I recently found this article which has been tucked away in a drawer for many years. So, as 50 is the new 40, this information should perhaps apply to over 50s - or over 60s (me!).
Think you need to dress your age? Or do you think that's an outdated notion?
The problem isn't being comfortable in your over-40 skin: wisdom, maturity and fulfilment boost your sense of well-being.
Instead, the challenge is simply finding wearable, modern clothes to fit your lifestyle, budget and figure.
Pros may tout fashion now as being ageless, but that's no consolation when you have to pick through racks of miniskirts and low-rise means to find styles you love. Keeping up with trends can be even more difficult because many fashion magazines ignore women over a certain age.
And even when the glossies try to address the issue, they tend to forget that mature women can be just as fashionable as young girls.
so while it may seem that stores are packed with teenage clothes, you can still find fresh, current looks that can work for you.
Apart from your local fashion outlets, major high street stores are tapping into this market, which shows that you are not alone in your question for real fashion.
As a matter of fact, practically any fashion trend can be adapted if you know some general guidelines.
Let the very young think (mistakenly) that dressing sexy means you have to bare every body part. Instead, you can show your sensuality with luxury fabrics (silk, leather, cashmere, (fake) fur) and rich colours (wine, chocolate, plum, champagne and midnight).
Watch your handbag: it is usually a dead giveaway to your age. Have some fun with your handbag choice by trying lively colours (red, denim) and different shapes. You can find inexpensive bags around.
Know that today you don't have to trade style for comfort and ease. Shop for wearable, updated shoes. Wear stretch fabrics whenever possible and no one is the wiser when you wear woven fabrics with stretch like denim and twill).
And now for the top 10 over-40s fashion dos and don'ts
1 Don't get too skinny (it's very unflattering) and don't gain too much weight.
2 Don't wear baggy, shapeless clothes.
3 Don't wear fussy prints like tiny florals (some florals can now make you look younger, however).
4 Don't wear overdone, fussy styles or details (gold buttons, gold trim etc). They are terribly aging.
5 Don't think you have to wear skirt suits to look well dressed. Some skirt suits can be very aging. Trousers are generally much more youthful, so a better choice would be a trouser suit or a trouser and coat ensemble.
6 Don't shy away from all black. It looks great, especially when textures are mixed: leather, crocodile, patent, fur, vinyl).
7 Don't expose your upper arms and neck: these are both tricky areas for most women over a certain age.
8 Don't wear your skirts too short, knee length or ankle are the best lengths (unless you're wearing very thick tights or leggings underneath).
9 Don't overdo the grooming. helmet hair, and too much colour - red nails, red lips, eye shadow and blush (especially when used together) are aging.
10 Don't think you have to cut your hair: a chic polytail always looks smart and youthful.
And co-incidentally, there's just been a more comprehensive article in the Sunday Telegraph (from 22 May 2016)
40 FASHION RULES FOR THE OVER-FORTIES
(From an article by Shane Watson)
The one thing Cameron Diaz will never wear again, according to an interview in the latest issue of Harper's Bazaar, is ..... a tube top. This is Good to Know. but as fashion tips for the post-fortysomething woman go, it's disappointing. Most of us over-forties last wore a tube top (or, as they're better known on these shores, 'boob tube') on a holiday in Greece two decades ago.
When glamorous women make age-appropriate dressing statements (part of the deal once they hit 40), we hope for something more relevant to our daily lives: ideally, cracking tips that will cut through all the confusion. Forty is nothing, by the way. It's the new 50 (as I said above!), and Fiona Bruce is 52.
You barely have to make any adjustments, but it's a bit ostrich-like to pretend everything stays the same for ever and this is as good a point as any to take stock of your options going forward. So here are 40 things every woman over the age of 40 should know about fashion.
TIME TO GRADE UP
1 Your shoes: do not go quietly into the navy mid-heel pump or the plain loafer, or the really useful (so comfy) trainer. You can always do a fun shoe and display a well-turned ankle. More to the point, a shoe is where you score your fashion points when you are past Sex Pistols T-shirts and floral coronets (which you are).
2 Your hair: The just-got-out-of-bed, beach-bleached hair days are on the way out. conditioner is everything now. And whatever you do, don't over-trim. A bob at this stage could put a decade on you instantly.
3 Make-up, but not foundation: Watch our for the plaster-textured complexion that occurs when women panic that they need coverage, but haven't got their glasses/replaced the light in the bedroom.
4 Your sunglasses: As a rule, you want to go less mean and edgy, and more glamorous. LAPD, Bono, billy Idol .... these are all looks to avoid, as is Tony Blair in some very hot country, wearing white linen.
5 Your smile: I know that sounds creepy. But the sulky, not bothered expression that you may think cool (a la Victoria Beckham?) will start to look sour and a bit 'my back is killing me' in your forties and beyond. Perk it up.
