Should You Dress Your Age?

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  • By Lois Joy Johnson

    As beauty and fashion director of “More” magazine for over a decade, I told readers "age was just a number," "age is an attitude" and "the concept of age appropriate is finally dead." Millions of grownup women (me included) took those words to heart and rallied to the fashion frontlines wearing whatever was new and runway worthy. Today it's not unusual to see women in their 50s, 60s or even 70s sashaying around in leggings and layers, capri pants and glittery ballet flats. But life and fashion are cyclical. So guess what's back? Vampires (including my all-time favorite. Barnabas Collins of “Dark Shadows”), eating chocolate (this time for health benefits) and, yup, the idea of "age appropriate." Let's not have a collective fashion panic attack. You can still wear whatever you want. But if you want to look contemporary, feel confident and fit into a world increasingly obsessed with style (check out our First Lady or any female TV anchor ) you've got to stay fluid. "Age appropriate" has a new look and a new meaning. Five changes can get you going:
  • Buy The Right Jeans: Slim Ankle-Cropped Or Relaxed Boyfriends Bootcuts and flares do not make you look thinner- they just force you to wear higher heels to balance the extra length and width. Low-rise jeans make muffin tops, not a sexier life, so get those out of your brain. And say no to super-skinnies with heels too-you are not a porn star. Pass up ripped, torn jeans either unless they are your favorite Levis and you have worn them for twenty years. Buy narrow cropped jeans and a pair of "boyfriends" with rolled cuffs and wear them with all your flats- ballet, loafers, boat shoes, flat cropped boots, and j sandals. You will look chic and cool. Insist on a medium rise of about eight and 1/2 to nine inches and some stretch. Paige Premium Denim Troy Santa Cruz Rolled Skinny Boyfriend Jeans ($189, neimanmarcus.com) Click through for a great slim jean.
  • Fast Slim-Down



    Gap 1969 Always Skinny Jeans ($69.95, gap.com)
  • Get New Undies Skip the big granny panties, but no more thongs either! I've always had suspicions about the ick (hygiene) factor of g-strings and itty-bitty thongs. Apparently lots of you felt the same way and are finally owning up to how uncomfortable these contraptions are. It's time to get out of the groove and into seamless microfiber boyshorts with laser-cut non-binding edges--in bra-matching black and nude, of course. These boyshorts (sometimes called girlshorts too) look fresh, modern and sexy in a good way and won't show under your clothes. Your tush will thank you. Calvin Klein Underwear Hipster- Invisibles # D3429 ($12, bloomingdales.com). Click through for another possibility:
  • Best Colors



    Commando Microfiber Boyshorts style # BS01 ($28, barenecessities.com)
  • Keep A Knee-ish Hemline Ditch the mini, toss the midi, and trash the maxi. No one needs to see your thighs except your trainer, gyno, partner/ husband/ lover, spray tanner, waxing lady or masseuse. Hover hems an inch or two above the knees or top of the knee bone and add a tapered toe shoe to lengthen the legs. J. Crew's pencil skirts, in a chic, practical length, seem to work for every woman I know and come in florals, sequins, tweeds and solids. Anything longer looks frumpy, dowdy, and makes you look shorter and wider...no matter how trendy. J. Crew garden floral No. 2 pencil ($138, jcrew.com). If you prefer tweed, click through for the perfect choice:
  • Perfect Pink



    J. Crew neon tweed pencil skirt ($128, jcrew.com)
  • Show Only The Good Stuff Everyone over 50 looks better when they don't reveal cleavage crack, chesty sun damage and droopy skin. That's why draped necklines with elbow or 3/4 bracelet sleeves are our best friends. Bare your body where skin has some bone like the neck, collarbones, upper chest, and forearms. Eddie Bauer 3/4 Sleeve Drape Neck T-shirt ($39.95, eddiebauer.com). If you prefer a cowl neck, click through for a fabulous summery choice:
  • Try Some Stripes



    Calvin Klein Jeans 3/4 sleeve cowl neck striped tee ($39.50, amazon.com)
  • Get Into New Low-Cost Brands Stop relying on fancy logos, status labels and pricey designer clothes, even those that are marked down. Once upon a time wearing our bank account or salary on our sleeve was a good thing. Now it just looks pretentious and unstylish to be so brand-obvious. If you want to stay fashionable, get into moderate to low-cost stores and their websites. Then mix it all up (and, yeah, it's OK to include some of your own vintage luxury pieces) and keep them guessing. You can find classic items with updated details as well als fresh ideas at Zara, Uniqlo, C.Wonder, H& M, Joe Fresh and American Apparel. Just ignore the twenty-somethings and wear earplugs when necessary. Joe Fresh denim tunic ($39, joefresh.com)
  • Check Out A Spring Coat



    Zara pink crewneck coat ($99.90, zara.com)
  • Bag A Great Basic Tote This tote works with every color and won't show stains, either. C.Wonder Carry-All Tote ($78, cwonder.com)

    About The Author

    Lois Joy Johnson is a beauty and fashion blogger. Her latest book is "The Makeup Wakeup," available on amazon.com.