In the days before Fashion seemed to worship exclusively at the altar of Youth, a woman could look forward to achieving an age where more elegant and sophisticated clothing was her due. Now it often feels like we're navigating a narrow space between dowdiness and being branded with an "M" on our not-so-supple cheek should we transgress with attire deemed too youthful.
Reading Linda Grant's article in The Guardian on Monday, I was delighted to see my own style philosophy reflected in her conclusion:
Eternally stylish women find their look and modify it as they grow older; I arrived at the conclusion that to dress well in your 50s and 60s you need to dress more simply, saving the attitude for one item and paring down the rest, so my leather jacket would be worn with jeans and a cashmere sweater, or over a little black dress.
Actually, this has been my style M.O. for several years now, originally born out of frugality and work-appropriateness (in those horrible, oppressive days before it became OK to wear velour track suits to the office /sarcasm o_O ). I learned in my 30's to invest in simple, classic clothing and let accessories (and sometimes jackets) be my "showoff" pieces. This is where I tend to hit my style Sweet Spot and I've rarely gone wrong with this formula.
But I agree with Linda that it's especially true as we move into our 50's and beyond that our favorite leather jacket, or a short skirt, or a Balenciaga motorcycle bag can still work for us, as long as we keep the rest of the ensemble simple. And incorporating current or edgy elements can keep a simple ensemble from looking too stodgy and boring.
But here are some items I assiduously avoid, and think that when worn on most women over 40 tend to look out of sync with our age:
- White eyelet
- Babydoll anything
- An abundance of lace or ruffles
- Jumpers* or rompers
- Any combination of tops and bottoms that allows skin to show in between
- Playboy bunny or mudflap woman jewelry (in fact, these are questionable on women of any age)
- Hello Kitty, Paul Frank or similarly themed clothing
- Pants with verbiage across the ass
*"Jumper" in the U.S. is a sleeveless dress designed to be worn over a blouse or sweater. I've recently learned that in British terminology, a jumper is a pullover sweater, with which I have no beef and in fact, own several.
Picture from: www.fashion-era.com/