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Are You Dressing Too Old For Your Age?

By Doreen Dove February 15, 2016 Makeup and Fashion

I often use the phrase, “You have your whole life to look old.” Think about it. Dressing too old is just as bad as dressing too young. How then are you supposed to navigate the median strip when it comes to your style?

I am pretty sure if I asked you to name the top 6 mistakes women make when dressing too young, you could easily spit out a list as you closed your eyes and envisioned one of your most recent spottings.

Mine was at a recent graduation ceremony. My head was spinning as I was thinking almost out loud – quick give that mom a cap and a gown!

Here’s a quick too-young list to get your juices flowing:

  • Too much cleavage. Yes Mildred, there is a limit
  • Jeans with too low a rise, exposing even more cleavage
  • Wearing 6-inch heels with your boyfriend jeans at a backyard barbecue
  • Sporting a crop top, any kind of crop top
  • Thinking Victoria’s Secret is just the cat’s meow
  • Wearing a ponytail, since forever

However, in my line of work, I find that more women dress too old than too young, meaning that their wardrobe choices are better suited to someone one to two decades beyond where they are.

Often, my client and I will pull something out of her closet and our eyes roll as we envision her accessorizing the dress with a couch throw.

The reasons why these lovely ladies have spiraled down this path abound. The short list includes weight changes, foot issues, what they define as comfortable, a lack of time or an interest in keeping up with what is current, not budgeting for their wardrobe and even peer pressure – yes peer pressure still exists for women in their 60s!

Admittedly, many women lack the expertise to know where to shop and what to shop for. Even though women account for 85% of consumer purchases, approximately 40% of them hate to shop citing feelings of over-whelm and lack of self-confidence leading to dressing room depression.

Commonly heard as I stand in the shadow of a client’s closet is “I recognize my look is dated, but haven’t a clue where to begin.”

When it comes to fashion over 60, these mistakes will make you look older:

Everything You Wear is Black

Yeah, yeah, black has always been the wonder drug when it comes to looking slim and sophisticated. But hello Harriet, your skin color has changed!

As we age our skin tone tends to go pale, so you need to brighten yourself up a bit.

Wear black, but not close to you face. Add scarves, jewelry, colorful blouses and jackets for the perfect pale palette pickup.

You Are Draping

Hello! A few pounds do not necessitate a tent. No doubt there is still a body in there, but, if you are draping, you are actually making yourself look bigger than you are.

If you are draping to hide a fuller-on-the top or fuller-in-the-middle proportion you are only creating a more obvious imbalance, making you appear even larger on the top and smaller on the bottom.

What we are going for here is the hourglass silhouette so opt for something that follows your curves, not hides them.

You Haven’t Had a Bra Fitting in a Decade

Welcome to the majority! Eight out of ten women are wearing the wrong size bra. Seriously, would you walk around in the wrong size shoes? Talk about an easy fix to make you look both ten pounds and ten years younger, getting those girls locked and loaded!

Additional benefits of a well-fitted bra include better posture, a perkier younger looking chest, a classier look in your clothing, the appearance of a flatter and longer stomach and reduced back pain!

So get with the program and schedule a bra fitting.

Your Shoes Weigh More than You

Girlfriend, if you fall off the ferry and your cement shoes bring you to the bottom faster than lightning, you should reconsider your footwear.

Blah, blah for the love of the Dansko’s… get a grip, there are comfortable shoes out there that do not weigh 20 pounds. Your shoes, like your boobs, should not be the first things to enter the room!

As an exercise in perusing and exposing yourself to options, use the search bar on the site. Options include, size, width, style, occasion, color, brand, price, materials, insole, theme, pattern and accents… Phew, a hell of a lot easier than slogging through the Mall.

So be kind to your feet and your fashion sense and let your fingers do the walking!

You Have Had the Same Eyeglasses Since You Started Wearing Them

Chances are, when you purchased your first set of glasses, you weren’t exactly thrilled to be wearing spectacles so you probably opted for the least conspicuous pair. Glasses have come a long way baby. They are one of the most fashionable accessories you can use.

The current trends in eyewear have evolved to include an abundance of shapes, patterns and colors with frame materials including lightweight plastics, metals and titanium.

The possibilities in eyewear today are endless and are just as important a statement as your clothing and your jewelry and can highlight certain characteristics and personality traits.

Here is a bonus tip – if you are trying to conceal circles under the eyes, or wrinkles on the neck, statement glasses pull the focus all up so that people focus on your eyes first!

Your Answer to Everything is a Cardigan

If every combo becomes complete with a cardi, then you look the same in every outfit. It doesn’t really matter what you are wearing underneath, it is always the cardigan that enters the room first.

If you cannot break free from the cardi at least make it a statement piece.

However, I encourage you to consider adding a few stylish blazers and jackets to your wardrobe. And no, they don’t have to be lawyer looking blazers if you are not in an office setting.

Jackets can be a bit unstructured with soft fabrications, asymmetrical hemlines and even 3/4 sleeves. They can be brights, neutrals, textures, patterns and even mixed media with details like leather, fabulous stitching and buttons. They can pull together your neutral solids and make the outfit pop.

So we have the tip of the iceberg melting now. These are a few actionable ideas to get you going. These tips, and many, many more, are included my book “Confidence is Always in Style.”

And remember – you are pretty!

Do you find yourself slipping towards any of the fashion mistakes mentioned in this article? Do you disagree with any of these recommendations? Why? What do you think is the essence of fashion for women over 60? Please join the conversation.

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The Author

Doreen Dove is an award-winning expert in the field of Image Consulting who coaches women to use style as a tool to take strategic control of their image and fully engage in the possibilities of their future. In addition to her one-on-one work with individual clients, Doreen conducts workshops and seminars for corporate groups and speaks at conferences across the country. Visit Doreen at Her book, "Confidence is Always in Style", provides in depth expertise to help women identify and express their most authentic image with humor and clever insight. Get the book here:

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