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Reflections September 2013

Wardrobe Wakeup: Boost Your Look Whatever Your Style

By Janice Doyle

Consider your shape first, trends second. Think about your shape and not the shape it’s in as well as your skin tone and personal preferences. Stick to the look that works for you and own it. Then play with color, shape, layers and subtle updates.

Ask any woman over 50 what her current style is and she’ll most likely pause and not have an immediate answer, according to fashion editor Lois Johnson. Ask her if she’s trendy, or old fashioned, or matronly and she’ll think a minute and then answer “No, not really.”

Most fashion books and magazines categorize women in groupings like artsy or bohemian or classic. “We don’t think of ourselves in terms of what we wear,” Johnson writes. “We think of ourselves according to how we live.”

In fact, our style reflects the way we feel about clothes, our bodies and our lifestyles. Whatever your style, women “of a certain age” can boost their look to maximize what they wear.

Johnson’s tips:

  1. Sit like a front-row celeb and stand like a model. Your personal body language helps or
    hurts the way you look in your clothes. This is not always easy as bone mass starts to go, muscles sag and fat creeps up on us. Johnson says you don’t have to pose, but just be more aware of posture and how you move.

    Walk tall; when people are around, do cross your legs and then slant them in the direction
    of the lower leg. Then lift that upper leg a bit so the calf doesn’t bulge.

    When you stand, keep your chin up, neck elongated, shoulders down and back, and your tummy tucked in.

  2. Consider your shape first, trends second. Think about your shape and not the shape it’s in as well as your skin tone and personal preferences. Stick to the look that works for you and own it. Then play with color, shape, layers and subtle updates.

  3. Keep it seasonless and versatile. Modern life, planes, restaurants can alternate freezing cold and steamy hot no matter the month, so keep a core wardrobe of neutral colors that look right any place and any time of year. Wear blended fabrics and layer the pieces.

  4. Get your body in shape any way you can and find a comfort zone that makes you clothes-happy. Face it, says Johnson, a firm body does increase your clothes options. “Inhibited by your torso? Suck it all in with shapewear, increase your crunches and wear one-piece dresses,” advises Johnson.

  5. Do the new sexy. It’s not about cleavage, minis or stilettos anymore. “One of the advantages of age is knowing how to be subtle but effective,” writes Johnson. Think about showing bare arms or shoulders and playing up curves with belts (instead of tight, clingy clothes).

    Wearing peep-toe sandals with a great pedicure is much more attractive than trying to balance on stiletto heels. Toss the mini skirts and wear casual, well-fitted jeans instead. Pop on some big sunglasses and forget about the designer logo shirts.

    “And don’t forget to flash a warm white-toothed smile often,” notes Johnson. That, balanced  with volunteer work and mentoring, is sexy, too.

  6. Go for feel-good fabrics. Johnson notes that while we live in a tech-centric world of computers and smartphones, our generation is hardwired for a physical world that’s a lot more touchy-feely. “We still like in-person face time, eye-to-eye communication and the pleasurable feeling of fabrics against skin.”

Think the softness of vintage jeans and freshly washed cotton T-shirts. Ahh, they feel so good.

 

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