by Beth Roy
The term “age appropriate” has become a standard line when talking about how to dress, how to wear our hair, and even the polish we pick for our toes. In fact, I bet if I asked you to list the dressing “don’ts” of women over say 40-ish, you’d have a pretty easy time:
- Too much cleavage
- Jeans with too low a rise, exposing even more cleavage (ouch)
- Wearing legging as pants (and not to work out)…..with a top that doesn’t cover the crotchal region
- Wearing stilettos with jeans and a plunging neckline…too much vavoom is never a good thing and looks like you’re trying too hard.
- Donning a crop top, any kind of crop top
- Showing VPL’s (visible panty lines)
- Wearing a ponytail, every day, all day (guilty here)
Through my business, B.Styled Personal Shopping & Wardrobe Consulting, the issue I encounter more often is the opposite one. I find the mistake women tend to make is dressing too old rather than too young, and it is so gratifying to help women find a personal style that is just right for them.
The reasons many women spiral into the rut of dressing beyond their years vary. The short list includes:
- weight changes
- what they define as“comfortable”
- foot issues
- a lack of time and/or interest in keeping up with what is current
- letting themselves fall to the bottom of their priority list.
Many women tell me they are at a loss as to where to shop and what to shop for, citing feelings of overwhelm and lack of self-confidence. Dressing room depression is real and a very common issue. My goal is to help my client find that sweet spot – a look that is comfortable and easy, while helping her look and feel her absolute best, no matter her age.
Here is my list of the top 5 fashion mistakes that can make us look older and how to easily fix them:
- Wearing black, black, and more black: Raise your hand if you have a closet full of black clothing and accessories and have the irresistible urge to always “buy it in black”. There’s no doubt that black has always been the wonder drug when it comes to looking slim and sophisticated. But let’s face it ladies, as we age, our skin tone tends to go paler, so we need to brighten ourselves up a bit. Go ahead and wear black, but not so close to the face. Add scarves, jewelry, colorful tops and jackets to accent your black foundation and provide a needed palette pick-me-up. Not only will this allow you to show your personality, it will take years off your looks and improve the image you are projecting.
- Over draping: Weight gain and weight “redistribution” is probably the #1 issue I hear from clients as a reason for getting into dressing ruts. They want to cover up and hide the added pounds, but adding more volume with clothing is not the way to go. If you are draping to hide a fuller-on-the top or fuller-in-the-middle proportion you are only creating a more obvious imbalance, making you appear even larger on the top and smaller on the bottom. Instead, opt for something that follows your curves, not hides them. This is where a great fitting, tailored, (not stuffy) jacket is your secret weapon. Don’t believe me? Let me help you find one and you’ll see for yourself;)
- Shoes that weigh more than you do: I am the (former) owner of clunky clogs. Yes, they are comfortable. Yes, they are great for nurses and new moms and working in the garden. No, they don’t look good. If you insist on wearing them, please stick to long wide leg jeans or long boot cut yoga pants. Anything else is just wrong. Find a cute flat or pair of comfortable, low heeled booties instead. I will get hate mail for this one I know, but I’m standing firm. Sorry, I speak the truth.
- Outdated eye glasses: Glasses are an accessory – and an area to have fun and show your personality. Great glasses are the most functional and important accessory you will own…and if you don’t need them yet, trust me the day will come. They are also a focal point, so you want to make sure that you pick a pair that doesn’t age you. You want to avoid boring and outdated frames and frames that droop downward.
Go to a reputable optometrist with professionals who can help you find the best pair for you.. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing eye wear:
- Try to add warmth and softness to your face. Translucent colors are often better than hard metals.
- Add color: one of the easiest ways to add a bit of hipness to your style.
- After 40 you want things to go up not down, so choose frames that are horizontal and have a slight tilt at the outer edges. You will want the eye to be drawn upward!
- Get glasses that suit your face shape.
- The sisters need a new bra: Eight out of ten women are wearing the wrong size bra. Seriously, would you walk around in the wrong size shoes? This is an an easy fix to make you look ten pounds lighter and ten years younger. A well-fitted bra will also help you have better posture, a perkier looking chest – and you will just look better in all your clothes. Clients who have had their first professional bra fitting swear by it as a real game changer.
So, there you have it…conquer these 5 issues and take 10 years off your look;) Seriously, growing older is a blessing and I know I wouldn’t want to go back in time (well maybe to college…but just for a weekend or two). You deserve to look and feel your absolute best at every stage of life, so make yourself a priority, and rock your best personal style. I’m here to help!
ABOUT BETH ROY, B.STYLED
Beth’s background includes several years in corporate sales and marketing for Tiffany & Co and co-founding FlirtyFinds, a fashion accessory business. Her real passion though is working with women and helping them “find their inner flirt” – the tagline for FlirtyFinds – which essentially means discovering your personal style that makes you look and feel your best. You can visit Beth and B.Styled at her blog.