I've always found the articles that tell women what to wear at a certain age insipid and ill advised. Women should wear whatever the hell they want to wear. Period. Still, it can be frustrating trying to navigate fashion as we get older. Most of the clothes sold at retail are designed for younger women and clothing that is designed for older women can be a little...boring, safe, figure concealing, blah. Then the challenge becomes finding clothing that makes us feel stylish instead of dowdy. My secret? I don't shop much for clothing at retail, because there's so much good stuff at the thrift stores. This means I'm not always wearing what's 'in' and I don't give a hoot about the idea that you can't wear a style if you wore it the first time around. I wear what pleases me.
Once you reach your 50s, you likely have a sense of what works for you and what doesn't. You have, subsequently, cultivated your own sense of style. Style transcends fashion. If you were to define my overarching style, it would likely be vintage inspired with a modern flair.
It's challenging dressing a changing body, and mine has changed significantly over the past 7 years. I'm still figuring out what works and what doesn't, in terms of cuts and styles that flatter my significantly curvier frame. Mass market clothing is cut/designed for smaller sizes and just making the same garment larger doesn't address the different proportions of a curvier body. Often the tops of dresses are too big on me because my breasts are not big enough in proportion to the rest of me to fit the standard measurements. Sometimes skirts, pants, or the bottoms of tops are too tight, because my curves tend towards my lower half. Some might say that I'm a pear, but I find the whole fruit comparison insulting. I'm not a pear, I'm just a woman with her own unique body shape, just like every other woman.
I've never taken myself or fashion that seriously. The goal of fashion is to sell you clothing, the key to doing this is to make you feel compelled to buy the latest styles. What's in? What's out? In the age of fast fashion, it's becoming more difficult to discern. There's no need to be a slave to rules or trends or the unsolicited opinions of other people. I'm a big believer in doing what makes me happy and allowing other people the breathing room to do the same. I don't care what someone else wears or doesn't wear. That's their business.
What do I know, for sure? I know that accessories are everything. They can take a simple outfit and elevate it immediately. I'm a fan of big and bold or delicate and simple. I don't do in between. I also make my own jewelry. I've written 7 books about the topic and created some easy to follow YouTube videos if you're interested in learning how! A great bag, fabulous shoes, a statement necklace, a wrist full of bodacious bangles, a printed scarf, a jaunty beret, I love a great accessory or three or four. I do try to edit, but I'm with Iris Apfel, "More is more and less is a bore!"
If someone were to ask me for fashion/style advice I'd suggest they lighten up and have some fun. Life's short. Fashion is fickle. Wear what makes you feel confident, happy, and beautiful, or wear what makes you feel bodacious and bad ass or wear what makes you feel comfortable. You do you! One day you may feel like a saucy minx, the next like a sophisticate. Some days you want to stand out and other days you want to go incognito. (This is not easy when you have hot pink hair...just sayin'.) You don't have to fit in or look like everyone else. Letting go of the desire to fit in is deliciously freeing.
When we were young, playing dress-up, fashion was fun. Then we got older and people started telling us what to wear. Dress codes, style rules, people who feel compelled to tell us how they feel about what we're wearing...
You can't wear that in public! Egads!
This is even more pronounced as we hit middle age. Every fashion expert with a blog or an Instagram is ready to tell us what to wear after 40 or 50 or 60. I prefer to blissfully ignore their directives. Regardless of the arbiters of style, fashion can be fun at any age. When we reach mid-age and we realize that rules are absurd, it's the perfect time to play dress-up again.
How do I approach fashion after 50? With a healthy sense of whimsy and a complete lack of concern about how other people feel about that.
"Glitter up those eyelids and rave on, darling."