Fashion Advice: Am I too Old for My Style?

Dear Budget Fashionista,
I’m having a hard time nailing down my personal style.  I’m 26, have a 10-month-old, and am not sure if my style needs some updating.  I’m attracted to the whole urban style – jeans, T-shirts, junior-style clothing.  But should I try to be more sensible than that since I’m getting older?
Answer: Don’t stop shopping at your favorite stores- just shop differently. Age is only one very small part of your personal style. Personal style incorporates your lifestyle, your geographical location, your occupation, etc. As a relatively new mom, you may not want to dress like an Olsen twin, but you can, and SHOULD, continue to rock the urban trekker style.
You should practice what I call the B+T rule- which is pairing your trendy (yellow top) pieces with a basic piece (jeans). For example instead of wearing the tank alone, pair it with nice jean jacket. Pair that graphic tee and camoflauge pant with a nice black blazer. Instead of buying a pair of three inch short-shorts, purchase a pair of slightly longer 5 inch shorts.  Upgrade from Marc by Marc Jacobs to Marc Jacobs. Skip the skinny mini dresses and head straight for the cute swing jackets at stores like Forever 21.
P.S. 26 is not old!!
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Catherine Brock

As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine,, Refinery29, and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

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Yikes…I have the same problem but I am…let’s just say much more “mature” than 26.  Thanks, Kathryn, for your good advice.  Extremely helpful for maintaining personal style at any age!!

Yep….. I’m hanging by a thread to my 30 ‘s :). But I can definitely relate, and it also seems to me that there are a lot more wearable options in “younger” stores these days – I adore H&M, got a great wrap dress there a few weeks ago for $34.95, and today a pair of black pinstripe dress pants for $24.95, and a cute geometric brown/white/yellow tunic for under $15. I had not been shopping in months and also went to New York & Co – short-sleeved wrap tops for $17.50 (and of course all earrings 60% off…… so a cute pair of hoops:)). All that to say – those are prices I can live with, and just as important, the styles fit. I have also found stuff that I love and fits me well at Wet Seal, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21 – and I am 39. Now, ten years ago, at 29 (and at the same weight and size) – I could not fit in anything at these types of stores because most of it seemed made for 14-year old girls on the verge of anorexia.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Yep, Jeanine, I’ve noticed the same thing. I am older than you and still find some attractive, wearable items in Junior sizes. I snagged a wonderful little coat this winter, and a few tops, from Wet Seal. It’s just a matter of being choosy so you don’t look babyish. I don’t want that, but too many women my age dress in too matronly a style for me. I don’t want to be mistaken for my husband’s mom or older sis, as an acquaintance of mine frequently is, because of her “old” dowdy clothing and lacquered outdated hair. I don’t think it’s necessary or desirable that our clothing screams “over 40!” just so long as it doesn’t scream “tacky” or “childish”.

Oh my gosh ,,,I am fifty two years old and I just love teens fashon,, peoples look at me as if I have Lost my mine, I love my short skirts with the legges, I also loves my jeans with holes every where.Please your comments may help.

this is not a comment, i need abvice. i’m 53 years old woman 4’11 ft, 130 lb, little flab around the middle, i walk every day, i like loose fitting clothes, what is good for the summer?something that is not too young or too old.

Marta, I would try looking at jjill or Talbot’s.  They have a good petite selection, and often have sales.  Their clothes have a slightly more relaxed fit and nice fabrics.  Lots of natural fibers which are great for summer.

I’m 46, and love to mix in trendy +size Junior items with classics.  I especially like jewelry.  ITA with lynne saying you have to be choosy. 

And yes, 26 is so not old!

I just turned 35. My black silk camisole plus dark-wash Mossimo jeans from Target plus wedge heels plus a fitted black blazer makes me feel like a supermodel. In contrast, that same cami and jeans combined with my Converse Jack Purcells and my husband’s black hoodie that I just *swim* in, gets me carded every time!

More magazine is a great resource, even for those of us not yet 40.

Marcie, great advice with More magazine.  I agree that it’s a great resource – like you, I’m not in my 40s- 20s actually- but I picked it up off a coworkers desk a few weeks ago, and read it cover to cover!  I love the fact that it’s fashion-conscious, yet realistic.  Does anyone know if the June issue is out yet?

That is so funny that you asked this question. I am 42 and I am so worried about clothes and hair! I am 5’3’’ and have a petit frame. I love new clothes and the new styles but worry all of the time that I am dressing like IM 18. I do love NY and CO, Gap and Old Navy. I feel like I should be shopping in the More Mature section of some places. As for my hair. I would love to have a nice pony tail but worry that people will look at me like Im TRYING to be 18 again! What is one to do???????????

I’m a SAHM. There’s no need to look mature and business-like.  I want to look Cute!  Nothing tight or short – I want to be comfortable kneeling to pick up a toddler or a flowerpot.  Sometimes I check out size 16 in the girl’s department in Old Navy.  I’ve managed to get mother-daughter outfits for me and my 9 year-old at Old Navy.  I like H&M, Forever 21, Wet Seal and Rampage.  I like Joyce Leslie for trendy, cheap summer stuff.  (It just about lasts 90 days, anyway!)

Dear Budget Fashionista,
I am Getting married and I found Dresses that I love…….. when they saw them they loved them so they tryed them on they looked preafet on some of the girls but just OK on the others. I said i would sleep on it.It,s a week later and what ould i do??????????

I’m so glad you posted this question and I’m glad you answered TBF. As I am on the eve of turning 35 and have two children under 3, I’m starting to feel woefully out of step when it comes to fashion.

Things that were in style when I was in high school are coming back? (Am I looking retro or just out of date because of my age?) The “junior” clothes that used to appeal to me and that I used to wear seem too young now, and the more sophisticated styles seem too old. It seems the only clothes that seem to be appropiate is the ol’ Gap uniform of khakis and polo shirts. *sigh*

im 29 and i dont want to get rid of mini jean skirts,comment t-shirts and shell toes, i do have my days when i might wear somthing someone my age should wear but i hate to look like everybody else,and i like the urban/rock look
i love my addidas and skater shoes ,i can walk in heels but i like my sneakers

To Tammy age 42, my advice as a fellow early forty something, is not to worry about people thinking you’re trying to look 18.  The only way the could think that is if you’re dressing like an 18-year- old from head to toe. Not likely.

A Ponytail is a CLASSIC hairdo that works on women of any age.  The key is to sophisticate it up a little.  A clean ponytail at the nape of the neck with side swept bangs would look awesome, as would a sixties style pony tail with a slight bump at the crown.  Add some nice hair jewelry with tortoise shell, voila!

As for clothes, the most important thing to consider are the silhouettes that work best with your body type, your lifestyle and personality.  Unlike a lot of people I do not subscribe to the “age-appropriate” clap trap when it comes to dress.  Women of every age should avoid trampy, too tight attire, too many accessories, too much glitter, and wearing trends from head to toe.

That said, I think mini-skirts, babydolls, capris, camisoles, low-rise bootcuts, and skinny jeans and if you must, leggings are OK for women 30 and beyond.  It

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