We are in a time where rules are being re-written by women everywhere. Rules regarding women-appropriate societal roles; career paths; pay scales; the choice to remain childless; and yes – even fashion. In the not too distant past there seemed to be pretty clear ‘don’t break them at any cost’ rules on how a woman should appear, or disappear if you ask me, once they reached the 50 year landmark.
There are some – at least to me – obvious ‘no thank yous’ in the later years fashion repertoire. Micro-mini skirts; crop tops; cutesy hair bobbles and clips; wild accessories ala Madonna rubber bracelets; zebra purses or big plastic earrings; super low, ‘see your thong out the backside’ jeans; or excessive cleavage. If you don’t know what ‘excessive cleavage’ means refer to Mariah Carey’s Christmas karaoke skit with James Cordon. I love his skits; but seriously this one was overpowered by her bosom. I kept anticipating a wardrobe malfunction, even though I KNOW these things are taped and therefore editable.
I am sure I am missing some other definite ‘no-nos’ but I want to get back to the rule breaking. We are not our mother’s generation. We are fitter. We eat healthier. We have access to and use modern science to minimize wrinkles, lift lids, re-claim fullness where we’ve lost it, and eliminate extra fullness where we’ve acquired it. We are re-defining the act of aging and that includes the clothes we decide to wear.
Deciding our fashion sense can be a somewhat lonely process. Fashion magazines, with rare exception, showcase young – sometimes super young – women; ignoring our demographic. We do have some inspirations to look toward. Hollywood is aging and many of these women are holding fast to their careers and visibility. We may not be able to afford Sandra Bullock’s (age 54), Julianne Moore’s (age 57), or Meryl Streep’s (age 69) wardrobe but we can get encouragement and direction.
While the rules have changed and women are wearing more of what they want and feel good in, there is no denying that we probably cannot and should not be wearing what our daughters are wearing. We certainly don’t want to outshine them….wink…wink…
Here are some quick tips to help us re-tool our closets after 50.
SLIM & FITTED: A fitted or well-tailored outfit looks sophisticated, smart, and sleek. Baggy shapeless clothing never did anyone any favors – at any age. As we age, we’ve gotten smarter about that.
BLACK IS BLACK: Black is always in style. Always. Black on black with a splash of color in a scarf or accent jewelry piece is perfect. How can you go wrong? Mix up textures, if you want, combining silk with cashmere or leather and suede.
SENSUAL OVER SEXY: The days of scantily clad aren’t doing any of us any favors. Highlight your best feature(s), your arms or back or legs and leave the rest of it to their curiosity. Exposing too much skin just makes us seem like we are trying too hard. And, we are we too KUEL to do that.
THE CLASSICS: Some of us have spent a lifetime rocking the classics: wrap dresses, a belted trench coat, peacoat, button-up white shirt, jean jackets, black turtleneck, and tunic-length tops – why stop now? If this hasn’t been your ‘go to’ uniform; give some of them a try. Classic is always in – kinda like black.
THE ANTI-BATHING SUIT: Shoes and handbags never make us look fat, old, or frumpy. Maybe stilettos are a thing of decades past, but we can still don contemporary sexy heels. We just may have to stick gel insoles in them to make them bearable. And, keeping it simple and clean on the clothing front while expressing a whimsical or daring twist with a statement handbag is an awesome alternative.
NATURAL IS IN: Remember when we were young and trying to get into bars underage? Yeah, me neither. But, I do remember the gobs of heavy eyeliner, eyeshadow, and rouge I would consume to try and make myself look more mature. Now I’ve hit the big ‘undo’. A fresh, clean, minimalist approach to makeup is my mantra.
THE MOM CUT BELONGS TO YOUR MOTHER: If you have the inclination, time, money, and good hair there is NO RULE that says you need to cut it. I still enjoy long hair and all the versatility that comes with it. Although, if I am honest, I mostly wear it in a French twist or ponytail. At least that has stayed consistent for the last twenty-five years. I wish my weight would comply. But, that’s another tale for another day.
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