I’m one of those people who like to know the reason behind any action or rule. This is true in my profession as well as in fashion. That’s why when I ran across an article titled “How to Dress After 40 and Still Look Hip,” I mostly ignored the advice.
As a 40+ woman, I worry about dressing wrong for my age. I don’t want to look like I’m trying to relive my teenage years, but at the same time, I feel young, and frankly, after losing 125 pounds, I want to wear fashionable clothes and show off my new body–something I never got to do as a young, overweight woman. So, if I wear something a little “too young” for my age, I’m not going to apologize, and yet, my insecurity screams at me to learn the “rules.”
Today I had the gumption to wear a flowered skirt that sits just above my knees (when sitting). This skirt has been in my closet for more than a year, and it’s taken me this long to finally wear it. In addition to wearing skirts above my knees with prints and bright colors, I’m wearing more dresses and tight pants.
Part of me worries about what my colleagues or my students think of these outfits, but another part of me couldn’t care less. The hard part is balancing these two parts of my brain. This morning, before feeling comfortable, I did seek feedback from my office mates. Because of one person’s comments, I removed the purple flower from my hair–it didn’t really match. It was also a little bit uncomfortable because it kept hitting my ear…so, I was grateful to have another excuse to take it off.
Despite breaking some of the over 40 rules, I did get some useful information. For example, one suggestion was to “try not to be too matchy matchy or too polished.” I like that. I usually try to match my clothes well–sometimes overdoing it in terms of “matchy matchy,” so getting out of my comfort zone in this way is freeing. Like Sylvia says, “It’s nice to mix things up and be a bit more playful.” I definitely aim for this, especially with warmer weather.
I think that fashion rules can be helpful, but at times, it can go a bit too far. For example, Jane was telling me about a site that directed its readers to never wear blue eye shadow. She blinked her blue-shadowed eye lids and smiled. I actually think the blue eye shadow looks good on her. It’s not too blue and she certainly doesn’t look like the classic 1970’s blue eyeshadow. Instead, it looks classy and brings out the color of her shirt.
Once again, I find myself thinking that guidelines can be useful, especially if you’re new to fashion. But all-in-all, Sylvia is right: “ask yourself these questions: Does it look good on me? Is the skirt length too aging or unflattering? Does it make me look too young? Trust your own instinct!” And then get someone you trust to give you feedback. If you like it, and you feel confident, go with it!