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posted May 12, 2014 in Dress & Image / by Joanne Blake / 3 comments

Age Appropriate Dressing?

Image Tips for Women - Unsure if you’re dressing too old or too young?

Recently I was hired by a 50 something psychologist to help her update and develop a work and age appropriate wardrobe. 

Professional yet current?

Her biggest concern was that her patients were getting younger, while she was getting older and she wanted some advice and tips to come across as professional yet current, vibrant and youthful. But at the same time she didn’t want to be seen as “mutton dressed as lamb”.

How to update a wardrobe from dowdy dress to modern but not over the topAge appropriate

There comes a time in every woman’s life when she questions what type of clothing is age appropriate and what type to steer clear of. This is a tough one because there is no simple solution or formula as everyone is unique and one size doesn’t fit all. 

Sensible shoes

When I met ‘Dr. Lisa’ for her first appointment, she showed up dressed in very ‘sensible’ shoes and clothing. She favours cardigans as they provide a layer of warmth and are easy to wear. 

Baggy cardigans

However baggy cardigans did nothing for her other than hide her shape and contributed to her being perceived as dowdy. The solution was to invest in updated clothing that skimmed her body contours rather than hugging it too tightly. We replaced her baggy cardigans with chic shorter shrugs and her "sensible" shoes with comfortable non-stiletto pumps. Of course, a hair and make-up update were on the agenda too.

But I work out

One could argue that as long as a woman works out and maintains a strong and fit body that she can wear anything. Well that may be true but within reason. I know of a hair stylist in her late 40’s who works out with a personal trainer and has the physique of a 25 year old. But she favours fashions that her teenage daughter would wear and unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work – it just makes her look harsh -- like she’s trying too hard to preserve her youth. 

Much too much?

“Mutton dressed as lamb” is anything worn too tight, too short, or too girly. Add to that list, too much make-up or excessive and cheap costume jewelry. A woman may still have great legs but they may no longer be evenly pigmented so my advice is good options are wearing hosiery, slightly longer skirts or pants.

A wardrobe update should make you look better and current without feeling like you're trying too hard. This season’s bare midriff look may have to be relegated to the beach rather than out for dinner. The sleeveless clothing may need to be teamed with a shrug or a ‘sleevey wonder’. (Check out a wonderful triceps camouflage  www.sleeveywonders.com)

One final tip

If you don’t see anyone your age range shopping in the boutiques you’re accustomed to shopping at, that may be a sign than you need to find another boutique.

Posted by Joanne Blake - Canadian Corporate Image Consultant, Coach and age appropriate well dresser
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About Joanne Blake

Canadian speaker, corporate image consultant & business etiquette expert. If you're interested in booking (Joanne) for a presentation, keynote or workshop contact me or visit my conference page. Based in the Calgary/Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

3 comments below

...add yours

May 29, 2014 at 9:55am

Susan Garbutt says:

Thanks for writing this article Joanne. I truly believe when a woman dresses “too young” for her age, it actually ages her. You hit it “out of the park” in your article.

May 29, 2014 at 11:43am

Lisanne Lewis says:

Oooh, compelling photo. Is it really your client? She sounds like a lovely person and successful professional but kudos to her bringing in a fashion pro like you to update the dowdy. No doubt it will only enhance her success.

May 29, 2014 at 3:08pm

Joanne Blake says:

Yes Susan, I think you’re right about dressing too young actually aging you.
And Lisanne, it does take a bit of gumption to admit you need help, but it’s worth it to look your best and feel good about yourself.
Besides, I enjoy helping people find their style, colours and best silhouette so they can update and look good. (BTW that’s a file photo, not a photo of her, but it’s a good example of why you should never wear a hemline that bisects the widest part of your lower leg.)

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