I’m sure many of you read Harper’s Bazaar’s monthly feature called “Fabulous at Every Age”, where they show how women can wear various fashion trends at every decade, from the 20’s to the 70’s. I read through all the ages, even though for me the 40’s are long gone and I’m now closer to the 60’s decade than the 50’s. The funny thing is that I always feel like I relate more to other (younger) decades than my own, and in particular, I find myself still being drawn to the 40’s rather than the 50’s or the 60’s decades. (This is also true of features in magazines that talk about skin care throughout the various ages, although in that case, I have learned to skim the younger decades and move right into the decade to which I rightly belong.)
As someone in the image business, I’m well aware of the dangers of lingering in a decade that you have physically left behind. In fact, I’ve just returned from a week in the Palm Springs area, where one can see many examples of women who are aging beautifully and those who are aging painfully – and I’m not talking about the physical features of the women themselves. I’m talking about women who have either grasped the concept of dressing in an age-appropriate manner or those who have not. It’s wonderful and inspiring when women of any age embrace their individuality – who take a current trend and make it their own, in a way that is appropriate and flattering to their time in life.
Here’s a little collage I just put together of dresses that might be selected by women of various decades for dinner on the town.
Clearly, when you’re in your 20’s-40’s you have a lot more leeway, but generally (unless you’re a model or starlet, and even they would do well to modulate a little) as time marches on, you can plan on lowering hemlines a bit. As you approach your 50’s and 60’s, hemlines are typically their most flattering at knee length. Any shorter (unless worn with tights) or any longer will not serve you well. (Yes…going too long can be as unflattering as going too short.) Depending on the status of your arms and upper back, you can possibly still go a little bare, but if you’re not thrilled with the look of your upper arms, you may start incorporating a jacket or shrug into your look.
Sometimes when we first realize that we really aren’t that young chick-ey that we used to be (for me it was the knees), it’s very sobering. But once we acknowledge it and embrace it, then we can move on. For some inspiration, I recommend you take a look at Advanced Style, a blog I love that features older women who are excellent examples of embracing modern looks with vigor tempered by wisdom and grace.