I am often asked about whether something is “age appropriate.” Most of the time I ask the person, “How do you feel in it? Does it feel true to who you are today?”
Identifying what is age-appropriate varies person to person. In short, “age appropriate” can’t be simply defined. Most of the time, your style shifts, matures and changes as you age, mature and change. What worked for you early in your career and in your life most of the time won’t do once you make it to the corner office or have a family of six, for instance.
Quality Often Negates the Question
Sometimes as we age, our style looks different because we are shopping for better quality items from brands we weren’t supporting in our 20s. So, we find ourselves asking the question less because we don’t have the things we did then. As I’ve said many times, less is more. This applies to all areas of our lives, wardrobe included. If you aren’t already, give yourself permission to invest more in a classic, quality wardrobe. If you do, I bet the “age-appropriate” question won’t come up as much.
My Top Tips for Identifying What is Age Appropriate:
Dress for yourself first.
It’s easy to be influenced by friends, family, and work associates. Everyone has their ideas of what they like to see you wear. But what do you want to wear? Give your style a few words and dress like it. Need help with your style words? I can help with that!
Dress for your life and your body today.
The things you gravitate towards later in life are not the things you pulled from the racks at age 25. You don’t want or need the same things as someone in their 20’s. However, you might own the same jeans or top or shoes as someone much younger. That’s okay. The key is in how you style those pieces versus how someone decades younger styles them. Be realistic about what works for you and how it looks on your body. Invest in pieces that increase your confidence.
Keep evolving your style.
Holding onto what used to work is the biggest aging mistake I see. When we continue to wear our hair the same, same makeup, same clothing from 20 years ago, etc., we are aging ourselves faster than bad plastic surgery. When your style shifts with the times, you appear your most youthful. This is not to say you cannot own pieces over 10 years old. I have pieces that are 15+ years old in my closet, and they look great. Simply take the older pieces and style them with the newer parts of your wardrobe. This keeps your look fresh and balanced.
Letting go creates space.
It is okay to let go of things that served us well in the past whether they are a former haircut, a favorite jacket, or a signature lip color. We are never losing anything when we let go and look beyond what we have already done. Letting go allows new (and perhaps better) to come in.
The Questions to Ask
The next time you get stuck on whether something is age-appropriate, ask yourself: (1) Do I feel good in it? (2) Does it reflect my style and my life today? and (3) Is it flattering (a good color and a good shape)?
How do I evolve my style?
First, let go of ideas that you will begin dressing a certain way by a certain age. The best style shifts are organic and gradual, not methodically planned. These wardrobe evolutions happen one piece at a time. A new piece comes in, an old piece goes out. Eventually, you are in a comfortable flow. You don’t even have to think about evolving your style. It just is.
My #1 Age-Appropriate Tip.
Be yourself and remain open and curious about what’s next. Surprise yourself. Try new things! Remember, there is no such thing as failure in style. The only style failure is opting out and staying in your safety zone.