From romantic ruffles to bold-printed plaids, this fall you can expect to see contemporary style with retro roots dominating retail stores. While you're certainly never too old for fashion, striking that balance of trendy and age-appropriate while still showing off your sense of style requires thoughtful planning. While younger women can fully embrace many of-the-moment trends, older women may opt for a subtler statement with a less-is-more mentality. Classic Looks Whether you're 26 or 66, women can embrace the tailored styles and classic shapes dominating the fashion scene this fall. Form-fitting pencil skirts and shift dresses are replacing the oversized and layered looks of recent seasons, said Casey Clark, owner of Poor Little Rich Girl in Decatur, Ala."A pencil skirt is a great way to look classic but updated," Clark said. Pair it with a menswear style shirt, a skinny belt and statement earrings to complete the look. While dresses are still popular this season, the key to keeping the look modern is an above-the-knee hemline. Those in their 20s can pull off a slightly shorter length, but for the 30-and-older crowd it's best to keep it right above the knee cap. Toss on a bold belt and a wear-everywhere scarf to launch last season's dress into colder weather.
Other timeless pieces that work well for both young and old are making a comeback. Trench coats, blazers and the classic pea coat are the "it" pieces for outwear as the weather cools down. Clark said she is seeing more hip-length coats and jackets as opposed to the shorter bolero style that has been popular in recent seasons. For those who appreciate the classic cut of a blazer but want a more youthful touch, look for military-inspired outerwear. The shape is made more contemporary with broader shoulder, embellished hardware and exposed zippers. Vintage Style This season will prove that everything old is indeed new again as antique jewelry makes a modernday comeback. From beaded bib necklaces to aged patina earrings, Clark said vintage-inspired pieces are everywhere, replacing the recent plastic trend. The chunky necklaces and bold charms pair well with a simple, white collar blouse for a classy, more mature look, said Natasha Jones of Frankie's on Fourth Avenue Southeast. Pair these pieces with a plain cotton T-shirt for a more casual, youthful touch. "Just by purchasing a few new accessories you can give new life to the clothes that you already have," Jones said. Following the vintage vibe, the Victorian era is carried through tops and dresses embellished with ruffles and velvet, while sheer, flowing fabrics give blouses a romantic feel.
"This season's fashion has a woman's touch," Jones said. Ruffle tops are versatile and can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. They look great with dark-wash denim jeans for a casual look, and also pair well with dressy pants for special occasions, Jones said. This old-time, feminine style works for all ages, Ralson pointed out, and one of her most popular fall items has been a knee-length knit dress complete with necktoknee ruffles. Bold Statements For those who want to make a major style statement, plenty of bold accessories and patterns are available. Leggings aren't going away anytime soon. But instead of usual understated black or brown, try a bright color or animal print this year. Wear belts with everything this season, from dresses and skirts to jeans and trousers, for a modern look. This year buyers are seeing more skinny styles as opposed to the wider width. Plaid patterns are also popping up everywhere this fall. "A loose and comfy plaid blouse worn over a white Tshirt and a great pair of jeans or leggings is a look for all ages," Jones said. Younger women can get away with blending several trends at once. Jones suggests wearing a bright-colored plaid tunic with black leggings, and accessorize with a belt cinched at the natural waist, funky earrings and ballerina flats.
For middle-age women who want to be fashionable but not go overboard with the trends, Jones suggests incorporating the popular patterns and styles with accessories.
She suggests trying a fitted plaid jacket embellished with novelty details, such as ruffle trim, over a white blouse and dark denim jeans. Then accessorize with chunky jewelry and boots.
Accessories Are Key
The key is being willing to try new things and balancing the line between too much and not enough.
"A wise woman once told us that the older a woman gets the more she should accessorize," Jones said.
"Wear pants and tops that are comfortable and fit your body, but jazz it up with fun accessories.
"And remember, fashion trends don't look good on everyone, so wear what makes you feel good about you."