When I met with fashion expert, Melanie Payge, to film our fashion for older women video series, I was amazed by the number of simple, yet powerful, tips that she was able to provide. From not wearing a white bra with a white top to the importance of tailoring, Melanie was an amazing source of practical information and advice.

Fashion for Older Women Really is Different

Throughout the course of filming our interviews, I found myself constantly ready to disagree with Melanie on a particular point, only to change my mind once I saw her examples up close and personal. This was definitely the case when it came to Melanie’s advice about belts.

So, what is the number one mistake that most women make with belts? The mistake most of us make is using them to hold badly tailored clothes in place rather than viewing them as accessories.

Why You Don’t Need a Belt to Make Your Clothes Fit

A couple of generations ago, belts served an important practical purpose; they helped to keep out clothes in place. Now, with modern cuts and easy access to cost-effective tailoring, there is little need to see our belts as anything more than fashion accessories.

In other words, if you are using belts to hold your favorite pants in place, you probably need to have them tailored instead. The same goes for shirts, which should be fitted perfectly to your body. Using a belt to “highlight your waist” will more than likely draw attention to your least flattering features. Trust me ladies, tailors are your best friends.

Fashion for Older Women - Belt Problems

“Now, wait a minute.” I can hear you saying. “Tailoring is SO expensive. Not all of us are made of money you know.” Fair point. It’s true that tailoring has a cost associated with it. It should! When I visited Milan with Melanie, I saw just how hard the tailors at Atelier Sangalli work. They deserve to be paid for their skills. But, is tailoring really expensive?

Tailoring is Actually a Great Value

Depending on where you live, and how much alteration you need, tailoring a pair of pants might cost $20 – $50. But, how much did your belts cost? More importantly, wouldn’t you rather have a couple of pairs of pants that fit perfectly rather than many pairs that fit so badly that they require a belt?

Before going to Milan, I was a big fan of leggings. Now, I see that a pair of well-tailored pants can be your best friend. Not only do they present you in the best possible light, but, they make you feel like a million bucks.

Belts can make an attractive statement and are an important part of your wardrobe. But, if you want to follow the rules of technical dressing, don’t use them to hold your clothes in place. Tailoring can accomplish this much more effectively, freeing you up to choose accessories that make your look rather than shape your look.

Do you love belts? How much does tailoring costs where you live? Do you have any questions for Melanie about fashion for older women? Please add them in the comments below.

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