What is Appropriate Dressing When You’re 50+

By on July 1, 2011

By Becky Redpath –

In a recent newspaper article, Sunday Times columnist, Sally Brampton eloquently describes her experiences as a menopausal fifty something.

She writes I’m a “Lover of fashion, but confused as to what’s appropriate. I’ve always been a jeans and sneakers girl. Can I still do that in middle age? Should my hair be this blonde or should I grow out the grey?”

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Her words and feelings echo those of many women as they approach their fifties. Anna Wintour, editor of American Vogue advises “always dressing appropriately for your age and the occasion”, but unfortunately that’s something many women of 50+ struggle with and probably explains why at one extreme some ladies adopt a look which bears a striking similarity to their teenage daughters, while at the opposite end of the spectrum others could well be mistaken for ageing aunts.

As women enter their 50’s they are often juggling the demand s of teenagers or young adults, along with those of elderly parents, they are attempting to maintain a good work and home life balance, as well as coping with menopausal symptoms and the feeling of inadequacy hormonal fluctuations can produce. It is therefore little wonder that women suddenly find themselves lacking confidence and wondering what is appropriate clothing!

Many of my clients have described feeling invisible and unappreciated and I love to work with them to overcome those feelings and show them that dressing “appropriately” doesn’t mean being boring, or having to spend huge sums of money.

Ann’s makeover illustrates this perfectly. The difference between the before and after pictures is quite dramatic, but only took a few hours to achieve and is easily attainable for any woman who feels she could do with a boost to her confidence.

The Makeover

1. Bodyshape
The first step in any, makeover whether it’s a styling or a wardrobe makeover is to establish body shape. Knowing your body shape enables you to choose the styles that suit you best and avoid those things that flatter you least. Ann is a leek! She has great legs, slim arms a small bust, with relatively little definition at the waist. When choosing clothes Ann needs to avoid anything shapeless or tent like! Her clothes need to define her slightly boyish shape.

2. Hair
Ann had allowed her hair to gradually go grey and with its tendency to curl was prematurely ageing her. Changing Ann’s hair colour made a dramatic difference to the way she looked and instantly took years off her. Grey hair can look fabulous but it does require a great cut and regular maintenance.

3. Makeup
As we age our skin can become sallow and skin tone uneven, so wearing makeup can give an instant facelift. Makeup does not need to be heavy to be effective. Ann has great skin, so I applied a light foundation to even out her skin tone. I defined her eyes with brown eyeliner, followed by a neutral shade across the lid and brow bone, a dark brown shadow in the socket, and finished with dark brown mascara. Ann’s look was complete with a pinky blusher on the apple of her cheeks and a soft pink lipstick. Fab!

4. Styling
Styling is always such fun, and I like to put together at least one outfit that takes my client out of her comfort zone.
Women get into a habit of always wearing similar styles and often have false pre-conceptions about what does and doesn’t suit them. Ann is a fairly conservative dresser so the leopard print dress, teamed with sky scraper shoe boots was a long way off anything she had previously worn. However the style was perfect for her. The dress defined her waist, showed off her slim arms and finished flatteringly on the knee. Teamed with opaque tights and a black coat Ann looked amazing.

Her casual look was based around the jeans she already owned. Tucking them into boots and layering a T shirt under a checked shirt created a youthful look without looking inappropriate, and the fabulous black coat was used again with equal effect.

Ann’s final look illustrates how a simple top can look fabulous when styled with some great accessories .Teamed with existing black trousers, the versatile black coat finished off the outfit perfectly.

The final stage of a styling makeover is the photo shoot and it is always wonderful to see women feeling confident in front of the camera knowing they look their best.

Even if Ann chooses never to wear the leopard print dress again she will always have the satisfaction of knowing that she could go anywhere in the world and give the most glamorous of women a run for their money!

If you would like some advice on putting together a stylish and practical capsule wardrobe for your profession contact Becky Redpath on the email form on the website http://www.lookgreatfeelfabulous.com/.

About Becky Redpath

If you would like some advice on putting together a stylish and practical capsule wardrobe for your profession contact Becky Redpath on the email form on the website: http://www.lookgreatfeelfabulous.com/.

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What is Appropriate Dressing When You’re 50+