How to look good at 45
“When it comes to looking good, it’s not your size or shape that matters but the fit of your clothes” says the lovely Ilse Justus, who’s an image consultant from South Africa.
Style Tips for women over 45
And I agree. So many of us get into an image rut as we get older, and I know that if it wasn’t for my trendy daughter I would probably still be wearing 1960’s bell bottoms or similar! The downside about being in a style rut after the age of 45 is that it affects your confidence and you might be looking around at other people who seem to be doing so much better while feeling frustrated that you can’t quite get it together yourself.
So without further ado, lets get talking wardrobe tips and style tips for mature women who might be stuck in a rut and now want to look trendy.
Fashion for women over 45
“Every woman can be fabulous and attractive regardless of age, size or shape with a little effort. You stamp your own value on yourself: you are made great or mediocre by your own free will. Why not choose great?” says Ilse. “Every woman’s body is shaped differently but the thing that is true for everyone is that our clothes should and can give the illusion of a balanced body or a body that resembles a neat hour glass figure.”
Ilse kindly offered to contribute a guest post to Lifestyle Fifty, and I think you’re going to love her down to earth, easy to apply tips for looking good.
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Looking good at 45
In my business of analysing ladies’ wardrobes, making suggestions for an updated look and going shopping with them I’ve identified some trends amongst older women. The number one principle to remember is that women, irrespective of age, should have curves.
While fashion magazines may be full of waif-like models with fragile, stick thin limbs and bodies as flat as wash boards, women are actually designed to have curves. It’s natural, it’s feminine, it’s sexy – and most men say they prefer curvy women.
To give the illusion of a balanced body with a curvy hour glass figure you should try and make sure to do the following:-
- Keep shoulders and hips in line
- Have a defined bust – do make sure that you are wearing the correct size bra and if you need a push-up bra then acquire one
- Show off a waist, even with a softly curved tummy
- Flatter a curved bottom.
And ultimately, do not draw attention to figure challenges.
- For example, don’t wear a belt if you have a large tummy.
- Don’t allow tops to end at the broadest part of your hips if you have hips much larger than the breadth of your shoulders.
- Don’t wear large horizontal stripes if you are short and stocky.
Before you leave the house
Before stepping out of the house, look in the mirror and check to see whether you have done your figure justice. Heels often do the trick (even just a bit of a heel) as well as making sure shirt, pants and dress hemlines are ending at the right place to hide figure challenges or to make you look taller or slimmer. Visit VaVaVoom Image for tips on how to look slimmer in minutes
It does not matter what you wear but if you are not well groomed you could negate your entire look!
By good grooming I mean the bare essentials:
- Even skin-tone – if you need to (and most of us do as we get older) wear a BB cream or foundation
- Lipstick (even a nude one if you don’t like colour)
- Mascara – it will “wake you up” and frame your eyes
- Some blush if you are pale
- And don’t forget nourished hands and manicured nails.
General wardrobe trends
When working with older ladies, I most often deal with women who want to have an updated wardrobe but who are afraid of looking like “mutton dressed as lamb” and so they stay with the same styles of blouses/tops (often loose fitting) and often in the same boring neutral colours, especially white.
My advice from the outset for these ladies is that the only times you can resemble mutton dressed like lamb is when you, for example,
- Reveal too much flesh
- Wear too tight clothes
- Wear clothes that are clearly designed for teens – this is usually obvious by virtue of the cut, colour and texture of the clothing.
In addition, if you are wearing fitting trousers or jeans, opt for tops/blouses with a looser fit and if you are wearing a fitted blouse/shirt, opt for pants that aren’t too tight. For example, if you have a good figure, you could wear skinny jeans with a loose feminine blouse that covers the bottom. If you are wearing a fitted shirt, then boot leg, straight-leg or wide-leg pants work well.
I have also observed that women neglect their underwear, especially beyond the age of 50! In other words, they are wearing granny panties just because they have a grandchild. And as one client said, “my husband says that there’s so MUCH bra!” And then of course, the wrong underwear often also implies a visible pantyline or creases in the bust area under a sweater because of a bra that has too much lace/fabric.
Tips to freshen up your wardrobe
1. If you can, have yourself colour coded to ensure that you buy clothes (those that surround your face) in the correct tones.
2. Introduce colour to your blouses, tops and shirts. Experiment, especially if you are used to only wearing white, black, grey neutrals. Colour makes you look more awake!
3. Wear colourful scarves to complete your look and add an element of interest.
4. Ditch the cardigans sometimes and look for jackets that have some structure – even knits come with structure in the shoulder area. Structure always demands more respect and/or looks more glam and “together”.
5. Every wardrobe needs a trench coat and a fabulous long pair of boots in winter!
6. If you are overweight be careful of wearing shapeless tops and trousers. This just makes you look like a square box. Rather go for more tailored garments.
7. If you are tired of your wardrobe all together, look at investing in a quality basic capsule which you can build on to. All the clothes in the capsule must be able to mix and match with each other. A capsule consists of:
- 2 “overtops”. These can be jackets, long structured cardies. Every wardrobe needs at least one blazer!
- 3 “bottoms”. These can be jeans, trousers or skirts.
- 3 “tops”. These can be poloneck jerseys, blouses, shirts, even t-shirts in summer. Choose one in a neutral shade like white, two in solid colours or one in a solid colour and one in a print. It is not advisable to have too many prints because they do not mix and match well.
In winter, you would add a trench coat. It is important that all the “overtops” match the “bottoms” and that the “tops” also match everything else.
8. Keep pace with what is trendy every season – Read magazines that have fashion/style sections suitable for “older” women. Often just a small addition, can update your wardrobe season to season, e.g. by buying an item of clothing in the new colour trend or fabric trend. Opting for a basic capsule that has a CLASSIC style will give your wardrobe more longevity. It is also very important to opt for quality for your basic capsule. You can then have fun experimenting with less expensive “fashionable” updates into the future.
9. If your figure allows for it, ditch the regular waisted jeans/pants and opt for ones that aren’t any higher than a centimeter below your navel. There is nothing that screams “old-fashioned” than super high waisted regular cut jeans. They are also not flattering because they give you a “lot of behind!” Elasticated waist bands are also a no-no!
10. A little denim jacket! A denim jacket goes a long way to updating your smart/casual wardrobe by including a fun element. You can wear it with skirts, dresses or pants. At our age I just wouldn’t recommend wearing it with denim pants as this could be too much.
Updating your wardrobe is supposed to be fun and not daunting. I would recommend that you first and foremost analyse your basic capsule elements, update them where need be and then enjoy building your wardrobe to work for you over time, i.e. you must want to wear everything in it and feel good about yourself at the same time!
Ilse Justus is an independent image consultant, an accredited member of the Association of Professional Image Consultants of South Africa. You can find out more at Ilse Justus Colour and Style.
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