by: Natasha E. Feghali
In the constantly growing landscape of fashion, it’s an unfortunate fact that the younger crowd significantly outnumbers ladies of a certain age. It seems everywhere you look, it’s nothing but beautiful 20-somethings showing off their style; and while there are certainly more of them, that doesn’t make them any more relevant or valuable than their more mature counterparts. Fashion is universal, after all.
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only…. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening”. Coco Channel’s ideas stand the test of time just as well as her designs; and the idea that fashion is inextricably wound up in the way we live has never felt more prescient.
A decade ago, fashion was a rigid system. Different age groups knew about different labels and brands that were appropriate for their different incomes and different interests. Now, that way of life seems as archaic as wearing a bustle. For many women, fashion has become a sport, with trends and hemlines and style icons discussed like the football.
While many have reveled in the chic cornucopia of fast-changing trends and the growing number of places to shop, just as many have felt overwhelmed. While working out what clothes are too frumpy, too sexy or too trendy has always been a problem for youth, the current generation has to do so in a world enthralled by the likes of Lady Gaga and Rihanna. Women who would once have retired gracefully from fashion’s often fraught battlefield as their 30s faded now feel they should square their shoulders and carry on trying to keep up. It’s unsurprising that as fashion for all ages has flourished, so too has the pressure to stay looking young.
But this style upheaval has also given women more choice. With a little thought and confidence, it’s possible for them to navigate fashion’s minefield and even enjoy the process; whether in their teens, 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s!
There’s nothing wrong with showing some skin if you do it with grace and elegance. At an older age, you might have to resist either the short hem or the exposed shoulder, but for now, go all out like Beyonce and Blake Lively. Dress a little more modestly if it makes you comfortable, but remember, now is the time to dare to bare!
Your 30s are the perfect time to build a simple core wardrobe while also experimenting with trend-driven items. Go for a vibrant dress with a bold neckline like Ginnifer Goodwin. Or be a little adventurous on your next night out and rock a metallic dress coat and caged heels like Gwyneth Paltrow.
You’ve watched trends come and go, so pick chic pieces you know you look fabulous wearing. Go for classic shapes like the sheath dress (Demi Moore) and structured blazer (Halle Berry). And embrace playful yet timeless trends like animal prints for an unexpected punch that will make any outfit pop.
With age comes the authority to wear polished clothes that younger women often can’t pull off, like pencil skirts and embellished button-down shirts. At the same time, don’t be afraid to show off the parts of your body of which you’re most proud, like Sharon Stone in this sleek halter dress. Getting older can work to your advantage. Years also bring increased confidence and conviction, so let your clothes show off those qualities!
No miniskirts after 40. And no long hair! Sleeveless after 50? Never! There are a lot of women who still believe in age-related fashion dictums, but in a world where everyone from 9 to 90 wears jeans, what does ‘age appropriate’ actually mean? In the end, the key to successfully looking age appropriate and modern is paying attention to what feels right on you. Take your cue from women who do it well, like Kate Moss, Phoebe Philo and Vera Wang. These are women who dress their age but still look innovative and, above all, like themselves.