Wondering how to dress your age (or not!)? British Knitwear Designer Susan Holton shares some tips and tricks...
How to dress your age (and always feel fabulous)
I recently came across this quote by Julia Baird, a New York Times journalist, who said:
Many women face a barrage of judgement on one of the first decisions they make in the morning : what to wear. Look at any media - whether online, television or print - and we can immediately see the pressure that women can face when deciding how to dress for their age and body type. There are so many ideas about how we should dress but very little thought as to how the clothing choices we make - and the media coverage - can make us feel.
As a British knitwear designer I know that many of my customers struggle to know how best to ‘dress their age’ - or if they even need to. As women get older, it seems that their style is expected to be restrained and quiet - classic pieces with muted tones which do not attract too much attention. It seems - speaking as a 'fifty-something' woman - that we are expected to 'hide' in our clothes, and not to make a statement or have fun.
Have fun choosing and wearing clothes, knitwear, footwear, and make-up - irrespective of age and body shape - be yourself!
I think we should all have fun with our clothing choices - irrespective of our age. No need to hide. But, if flamboyant isn't for you, that's fine too. But - I don't advocate 'less is more' just because of your age. Only if that is your choice.
Coco Chanel knew a thing or two about clothing choices, and to paraphrase her quote below - don't try to look young, try to look like yourself!
When I first set up my company, one of my main aims was to create easy to wear, contemporary British knitwear beautifully crafted for women of any age, shape or size who want to look and feel fabulous. Feeling a million dollars should have absolutely nothing to do with your age or your body shape; it should be to do with self-confidence and allowing your personality to shine through what you wear.
When deciding what to buy, consider the shapes and styles which make you feel great. Think about the clothes you already have which make you feel good, and those which get you the most compliments - and think about why. Is it the colours, the shape, or the style which is working well? Or maybe all three? Choose garments that flatter your body shape but also fuse comfort with effortless style. For example, do you love A-line shapes that skim over your curves like my Wool and Silk Swing Hem tunic, or do you feel your best in more figure accentuating garments like my Pure Silk Ripple Knit Top?
With a little thought you can make almost any clothing choices work for you
Don't forget that you can make pieces you like work for your body shape in the way you style them. So, if you fancy a pop of colour as in my hand painted silk ripple top, but don't want to show so much flesh... try layering it over a long sleeved top. It could be a very lightweight top in Summer but much thicker, and maybe a polo neck, in Winter. Layering is great! Need extra length? Layer it over a much longer top.
Maybe you could add an unusual shape to give some new drama to your wardrobe? Check out my 'big square wrap'. And see how some of my customers wear it.
Step out of your comfort zone occasionally (or even quite often!)
Everyone has their comfort zone - but it’s good to step out of it occasionally (or even quite often!) and try colours and shapes that catch your eye even if you might not be used to wearing them. Adding a layering piece such as a cardigan or long vest and an eye catching accessory can do wonders to brighten up your wardrobe and help you to move a little way out of your comfort zone.
Design details are crucial, which is why I put so much time into knitting experimental knit swatches, and into designing and hand-dyeing my highly individual and bespoke knitwear; no matter your age or size you deserve to show your personality to the world...
Dress for yourself... no harm in being aware of 'dress your age' rules, but don't worry too much about either the 'rules' or the fashion police!
In my view, these are the key points:
There's no harm in being aware of any 'dressing your age' rules - but don't be afraid to follow them in your own way, or to break them!
- Don't be afraid to be bold if that suits your personality - there's no need to feel you need to be invisible
- 'Less is more' can be good too...if that's your choice
- Keep an open mind when trying and buying clothes, and have fun
- It's worth investing in good quality materials and colours and 'hero' pieces, cheap isn't a good look and doesn't last
- Choose a good fit on you - and don't worry about the size which is written on the label
- If you'd like to know more about getting the right fit for you, you can read more about it on my choosing and buying the right size blog post
- Being comfortable and confident always looks good
- Dress for yourself and don't worry about the fashion police...
(Many of you will know of Iris Apfel, the 94 year old American fashionista who dresses with flamboyant style).