Developing Your Style - At Any Age

Post by Sharon

Julie and I both have a good sense of who we are. We admit that, even though we know our colors and styles, we have been known to do the dreaded "coverup" that many middle-aged women do when they are softer and rounder than they once were. We have since learned how to be comfortable and confident in what we wear while not accentuating the boundaries of the parts of us we want to draw attention away from. 

There are simple ways you can put polish on your style in very cheap ways that show you know yourself. Let's take a look at narrowing your look and then refining it - 


Know your palette. 

The popular "Color Me Beautiful" seasonal palettes give a good idea of what might go with your coloring. This is where you determine if your skin has cool tones to it - (winter/summer) and then how deep your overall coloring is, especially your hair (lighter-summer and darker-winter). If your skin tones are warm (autumn and spring) and how deep your overall coloring especially your hair (dark-autumn, light-spring). 

As a spring with apricot skin tones and red hair that tends to want to go blond, I am a "spring." Within each season, too, there are depths of the palette to choose from as a very fair spring might wear lighter versions of these colors. 

It can be hard not to be partial to a palette that is not your own, but instinctively you know your palette most times, you simply prefer the lighter or darker season. For years, I adored autumn colors, but wearing them made me look very sick. They were too rich and dark for me. I needed more pastel toned colors. 

So, if you love winter's bold jewel tones but they are too strong for your coloring, you might be a summer with very similar colors, only clearer and lighter. 

Julie is a fantastic summer. I often tell her that she can wear any color, but look at the palette - wow! I tend to like the blues, pinks and purples on her best.

When planning a wardrobe, I like to be sure I have bottoms (shorts/skirts/pants) in each of the neutrals from my palette. 

SPRING: I use tan, light warm gray, milk chocolate, and vanilla. I can then add my fun colors for the tops or go monochromatic and emphasis the accessories instead. 
WINTER:  Neutrals include navy, black, charcoal, and dolphin gray.
AUTUMN: Neutrals include oatmeal, camel, coffee, or chocolate.
SUMMER:  Neutrals include things like soft white, latte, light gray, and navy blue. 

accessories tell your personal story

The bold chunky pieces of the 80s were about confidence, determination, and strength. 

The satiny preppy pearls of a necklace reveal an old-fashioned woman who doesn't need to shout across the lunchroom. 

The sparkling jewels and gold that usually define wealth also reveal a woman who sticks to class and status, defining her success.

Stacks of bracelets on the arm, loads of rings on the fingers, multiple necklaces are the way of the bohemian. This artistic gal sees her clothing as an opportunity to costume herself and play a role. 

There's other options within those categories like surfer/beach hemp and jute jewelry with shells. Natural, native, casual. 

Modern cut stones and metals. Stylish, updated, sleek, and contemporary.

Charms and cameos. Traditional, sentimental, girlie.

Victorian Era. Traditional, romantic, creative, literate, feminine.

Then, you add to that scarves, hats, purses, shoes, broaches, hair accessories and there are lots of choices.

My best advice is to start looking at catalogs, magazines and whenever you can, study women in movies and TV. If you keep identifying with fashions an actress wore throughout a movie, scribble notes or take still photos of it on pause. You can find what it is you are drawn to - is it sporty? conservative? business-like? free-flowing? 

For me, I identify with Spring palette and category of Bohemian but more specifically beach/sporty/resort. I look to women like Diane Lane, Mary Steenbergen, and Sheryl Crow who exemplify the look.  

Feeling Fat

I say "feeling fat" because sometimes we are very critical. I am tall and I was very wiry and used to model, so any soft fat-padded areas on my body to me are "fat" and to others are "goal." The truth is, very few of us gather fat all over evenly and if we do, we could be "plus size" models. Most of us are belly fat, arm fat, leg fat, hip fat type of folks. It's that problem area that we try to disguise. Let's look at the do's and don'ts - 

Buying clothing that is too loose only makes you look bigger.  If you are worried about fat from the belly down, then a bohemian flowing skirt is going to add density to you - 

Don't go too willowy and don't go for clingy either. Shirts that follow your body tightly show everything in detail including how your pants fit.

Empire waist is a fantastic combination of fitted at the top, usually with a low enough neckline that attention is drawn to jewelry and neck and it falls away from any tummy rolls. 

Choose fitted where you can. For instance, I don't like my stomach but my legs are awesome. I wear short tight skirts but then the empire waist top so I can disguise "that area" and draw attention to my asset - my gams. Find your asset - Slender arms? Awesome bosom? Beautiful face? Legs? Curvy hips? Nipped waist? Advertise that real estate.

A blouse that is a fitted tank top with overlayer of ruffly flowing sheer fabric atop a tight skirt. The top is from Venus and comes in many colors. It allows you to cover up upper arms and belly while looking very sexy. LINK

I actually have it in a few colors

Just remember when you are not body confident, to embrace the parts of you that are awesome and always define some landmark on your body, whether it's your chest, arms, waist, legs, hips - this keeps you from being a shapeless "blob."

Change it up

No matter what you think your look is, it's a good thing to change it up when your life changes. Otherwise, you are trying to be the same person, doing the same thing, looking the same way, expressing herself the same way, but in a new situation. It is like asking an actor to wear his street clothes to act in a Renaissance festival. It'd be real hard to get into character or appear the part and the crowd would react to that lack of direction. 

I have gone through a few different incarnations in my life and as I get nearer to that "retirement" age, I find myself being bolder, brighter, and much more flamboyant than when I had to worry about employers and family members thinking they have me pegged. It's an evolving process that takes me back to childhood a bit. I look at the girl I was and who I am now and realize I'm getting closer to authentic.