Age Defying Style… How to dress age appropriate with panache
Dear Sharon: I am a 30 year old high school English teacher who feels stuck between fashion eras.
Although I am not interested in dressing like the students that I teach, I find that the alternative of jumpers and printed sweaters of my older co-workers horrific.
What does a thirty year old woman do to stay fashionable and fun without dressing too young? Please keep in mind that most women in my career are on a budget. Age appropriate fashion help would be greatly appreciated. (School of Frocks, Savannah, GA)
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Dear School of Frocks: I’m so glad that there isn’t a web cam to catch my expression at the thought of wearing jumpers and printed sweaters- ouch! Unless your colleagues have any plans to relive the television moments of Sophia on Golden Girls, I think that they best lighten up on their geriatric style.
There is absolutely no reason why a woman should think that she must dress dowdy at a certain age. Thirty is still pretty young, yet you’ve just planted a major threshold on your womanhood. It’s a time to start ditching those terribly girly pieces that your students may wear and capture the essence of your true style. Once you start believing that you are too old to keep modern, you’ll start looking like those Frumpulators who horrify you.
It’s been said that fifty is the new thirty. People have the smarts and methods todefy ageand make the most of what they’ve got to peel off the calendar years to simply look marvelous in a way that is timeless. Trends today have become so universal, teens are wearing top designers and their moms are shopping at off the radar, funky boutiques. It’s really not about the age you are, but aboutthe age that you appear. Sure, as time goes on your body shifts and skin slackens, but with sensible upkeep and a modern outlook, you can continue to look amazing at any age while blurring the line between decades.
Kudos for knowing not to dress like your students. But what does that mean? No ultra-low hipsters worn with tiny shirts (even if your figure says yes, common sense says shorten the amount of exposed flesh), and no babydoll mini’s. Most important, look like you have arrived and not like you’re finding your way!
Should you hightail a decade of good clothes into the next thrift shop collection bin? Not necessarily. Pass on pieces which define a moment, like a Tanya vs. Nancy scandal T-shirt– unless it’s cashmere and you pair it under a lean menswear suit. Wear that babydoll mini over the too-low jeans and midheel boots to keep the look relaxed rather than teenybopper. Slice the belly baring top down the middle and wear it as a shrug over a classic white tank and knee-length camo skirt. Upgrade cute to cool, but do not give up on modern. Keep the spirit in your wardrobe and the life in your outlook. Be daring, but not dipsy.
Start to consider adding a few sophisticated pieces to mix with the fast fashion cheapie fixes. As you mature, keep to your personal style, but simplify it a bit as the years go on. If you think something makes you appear dowdy, it does. If you feel dumb in an outfit, you look it too. Well-cut, clean lines are right for any age. Spruce up with trendy bags, shoes, and belts which imprint a look. As the clock ticks, expose less, leave more to the imagination, and spotlight what’s worth bragging about. Always, always keep your hairstyle fresh with lot’s of movement. Give your make-up a lift and moisturize. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but be very afraid of being boring.
–July 27, 2005