Three Steps to Dressing Your Age

I want to begin by tackling a question I hear over and over: How do I dress for my age?  First of all, staying modern and up with times in your clothing should never be construed as dressing too young.  Trends are defined by the key colors, fabrics, and shapes of the season.  As with many things in our world, trends can be interpreted on a spectrum from super trendy to out of date and unfashionable.  And as with most spectrums, you are safest if you stay in the middle – not too trendy and not out dated.   In this two-part article let’s start with some self-assessment exercises. 

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 Step 1- Stay Current

The truth is you will never know what age you are dressing if you don’t know what is happening in fashion right now. Find a fashion magazine targeted at your age.  Glamour, for example, focuses on a twenty something audience while In Style targets women in their thirties and forties.  More Magazine is a fashion magazine targeted at ladies fifty and over.  Browse through and pay attention to everything.  Is your hair cut modern?  Are your shoes and accessories in fashion?  Is your makeup up with the times?  The thing about being fashionable at any age is the whole package; there is little gained by dressing well if your hair cut hasn’t changed in a decade. 

 Step 2 – Know your Brand and Yourself

Just as magazines have a target audience, so do clothing lines. When the designers get together for a new line they make two significant decisions – who is their target market and what is their lifestyle?  Take Multiples by Sharon Young for example.  The very first time I sat down with my vendor to see this line, he began by telling me that Multiples is targeted toward a fashion forward 50 and over customer.  That meant the rises on the pants were higher and the cuts on the tops fuller.  Likewise, most stores have a target market too.  Chico’s, for example, is aimed at a more mature woman while American Eagle at a younger woman.  Any store worth its salt should be able to give you target market information for the brands they carry, and it would be worth your time to ask them.

 Step 3- Do a Self Assessment

If you did the first step I suggested, you probably noticed that when it comes to celebrities, forty is the new thirty and so forth. Likewise, if you look ten years younger than you are, you also can dress ten years younger.  However, there is a difference between dressing to hide your age and dressing to embrace your age.  Be careful of the former.  For example, a slim forty year old working woman will want slacks that look professional and youthful so she’ll choose a trendier, lower rise waist and perhaps a slimmer leg.  She’ll also likely choose a more form fitting top or sweater in a key color or style for the season.  Her co-worker who is also the same age but has a few extra pounds will do the same, but she will need to focus more on choosing styles that are youthful and figure flattering.  Their sixty year old boss who also wants to be fashionable will likely choose higher waisted slacks with a straight or even flared leg and perhaps a figure flattering jacket to coordinate over a less form fitting top.  The essential trends are the same, but each woman has interpreted the trend for her age.  

 Next time we’ll talk about what to do with all this information you have gained about yourself!

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