Muumuus and mom jeans or spangled capris and Aloha shirts — is this really all the fashion world has to offer women over the age of 60? Do mature women who desire to dress fashionably for summer really have to choose between “frumpy and fogey” or “too young and trendy?”
Not at all, says Catherine Brock, who blogs about style on thebudgetfashionista.com.
“Reaching a certain age doesn’t mean you have to give up your love of fashion, or that you can’t be stylish,” Brock says. “In our youth-obsessed society, many fashion trends are geared for young women, but truly stylish clothing can work for women of any age.”
Joyce Williams (name changed to protect her privacy), a resident of Brookdale Belle Meade Senior Living Community in Nashville, Tennessee, agrees. Williams didn’t leave her lifelong love of fashion behind upon moving into the senior community. Instead, she remains an avid reader of fashion magazines, and designs and makes her own jewelry to accessorize her wardrobe. She happily shares fashion advice with other residents who seek to remain stylish after 60.
Here are some of Brock’s and Williams’ favorite tips and insights for senior women:
* Senior women can have trouble finding fashion images that feature women who could be their peers, Brock says. Because most clothing is marketed with images of younger models, many older women may worry about their clothes being “age-appropriate.” Don’t be limited by that kind of thinking, she advises. The age of the model wearing the fashion is far less important than whether the style will work for you.
* Look for garments that have a defined shape. You don’t have to wear form-fitting clothing, but do avoid overalls or baggy, pull-on pants and maxi dresses with no waistline, Brock advises.
* Find your colors, Williams suggests. Everyone has certain colors that complement their skin tone, hair and eyes, and others that are less flattering. Determine which ones are yours and emphasize those colors in your wardrobe. Brock also counsels against putting too many colors in a single outfit, and says avoid wild color patterns. Instead, pick one piece in an outfit to make a color statement and use muted, complementary colors in the rest of the outfit to create a backdrop for your statement color.
* Just as important as knowing your best colors, you should also know the visual line that looks best for your body type, Williams says. For example, if you’re pear-shaped, a line that draws attention to your shoulders can be flattering, Brock adds. Apple-shaped women may find an A-line skirt flattering since it creates an angle from the shoulder to the waist.
* Stay true to your own personal style, regardless of your age. “If you had a well-established personal style when you were younger, it doesn’t need to change just because you’re older,” Brock says. “If anything, as you age, you can pay more attention to your personal style and be less of a slave to the season’s trends.” Adapt your younger style to your more mature place in life by focusing on creating outfits that make only one statement at a time, she advises. For example, wear that big, chunky turquoise necklace that you’ve always loved and pair it with an outfit that’s simple and straightforward like a pair of tailored jeans and a white blouse.
* Some styles work particularly well for senior women, Brock says. Blazers and cardigans pair well with V-neck tops, sheath dresses, shift dresses and button-down shirts. “In warmer months, V-neck tops with elbow-length sleeves are the new T-shirt for seniors,” she says. “Just add a necklace for a little sparkle.” Plus, every senior woman should have wardrobe staples such as a black blazer, white button-down shirt, dark-wash jeans, straight-leg trousers, neutral-colored cardigans, a collection of dolman-sleeve tops and T-shirts with varying sleeve lengths and necklines.
* Never underestimate the power of great accessories, Williams says. The right jewelry can turn an ordinary outfit into something stunning, and you can change the entire look of an outfit simply by switching around your accessories.
“It’s never too late to discover your personal style,” Brock says. “Start by creating a Pinterest board and saving looks you love (get a fashion-minded younger friend to help if you’re not tech-savvy). Then reacquaint yourself with your body type and go shopping with a friend. Try on different cuts of pants, skirts and dresses until you both agree on which are the most flattering. Find the cuts that look good on you and then start experimenting with colors and textures.”