We’ve talked about fashion mistakes in the past and yet I’m always so amazed at how we’re still making the same mistakes time and again. Therefore, I think it’s a great idea to review this fashion topic again. To do this, I’m going to defer to Deborah Boland from FabulousAfter40.com. In this post, you’ll discover what Deborah believes to be the Top Five Massive Mistakes that women make and a solution for each. What I love about this presentation from Deborah are the SOLUTIONS; no one needs to hear about a problem without a solution.
MASSIVE FASHION MISTAKE # 1
Wearing Big, Baggy Clothes
Okay, so you don’t have the body you used to have. That’s natural. You’ve gained some weight, and it’s harder than heck to shed those extra pounds with all the crazy midlife hormones kicking in. You feel heavier than you want to at the moment, and sure that’s annoying, but hiding your body under big, loose, baggy clothing will only make things worse.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Maybe you’re not guilty of dressing like a giant blanket 24/7, but we’ve all had those days when we’re so fed up with our changing shape that we throw our hands up in the air, reach into our closet to grab the nearest sloppy sweatshirt or baggy t-shirt, and pull on a pair of oversized track pants or baggy jeans.
We schlep around the house like a frump figuring, no one will see us. Then we realize we need to run out for a few groceries, but can’t be bothered changing or putting on make-up. No one will see us, right?
But they do, and how embarrassing that is!! When you run into someone, and you look a sloppy mess, the message you are communicating is, “I’ve given up on myself.”
And yes, let’s be honest, you have, and this obvious lack attention to your appearance does make you look old, frumpy and fat!
The worst part is you feel it. You’ve let yourself down, and that’s depressing.
Trying to hide out from the world in your big, baggy, “frump uniform” is not the answer. Instead of camouflaging the problem, you are actually accentuating it by making yourself look bigger than you really are. If you want to look Fabulous after 40, 50, 60 and beyond then you must pay attention to the fit of your clothing.
Instead of walking around wearing a tent, you need to accept your body the way it is at this moment and give yourself a break. Glam Gal, we’re all feeling the changes, and you can’t let extra pounds rob you of ever looking fab again!
The weight, you can work on slowly, comfortably over time. Meanwhile, you need to get out to the stores and buy some clothes that will showcase your body at its best. Regardless of the size of your waist hips, bust and thighs, you can look slimmer by wearing clothes that flatter the figure you have. When you wear fitted clothes, you look slimmer and leaner.
Now, notice I’m not saying wear tighter clothing. I’m saying wear more fitted clothing. There’s a big difference. I’m talking about tops, and dresses that skim your body and follow your natural silhouette, shirts with darts, jackets that nip in at the waist and clothing with some stretch and shape. Pants (which are always tricky) need to fit well in the waist and fall straight down from your hips for the most flattering look.
Buying clothes that fit well will feel odd at first because you are so used to wearing oversized garb. However, give it a few days, and you’ll feel totally comfy, especially when the compliments come rolling in. If you find some clothes that fit better, but they still aren’t perfect, don’t hesitate to visit a seamstress. Men use tailors all the time to get the perfect fit, why shouldn’t you Glam Gal? So, goodbye baggy, hello slim and fitted, and hello Age-Amazing™!
Massive Fashion Mistake #2
Not Wearing Your Wow Colors
Who doesn’t love black? It’s chic and sexy; it makes you look thin, and you can wear it anywhere. But when it comes to looking Fabulous after 40, are you stuck in a “black” hole?
You could be! Abundant Black Disorder (ABD) is a common wardrobe dysfunction that fashionistas rarely speak about. It can occur anytime in a woman’s life, but usually, peaks at midlife. The symptoms: a closet full of black clothing and accessories, the irresistible urge to “buy it in black,” no matter what other colors it comes in, and the feeling of being too fat or too visible if you wear anything other than black, black, black.
Unfortunately, women with ABD fail to realize that an abundance of black seriously cramps your style, and after 40, makes you look old. How? Black is a strong color that absorbs light. It is notorious for draining the color from fragile, aging skin and hair. Worn close to a mature face, black often looks harsh, emphasizing every wrinkle line and dark shadow. Black also hides your fabulous 40+ personality, while constantly dressing in black signals, “I’m old. Don’t notice me.” That’s sad!
