I know how much you all love fashion so I am thrilled that Candi Randolph, a fabulous midlife blogger who is passionate about fashion, has written a post for all of us over fifty who want to look our very best!
Guest Post written by Candi Randolph of Inspire My Style
It’s probably safe to say that most of us want to look good as we mature. We don’t necessarily have to, or want to, follow every fashion trend that comes along. But, as women over 50 we don’t want to dress like old ladies, either. Let’s discuss some of the things we can do to look our best, every day.
While I’m not a fashion blogger or a fashionista, I do have an eye for style as well as a simple, clear and sensible approach to fashion over 50. My years as an Interior Decorator and Home Stager have given me a perspective that works for fashion, too.
But first, let’s clarify. I’m not going to tell you what to wear as mature women because most of you already know what you like, and probably don’t want to be instructed as to what you should or shouldn’t wear.
What I will offer, though, are five simple and easy-to-remember tips that will give you a framework to use when making shopping decisions and outfit selections. There is no reason that we can’t look and feel beautiful, confident and awesome as women over 50!
Your overall appearance can potentially swing from frumpy and forgettable to fabulous with the proper size of clothing. It all comes down to our size choices. It should be simple to make the right choice, but it’s not.
Sometimes we have a size in our head that we think is right for us. Just because.
Or, we may automatically go to a specific size because we have worn it for years. Why change now?
Or, someone may have told us that we were a size (you fill in the blank) and so that’s what we buy. Why question, just do it.
And sometimes, we purposely buy a larger size because we think we’ll look slimmer in clothes that are baggy. Makes sense, right?
The result of this type of decision making can go one of three ways:
- You’re spot on and you look great…awesome!
- Or, your clothes are too tight, or short, or long, and the result is not the one you envisioned in your mind…flawed
- Or, you purchase a size that is too large, and you run the risk of looking like a bag lady…flawed
As individuals, we may have a different definition of what a proper fit looks like, and that’s okay. My perfect fit on me and your perfect fit on you may be two very different looks.
My mom, for example, opts for a loose fit on the top because she has always been very conscious of her generous bosom. She’s 92 and adorable, dresses well, and the top half is always a bit on the large, borderline baggy side. Fortunately, she balances it out with a slimmer fit pant. For Mom, that’s a proper and perfect fit.
Your perfect fit might be to flaunt the girls a little bit, or to wear your slacks on the looser side, or size up in a dress so the fit is not figure-hugging.
You’ve probably noticed that your body has changed since the days of your youth, an understatement for many, so a realistic and current perspective when choosing your clothing sizes will give you a much better result.
Another very helpful tip for finding the right fit is to understand your body shape so you’ll know what types of styles to focus on, and which ones to avoid.
Ultimately you make that choice, but it’s important to understand WHY you are choosing that particular fit/size/shape and HOW it impacts your overall look.
How we feel about a specific outfit or style statement can be defined in two different ways:
- The fabric itself, which we’ll talk about in the next section, and
- The way a look or outfit makes us feel about ourselves
The feel I’m referring to here is the second definition.
When you’re choosing an outfit and put it all together, adding the accessories, the shoes, purse, etc., how do you feel about yourself? Pleased? Confident? Uncertain? Embarrassed?
You might even be thinking, “I don’t feel anything…I just get dressed.”
Maybe so. But I think for most of us, there is a mental evaluation process that we go through and a resulting feeling. If it’s not a positive result, step back and take a closer look at your clothing choices.
Sometimes I have an outfit chosen in my head for an activity or event, and as soon as I get all the pieces on, I immediately know it’s not right. Does it have to do with my age? Not always, but sometimes, yes it does.
Whether it’s the tightness of the pants, the exposed skin, the color, neckline…if I don’t feel right, I change something about the outfit.
And, as I am getting older, I sometimes find that an outfit combination I loved to wear in the past just doesn’t cut it anymore. That’s a tough one for me to admit, but if I’m honest with myself, I know that I no longer feel confident and as attractive as I would like to be in those clothes.
So, I put something else on!
It’s amazing how a choice of fabric can change the look of an article of clothing, and our overall appearance.
As women over 50, we can choose to wear fabrics that enhance our skin tones, make us look slimmer, or taller, sometimes even younger.
And, we can choose fabrics that do just the opposite…make us look older and dated. I don’t know about you, but that wouldn’t be my choice! I work hard, every day, to maintain a youthful appearance and keep my body fit, so I don’t want to negate that hard work with poor fashion choices.
So back to the fabric. We can look at this in two ways:
- The construction of the fabric itself
- The pattern (or lack of) in the fabric
To look slimmer, choose a fabric that drapes rather than one that is stiff. Remember that a flowing, drapey fabric is not the same as a clinging fabric. You don’t want to do that unless your figure is flawless, or you have some awesome shapewear!
Fabrics constructed from natural fibers will flow well and compliment your curves.
Here are some fabrics to consider, for an overall slimmer appearance: cotton, denim, wool gabardine, jersey, cashmere, fine cotton, or a fabric with just a touch of spandex.
I love the micro modal fabric collection from CoveredPerfectly.com. It’s soft and drapes so nicely, but never clings. If you haven’t checked this collection out yet, be sure to take a look. Styles are specifically created for our midlife figures, to camouflage those areas of our bodies that have changed as we age.
Wearing black (my favorite!) and navy blue will always be your friend when it comes to looking slimmer. If that’s not your thing, consider shades of brown or gray. And, gray is a good choice for tops or jackets, as it doesn’t draw attention to fine lines, wrinkles or under-eye circles as black can sometimes do.
Fabric patterns, or the absence of them, can make us look fabulous or frumpy. Most of us should avoid large prints at this stage of our life. If you just have to have that bright floral print top, make sure it fits really well and consider including a solid color jacket or open sweater to tone down the look.
It’s best to keep the patterns on the top half and solids on the bottom half, too, at this stage of our life, unless you have a great figure and shapely legs. Just sayin’
I’m an average size person, not overweight, kind of curvy in the hips. For me, a dark, solid fabric in the slacks (or jeans) is always the foundation for success when putting my outfit together. If I’m going to wear a pattern, it will be on the top half only, and many times the top is a solid color, too. That’s my signature style.
The flow of an outfit as a woman over 50, or really at any age, is how pulled together it looks. Now, my definition of ‘pulled together’ doesn’t mean ultra-expensive, or trendy, or formal.
Cost, funkiness, or formality don’t factor into my equation at all.
By ‘flow’ I mean:
- The combination of colors and/or patterns
- The layers we may be wearing
- The neatness of our appearance (hair, clothes, shoes, purse, accessories)
- The image we present to the world from the front, side and rear
It doesn’t take a lot of time to give a twirl in front of the mirror, then grab a hand mirror and give the back side (head to toe) a quick once-over. In fact, if you ignore everything else in this post, remember this paragraph. Always check the rear view, girls.
You might be wearing blue jeans, tucked in t-shirt, sandals, simple jewelry and carry a small purse. If the weather is cool, you’re also wearing a long, flowing cardigan. Nothing fancy here.
But there should still be a F-L-O-W to your outfit, with everything neat and well fitted (remember your perfect fit?), jeans at ankle length, sweater not too baggy, sandals in good working order, and the hair has been checked from all angles. You are put together. You flow.
The finish is putting together everything that we’ve discussed, Fit, Feel, Fabric and Flow, to style yourself as fashionably, or casually put together as you wish. There are no rules in my world as to what you must wear or shouldn’t wear as a woman over 50.
What is important, though, is how you see yourself from the inside out. That perception will ultimately be reflected in your style choices and the care you take in selecting your wardrobe, in evaluating the fit and feel of your outfit, and the confidence to wear it proudly.
Candi Randolph is a woman in midlife who writes about the experiences that women have as they go through this unique phase of their life, with topics like natural aging, healthy eating, fitness, casual fashion, home, and family. She lives daily by faith and a strong cup of coffee.
Visit Candi here: