Sydney-based Cindy Robson has enjoyed 25 successful years in the fashion industry. In that time she has styled women young and old, of all shapes, sizes and tastes. Cindy now focuses her time and expertise on professional styling, and has compiled a list of her top 13 flattering tips for over 50s. Here, she explains:
Tip 1: Find inspiration
The first question I ask my clients is, ‘What style are you inspired by?’. Some automatically know what they like, but are unsure of how to put styles together. Others simply reply: ‘That's what I've hired you for. I don't know anymore, I'm in my 50s and I've lost myself.’
Tip 2: Know your preferred style
Style doesn't come with a use-by date. It is helpful to have an image in mind of how you want to portray yourself. Nobody wants to look either ‘grandmotherly’ or (as much as I dislike the phrase) like ‘mutton dressed up as lamb’.
There are three styles/looks that I find most women over 50 prefer: classic/tailored, classic with an edge (my own style) and casual/relaxed. Depending on your style, base your wardrobe around the look you desire.
Tip 3: Avoid trends that don't flatter you
Keep up with current trends but don't overdo it head to toe – this will only age you. Do you love that hat or to-die-for pair of shoes or statement necklace, but wonder, ‘Am I too old to wear it?’ Of course you’re not! If you choose only one piece you will look on-trend and effortless.
Tip 4: Mix and match
You don't have to spend a fortune to look a million dollars. I suggest mixing and matching designer pieces with non-designer ones. For example, combine a great pair of designer jeans or shoes with a classic blazer and less expensive top.
Tip 5: Don't be afraid to wear colour
While it might feel ‘safe’ to cover up in black clothes, black and grey can be very ageing. If you feel uncomfortable wearing colour, start with small pieces like a bright woollen or silk scarf or a colourful beaded necklace, and work your way up to more significant items of clothing.
Add a splash of colour to your outfits
Tip 6: Upper arm cover-up
Most of us are aware of the dreaded ‘tuckshop mum’ arms that seem inevitable as we age, but I have a few tips to flatter the trouble spot. Unless your arms are extremely toned, cover up with 3/4 sleeves or cap sleeves. If you look hard enough you should be able to find styles that have a sleeve. For those situations where you can’t, there are plenty of boleros and jackets that you can pair with a sleeveless dress or top. Gone are the days when we had to match everything (like our mothers and grandmothers did). As long as what you choose complements the outfit, don't be afraid to experiment with colours, prints and textures.
Tip 7: Appropriate hem lines
No minis! I repeat: NO minis. Hem lines should ideally be on the knees (just below or above it), which also means no short shorts or Daisy Dukes. Having said this, if you find a gorgeous dress that sits above the knee (no minis remember) and you have great legs – go for it! Just make sure the dress doesn't show any cleavage as too much of both doesn't work, and wear stockings if suitable.
Tip 8: Shop around
Don't be nervous about walking into a store that seems too young for you. Walk in with confidence and look through the racks. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the number of fun staple pieces available that are appropriate for all ages.
Tip 9: Leggings are not pants
Always pair leggings with a longer top. If you love jeggins or skinny jeans, yes, you can wear them! Always combine them with a floaty top or shirt. Jeans should always be dark denim or solid black – no ripped jeans.
Tip 10: Invest in a classic style designer bag and sunglasses.
Think Audrey Hepburn or Coco Chanel. You're now at that age when you deserve it! A designer handbag or pair of sunglasses will last a lifetime and always be on-trend, making it a sound investment that never needs updating.
A great designer bag is a fantastic investment
Tip 11: Find a good tailor
Not all styles will fit you perfectly and sizes will differ from store to store, and designer to designer. If you find a garment you absolutely adore and the fit isn't perfect, get a quote on having it altered to your measurements.
Tip 12: Invest in good underwear
Decent undergarments are the foundation of any outfit. A lot of my clients wear the wrong sized bra – too big in the back and too small in the cup. It creates a seesaw effect. Gravity will always do its thing, but if you are in the right fit this can be reduced and make you feel years younger. Who doesn't want that?
Tip 13: Say no to fake tan
Stay away from going too dark with a fake tan, as age spots and wrinkles will only become more pronounced. The best advice I have for women aged 50 plus is to wear sunscreen every day on top of your normal beauty routine.
Last but not least, remember the most important accessory: your smile.
Who is your style icon for the over 50s woman?
(Feature image: Phil Stafford / Shutterstock.com)