Ageless Beauty

Fashionable older woman
Clothing and Fashion for Older Women
Every season, the fashion and garment industry trot out hundreds of "must have" looks for the months ahead. Some of these looks are trendy, some are classic with updated twists, and some are truly timeless, but with few exceptions, they are all designed with young, thin models in mind. Because of this, most women, as they get older, find that they face a diminishing selection of choices in clothing styles.
Many make the wrong choices of how to deal with this situation. They want to look young, and think that wearing the latest fashion trends will help them achieve that youthful look. While keeping your wardrobe current is important in helping you to look young, some women fall into the trap of wearing clothing that is entirely to "young" for them.
The British have an expression that I like: "Mutton dressed as lamb" which refers to someone older (usually a woman) dressed far too youthfully. The result, instead of making her appear more youthful, is that the woman emphasizes her age. Just imagine, say, Sharon Stone dressed the same as Brittany Spears or Jessica Simpson.
I had a friend in high school in the mid-80s whose mother was determined to look young. She bought acid-washed jeans and distressed t-shirt tops and wore her hair "big" with bold, blonde streaks. She and my friend, her daughter, dressed very much alike. I only wish now that I'd had the courage to tell her the truth when I had the chance.
The truth is in order to look young you do need to keep your wardrobe current. Fabrics, colors, patterns and shapes change from year to year and all serve to date the wardrobe and wearer alike. But keeping your wardrobe current doesn't mean you should go for the trendy or hip looks. Instead, you should look for classic styles and shapes that flatter your figure in the colors and fabrics that are up to date. As a woman ages, she must pay attention to these details. Remember, vintage clothing and retro styles are only for those young enough to have never worn them when they were new fashion.
That doesn't mean you can't still have fun with your fashion. Accessories like scarves and jewelry allow you to add a "retro" flair to a modern look without assuming the age of the original fashion. In fact, fun and playful accessories can dress-up dowdier designs, by giving you the image of a youthful attitude. Imagine wearing your "power suit" with a string of chunky beads, or outrageous earrings. Just remember not to overdo it there's a fine line between youthful spirit and desperately clinging to youth.
Another important thing to remember in dressing to look younger is fit. Whenever someone sees you in clothing that seems too small the first thought is that you are trying to wear something that no longer fits. The assumption is that you would never purposefully buy something ill-fitted. It must have fit when you bought it (meaning that you've had it long enough to grow out of it).
Even if they assume that you purchased the item for future wear intending to lose weight to fit into the garment you generate the idea that you've been struggling long enough to have 'given up' and wear the item anyway. The situation is equally problematic when ill-fitting refers to baggy clothing, which implies loss of weight, and sagging body shape. Whatever is assumed, weight and body maintenance are considered to be issues for aging women, and ill-fitted clothing leaves poor impressions and only serves to give the appearance of age.
There's one final aspect of how you dress that can add or remove as much as a decade from your appearance. Yet, most women never give it more than a passing thought. I'm referring to undergarments, specifically support, or foundation, garments. At least half of women today aren't wearing the right bra, and less than half are even aware that they could look years younger with the right body shaper. Most people know from grade school science and health classes that women have a layer of fat cells surrounding their bodies. This is natural and is largely responsible for giving them the softness and curves that men find so appealing. And a woman's breasts are made up of fat tissue surrounding the mammary glands.
However, as a woman ages, the fat cells of the body begin to shrink naturally. It's this shrinkage that results in the wrinkles and sagging that are the telltale signs of aging. The wrinkles will be discussed in another article, but it's the sagging we concern ourselves with here. Sometimes, it isn't age that causes the sagging. A friend of mine recently lost about 30 pounds due to illness (a hormonal imbalance had affected her metabolism and her ability to process proteins). She is fine now, but she was not overweight before getting sick and the results of her illness were disheartening for her. At 35, she found herself with shrunken and sagging breasts, a belly that looked like a deflated balloon, and the overall appearance of a body at least ten years older than she actually was.
None of her clothing fit anymore and she was forced to go and buy a whole new wardrobe. She asked me to come with her to advise her and make sure she got clothes that were right for her. After several hours of shopping and being disheartened with the way everything looked on her new shape, she was ready to give up. She had been happy to listen to me on virtually every suggestion but one - foundation garments. Before I let her throw in the towel, I demanded that she at least try my suggestion of new undergarments. She consented, and we were off to the lingerie store.
Once there, I walked her through the store and made suggestions. Still, she resisted, grabbing a few items that she thought she would like and heading for the dressing room. I waited patiently outside while she tried them on, listening to her groans of disgust. Finally, I'd had enough and headed back amid the shelves to do my own foraging. I returned with bras and foundation garments in two sizes, one just slightly smaller than she claimed to need. The foundation garment I chose was a lycra-blend body shaper that extended from just below the breasts to just above the knee, and I selected it to give her the needed support to firm up the sagging in her middle.
When she started to emerge from the dressing room, I took her selections and forced her to take mine. "Just TRY them." I urged. "You asked for my help, so it's the least you can do." The door closed, and the dressing room was quiet while she changed. After I passed the garments she had discarded to a salesperson, I heard her start to giggle. "I've got cleavage!" she said, and opened the door to reveal a plump décolletage, where only sagging breasts had been.
In the end, though, she still fought me on the body shaper, refusing even to try it on. She said she didn't want to have to wrestle with it all day. Even when I pointed out the different styles that were more corset-like and wouldn't interfere with calls of nature, she balked. I decided to take the small victory. She bought over $200 worth of the bras in different colors.
The point of telling you this is that good foundation garments can make a world of difference, and can make you look firmer and younger. They are the base upon which you build your look. They can define your figure and allow your clothes to show you at your best. At the very least they can give you confidence, and that makes you look all the younger.
Stacy - Stylist   ©
Photo: Asier Romero/Shutterstock
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