Almost every week you hear about a new way to stay young. There’s either a new anti-aging serum or a supplement we should all be taking, that promises to roll back the years. The truth is, the jury’s still out on whether it’s possible to bottle the Fountain of Youth and that‘s because exercise is the key to healthier looking skin. However, one thing is for sure: there’s an offshoot of that famous youth-bringing wellspring and it can be found right in your own closet.
To Stay Young, Dress Young
About five years ago, there was a documentary on the BBC called Fabulous Fashionistas. It featured six women whose love for style was clearly what made them stand out and appear ageless. Each, in her own way, had found a way to make fashion her friend. That is what kept them feeling (and looking) young. The one thing these women all had in common was that they didn’t let traditional ideas of how seniors should dress dictate their wardrobe. In fact, their motto was: “Say no to drab!”
The Real Secret: Dressing Young Makes You Feel Young
Of course, looking young is really an extension of feeling young. There’s no magic sweater you can put on that will instantly erase 20 years. But the innate joy of feeling like a million bucks in a new purple pantsuit (or zippy new shoes or whatever your formula for fashion success might be) will shine through. It’s like your very own built-in fountain of youth: feeling good. One of the six senior fashionistas in the documentary was quoted as saying that her unique approach to fashion was about having an identity that went beyond just being a senior citizen. So how can you tap into that feeling and make fashion work for you?
Find Your Own Fashion Formula
Women like Carolina Herrera and Helen Mirren are fashion icons who manage to pull off an elegant (even, dare we say, sexy) look. As for men, consider Morgan Freeman, Bill Nighy, and Daniel Day-Lewis, all over the age of 60 and dressing as suave as ever. And all you have to do is walk the streets of Manhattan, Paris, or Rome and you’ll see men and women of a certain age looking fabulous and fashionable.
But let’s face it: not everyone is Morgan Freeman or Hellen Mirren. We each have to find our own unique approach to dressing “young” but still remaining in our comfort zone. The idea is to expand your horizons of what’s “appropriate” for you. For example, if “fabulous” was never your route to fashion happiness even in your 20s, you can still benefit from a little glamour when you’re in your 60s and beyond.
Here are a few tips to help you find your own style to help you feel younger. We promise you won’t end up walking out the door looking like someone else, but you may look younger!
How to Dress When You’re in Your 60s, 70s, 80s and Beyond
For women, the first step to looking younger through style is to revamp your closet.
Throw away everything that makes you look older than you should. That includes:
- Oversized t-shirts (unless you’re going for the “homeless” look)
- Pants with an elastic waist (they could make you look like a balloon even if you have a flat tummy)
- Anything that’s three sizes too big (this is not a good solution for covering up unwanted weight – it will only draw attention)
- Anything that’s frumpy (that should be the rule at any age): baggie jeans, unstructured tops that hang from your shoulders, blocky jumper dresses…
- Anything that’s outdated (the idea here is to be in touch with fashion, so throw out that ankle-length skirt that looks like you bought it in 1978)
- Mini skirts, hot pants, and tube tops (you know why!)
Look to fashionable women your age to inspire you. Women like Goldie Hawn, Diane Sawyer, and the afore-mentioned Helen Mirren and Carolina Herrera all dress beautifully in styles that can be adapted to suit anyone’s taste. Here are some style tips for older women that we’ve borrowed from these notable senior celebs and others:
- Wear a leather skirt, it’s a classic wardrobe item that works at any age
- Skirts should fall just below knee-length
- Skirts should be straight or A-line cuts
- Don’t shy away from prints (remember: “just say no to drab”)
- Don’t shy away from lots of colors
- Embrace pantsuits and blazers (the structure of a blazer is wonderfully flattering for any woman)
For men, the rules are slightly different:
- When going casual, stay on the formal side and choose tailored pieces like jackets, trench coats, and fitted pants (but no need to wear a tie)
- Can’t go wrong with a t-shirt (fitted, neither tight nor baggy) and straight -leg jeans (again, neither tight nor baggy)
- V-neck sweaters with a button-down shirt are still classically stylish at any age
- Layering with updated cardigans and t-shirts with flair is always a safe bet
- Shorts should be knee-length or just above the knee
- Chukka boots are a nice alternative to “old man” white sneakers
- Don’t wear floral shirts unless you’re dressing up for Halloween as a 1960’s-era retiree in Miami
- Ditch the baseball cap and try a fedora instead
A Quick Summary on the Fountain of Youth in Your Closet
Dressing to look younger doesn’t mean you should look to Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber for fashion tips. Looking good at any age means dressing well. That goes for men as well as for women. On that note, we’ll leave you with a few basic fashion truths for seniors that apply to both genders:
- Don’t feel you always have to “dress your age”
- Find your own style
- Don’t wear clothes that are too baggy
- Dress to impress, not to fade into the background
- Blazers are your best friend
All fashion advice aside, probably the most important tip is to keep updating your wardrobe in a way that makes you feel good about the way you look. If that sounds difficult and you don’t know where to begin, start with a few pieces and build on that over time. When all else fails, go shopping with your grandkids!
For more tips on how to stay young, fit, and happy, read these articles by Acts Retirement-Life Communities:
- Fit for Life: Enjoying the Fitness Journey
- 5 Must-Ask Questions for Baby Boomers Facing Retirement
- For Healthy, Glowing Skin: Exercise