Jacobson of Senior Style Bible. “You need to think about your lifestyle first.”
For instance, do you live in an urban or rural area? Are you retired or working? Do you gravitate towards classic tailoring or are you more experimental?
These factors will affect your wardrobe choices. Lyn Slater takes it a step further with this exercise: “Pick five words that describe your essence, not your physical appearance. Like ‘creative’ or ‘organized’. Then look at each item of clothing in your closet and ask yourself if it represents your five qualities. If not, put it in the for donation pile. If so, keep it.”
5. Tread carefully when it comes to trends.
Following trends is fun but doing so rarely translates into a strong cohesive personal style. Instead, see the catwalk as another form of inspiration, and pick and choose the trends that fit well with your overall aesthetic.
Color is an easy place to start says Josephine Lalwan of Chic at Any Age. “Borrow from the popular colors of a given fashion season. Also, look for shapes and cuts that you like, such as boat-neck tops and high-waist skirts.”
Jacobson of Senior Style Bible agrees. “As an 80-something woman, I’m thrilled when I see garments designed with sleeves, as well as skirts and dresses with lower hemlines that come in around the knee.” Accessories such as shoes, handbags and jewelry are another easy way to add texture and visual interest to your outfit says Jacobson.
“Accessories are the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter how old, tall or slender you are, everyone can explore trends through the use of accessories. They’re the simplest way for a woman to update her wardrobe.”
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6. Break some rules.
“The only rule is there are no rules,” says Jacobson. “Throw away the fashion rule book. Fashion is a form of self expression, so be bold and experiment with your personal style. It’s fun to take a risk every now and then.”