Fashion for Women Over 60 – How to Look Fabulous Without Trying to Look Younger
One of the biggest myths about women over 60 is that we are no longer interested in looking stylish. There is a big misconception in our culture that women over 60 are invisible, frumpy, and uninterested in sensuality and beauty – that we’re all matronly and sexless and no longer part of the world of fashion, art and creative life force.
And yet, so many of the most fashionable people I know are women over 60! Women over 60 are often more fashionable than we used to be when we were younger, because we have better self-confidence and a stronger sense of self – we know how to dress for who we are.
When it comes to fashion for women over 60 here are a few things to consider:
Embrace Your Age
There is a popular TV show in America (based on a British show of the same name) called “What Not To Wear” which is hosted by fashion experts who each episode do a makeover of a person who is making horrible choices about their personal style and wardrobe. One of the interesting truths from this show, which occurs often in the participants, especially women, is that many women try to dress “younger” than they actually are – but this is a mistake. When people try to dress in styles that would be more appropriate for someone much younger, they paradoxically make themselves look much older. If you are wearing short skirts or high heels or gaudy fashions that might work on a woman half your age, chances are you are making yourself look “older” (in a bad way) than you actually are. If you “dress age appropriately,” it often has the effect of making you look younger – because people are not distracted by age-inappropriate clothing, and instead can appreciate what great shape you’re in, or how healthy your skin is, or what a stylish haircut you have.
Go For Classic Looks
One of the advantages of being women over 60 is that “we’ve seen it all” – we’ve been through every kind of fashion fad and short-lived trend imaginable during our lives. Now that we’re in our 60s (and beyond), we have the simple elegance and freedom that comes from being able to choose the classic styles that truly endure and work for us at any age. Don’t feel like you have to succumb to the latest fashion trend. If something looks silly to you, feel free to say so. There are many ways to convey style and health and status other than clothes – and sometimes you will exude more confidence and class if your clothing choices are more conservative and “classic.”
Dress the Part
There’s an old saying in the career world, “dress for the job you want.” This means that in the workplace, it helps to dress in a way that commands respect and conveys credibility, so that you will be a natural choice for promotion. But choosing classic styles doesn’t mean you only have to dress conservatively. As far as fashion for women over 60, there is a related idea: dress for the role in life that you want to have. Do you consider yourself an adventurous spirit? Do you love to travel? Choose accessories or complementary pieces from other cultures in countries you’ve visited. If you love outdoor sports and activities, find a way for your wardrobe to reflect these interests – it doesn’t mean your fashion choices have to be “all sports, all the time,” but it’s possible to dress “sporty” while still being stylish.
Look to Icons of Style
One of the great things about being women over 60 today is that we have more fashion role models than ever before. Women over 60 are still too often marginalized and made invisible by the media and by our culture, but there are some prominent women over 60 who are fashion icons. For example, Lauren Bacall (age 88) starred in movies as a younger woman alongside Humphrey Bogart, and she looks beautiful and fashionable, even at an age that most people think is identified only as a time of decline. Tina Turner is a style icon for a generation, and she still looks healthy and beautiful and fashionable at age 73 (in fact, Tina Turner recently got remarried – to a 57-year-old man).
Women over 60 are reinventing the world in many ways. We are often embarking on new careers (either in retirement or semi-retirement), we are caring for family members, we are creating new concepts of what it means to be “older adults.” Part of this reinvention relates to fashion. After all, fashion is a process of constant reinvention – finding ideas that work, recombining them in new ways, updating a classic style with modern touches. Perhaps soon the fashion industry will start to cater more to women over 60 – after all, fashion is not just for 22-year-old models on fashion show runways. And women over 60 tend to have more disposable income than young people. Does this sound like a business opportunity to anyone?
What is your definition of fashion for women over 60? Who is the most fashionable woman you know – whether it’s a celebrity or friend – and what do you like about her sense of style? Please comment below or join the conversation in the Fashion section of the Sixty and Me Forum.
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Style and Fashion for Older Women – Interview with Judith Boyd
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