I was blessed with a mother who could take a scarf and a couple of cheap bangles and turn an inexpensive outfit into a fashion statement. It was a knack she acquired by watching her aunties; women from the 1920s! It’s a knack that has been handed down. We are all women who love our accessories.
But, we all reach an age at which we can no longer just throw on a piece of jewellery or scarf to get the stunning look we’re after. It takes planning and coordination to achieve the “Less is More” look we now require.
It’s easy to find advice on styles, colours, fabrics and textures that work for your new body shape, and will help you create your own personal fashion statement. Unfortunately, there is little advice to help you get the most out of your accessories; many of the necklaces, bangles and earrings that we see now are designed for a younger face, a more youthful chin and neck.
Wear necklaces that fall to the collar bone or lower. The chokers that looked so fabulous in your 20s now draw unwanted attention to the jaw line. A longer necklace will draw the eye down and make you look longer and leaner.
If you are afflicted with a neck that now has the dreaded chicken-skin look, wear your hair so it hits just below the chin; this will bring the eyes up and away from the neck area. Also, good make-up application will brighten your face and draw the eye up.
Got jowls? Wear gorgeous earrings to draw attention to the ears and pull the eyes up and away from the jowls. Large pearls surrounded by some diamonds (real or fake), look wonderful with almost anything. Stay away from drop earrings. They finish at the level of your jowls, and make your chin look droopier.
Add some bling! Pearls are always a great choice, because you can wear them with anything. Not having pierced ears, I find most clip-on earrings are large and round and often full of bling. Just what you want! Bring the eye up to the face.
Jazz up your arms with colourful bangles or bracelets. Bangles are great fun and are available in so many colours and sizes. Wear several at once, even with your watch. The look is very youthful! Think Iris Apfel.
Bangles especially are very youthful and work with anything from formal wear to a pair of jeans.
Invest in watches. Different sizes, shapes, colours and styles; unless you’re loaded, you can buy inexpensive watches and ring the changes.
Something new and with bling, or something just new, is often more youthful than wearing family heirlooms. Yes, they are lovely, but in some instances, they may belong in a safe or a drawer until you’re old enough to wear them – around 90 perhaps? Unless you are in love with them and they “work,” set them aside for now.
Sometimes, antique jewellery, and especially Victorian, is too fine in appearance for strong women of a certain age!
Brooches are one of my personal favourites; especially some of the late Victorian brooches with teensy seed pearls and garnets. Don’t forget some of the wonderful paste brooches from the 50s; if you have some that are original, wear them. Brooches are another of those items that can turn something a little ho-hum into a style statement!
If you don’t have any, get some colourful scarves – there are so many ways to wear them! They are elegant and stylish, and a casual scarf can even dress up a t-shirt with jeans! By the way, for that true Parisian chic, tie your cardigan around your neck and not around your waist! Very casual, very scarf-like and it looks great with a t-shirt and jeans.
Silk and cashmere scarves are luxurious and a good buy. They will make any coat or shirt look more expensive and will last for years because they are classics; especially in the right colour.
You can use scarves as jewellery. Bright, happy, jewel-like colours in the neck of a coat or jacket or shirt will add to the look and hide a neck or jowls. The Edwardians had the right idea with all those wonderful high collars.
Belts are another important accessory and only you can decide the type of belt you should be wearing; if any. Don’t forget, belts are very much a part of deciding what to wear for your new body shape.
Chain belts can look terrific on most body shapes when worn low under a jacket. Pull the part of the belt that hooks into the chain to the right or left of your belly button so it is slightly off-centre. This creates a greater illusion of length and slimness. Please don’t wear a belt around your hips unless you are very slim.
They seem to be out of fashion now, but that shouldn’t worry us. Wear gloves to introduce colour. Wear them to keep your hands warm and wear them because they can turn the mundane into something smart and chic.
There are so many gloves available that you can have fun finding something that takes your fancy: fabric gloves trimmed with fake fur or gloves with Lurex or striped gloves or leather gloves.
It is better to wear fabric gloves than cheap leather gloves. Like everything else, you pay for quality and good quality gloves can make a huge difference to your overall appearance and will last for years. The colours that are available are mouth-watering.
The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to accessorise! Think bling and colour, but keep in mind, at a certain age, less is definitely more.
What are your thoughts? What are your favourite accessories? Do you wear gloves? Do you love bling? How about bangles? Those Indian bangles all the way up your arm still look great! What do you think are the keys to style for women over 60? Share with us, please.