How can you cure ABD so you can start looking and feeling more vibrant and youthful? If you are serious about perking up your looks and livening up your soul, then promise yourself to stop buying black, no matter what, and start adding color into your current colorless wardrobe.
Going from mucho black (or dark, dreary shades) to an endless rainbow of colors can be scary because wearing color takes confidence. The easiest way to get comfortable with color is to start peppering in a dash here or there to your existing wardrobe. For example, try a fuchsia silk blouse with an elegant black pencil skirt. Cobalt blue shoes or a stylish red bag will make a dark suit pop, and bright, festive costume jewelry against a simple black neckline will perk up your face and make you appear more energetic and youthful.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to discover your personal “wow” colors. We all have certain shades that are more flattering on us than others, depending on our skin tone, hair, and eye color. This is the basis of color analysis. The key to looking fabulous at any age is to pinpoint your “wow” colors and make them the anchor of your personal style.
Why is this important? Wearing the wrong colors, particularly up by your face, will highlight dark circles and shadows, make your skin look pale and pasty, make your eyes and hair look dull, and make your jawline look loose and jowly. The wrong colors will make you look tired and old.
Wearing the right colors will make your skin look smooth, evenly toned and bright, it will make your eyes sparkle and your hair look shiny, plus, your jawline will look firmer and stronger, giving you a fresher and more youthful look.
Fashion Mistake # 3
Dressing Like a Trendy Teenager
Your teenage daughter looks cute and hip, and ready to have lots of fun. Boy, do you miss that carefree feeling and want it back, and that’s where the problem begins. You decide to borrow one of her trendy style ideas, or maybe even a funky piece of clothing from her closet. Before you know it, you wind up shopping in the junior’s department or at some discount teen chain store buying the most ridiculous outfits! Glam Gal, stop right there!
Cute and trendy is not how a grown-up woman wants to look. Do you really want to be seen as that middle-aged mom who thinks she looks totally cool, but in reality looks like she is dressed for Halloween as the latest teenage pop star? No wonder your 16-year-old says she is embarrassed!
Shredded faded jeans, neon pink minis, clunky furry clogs, tiny designer logo bags, and enormous dangly earrings or anything bubblegum pink is not the way to go. Your teen is experimenting with whatever comes along, and that’s all part of being young and finding yourself. But, as a grown woman, buying into the all the hot new trends will make you look tacky, old and desperate. If you want to be Fabulous after 40, you have to stop being a kid in a candy store and show some restraint.
There’s nothing wrong with staying on top of the latest looks. Incorporating new trends into your wardrobe is what keeps you looking fashionable and modern. But, the key to doing it right is to be selective about what trends you incorporate and to incorporate them subtly.
Being selective means take a good hard look at what the fashion world is currently offering and only incorporating trends that genuinely enhance your body at this stage of the game, and that don’t look teenage silly, otherwise, you will look like you are wearing a costume.
For example, let’s say that the following trends were currently in: stripes, metalllis purple, lime green and orange, lace details, 5″ platforms, jumpsuits, metal chokers, skirts with jagged edges.
A teenager might wear several of these trends together, or a couple combined in an exaggerated, or oversized way – partly to look like she is in style, partly for shock effect.
We need to weed out what we like, what suits our body now, as compared to 30 years ago, and what we might wear in a more refined, more sophisticated way.
A striped lime green jumpsuit worn with a two-inch metallic choker and 5-inch platforms may look darling on your daughter, or on a skinny young magazine model. But a more subtle way of interpreting the trends for you may be to opt for a lime green top, with white pants and 3” metallic sandals. Still on trend, but less loud and brash – much chicer. In other words, you are wearing the trend the trend is not wearing you! That’s the secret to looking Fabulous, not foolish, after 40!
Massive Fashion Mistake # 4
Dressing Too Sexy
This is a mistake that often goes hand-in-hand with dressing like a trendy teenager. We’re talking about women over 40 who want to tell the world how sexy they still are and end up looking, as the British say, “mutton dressed as a lamb.” Ouch…now that’s humiliating.
Too short, too tight, too much cleavage, too much belly, too much skin, too much information…Please enough already! Now I’m far from being a prude, and I celebrate looking sexy after 40, but some women just seem to be blind when it comes to knowing how to do this tastefully.
