If you’re over 50, you might feel left out of fashion.
Style on TV, in magazines, on blogs and on the streets is geared to younger women. And those short skirts, ankle-straining heels, vacuum-sealed pants, neon-bright colors and sheer clothes are pretty hard to pull off.
Still, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for muumuus, mom jeans and other atrocities people expect you to wear.
Send the right message
There’s a way people interact with older women that could be influenced by your attire. If you look tired, people make the leap that you aren’t ready to participate. If your clothes are frumpy and fuddy-duddy, someone might think your ideas and outlook are dated and out of touch, too.
Don’t make it easier for someone to dismiss you. And don’t let frumpiness win.
Pick some elements that suit your age and station in life, and you can look more vital and approachable. That adds excitement to your life.
“I think there are lots of us who still care about how we look and have the money to splurge on ourselves a little bit,” Mollie Rasor wrote in response to my Refresh Your Style makeover of Judith Seligman, who is 73.
Rasor and a business partner own Meetings Plus More in Cary, which does meeting management for conferences and events. “It’s very difficult. I don’t want to look like I dress too young; then again, I want to be stylish-looking.”
Reassess and refine
You should reassess what you’re wearing about every five years once you reach 55, style expert and author Sherrie Mathieson says.
“The truth is, you look the same at 30 as you do at 38, basically. But when you are 50, you see a huge amount of difference when you are 58,” said Mathieson, author of “Steal This Style,” which shows outfits moms and daughters can both wear, and “Forever Cool,” which shows how men and women can update their standard, frumpy looks.
“The aging process is kind of accelerated in your late 50s. You can no longer assume that what you bought at 50 will suit you when you’re 65.”
One key is quality fabrics and good fit so your clothes feel better, look better and wear well.
“I call it refinement,” Mathieson said. “I think refinement projects the intelligence you want to project as you get older. You want to look modern and you want to look intelligent, current.”
Don’t forget your ’do
Another key element is good-looking hair. If you want a quick fix for age-related indignities like thinning hair or hair loss, do what the young girls do: Get extensions or clip-in hairpieces. They work with short or long hair.
“The natural-hair clip-ins are perfect. It just adds to your natural hair,” said Maria Josette Navarro at Anjolique Bridal in Huntersville, near Charlotte. She often styles mothers-of-the bride and other women preparing for special events.
“If you want to do a style but you think your hair is too thin, this solves that instantly. You can have it cut and blended to your hair. And they last a long time.”
Some women are reluctant to fix what’s ailing their hair because they don’t usually experiment, “but once they see it works, they fall in love with it.”
Whatever you decide, don’t stress about it.
“Worry is the last thing you want to do,” Navarro said. “That makes it worse.”
Sheon Wilson (@SheonWilson) is a personal stylist and business writer who lives in Durham.
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