I’m asked these questions all the time, and I have a simple rule of thumb.
“Dress your style, not your age.”
There really aren’t any hard and fast rules for dressing as a FiftyPlus. If you aren’t sure what your style is, get some help. It will be worth it. Most importantly, do not try to look as if you are competing with Lindsey Lohan, your teenage daughter, or anyone in their early twenties. It’s silly. You’ve been there, done that. There’s plenty of wonderful fashion to go around.
You should consider “spring cleaning” as a good time to rebud your branches. Go through your closet and donate items that you haven’t worn for several years. Put aside items you aren’t sure about and select your basics. You can also splurge on one or two special items that will last forever and that you will love for a very long time. (I just did that with a red Dior jacket that was the price of a mini vacation, but it will make me happy for a very long time.)
At the end, if you’re still not sure what “your style” is, get a friend or a professional helper. Then go with your own look and stick to it as your core style. Classy, funky, hip, conservative. Perhaps adding a few scarves or pieces of costume jewelry are all that you need? Develop your look and wear it with confidence. Carry it off as yours. And, no Muu Muus (except at the beach).
Another quick trick is to organize your closet according to colors or outfits. Paste photos of what goes together on your shelf where you can easily view it. And presto, you’ve got a no brainer if you’re in a morning rush. View the photos, grab what goes and you know you will look and feel fine for the day.
And, all this nonsense about floral with stripes with plaids being all the rage. “Even if it’s in,” if it’s not your thing, don’t do it. You’ll simply feel out of place, even if the fashion police tell you are gorgeous. It’s the “Three Bears” rule… it has to be just right.
One last must. Fit is essential. Not too short, not too long, not too loose, not too tight. Fit should look good on you and you should still be able to move in comfort. If heels hurt, don’t wear them. Or, only wear very low ones. If your life is active, wear clothes that move.
Previously Published in 2008