Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Is Your Wardrobe Making You Look Old? September 19, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:56 pm



It’s that time of year; time to start thinking about pulling out the fall clothes and saying goodbye to summer attire. I know, I know, many of us are still in the throes of 90 degree weather, but the first day of fall is this Thursday so why not at least plan your fall attire?






As with all fashion, picking what’s right for your budget, right for your body, right for the season, and all while being age appropriate, can sometimes be challenging. I’ve written it before and I’m writing it again: just because it fits doesn’t mean you should wear it.


We never want to dress the same way we did 20 years ago or like a twenty-year-old if we’re “mature” women, but we also don’t want to look older than we really are. It’s true that just one single fashion boo-boo can make age you as much as 10 years and we definitely don’t want that, right ladies? Here’s the deal: when you dress too “young” it only makes you look old. When an older woman (let’s say 40 and over) wears styles geared toward a younger population, even if they fit they will promote “she looks good for her age” thoughts. “For her age” being the key. Why would you ever want your clothing to emphasize your age? Insanity! Wouldn’t you rather the comments be “she looks great!?”


I recently read something by author Sabrina Rouge about fashion mistakes that make you look older and found them interesting. Think about it. JLo, Kris Jenner, and Madonna are all women old enough to know better yet are often photographed in clothing that is much too young for them. Yes, they sometimes look great for their age, but they can also look like they are just trying too hard.


In short, the mistakes are:

Dressing too trendy

Wearing same-fit outfits

Dressing in all black

Wearing something based on sentimentality

Choosing too long (or too short) of skirts

Using too much heavy eyeliner

Wearing anything jersey

Not defining your waist

Covering up your neck

Wearing bad undergarments



Trends aren’t always your friends

We all want to look hip and fashionable, but the mistake many make is wearing those trendy items long after they’re in style or wearing too many of them at one time. Wearing multiple or tired trends won’t make you look modern; they’ll make you look out of touch. Think about it: the current New York Fashion Week is showing spring 2017 fashion. To true fashionistas, spring 2016 trends will be “so 2016” come 2017. We can’t all have Gigi’s or JLo’s closets, full of entirely new wardrobes each season, but we can all shop smart. The best advice is to buy maybe one or two inexpensive trends each season and stick to the classics for the rest of your apparel. My other favorite rule: if you wore the trend the first time it was popular, you are too old to wear it when it comes around again years later. Yes I rocked ‘70s fringe in the 1970s, but I would look like a fool wearing it today.


The photo of Jane Fonda at the top of this blog is a perfect example of a mature woman overdoing a trendy look. I personally think she looks ridic. The two photos below show much more stylish ways to rock boyfriend jeans at any age. Wear them, but keep everything else classic and classy.

atlantic-pacific-site1 annina-mislin-instagram-feed-street-style1

Atlantic-Pacific                     Annina Mislin



Mix it up

Another mistake women make is wearing same-fit pairings. Your outfit goal is to create balance in what you’re wearing so if your bottoms are tight, wear a loose top. If your bottoms are loose, wearing a tighter top is ok.


In the stunning outfit here from the Rachel Zoe Report, the pleated skirt is flowy so the fitted top looks fabulous. Had the skirt been tight, a similar top would cheapen the look while a flowy top with this skirt would add unnecessary bulk to even the smallest of frames.



Black clothes matter

My closet staples are black, white, and camel. I throw in colors and a rare print every now and then, but I’m pretty plain Jane. We can all agree that black is indeed slimming, but wearing too much of it is also aging. This, I did not know. As Runge noted, skin gets lighter as we age so wearing a lot of black, especially near the face, washes us out. If you’re like me and you love a cool charcoal or basic black, be sure to include a colorful accessory and bright lip.






Not your 30’s wardrobe

Do you hold onto pieces that either don’t flatter your figure or scream 1990s? Did you love wearing a something when you were 15 years younger and it still fits but is maybe a bit too young for you now but you wear it anyway? If you answer “yes” to either of those questions, think twice.  Toss what you wore in your 30’s and don’t wear anything for sentimental reasons.



The short and long of it

It’s no secret that as we get older, our hemlines generally get longer, which for the most part, is a good thing. The bad thing is that sometimes we wear skirts that are too long and too matronly. Yes, mature ladies shouldn’t wear miniskirts anymore, but plain skirts that come to your ankles and worn with the wrong shoes will make you look frumpy. Unless you purchase a new stylish maxi dress, stick to skirts that hit right above or at the knee. Don’t go too long but don’t go too short either.

miniskirt maxi-skirt



Eye spy too much liner

As we age we become concerned about wrinkles, particularly those around our eyes. So, what do we often do? Apply make-up…lots of make-up. Eye shadow, eye liner, false lashes, brow pencil, just to name a few products. But, applying heavy liner or dark eye shadow will not make your eyes “pop,” they will age you and accentuate the very wrinkles you are hoping to camouflage. Think more subtle shadows, little or no liner, and bring out your cheeks with contouring.


Consider the photos below of Britney Spears and Giuliana Rancic. The shots of them wearing tons-o-black makeup really do make them look much older…and harsher.

brittany brit giulianarancicupdosbobbypinnedupdol9lmbok_1jyl giuliana1




Jersey girls

I’m guilty as charged in this one big time and the athleisure trend isn’t making it easier to steer away from it. Jersey fabric may indeed be comfy but if not fitted properly, it clings to every inch of your body. Tight leggings, yoga pants, and any other “comfy” bottoms need not be too tight and if they are, be sure to wear a top that hides all your bulges and lumps and choose styles that are draped or ruched. Another option is to “dress them up” as in this photo.






What a waist

Most of us love wearing clothing that is loose and comfortable. But be careful. Oversized clothing may hide your flaws, but it can also turn you into a shapeless bob. I never, ever tuck anything in, but I’m warming to the idea that belting an outfit appropriately actually creates an hourglass illusion. I love Susan of “Fifty Not Frumpy’s” advice of belting loosely and below your natural waist as seen in her photo here.





Stick your neck out

As with eyes, we become more and more concerned about wrinkles and rolls on our necks and we tend to over-compensate and cover those necks up with stuffy turtlenecks. But unless you’re knee-deep in snow or frigid weather, a tailored collared shirt will be much more flattering as will a stylish scarf.


Underneath it all

All of the above has focused on what you wear on the outside, but what you wear under all of it matters just as much. The perfect outfit can be ruined by the wrong undergarments. Words of wisdom: get fitted by a bra professional, choose seamless hipster undies, and consider the below.


So there you have it. It is possible to cover up body imperfections, look fashionable doing it, and look your age…not older but not too young. It’s all just a matter of knowing what styles to choose and what mistakes to avoid.


One Response to “Is Your Wardrobe Making You Look Old?”

  1. Mary Says:

    Thanks, Carla. More purging then purchasing required!

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