I often use the phrase, “You have your whole life to look old.” Think about it. Dressing too old is just as bad as dressing too young. How then are you supposed to navigate the median strip when it comes to your style?
Again, think about it! I am pretty sure if I asked you to name the top 6 mistakes women make when dressing too young, you could easily spit out a list as you closed your eyes and envisioned one of your most recent spottings. Mine was last week at the Mall where a mom and daughter were dressed like summer twins. My head was spinning as I was thinking almost out loud – quick give that mom a bathrobe!
Here’s a quick too-young list to get your juices flowing –
- Too much cleavage, yes Mildred, there is a limit
- Jeans with too low a rise, exposing even more cleavage
- Wearing 6-inch heels with your boyfriend jeans at a backyard barbecue
- Sporting a crop top, any kind of crop top
- Thinking Victoria’s Secret is just the cat’s meow
- Wearing a ponytail, since forever
In my line of work, I find that more women dress too old than too young, meaning that their wardrobe choices are better suited to someone one to two decades beyond where they are. Oftentimes we will pull something out of the closet and our eyes roll as we envision her accessorizing the dress with an afghan.
The reasons why these lovely ladies have spiraled down this path abound. The short list includes weight changes, foot issues, what they define as comfortable, a lack of time and/or interest in keeping up with what is current, not budgeting for their wardrobe and even peer pressure – yes, peer pressure still exists for BA50’s.
Many women admittedly lack the expertise to know where to shop and what to shop for. Even though women account for 85% of consumer purchases, approximately 40% of them hate to shop citing feelings of over-whelm and lack of self-confidence leading to dressing room depression.
Commonly heard as I stand in the shadow of a client’s closet is “I recognize my look is dated, but haven’t a clue where to begin.”
Let’s begin with the top 6 fashion mistakes that make you look older
- Everything you wear is black – Yeah, yeah, black has always been the wonder drug when it comes to looking slim and sophisticated, but hello Harriet, your skin color has changed! As we age our skin tone tends to go pale, so you need to brighten yourself up a bit. Wear the black, but not close to the face. Add scarves, jewelry, colorful blouses and jackets for the perfect pale palette pickup.
- You are draping – Hello, a few pounds do not necessitate a tent. No doubt there is still a body in there but if you are draping, you are actually making yourself look bigger than you are. If you are draping to hide a fuller-on-the top or fuller-in-the-middle proportion you are only creating a more obvious imbalance, making you appear even larger on the top and smaller on the bottom. What we are going for here is the hourglass silhouette so opt for something that follows your curves, not hides them.
- You haven’t had a bra fitting in a decade – Welcome to the majority! Eight out of ten women are wearing the wrong size bra. Seriously, would you walk around in the wrong size shoes? Talk about an easy fix to make you look both ten pounds and ten years younger, getting those girls locked and loaded! Additional benefits of a well-fitted bra include better posture, a perkier younger looking chest, a classier look in your clothing, the appearance of a flatter and longer stomach and reduced back pain! So get with the program and schedule a bra fitting. Need a referral? Contact me.
- Your shoes weigh more than you – Girlfriend, if you fall off the ferry and your cement shoes bring you to the bottom faster than lightning, you should reconsider your footwear. Blah, blah for the love of the Dansko’s…get a grip, there are comfortable shoes out there that do not weigh 20 pounds. Your shoes, like your boobs, should not be the first things to enter the room! As an exercise in perusing and exposing yourself to options, use the search bar on the Zappo’s Options include, size, width, style, occasion, color, brand, price, materials, insole, theme, pattern and accents. Phew, a hell of a lot easier than slogging through the Mall. As a test for those comfort lovers out there I simply checked off women’s / flats / comfort and the search offered me 721 options! So be kind to your feet and your fashion sense and let your fingers do the walking!
- You have had the same eyeglasses since you started wearing eyeglasses –
Chances are when you purchased your first set of glasses you weren’t exactly thrilled to be wearing spectacles so you probably opted for the least conspicuous. Glasses have come a long way baby. They are one of the most fashionable accessories you can use. The current trends in eyewear have evolved to include an abundance of shapes, patterns and colors with frame materials including lightweight plastics, metals and titanium. The possibilities are endless and are just as important a statement as your clothing and your jewelry and can highlight certain characteristics and personality traits. Here is a BA50 bonus – if you are trying to conceal circles under the eyes, or wrinkles on the neck, statement glasses pull the focus all up so that people focus on your eyes first!
- Your answer to everything is a cardigan –
If every combo becomes complete with a cardi, then you look the same in every outfit. It doesn’t really matter what you are wearing underneath, it is always the cardigan that enters the room first. If you cannot break free from the cardi at least make it a statement piece. However I encourage you to consider adding a few stylish blazers and jackets to your wardrobe. And no, they don’t have to be lawyer looking blazers if you are not in an office setting. Jackets can be a bit unstructured with soft fabrications, asymmetrical hemlines and even 3/4 sleeves. They can be brights, neutrals, textures, patterns and even mixed media with details like leather, fabulous stitching and buttons. They can pull together your neutral solids and make the outfit pop. Check out my jacket here where I simply styled it with a black pant and a cream blouse. I am pictured with the Lord & Taylor General Manager where I was featured as their guest in-store stylist on their recent L&T Charity Day – the jacket of course was purchased at Lord & Taylor!
So we have the tip of the iceberg melting now. These are a few actionable ideas to get you going. These tips, and at least a hundred more, are included in my recently published book Confidence Is Always In Style. Available at a 50% discount – just enter code BA50 at checkout!