I just want to preface this piece by stating that I don’t really adhere to the idea of style dictates, especially those that apply to age.
The mere thought of being told to what to wear, especially when you’re more mature, and you’ve hopefully settled into your own style, is insulting.
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If you want to dress like a young Stevie Nicks when you’re 80 and wear dark green nail polish and blood red lipstick, I say more power to you.
Being well dressed, at any age, means wearing clothes that fit your lifestyle, your philosophy and your body shape. But I have learnt some style lessons along the way…
In your 20s
You look great. You look great without clothes, even if you don’t have a model figure.
You have perfect skin tone. If you have good legs, wear shorts 24/7. Show cleavage. Bare your upper arms. Don’t be hard on yourself.
Try every trend (even the dreaded playsuit). Wear the highest heels you can. Experiment with haircuts, styles and hair colours.
Don’t smother your beautiful complexion with foundation or fake tan or contouring powders.
You’ll look back on photos later and say “Why did I beat myself up? I looked awesome, no matter what I had on.”
In your 30s
Invest in one expensive, classic handbag that will never date, and that you love, not ten cheap ones that you don’t.
Decide which style of jeans suit your body shape, and stick with it.
Save up and buy a few pieces of quality jewellery rather than waste money on piles of tat.
For men, buy one beautiful black dinner suit, that is altered to fit perfectly (and please, get the hem length right). You probably should have done this in your twenties but it’s not negotiable now.
Own a very, very nice watch. And have a bow tie that isn’t clip on. And dress shoes that taper at the toe.
In your 40s
Have these items in your wardrobe…
A classic trench coat.
A butter-soft leather jacket.
A little black dress (or six).
A pantsuit or a tailored jacket that makes you feel pulled together at work.
Lingerie that matches.
Silk slips for bed (lose the cute pyjamas).
In your 50s
This is when clothes are not the make or break – the accessories are. Designer spectacles. A fantastic haircut. Jewellery. Scarves.
If you weren’t already dressing boho back in your 30s, now isn’t the time to start.
Being comfortable begins to be more of a priority but that doesn’t have to mean elastic waist pants and an untucked shirt.
What is more cool is to add sportswear elements to polished pieces – a blazer with soft track pants and a linen scarf, a boxy structured dress with trainers or sandals, a parka or bomber over tailored pants.
Mixing it up keeps you looking modern. The heels get lower, the jewellery gets more expensive. The makeup goes a little more minimal. But not for long.
Pile on the makeup as much as you want when you’re over 70 I always think.
In your 60s
See above … 60 is the new 50.
In your 70s and beyond
This is a time I am very much looking forward to.
I saw a photo of Jackie O recently (only in her 40s at the time I would suggest) and she had on a long black tiered cotton skirt, Greek sandals, dangly earrings, a low bun and a patterned Indian shawl. I thought: “Bingo. That’s what I’m going to do when I’m older.”
I then had lunch with a gent in his mid 70s. He was wearing white linen drawstring pants, Birkenstocks, a Nehru collared blue cotton shirt, a tailored navy jacket, a spotted silk neck scarf and very cool Moscot style tortoisehell sunglasses.
I thought: “Bingo. I will do that too.” Proof indeed that, without trying too hard, it is possible to get more stylish with age.