Growing old(er) gracefully

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Have you endured a ‘Julia’ moment when a salesperson snubs you? If so, it’s time to fight back and prove that you can still look absolutely fabulous at 50, 60 or any old age.

Maybe you have been ignored when you’ve entered a trendy store and thought about slinking right back out again? I’ll let you into a secret – from time to time, so have I, which is plain dumb when you think about the buying power and influence of mature woman. So here are my top five tips for staying stylish and managing rude retail staff:

1. Chanel reigns

No, no you don’t have to buy Chanel – oh dear, there goes the mortgage. But remembering Mme Chanel’s best-ever fashion insight helps us all to choose outfits which suit us. And that is “Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportion.” So if you don’t own and use a full length mirror, get ye to a Bunnings store now, to make this significant style purchase. You’ll never look back. So what does proportion really mean? It means that, by adjusting the proportion of your garments, you can reduce defects and highlight assets. If, like me, your derriere is ‘generous’, then longer tops layered over slim skirts and tapered pants are very flattering. And Remember Helen Gurley Brown? She said that after a certain age the only way a woman could improve her appearance was expensive jewellery and good posture. I don’t buy the jewellery part, but good posture helps everyone look immediately better.

And along the same lines …

2. Layering hides a multitude of sins

So you love that short printed top (Feathers image) but it cuts you in half, like waving a flag at your generous (back-in-the-day child bearing) hips? If the print is flattering, of course you can wear it, just make sure you have the essential longer line cami or t-shirt in a neutral colour (think black, black or black) to pop underneath, and match the bottom, be it a skirt or pant.

3. Accessories rule – but not too many!

Accessories provide the focal point of your outfit. You actually can’t go too bold when it comes to funky costume jewellery. But to carry off this look, channel the Parisians, and dump all other jewellery or adornments. So pair a large costume necklace with a simple one-colour dress, t-shirt and pants or sweater and skirt. The drama in the necklace is all you need.

4. Grooming is everything

It may be old school, but it works. Nothing shouts style louder than impeccable grooming. This means head-to-toe, 24/7, cleanliness and attention to detail. We’ve all broken this rule, maybe Saturday morning when you head to the café in workout tights, with unkempt hair and chipped nail polish. And of course, that’s the day you bump into the friend you haven’t seen for 15 years and you can tell by their surprise, they think you’ve aged. DON’T DO THIS TO YOURSELF. You are better than this. So make a promise to love yourself enough to do a weekly, at home, facial and manicure – like we did in the old days – with no need to spend a fortune on salons or expensive product. By all means pamper yourself in a beauty salon if money is no object, but don’t miss out if you’re on a budget. The best style spend is always on a good haircut and colour that you can maintain yourself between visits to the hairdressers. Great hair and a winning smile trumps everything else.

5. Last but not least, the shout-out-loud lipstick


Hollywood glamour girls would never be seen without it. Sales go down in recessions, except for lipstick. And, in times of war, it was the ‘red badge of courage’ that kept many women feeling strong and able to do whatever was necessary. So make sure your spirits are high – shout yourself a new season red [link] and head out the door – your outfit in perfect proportion thanks to layers, your upright posture, shiny hair and nails and an unforgettable smile. Stylish over 50? You’ve nailed it, girlfriend!

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Are you making these style mistakes?

Even the most stylish women are guilty of making these common mistakes.

Written by Kaye Fallick


Total Comments: 16
  1. 0

    So the first thing you show Kaye is a skinny model. I’ve never felt invisible in my later years, its all about how confident you are.

  2. 0

    If the article is directed to an age bracket, why not use models of that age?

  3. 0

    To be taken seriously I believe you need to be engaged with the world, know what is going on, be able to converse about current affairs sensibly, offer the wisdom which comes with age when appropriate rather than worry unduly about your looks. Thats not to say that we all shouldn’t look smart but a well-groomed shallow person won’t even keep my attention for long, let alone that of younger people.

  4. 0

    Sorry Kaye,beyond a certain stage (notice not age) when skin and hair colour begins to fade bright red lippy will NOT do unless you are aiming for the cannibal look.

  5. 0

    Gym wear aka “leisure wear” is for the gym or around the house, NOT for going shopping in etc. Wear appropriate clothing for the occasion. Be neat, tidy and clean. Always have clean shoes.

  6. 0

    A couple of years ago I was shopping in the local supermarket and I saw an ‘older’ woman (well over 70 i’d say) who looked amazing. She was short, slim and basically dressed in black and white (black trousers, white shirt, black and white checked jacket,black boots) with some bright red accents -red scarf and belt. Her hair was nicely done and she looked really well put together. I had to compliment her and tell her how good she looked. She looked me up and down, took a step back and said; ” Well you could have made more of an effort!” turned on her heel and walked off with her husband pushing the trolley!

    I am/was a size 8 -10, tall, and wore jeans and a blouse!

    • 0

      Just because someone looks good it doesn’t mean they have Class.

      KSS I bet you have more class in your little finger than that well put together rude person.

      I was watching Miss Marple last night and thinking how great her outfit of soft grey and apricot with a high neckline looked.

      Now there is a character destined to have attention paid her regardless of looks or age.

  7. 0

    I agree with all 5 above comments, but would like to add tidy and neat hair, why does everyone on the tv have their hair either hanging down in rats tails, or sticking up in spikes, whatever happened to neat and tidy for all ages. And red lipstick for the older woman is definitely a no-no, a lighter shade of lipstick looks much more attractive than a bright red slash. Why are older models never shown wearing suitable clothes for the over 60”s? Would be much simpler to pick an outfit to suit if this were so.

    • 0

      Where are the older models? I am fed up with all the young models looking great with young styles, never any aimed at the more mature ladies looking for a new outfit. Tried to buy new slacks a while ago, and found nothing in 3 stores except for hipsters. I find these extremely uncomfortable, the dig iny the belly, and if you lose a bit of weight, then they fall off. Back to the sewing machine for me.

  8. 0

    The other ladies have beaten me to it, but I too was concerned that a article about feeling good in your 50s+ uses photos of models in their 20s.

  9. 0

    I am going on 62, and try to dress neatly even to go to the letter box, and my partner wonders why! I am a size 8, try to stay fit, DON’T wear red lipstick, but always am conscious of my posture and co-ordinated clothes that suit me. It would be great to see 50+ models, as it would also put $$ in the lucky seniors’ pockets.
    I also agree with Happy cyclist – if you can’t have a decent conversation it won’t work!

  10. 0

    Yes,I agree with all the other ladies comments here. No bright lipsticks, heavy mascara or eye shadow. Angela Lansbury shows may be decades old but she knew how to dress and wear makeup. So do the royal family. Sadly with clothes, cut is everything and it costs. As our shape falters its more important to have nicely tailored clothes. Jewelry is magic when it comes to giving sparkle – but it has to be subtle. There are a few older women who are thin but the majority are not. Show us some hair styles and outfits that suit us. – and as to becoming invisible – Yep, Ce la vie. However I would like to think I dress so as not an embarrassment to my children.

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