The expression mutton dressed as lamb is often used as an insult to women who are not considered to be dressing appropriately for their age. Very often this is unfair as regardless of the actual age they do not look it and the styles still suit them. But at what age should a woman decide that regardless of how well she carries off an item there is a time when she should begin to grow old gracefully and begin to dress in a way appropriate for her age? As we age we do become more confident and less likely to worry what others may think but this should not mean that we forget all the advice we have been given over the years.
Tips for Women
Some may say never but that is not always an option. There are a number of things that should not be worn once you begin to age.
• Shorts or short skirts are fine for young women but after a time the best thing to do is limit yourself to an inch or so above the knee. Trousers are much more flattering as you age and by wearing a longer top to cover the stomach and backside it can make you appear slimmer.
• Tops that do not reach the waistband might be fine for young toned bodies but even a middle aged woman who works out cannot carry it off.
• Tube tops or boob tops are now a no no. A young woman can just about carry it off but once gravity begins to take hold they are incredibly unflattering.
• Jeans are fine but shredded denim should be avoided. It manages to give young people a look of flair and individuality but on an older woman it looks old and worn out.
• Tunics worn without leggings should be avoided. A student can get away with it but not a middle aged woman. It does not matter how hard you train there are parts of the body that will never look younger than they are. The knees fall into this category and cellulite hits the thighs when you least expect it.
It is harder for women who are reaching their 40s and 50s now. For their mothers and grandmothers it was just one of those things. It seemed as if they just hit a certain age and their whole lifestyle changed. The clothes changed to more demure and even the materials changed. One day they would be in a trendy item and the next something that looked as if it came out of their own mother’s wardrobe. It was not just the clothes either as shoes also came into it. One day it would be the elegant 3″ heels and then suddenly a nice pair of flat shoes. Quite often lace ups with padded insoles as well.
Our bodies change and in many cases not for the better. Arms don’t have the muscle tone that they used to have and totally sleeveless tops show this is off so well. This will be equally true of thin woman as those who are overweight. It is possible to be too thin when you are older. Young women will never believe this so should look at some older women who are very thin. There is no shape to their body – breasts droop with age and they will be hard to keep high even in the best of bras – and some clothes will make the wearer look like a bag of bones.
While there are things that it may be inappropriate to wear as you are aging there are things that you should avoid to make sure you don’t look older than you are. Just because you can’t dress like a teenager any more does not mean you should dress in a sensible and attractive way.
• Small flowery prints just scream grandma and even if you are one there is no need to look like it.
• It may be tempting to overdo the makeup to cover the lines or jewelry to distract from them but many people go too far and only emphasize what they are trying to hide.
• Hair can still be long providing it is kept tidy. Coloring may help if it is done lightly but jet black hair and an aging face will be a giveaway.
• Keeping the neck covered can be an ideal way to hide your age. Polo or turtle neck tops can hide a multitude of sins and yet you can still look fashionable. Don’t wear dresses or blouses that have frilly or fussy necklines as this is where the gaze will be drawn.
Tips for Men
It is not just women who should take note of what they wear as they age. Men will also want to look and seem young as they age but there are guidelines they should also follow. There is no need to stop wearing fashionable clothes but make sure you choose the items with care. There are certain things that should be avoided:
• T shirts with logos. Some bands and sports clubs can be OK but not ones with slogans or sexual innuendos. They don’t look funny anymore but can in fact be a bit scary.
• Fitted t shirts. A fit 20 year old might have the 6 pack to carry it off but middle aged spread makes it look ridiculous.
• It’s often best to avoid comebacks. You may have looked good in something years ago but just because it comes round again it does not mean you have to revisit your youth.
• Try to avoid flashy designs and loud colors. Pastel shades and black or white will be the most flattering.
• Flashy jewelry is also not complimentary on aging men. You may have the money to buy good items but make them discrete not flashy.
• Don’t go overboard with the amount of clothes you have as finding a good item and re-wearing it is fine. If it is good quality it will last.
Finding your style is as important as knowing what you look good in. It will be better to alter your favored style of dress for something a little more age appropriate rather than keeping the same fashion sense you had at 20 and becoming a figure of fun. A good figure will only help you so far as will showing it off more than would normally seem acceptable. If a woman over 50 has a low cut dress it may have the effect of getting her admiring glances or it may mean some divert an embarrassed eye to the very areas she is trying to keep attention from.
Take extra care to keep away from fashions that even younger women struggle to pull off. Culottes make many people look weird so trying to look cool in them when you are older won’t work.
You should have spent the last 20 years finding your style and building up a wardrobe that will provide you with an outfit for all occasions. No one will say that as you age you should lose interest in clothes and your appearance but rather that you should gain a sense of perspective and admit that your style has to change.