Although really egregious
style crimes are pretty easy to spot, there's
less clarity than ever before about what's "too
young" or "too old." With older
women taking better care of themselves and
girls looking eerily mature while still in
high school, chronological categories are shifting.
Are there new rules about what's appropriate? Are there, perhaps, no rules anymore?
A panel of style experts of varying ages have some answers that I'll pass along
to you with some of my own comments.
Winning Impressions has been in the business of "image control" for
more than 22 years, now. And since some of my earliest clients are 40 something
and older, I think it's a good time to address these often asked questions.
If you've worn your
hairstyle all your life, you need a change.
When you're 50, it's too much to have hair
flowing down your back. As a women goes from
young to mature, she needs to convey a more
classic look, but not too much control. The
hair needs to move freely and if left longer
the length should be in the area of the top
of the shoulders to the bottom of the chin.
Shorter hair often works better because our
hair thins as we age. Don't go so short as
to look boyish.
What about hair color? If you do color, softer is better. Be within 2-3 shades
of your natural color. Very dark hair can look harsh. And no shades unknown to
nature. Leave that to teens and pop stars.
As we grow older, our skin and hair lighten up. It's nature's way of softening
the wrinkles. If you leave your hair natural and go gray, it is key to have an
updated hairstyle. It will compensate for the "gray is old" idea and
can actually look quite smart. (That comes from the panel, not just me). Somewhere
in your 60's being silver is a kind of beauty ideal, say panelists.
As we age we actually
need more color on our lips. The browner or
nude shades are for the young. Go for more
color as you notice the gray appearing - even
if you're covering the gray.
Black eyeliner or smoky eyes on women in their 20's is a no. Bright blue shadow
or liner on women over 50 is a no. Neutral or your own subtle eye color shades
work on everyone. Blush or bronzers discreetly applied looks good on everyone.
AND OTHER EXPOSURES
Thigh-high skirts are
not for the older woman. Just above the knee
is okay if you like your knees, but real minis
should only be worn through your 20's.
Leave short shorts behind at 50 and move to walking or golf shorts, and don't
you love the cropped and to-below-the knee pants. Everyone can find a good length
for them. In tops and dresses you can show skin as you get older, but make it
your back shoulders and collarbones, not overt cleavage.
Denim, baseball caps,
sneakers — some American institutions
seem to transcend the generation gap. Jeans
are fine when moderately fitted with no low-riders,
fringe or distressed denim. Jean jackets, yes.
Overalls, no — for babies only or at
least only through teens.
Beautiful tailored leather
is chic at any age. Maybe not a biker jacket
as you get older, but why not a suede blazer,
Even people who never
enter a gym wear them. Just make sure they're
not too tight or too baggy. They're cozy, comfortable
and a matched set looks pulled-together for
young mothers and grandmothers out on errands.
They come in casual knits and dressier cashmere
or velour. They're perfect for traveling.
Girl's clothes are getting
too risque. The young should look more sophisticated
not more mature. Going to the Grammys and going
to school are two different things. Polished
and finished are always good goals at any age.
Women over 40 need to drop: cropped tops, dragon lady nails, poufy hair, childish
ruffles, bows and girlish styled dresses, any un-lined see-through styles and
trendy looks you lived through once already. We're usually too old to wear it
the second time around.
ARE THE REAL SIGNS OF AGING?
Wisdom, confidence and strength. Rather
than subscribing to absolute
principles of style according
to the fashion world,
your best features, by
following your own harmony's
color range and style
fashion trends. When
you put that knowledge
to work, you're going
to consistently look
and feel your best at
The bottom line: if it doesn’t look good on you, it’s
not in style.