Anyway, being 45 means that I have all the rules of What to Wear After 40 totally figured out! Right? Um, sort of. If “having the rules figured out” means that I have come to the conclusion that essentially, there are no hard and fast rules.
Want to wear shorts? Go for it! Mini skirts? Why not! Skinny jeans? Absolutely. Do whatever you want. You’re a grownup now! You’ve earned it.
I’m tired of arbitrary fashion rules, at any age. Personal style is about knowing what works for you and not being afraid to own it, whether that’s shorts at 50 or midi skirts at 25. In the end, there’s really only one unbreakable rule, and it is true no matter what your age: Do not wear anything that doesn’t fit. Ever. This applies to bras and jeans and dresses and…well, everything.
If you don’t like the number on the tag, don’t opt for a smaller number and assume that you can suck it in and make it work — size up and cut the tag out and enjoy how fab you look in a piece that is the right size for your body. Don’t compromise your style for a smaller number. If you really feel a need to wear that smaller size, there are ways to make that happen. Or, you can make your peace with the size that fits your current body. Both are fine options, and either is better than squashing into something that doesn’t fit.
Not everyone is wearing a too-small size, though — there’s a real temptation to opt for pieces that are too big, in the hope that they will make you look smaller. Here’s the truth: That oversized tee and those baggy jeans make you look like there’s more to you than there really is. And while too big is certainly more comfortable than too small, they’re both unflattering. And no one wants that. Ever. Size down and dress the body you have. Again, if you’re not happy with your body, you can do something about that. But hiding under a gigantic sweater or tee isn’t the answer. Really.
But what about those hot button items, like shorts? Or bikinis? Or skinny jeans? Can you wear those if you’re over 40? Yes. Hell, yes! But only if they’re really part of your style, if they are pieces that you feel confident and comfortable in. I’m a bikini girl — not because I have great abs (I don’t) or fantastic boobs (haaaahahaha) but because I cannot find one piece swimsuits that fit both my wee tiny chest and my not-so-wee hips. In my 40s, I got tired of wearing swimsuits that didn’t fit. At the same time, I realized that I was past trying to impress anyone, which is a secret upside of getting older. So what if my stomach is pale and a little doughy? At least my swimsuits fit. Win!
What about those pieces that are guaranteed to flatter every body, at every age? Meh. I’m not buying it. I don’t really believe in one-size-fits-all fashion. The wrap dress is a perfect example: My curvy friends look smokin’ hott in a wrap dress; the wrap highlights their waistline and flatters their curves. I look like a prepubescent boy. With big hips. Which is not a good look on anyone, in case you’re wondering.
The first step toward finding your own style is figuring out what fits you — both your body and your life. Start by assessing your shape and making a commitment to buy and wear only pieces that fit. No more saggy jeans or gaping tops or too-short tees. If you have a tricky shape, consider tailoring; button down shirts can be altered to add Velcro closures, for example, to keep a larger bust covered.
What are your personal style rules? Do you make your style decisions based on your age, or your size, or something else entirely?
Photo via Banana Republic