Be Surprised About “Age Appropriate” Style

Age appropriate style is a subject that always pops up on the fashion blogs as well as in the CD forums from time to time. My own view has changed over the years rightfully so as you will read below. Thanks to Sylvia at 40plus Style, we now know this amazing lady, Dorrie, who at 80+ years old, is a stylish lady in her own right. And she is neither a movie star nor a pop singer, but an ordinary woman with a flair for style. She blogs at Senior Style Bible. We have much to learn from her, but her view on age appropriate clothing is one we should all adopt.

pictures of Dorrie

By way of background, Dorrie was raised in the Philadelphia area and has a flair for east coast fashions, but then so was I. Maybe that explains my affinity to her. Her career includes modeling, a cosmetic representative and a “Playboy Bunny” and an obviously thin body. You do need to dress for your body, nevertheless her words do hit home. She says:

“I don’t believe women over 50 should be worried about what is appropriate and what is not. I actually don’t like the term “age appropriate” because I think the subtext is that women of a certain age should not be wearing certain styles because they are too old to be sexy, and need to cover up their less than perfect bodies. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and that kind of negative messaging undermines women’s self-confidence and I don’t like that.

Obviously it’s important to be aware of what flatters the mature figure and what no longer works. Style has nothing to do with age, it is understanding what flatters your body, how to accentuate your best assets and deciding what makes you feel pretty. Fashion is a non-verbal form of communication, so what we wear, tells the world how we feel about ourselves. It’s important to figure out what we want our style to say….but what I know I don’t want it to say is “I’m going to let society tell me what I should look like.” That’s a form of censorship, and the idea that we have to edit who we are is absurd. So I’d like to see that term disappear out of our vernacular entirely.

pictures of DorrieDon’t fall into the “age appropriate” trap. You know yourself better than anyone else. Select clothes that highlight your best features and camouflage the parts you may not want to show off. Fit is also very important; a good tailor can make an inexpensive piece, look expensive. Also choose quality over quantity and invest in your clothes. Less is more. It’s better to have fewer pieces that are really great than a closet full of clothes that are just okay. It’s important to buy things that you really love. If you aren’t madly in love with it, don’t buy it.”

I thought Dorrie’s advice for women over 65 was particularly appropriate and I think it applies to many women under 65 too. Again Dorrie speaks; “Don’t retire from life. Start a new chapter in your life. Remain active, engaged and young at heart. Do something productive with your day. Many senior women have told me that once they are no longer in the work force they dress for comfort and no longer use makeup except for special occasions. Sweat suits and sneakers seem to be the retired lady’s uniform of choice, and that’s Okay. Not everyone has an interest in fashion. Some women just want to relax into old age and focus on other things. However, that is definitely not me. I want to stay as attractive as I can, for as long as I can…for me. So, if you are still interested in fashion and into looking your best, you can start by saving the sneakers for the gym.

You can read Dorrie’s complete interview here

There are many blogs for the over 40 woman that show just how stylish you can be. In your 20s and 30s you can wear most anything, but when you reach 40, be chic instead. I was watching an amusing episode of “Sex in the City” and the ladies (in their 30s) were bemoaning the ladies in their 20s for being so young and perky. Guess what, every age has its advantages (and disadvantages) and frankly I prefer the more mature woman who knows how to pull it together. How about you?

With a little effort, you can too. That’s what Sister House is all about. Read Tasi’s blog and our many articles in the Dressing Room and Library and stay tuned for our upcoming series “Dressing for your Body Shape. Here are a few of my favorite blogs for the over 40 woman.

Advanced Style

Lady of Style

Happiness at Mid-Life

Not Dead Yet

Flattering 50

Style Crone

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