Fashion after Fifty: Dressing with style

By Bonnie Bing | June 1, 2021

You know it’s a new season by the number of catalogs clogging your mailbox. Three arrived the other day, and while it was fun to see spring clothes, nearly all of them were meant for a woman who is perfectly formed and between the ages of 18 and 30.

Trying to be positive, we should remember all the money we save on garments that don’t meet our requirements. Here are three maxims I stick to:

1.Sleeves. These arms don’t look like they used to. My brothers and I used to flap our mom’s arms and laugh. Well, the joke’s on me now.

2. Longer skirts. Hello maxi and matinee lengths, goodbye mini. Interesting what happens to knees, isn’t it? And shorts. Ugh. For many of us, that ship has sailed.

3.Flimsy fabrics are not our friend.

With age comes fewer fashion options. But that doesn’t mean we give up, or worse, dress like someone several decades younger. That in between look, which is the not too young and not too old, can be accomplished. We can still dress fashionably and take part in trends. 

Here are a few tips I’ve gathered writing about fashion for the past 35 years.

Think color. It’s easy to add the big color of the season to your wardrobe. If you’re not wild about the color — this year it’s classic blue according to the Pantone people — then simply add an accessory such as a scarf, jewelry or a handbag of that color.

Speaking of color, don’t be afraid to jazz up your look with some showy colors. Pick the ones you feel good in, and the ones you get compliments on.

 Want to know the colors everyone looks good in? It’s coral, shades of bright peach and a variety of saturated pink tones.

 Just for fun add red shoes to your wardrobe. I have a thing for red shoes and own several pairs. Even when you opt for an all-black outfit, those shoes add the necessary spark.

 Some things to remember:

Just because it comes in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it.

Too tight is not a good look regardless of age or size. 

Don’t think for a minute baggy clothes make you look smaller. It’s the opposite.

Fashion is cyclical, but that doesn’t mean you have to jump on every cycle. If you wore a hot trend the first time around — bell bottoms, for example — think twice (no make that three times) about wearing it again.

If you’ve sworn off shorts, try Capri pants or cropped pants.

Leggings are meant for yoga class. Unless you’re in the warrior pose, choose another pant.

Tunics are a good addition to spring wardrobes unless you’re extremely short.

 If your goal is to cover up your hips, that’s fine, but when you stand up make sure your long top or tunic isn’t hiked up in the back. Stretchy knits are the culprit here.

We’ve been wearing very casual clothes at home during this pandemic, but as we get out of the house more, we should dress appropriately, even if others don’t.

Go for spring perennials: polka dots, nautical stripes and florals. 

Take a good, honest look in a full-length mirror. Check the front view, side view and back view. 

If you look good and feel good, you’re set.

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