Have you ever looked at another woman and thought ‘I’d do anything to look as stylish as her’?
My wife and I were sitting in the mall discussing the dress of the mall shoppers and only 1 in 10 did she consider stylish. Stylish seems to be such an elusive thing and yet you know it when you see it.
There’s rarely something specific you can put your finger on, but rather a host of thoughtful touches: perhaps a rolled-up blazer sleeve that artfully shows a flash of bright blouse, a statement necklace paired with something unexpected, such as a simple top worn with flair.
In reality, though, it’s not any of those things. The truth is that these woman have got their hands on the most important accessory of all — complete confidence in their clothes.
It makes them walk a little taller, speak a little more boldly and draw the eye of everyone in the room. Julianne Moore has it, as do Amal Clooney and Helen Mirren.
But the good news is that this confidence isn’t dependent on wealth, size or age — and it’s not innate; you can learn it.
Which means that, even if you think you’ve lost your way when it comes to fashion, you, too, can be that woman — whatever your dress size or budget. It takes only a few clever tricks and secrets to get back your style mojo.
And it’s easy to do with a dress so here are 11 ways that you can use to value a dress and it works for ladies of all ages.
These days, I’m finding style inspiration in what Dame Helen Mirren, 69, is wearing. Her style tends to be very feminine, if not downright sexy. I’ve always encouraged feminine style, even after 50. But each of us must decide how much “sexy” is just right? My new dress is feminine, showing my curves, but it isn’t too revealing (no spaghetti straps, plunging necklines or cutouts). That balance of feminine and reserve is the right amount of sexy for me.
I love draping–whether it’s around the neck, waist, stomach or hips–because it conceals and distracts. It’s particularly great when a dress is draped across the stomach, an area I always want to downplay!
A Splashy Print
In general, I love prints. Like draping, prints conceal and distract. While floral prints are popular this spring I pick flowery dresses carefully. My new dress has a trendy blurred floral print, which is colorful, but is neither demure nor dainty. Perfect!
A Comfortable Fabric
There are lots of comfortable fabrics out there, but right now I’m loving the ones with a little stretch. I love the way they give when I walk or sit.
Like draping and a print, lining conceals those little lumps and bumps. Lining also increases the garment’s weight, making it more sturdy and helping it hold its shape. I love the soft jersey linings, which also have a little stretch.
Okay, I hate style rules. The reason: There isn’t a style rule that women can’t break and look fabulous doing so. That said, women over 50 are rarely flattered by cheap clothes. Cheap is cheap after 50. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to go into debt to buy well-made clothes. Thanks to the “labels for less” type sites, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Nordstrom’s Rack and so on, as well as the millions of designer outlet sites, it’s possible to find quality clothes with a reasonable price tag. Also, these days, huge, semi-annual-type sales happen almost monthly.
Even if a dress isn’t loaded with lots of “plus”(ie, comfort, a jazzy print, lining and so forth), it still might be a good buy, if the dress flatters your body shape. The converse may not be true, though. A really well-made dress doesn’t mean much if the design doesn’t flatter you. There are tons of articles online to help you determine what designs flatter your shape. Take note of the styles discussed below.
V-neck dresses are also an elegant way to show off beautiful shoulders and a sexy décolletage. If you’re concerned with showing too much skin, choose dresses with a wider “V” that emphasizes your collarbones and shoulders rather than your bust line. If you’re more daring, your dress can take more of a plunge. However, if you’re tempted to choose a “cut down to there” dress, take a step back and rethink your options.
Wrap and Sheath Dresses
Wrap and sheath dresses are fabulous for playing up your curves without clinging too tightly to those bits that you would rather not emphasize. If your legs are not your best feature, a knee-length style is flattering for nearly every woman. If your legs are in great shape, dare to go a few inches above the knees. No matter what length you choose, you should also wear heels to finish the look. If you don’t want to go for stilettos, wedge heels are a stylish and comfortable alternative
Readers often tell me they can’t find dresses with long hemlines. If you are petite, you may have the opposite problem — can’t find dresses that are short enough. Three things to keep in mind:
• The models wearing the dress online are often 5′ 10″ or taller. Unless you’re a really tall gal, the dress is going to be longer on you. Always check the dress’s description for hem length (and know your own measurements)
• If you’re a tall woman, there plenty of sites with dress hemmed proportionately for women of height.
• And, finally, petite women shouldn’t allow themselves to be bullied into wearing dresses hemmed at or below the knee. Apparently, there’s a rule floating around about hems and women after 50. If you’re petite, a hem that covers your knees makes you look shorter and stockier. Ugh.
Dare to Go Bare
If you really aren’t inclined to wear bare shoulders or short skirts, you can still give the illusion of going bare. For instance, a dress with an asymmetrical hem or a modest slit provides a peek at your legs without going for the full above-the-knee look. A dress with cutouts at the shoulders gives the illusion of bare arms and shows off your shoulders while covering up the actual upper arm, which is a problem area for many women