Maybe it’s their fear of losing male attention, or perhaps they’ve had some “work done” and be darned if they aren’t going to show it off. Whatever the case, baring it all over 40 won’t make you look younger. It will make you look hard, old, and trashy – a woman you’d feel a little sorry for if you met her.
You see, being sexy isn’t about walking around in 5-inch stilettos and letting it all hangout. It’s about confidence – not feeling like you have to compete with some nubile young 20-something by trying to dress sexier than her. Looking sexy after 40 is about mystery, maturity, and moderation.
While baring some skin is sexy, the trick is to not show everything off at once. Stick to one area at a time to look alluring and classy. For example: If you reveal some cleavage, don’t show off a lot of leg. (And please, no mini’s that are mid-thigh or higher, ever.) It’s a balancing act to look sexy, not sleazy.
Sexy also doesn’t mean skintight. It’s just the opposite. Skintight makes you look bigger than you are – like a stuffed sausage! The sexiest fit gently hugs, not squeezes the body. Head to toe tight is always tacky. If you are going more fitted on the bottom, you need to aim for something looser or more flowing on top, for example.
Finally, looking sexy is about softness and touch ability which can be achieved through the fabric. Any piece of clothing in a soft “feel me” fabric like cashmere, velvet, silk, or faux fur creates a magnetic attraction.
Some prints like animal prints also have a sexy edge, but a little goes a long way, so don’t overdo it or you’ll risk looking like the cliché cougar lady, on the prowl and clinging to her youth.
Remember, when it comes to looking sexy after 40, 50, 60 or beyond, less is always more.
Massive Fashion Mistake # 5
Outdated Hair and Make-up
You might have a closet full of clothes in all the right colors that are stylish, modern and age-appropriate, but if you get dressed in the morning, look in the mirror and still see your grandmother, you can blame it on your hair and make-up.
Nothing ages a woman more than a passé hairstyle and outdated makeup.
You know your hair is stuck in a time warp if it is: too perfectly coiffed and as stiff as a bird’s nest, so long and shapeless that it hangs down like droopy dog ears, flat and dull as dishwater, or if colored, looks like a solid red, brown or blonde Lego block. You also know your hair is outdated if no one ever compliments you on your hair – ever.
Outdated make-up is even more obvious: over-tweezed brows, thick dark eyeliner that makes you look like Liz Taylor in Cleopatra, heavy contoured cheekbones, blue shiny eyeshadow, frosty everything, visible traced on lip liner, mud brown or mauve lips that make you look like you have one foot in the grave…get the picture?
To look Fabulous after 40 you need to be honest about your current hairstyle and make-up.
You might think the solution to an outdated hairstyle is to simply run out and get the latest cut, but I caution you on this. I’ve found many women who cut their hair on impulse wind up back at square one after only a couple of days, styling their new hairdo the way they used to wear it? (Sound familiar?)
As a friend of mine always says when it comes to looking fab, “It’s all about the hair.” As women, we’re very sensitive about making any changes, however slight, to this very personal feminine accessory. So, it’s crucial to take your time and put yourself in the right mindset first.
Flip through magazines, study hairstyles. Have a friend take your picture so you can actually see yourself the way others see you. Once you are convinced you need an update, don’t turn back. Modern hair, no matter what the length you decide on, needs some layering so that it moves (yes, your hair needs to blow in the wind). It also needs to be soft and shiny and, if colored, should be slightly multi-dimensional.
Warmer tones always flatter our skin more as we age and going lighter one shade never hurts either to soften things up.
Your make-up should follow suit. Less harsh, more natural is the goal. Aim for plenty of concealer, minimal foundation, a little blush, pinkish or peachy toned lips, a neutral eye, and mascara. You may want to add a few lashes to fill things in, but go for individual ones – not strip lashes. Gently touch up your fading brows to frame the eyes and make you look fresh and youthful.
Hanging onto outdated hair and make-up is like looking at an old photograph. It may have been a wonderful moment in time, but it will never be that way again. Time marches on, and if your hair and makeup don’t change with the times, you are going to look physically and mentally frozen in the past.
Deborah makes it super easy for us with this quick reference. Print it out and keep it in your closet. Put a copy in your wallet to so you can reference when shopping.
Remember, we’re right around the corner and always here to help you get dressed and to feel comfortable doing it every day. We can help with the wardrobe selection, the closet makeover or the special event dressing. Check us out here and get in touch.