Fashion pundits across the Internet tend to offer what I think are preposterous and antiquated rules for woman over 40. After perusing list after list of things women should not wear after 40, the following 10 were most often cited:
- Black leather
- Jackets that hit at mid-thigh
- Pleated pants
- Electric colors
- Capri length pants
- Low rise jeans
- Plunge V necklines
- Mini skirts
- Sleeveless anything
Oh, phooey, you fashion pundits.
According to the sages of the ages, 45-year-young Demi Moore is violating Rule No. 9, wearing a bikini.
Look at 50-year-young Christie Brinkley baring her arms? Oh, the gurus of fashion will be all atwitter.
51-year-young Kim Catrall, violating Rule No. 7, looks fabulous in her plunging neckline.
Ageless 68-years-young Tina Turner strutting her stuff in a mini.
Granted, nobody wants to see yours truly in a mini skirt-- especially my 22-year-old son -- but Kim Catrall, Tina Turner, and Christy Brinkley can certainly pull it off at their age, and that's mostly because they have the right attitude to do it and still look amazing.
In truth, I couldn't walk in their genes, I don't have the nip and tuck funds, and I don't have the guts to resort to Demi's blood sucking leech regimen. But even if I did, a mini skirt would not be my best form of expression. I know what works for me, and I generally stay within my self-imposed parameters, and then add a fabulous handbag in fun fuchsia or a trendy zebra belt to reflect my personality. Accessories and colors are key to my current wardrobe. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't wear a mini, a bikini, or a sleeveless top or dress.
Brains on Beauty: Quentin Crisp's proverbial advice cuts right to the chase: "Fashion is what you adopt when you don't know who you are." Whether you're 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 or 70, you should work on finding a style that reflects your personality. As seen in Beauty Secrets Revealed: Style, clothes are a social tool and a means of expressing yourself in the world. So dress to showcase the best possible you, whether that's a woman who dares to bare or one who chooses a more classic look.
Last but not least, as you slide down the razor blade of life towards 40, 50, 60, or 70, tailoring can be your best friend. The right fit is more important than the wrong color, Fashion Pundit Rule No. 4. ( Editing Your Wardrobe).
Check back on Friday to learn more about your style and authenticity. Fabulous and funny Karen Hamilton, publisher of The Best Kept Secret, a weekly newsletter for women 40+, interviews Carrie McCarthy, co-author of Style Statement.
How do you feel about the fashion pundits 10 things women over 40 should not wear?
Other resources: 12 Fashion Essentials: The Basics, Design Your Style with Color, 12 Beauty and Fashion Essentials for 2008 , Hot Celebrities Over 40
ok here's the thing: i think for the general public (i.e. women not blessed with incredible genes, bottomless pocketbooks, and/or an ever-present cadre of hair & makeup people) some of these naturally fall out of the rotation as you get older. miniskirts can be tough to pull off at any age, as are bikinis, unless you are built "just so".
however, some of these are patently ridiculous. no capris? no tank tops? are we banishing all over-40 women to a land where it never gets hot?
Well, I have to say that IMNSHO, I think *no one* should ever wear pleated pants, EVER, no matter what their age, LOL!!
I think though, that a lot of these lists are created for women who might *think* they have the genes of Christy, Demi or Tina, but really couldn't ever pull their actual jeans on!
Most women over 40 can wear a lot of what was listed, esp. if they know how to dress their body type well!! It's those that don't that make it necessary for lists like this to come out!
I say, take it all with a grain of salt and play up your best assets, but re-evaluate every five years. And this goes for everyone, not just women over a certain age!
Oh, and I agree with Makyo--tank tops and capris are great hot-weather options for women over 40!!
Now, hot shorts and a tube top--that may be a bit much for a 60-year old to pull off!
LOL. Some menopausal women would love to be banished to a land where it never gets hot.
Great comments. I still have Nos. 1,5,6, and 10 hanging in my closet.
If it looks good on you, wear it! Not matter how old you are. I wonder who came up with all these very limiting 'age' rules.
What? Why no Capri length pants?? That is just wrong. I am not over 40 yet but I love those things!!!
BTW ladies you have been tagged on my blog!! :)
Check out a post around June 11th for details.
I always see women over 40 breaking these rules and generally speaking they look fine! Rules were meant to be broken :)
I agree wholeheartedly, Nicole.
Pigtails. Pigtails should never be worn by anyone over the age of 5. Braids are okay. Piggie-ponytails sticking out above your ears are a no-no-no.
I agree with Nicole. I'm 44 and am guilty of breaking most of the 10 rules. There's no way in Hades I'm giving up capris. I have cottage cheese thighs and I don't care to wear a dress everywhere in the summer. Mini skirts and short shorts are out, so what other choice do I have? Honestly...
I don't buy into this idea that a woman needs a movie-star perfect body to wear certain styles, as the list seems to suggest. Even 18year olds don't have perfect bodies, and no one is lecturing them on what they can and cannot wear. Unless you have an issue that is honestly distracting and makes people gag, you should be able to wear whatever you enjoy that hopefully flatters you as well.
I know what looks good on me and I don't have the anxiety about style arbiters or catty women thinking I "dress too young" or am "trying to compete" with younger women. My shoulders, slender arms, smooth decolletage and great calves are my assets and I will not hide them just because I'm a certain age.
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