If I had a dollar for every time a women over 45 said they feel there is a huge gap in the market regarding clothing for their age group, I’d be quite rich. I’ve been in the business of personal styling for over 10 years now and have talked to hundreds of women about this issue. Women say they don’t want to look like ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ but also don’t want to dress too ‘fuddy duddy’.
So firstly know you are not alone. It’s interesting how young people shops seems very young – loud music, young sales assistants etc and likewise the older style shops can seem to have shapeless items being sold by much older women.
I’m here to tell you that you can shop in BOTH. This is in fact the key to the problem. It’s not about the market these stores aim at, it’s about understanding YOUR OWN style, body and colours, then adapting it to your age.
Heading into a perceived younger store yes, let’s be honest 80% of the items in the shop are not age appropriate for the 45+ women. But don’t dismiss that shop. Because trust me, there will be clothing gems that will look fabulous on you. It could be a modern cardigan with the latest stripes – this is something that defies age boundaries. There could be a pair of patterned trousers that fit you like a glove which you can team with a classic style top and a chunky necklace.
Learn to dabble in all shops – if you can stand the loud music that is! Likewise heading into the older styled ranges, the 80/20 rule applies. I take client’s into both to prove that you can’t label shops anymore. You will narrow your options too much if you just stick to a few places that you think are aimed at your age group.
It’s also a sad fact that very expensive and designer shops are not always a safe option. I see many wonderful women in the Moxie age bracket who have time and money to spend on clothing getting talked into expensive and unflattering pieces. Apply the rule of a great colour, great style for your body shape and excellent fit across all clothing stores and you can make much wiser decisions.
It is never too late to find out about styles and colours that suit you and give you a burst of confidence, which I find can also start to deteriorate. Women’s bodies change so much over their lifetime, what suited you 5-10 years ago, often now doesn’t due to your shape, age, taste and lifestyle.
Colours are a good place to start. So many women whose colours I do say, ‘I used to wear that colour when I was younger’. But while your topical skin does change, the undertone doesn’t and the happiness I get from putting people BACK into the colours they loved and enjoyed and seeing the compliments flow is priceless.
Mixing classic cuts with bits and bobs from mainstream stores can modernise any looks. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Look at what you have and find inexpensive ways to give it a lift. If chunkier jewellery is in and you only wear fine pieces, buy a cheap and cheerful piece in a colour you love to experiment with. Mix those tailored classics with other pieces that are on trend. Update your hair or sunglasses.
The moral of the story is, don’t stay static with your style as things have moved on. This isn’t about trying to look younger. It is about being the very best you can be for your age, body shape, size and lifestyle RIGHT NOW. Look to others for inspiration, but follow your own style path. What suits others many not be right for you. Take an interest in trends that you like and adapt them to suit you. Stay colourful and confident and enjoy this new found freedom of shopping in all shops, but knowing what is right for you.
Trudi Bennett has successfully owned & run her personal styling business www.wardrobeflair.com for over 10 years in the Wellington region, and opened her Auckland offices two years ago.
She has a wealth of experience dressing everyday men and women, every size, shape and profession. Trudi is passionate about being able to give practical, down-to-earth advice to help people feel as confident as possible.
Her focus has always been to give people the tools to make wise, logical styling and shopping decisions, based on their body, budget and lifestyle.
Trudi is a motivational speaker at workshops, seminars & conferences all around NZ sharing her personal styling hints and tips in a humorous and engaging way.
She is a fashion blogger for numerous online sites and has previously dabbled in TV for Good Morning. Trudi is currently the Fashion and Style guru for CoastFM radio and is part of the Fashion Collection Styling team for Westfield NZ.
She is most proud of her work when she knows her clients’ realise anyone of any shape, size or profession can look and feel fantastic.
When she’s not styling, shopping, speaking or blogging Trudi enjoys exploring the outdoors of Auckland with her husband and 2 children, she loves to cook and tries at all times to laugh very loudly with family and friends.