Age-Appropriate Fashion: Because Yes, You Can Be “Too Old” to Wear Something

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Can a woman ever be too old to wear something?

Sigh.

Usually, I’m a “who says you can’t?” gal, urging ladies to stand up against commony held fashion beliefs. White after Labor Day?  Who says we can’t? A patent leather purse with patent leather shoes? Who says we can’t?  However, my 38-year-old self has one exception when it comes to certain fashions: Age.

Sorry, but there’s a point when a woman is “too old” to wear certain styles. Something about a woman over a certain age wearing a cat-ear headband that renders her credibility as a paralegal, well, not so credible. The fix? Age-appropriate clothing.

By this I don’t mean creating a tweed-n-turtleneck-only wardrobe immediately following our 35th birthday. By all means, we should flaunt our figures (and hair, and nails. . . ) while staying on-trend, age be damned.  Well, within reason.  What I’m talking about are ladies in their mid 30s or older who:

  1. regularly sport graphic tees with images of a giant M&M, Smurfette or retro Chuck Woolery face
  2. wear sweatpants with suggestive wording sprawled across their rears (good at no age)
  3. think images of kitty cats (cartoon or actual) on sweaters, totes and scarves are rockin’
  4. insist on trying on clothes as they groove to beat of One Direction in the Junior Section
  5. routinely wear an off-the-shoulder, mega-high slit dress (think: Jennifer Lopez at the Grammy Awards)

What to do then, when the the urge to go too tight or cutesy knocks at our closet door?  Go with it, just tone it down a notch (or three).  Here’s how we can show off our playful side while still looking sassy and classy:

Age-Appropriate, Stylish Looks

The Not-Too-Little LBD

“Little” doesn’t have to mean teeny.  Even if we can knock ‘em dead in tight clothes, some serious hoochie and unprofessional vibes get in the way of being taken seriously.  Wear the LBD, but don’t look like 50 going on 20 with these sexy, stylish numbers.

Using Our Head

Trade the ear/face panda hat or tough skater girl cap for these head-turning toppers.  They’re fashionable and still fun, and no one will think we lost our Mommy at the zoo when we wear them.

Say No to Getting High

Sigh.  I love heels (who knew?), so this is hard to say.  Really hard.  But too high is too high.  Heels are still OK, but pass on the ridiculously sky-high ones that have the potential to put our image and our ankles on shaky ground.

That’s Pretty Graphic

Skip the Kool-Aid Man graphic, crude wording and sloppy top designs and opt for toned-down patterns.  Wear abstract styles or other fun looks that turn heads for all the right reasons.

Be Kind to Animals

Puppies and kittens are adorable, I don’t care how old you are.  But declaring your fondness with a feline-embroidered knapsack (at work) takes us from cute to kitschy (bad kinda kitschy) in a heartbeat.  Goodbye, Hello Kitty.  Embrace that animal instinct with subtly.  It’s the Year of the Snake, so why not pay homage to phyton-esque textures?

Pretty in Punk (ish)

Ditch the spikes and bad-ass edge.  We’re grown, not Goth.  Trade it for something that maintains an air of fierceness without looking like tough gal Abby on NCIS.

See more tips on being fashionable after 60.

  • I’ll wear what I want thanks

    Maybe if designers weren’t trying to dress 20 somethings like they’re either having an extended adolescence or a porn star we wouldn’t have the problem of shops stocked with clothes inpropriate for any woman at any age who wants to be seen as credible. Maybe if older women dressed more innapropriately people might wake up to the fact appealing fashion choices are severley limited once you remove sexy and cutesy from the equation. Now pass me my graphic T from the children’s section and my leather hotpants, I have some youngins to go annoy.

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