Friday, July 23, 2010

Updating Your Style While Dressing Your Age

 Anne Hathaway representing the 20's
Last summer I saw this woman walking towards me on the Upper East Side. She was wearing a very elegant dress, beautiful Louboutins, was thin and fit and had a very up to date haircut and the right accessories. She looked like a very fashionable thirty-something. However the closer she came towards me I realized from her face that she was considerably older than what she appeared to be. Her face appeared to show she was in her seventies! To tell you the truth I felt that I was in a horror movie where the beautiful woman from afar turns out to be a skeleton.
 Joy Bryant representing the 30's
I was so shocked and surprised as she passed me that I stood and looked as she walked down the street with my mouth open. I had always tried to practice making my style as relevant as possible to not cubbyhole myself into looking a certain age the way your grandmother's hairdo would tell the world what decade she became fixed upon. Watching this woman walk pass me showed me that perhaps my practice was wrong. She kept up with all the latest styles and trends but the disconnect between her appearance and her face were much too great. All of a sudden I didn't know what was worse; trying too hard to stay young and relevant or getting stuck in a style rut?
 Kyra Sedgewick representing the 40's
I'm not advocating she should have had plastic surgery to match her appearance. I admire the fact that at her age she worked hard to put out a certain persona which reflects to the world she cares and respects herself. So when Harper's Bazaar put out their annual "Fabulous at Every Age" issue this month I finally understood the message they have been preaching about for years. You do have to update your style at every age. Before I had always resented when magazines came out with their "age" issue and the rules of fashion I now had to follow which usually meant giving up fun trends I had followed in my youth. No more minis, no long hair, no more red lipstick, sticking to less edgier designers. Who were they to tell me how I should look like? Sure I didn't want to look like I walked onto the set of MTV's "The Hills" (a show I am proud to say I never watched) but surely there has to be a happy medium between keeping your style relevant yet not look like you are trying hard to turn back the hands of time and compete with your daughter. 
Iman representing the 50's
This is when you stop and think; "What is it that I want to reflect to the world as I get older?" Do you want to tell the world you are confident? Elegant? Sexy? Refined? Conservative? Successful? Timeless? Find the words that you will be happy to hear when you walk into a room. I picked for myself, "Elegant, bohemian, sexy and classic". When I go shopping or try on different hair styles or makeup I repeat these words to myself and it helps me edit my style to personify how I feel on the inside yet not look like I am racing against the clock. I still have some wonderful dresses in my wardrobe that I love and represent a great time in my life but now I will probably save them for my nieces when they get older.
Carolina Herrera representing the 60's
I also have picked out some public figures that I admire and would like to emulate their style as I grow older. Penelope Cruz, Carolina Herrera, Monica Vitti (Italian 50's movie star) and Jackie Kennedy are some of my style icons for illustrating "ageless style". I love to look at images of these women and get some tips and ideas for myself. I want to make sure that when I am strutting down Madison Avenue when I am in my seventies that the double takes people shoot my way are of admiration not shock.
Lee Radziwill representing 70+
Check out this month's Harper's Bazaar on tips on dressing for every age from the pros. To constantly reinvent yourself is a sign of evolving as a human being, self love and respect. It's a wonderful role model for your children, friends and family to witness and follow.


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