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Looking Good: What's Age Got To do With It?

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.
HAIR 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.
MAKEUP 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.
HEMLINES 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.
JEANS AFTER 50? 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.
LEATHER Beautiful tailored leather is chic at any age. Maybe not a biker jacket as you get older, but why not a suede blazer, instead.
EXERCISE CLOTHES 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.
BAD TRENDS 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.


Wisdom, confidence and strength.
Rather than subscribing to absolute principles of style according to the fashion world, remember: highlighting your best features, by following your own harmony's color range and style information, transcends fashion trends. When you put that knowledge to work, you're going to consistently look and feel your best at any age.

The bottom line: if it doesn’t look good on you, it’s not in style.

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This site was updated on May 4, 2024
Web site created by Bev Ludlow Anderson

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