WATCH OUT FOR
6 Your knees: Everyone goes on about arms. It's your knees that will let you down.
7 Black: so boring to be told to ditch black because it's draining on older skin. Happily it's not quite true. Dull matt black is draining, but lush black is fine (for a few more years, especially if it's glossy satin or velvet), so long as you ramp it up with splashy earrings and red lipstick.
8 Popcorn-coloured highlights: Only because you will start to look like every other greying fortysomething in the Western world. Why do you think J Law and Taylor Swift have gone punky bone-white blonde? Because safe blonde is the colour of middle age, that's why.
9 Going braless: Just saying it works for some, but don't cling to the free spirit ideal at the expenses of a sloppy silhouette.
10 Teeth: I like rough teeth. I misses Bowie's after the refurb. But there is no doubt that yellowing teeth are not youthful.
SOME YOUTHFUL THINGS YOU NEEDN'T PUT AWAY
11 Wearing bikini tops under clothes in summer: sounds mad, but it does inject a certain carefree barefoot vibe. (don't try it at work; it works best when you are gardening)
12 Espadrilles and flip-flops: similar result. But, as of now, these must be worn with a pedicure. The unwashed look is no longer a runner 9this applies equally to men. David Beckham post-match easily tips over into Rhys Ifans the morning after a very late night)
13 Denim: you are never too old for the latest jeans if you look good in jeans. Same goes for leather trousers (but you need the legs).
14 Shortish puffy sleeves: quite flattering on the older arm, contrary to rumour, especially if not too puffy and not too short.
16 Clogs: you wore them in '76 and you are wearing them again.
SAY 'NO' TO GIRLY AND CUTE
18 Bows: hair bows. Bows on shoes. Bows on skirts and dresses.
19: Anything involving a bib: We're all tempted by dungarees, especially those of us who have very happy memories of the Seventies/Banarama. And obviously Cate Blanchett gave them a go the other day - but in our opinion it doesn't work. A jumpsuit is quite different - less cute.
20 Dolly prints: as in Scottie dogs or bananas or strawberries.
|In case you're wondering what|
Mary Janes are - here's an example
22 Waisted, full-skirted summer dresses (although Kirsty (Allsopp) always looks good in one!).
23 White: other than tailoring, and definitely lace, as in broderie anglaise and guipure.
24 Pie-crust collars: no no no. Not anything Di would have worn.
LEAVE IT TO THE KIDS
25 Victim jeans: as in uber-ripped and shredded or covered in sew-on patches and embroidery.
26 Maxi: the whole maxi thing is a bit of a lottery. It can work, but if it's too folksy, too floaty, too flouncy, too Seventies ambassadress, all can add roughly 10 years. Never, ever go for long sleeves and a long hemline.
27 The extreme ethnic purchase of the moment: Now it's those hand-embroidered, pompom-tie jackets in Zara. Also traditional Ukranian Vita Kin blouses and dresses, which may look great of Pandora Delevigne's friends (she sells them), but would always look better on her daughter Poppy.
28 Embroidery on backs: probably. Also numbers.
29 Cut-off denim shorts: you can wear denim cut-offs for ever. What you want to avoid is those very tight and high-cut Daisy Dukes that your teenage daughter is currently trying to get away with.
30 Then again ... don't stop going to the kids' shops: you just never know. Kirsty Wark is 61 and she is frequently dressed in a bit of Topshop as well as the groovier shores of Me+Em.
INSTANT SMALL CHEATS (THAT WORK FROM FORTYSOMETHING TO FOREVER)
31 A splash-out scarf: Pashmina dimensions, good-looking and bold. Sling it on over anything plain and you get instant cool points, plus colour.
32 Silver shoes. Or gold: Just a bit of 'oooh, not quite so boring then'.
33 A bare 7/8th: Lower calves and ankles on show at all times, very rejuvenating.
34 Switching the black leather biker for the olive green one and then the suede jacket.
THE 'NO WAYS' THAT SNEAK UP ON YOU (AND ALL YOU CAN DO IS KEEP CHECKING)
35 LBDs: I had a black satin dress that I looked fine in until precisely the age of 48. Thereafter, horrible. All black dresses, It's almost like a chemical reaction, and it'll hit you right out of the blue.
|What was she thinking?!|
36 Same for hats: used to wear them to weddings (fab!). Now look like the mother of the bride's mother.
37 Chiffon: sometimes OK in small doses. But definitely one to watch. You were Kate Moss; you are now Abigail at her party.
38 Leopard print: Tips over into blowsy any day now. Do as Carine Roitfeld does and wear snake print instead.
39 Very high heels: All good until you get the bulging snake-bit foot. The only solution is to go lower.
40 by way of a footnote, Elle Macpherson (now 520 broke all these rules in one day on the school run - so rule 40 is; it's different for everyone.
PS here's a a link to an interesting article in the Irish Times of fashions in Ireland over the years: