Halter-top dresses, lacy camisoles, miniskirts and low-rise jeans.
Fashion's shifting styles are often fun and flirty, but as these recent trends attest, they're also often the realm of young trend seekers, leaving older women wondering how to stay stylish in a fashion world that seems to covet youth.
Retailers admit that fashion trends often are aimed women in their teens and 20s, with their disposable incomes, willingness to make over their wardrobes each season, and lack of hesitation over baring skin.
"The fashion market in general is more tuned towards teens, 20s (and) 30s," said Julianne Cleaver, owner of Bella Jules in West Reading, Pa.
But that doesn't mean older women are doomed to flounder when seeking a stylish wardrobe, nor to remain in the world of "classic" styles.
"Just because they're older, that doesn't mean they can't have fun dressing," Cleaver said.
Sue Mutimer, assistant manager of the Carriage House in West Reading, Pa., agreed.
"I don't think because you have maturity, you need to look dowdy," she said.
It's perfectly possible to incorporate each season's trends into your wardrobe without compromising the age appropriateness of your outfits, retailers say.
The trick is to keep a few simple rules in mind. Most of the rules for stylish dressing through middle and older age are the same as those at any age: Wear clothes that fit and flatter. Don't overload on trends. Dress tastefully. "You can wear almost anything, as long as it fits you well," said Amanda Dietrich, public relations director at Doneckers in Ephrata, Pa. "You have to know your body." But there are differences between the styles older and younger women should adopt -- differences that primarily arise from their differing life stages.
Older women are more mature, physically and emotionally, than their younger counterparts.They are more established in life and their careers.And where younger women's styles are heavily dictated by changing trends, older women have an established sense of personal style and what works for them, Dietrich said.In other words, many women in their 30s and older don't want to dress like they did in their younger days."They don't want to look like they're trying too hard," Dietrich said.Or, as Cleaver put it, "They don't want to look like they're shopping in the juniors section." Body ImageOn the other hand, women out of their 20s may have concerns about body image that younger women don't share.To address both issues, older women should aim for a stylish andelegant look, rather than cute and sexy, said Cumru Township-basedwardrobe consultant Cindy Hess, who also is the owner of an agency thatsells Doncaster and lana clothing lines."She can look sexy, but it's a mature sexy," Hess said.Fashion experts recommend women follow the trends and then adaptthe ones that work best with their body type and personal style.There are a few hard-and-fast rules older women should follow, Hess said -- chiefly, not showing too much skin.
For examples drawn from recent trends, consider low-rise jeans,where older women can adapt the style by looking for a jean in aheavier fabric and the same trendy cut, but with a higher rise.For the season's full skirts and dresses, look for one with some structure and few ruffles.Layering is a good way to incorporate more flirtatious tops -- pair a camisole or sleeveless top with a fitted jacket or shrug.To flatter a mature figure, wear clothing in a structured fabric, rather than one that clings.Accessories -- jewelry, shoes, bags -- are a good way to make a basic outfit look trendy, Cleaver said. Consider ColorStick to one or two trends at a time -- good advice at any age -- and consider color when updating your wardrobe.And avoid a fashion rut -- finding a style that works for youand being unwilling to change it with the times -- a trap that manyolder women fall into, retailers said."You have to try things; you have to be willing to step out of the box," Dietrich said.Many clothes look differently on the body than they do on thehanger, Cleaver said, so it pays to try on new things, even if you'reconcerned they won't look good on you.And finally, take heart: While the fashion market may seemfocused on youth, there are signs that designers are beginning to looktoward older customers, Dietrich said, as they try to cash in on a babyboomer market increasingly moving into older age with bodies nurturedby exercise and good diet -- and their desire to stay stylishly intact."For so long, designers focused on a teen market," she said,citing stores such as Ambercrombie & Fitch and the Gap as examples."But now we're seeing ... that they're definitely focusing more on themature, missy customer."Source: Reading Eagle. Powered by Yellowbrix.