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Older women & fashion – Being fashionable vs. stylish

As a stylist working with women over 40, I am often met with the questions such as “How comfortable are you with dressing in outfits that may blur the idea of what is considered age-appropriate? How do you decide that for yourself?”
Close up image of brown shirtdress and bag

Being in my 50’s, I have walked into stores that are pitched for the 20 something demographic and I have received looks from retail staff suggesting that I’m in the “wrong place”. Yet, I have a preference for t-shirts in some of these stores and these items don’t have an age limit right? I’ve learned to ignore these attitudes and purchase whatever I want, wherever I want.

However, if you are in a younger store, how do you decide if you should purchase a style that you find and like?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I comfortable wearing this piece? Both physically and mentally.
  2. Am I comfortable with the parts of my body that are showing? Length of skirt? Sleeve length? Neckline? Length of the top?
  3. Will the piece align with the style of the rest of my wardrobe?
  4. Am I interested in the piece because of the colour or print even though the style is very different to what I would normally wear and be comfortable in?
  5. Do I think others will judge me for wearing it?
  6. Do I care about being judged?

While I am all for trying new styles and trends – if you still want to proceed after considering all of the above things – then go for it! I don’t believe that your age should dictate whether you can be fashionable or stylish. It’s your clothing and it’s ultimately up to you and what you are comfortable with.

There is a difference between being fashionable and being stylish. Being fashionable means that you are always aware of new trends and variations in what is “in fashion”. Often, these trends are short lived and encompass styles that you won’t see again for a decade or more, e.g. tie dye, marble wash denim, double denim, and fluro colours.

Being stylish however, means that you coordinate and create outfits based on your own personal preferences and show a real understanding of what compliments your body shape. The clothes you wear are not always reflective of trends but rather are more classic pieces and colours. This distinction is often misunderstood.

So the next time you’re holding that piece in your hand – ask yourself those questions and proceed accordingly. The worst that can happen is that it will stay in your wardrobe and never see the light of day or you’ll wear it and you’ll get negative reactions. Brush it off as a lesson learned. If in doubt, get a second opinion and ask a trusted friend.

Remember you’re not dead yet – so live a little! Take a risk…

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Head and shoulders photo of Rosalinda Panton

Hi, I'm Rosa

I provide a range of services to women over 40 based in Perth, who want to create a stylish wardrobe because let’s face it – the right outfit can work wonders for your self-confidence and we all want to feel great!

Get in touch and let’s uncover the right style for you.