Ageless style

Miniskirts are back in vogue. So are halter tops and patterned tights.

On a 20-year-old, those items are cute and trendy. On her mother, they likely look more trashy than trendy. On her grandmother, they're simply ridiculous.

It's unfair and frustrating, but it's a fact: Outfits that look adorable, or at least forgivable, on the young, simply don't cut it on older women.

That doesn't mean fashion choices for women of a certain age are limited to high necklines, long skirts and pasty pastels. Or to frumpy shoes and dowdy accessories. It simply means fashions that offer sharp tailoring, strong colors and just a hint of skin are more alluring.

Or, in a (hyphenated) word: more age-appropriate. Style guru Christopher Hopkins prefers the term “age-embracing.”

“It means showing off your good points,” says Hopkins, author of “Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45.”

“When do you know if an outfit's inappropriate? When you look in the mirror and you don't feel great. When in doubt, leave it out,” he says.

Short, tight or revealing clothing on older women “is automatically aging,” says Tara Stewart, fashion market editor at More magazine.

“You've been around the block. You know what works for you. You don't need a plunging neckline to get attention. And you don't need to compete with teenagers,” says Stewart.

In other words, as you leave your 20s and 30s behind, dress to showcase your taste and experience. Choose fashions that are sophisticated, interesting and uniquely you.