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Well, at 40 you may feel you have reached that defining age. It’s the age you consider your greying hair, your marriage, and children. It’s an age your thighs slap together when you walk, the age at which you consider whitening your teeth, stained from all the coffee you have to drink to stay awake in order to finish those business proposals and run after the kids, the age at which you no longer care that your car has seen better days. It’s an age of greater confidence, more security and less anger. It’s an age you’re comfortable with and happy to have reached.
Then again it’s also an age at which you can no longer throw on a pair of ragged jeans and look fabulous. It is not an age for scanty, cheap or trendy dressing. It’s an age that doesn’t need extra tending and grooming, but nonetheless an age that is fabulous.
The following is a list of the top 10 fashion faux pas for those women who no longer sleep in till 10am, but have jobs and families that need organisation and discipline and in the process want to look healthy, comfortable, and chic while making your way through the daily grind! With a few twists, a couple of mixes and a handful of do's and don'ts, it really is not very hard at all!
1. Don’t match everything
It’s no longer trendy to match everything in our wardrobe. In fact, even matching shoes to handbags is considered out of fashion. Gone are the days of a red bag, red shoes, and red finger nail polish. It’s now more fashionable to keep your look clean, polished, healthy and simple. Brown and black can now be combined. Nail polish doesn’t have to match between hands and feet. The point being made is that you don’t have to look like you tried too hard. You should look like you assembled beautiful pieces of clothing and accessories over time which you mix up to give that simple but smart look. It’s not a must to match, but clever combination is in.
2. Avoid body hugging outfit
Clothing should not be cling to your body like a second skin. If you can see your cellulite through your pants, it is time to go up a size. If your belly hangs over your belt - unless you are 19 years old, in which case it seems to be accepted among your set- you might need to consider looking into double digits rather than trying to squeeze into your size 8/10 jeans from your last year of college. I feel you, but in truth prefer pants that fit. Truthfully if you look around, the women who are the best dressed and look the thinnest are NEVER the women in body hugging clothing with breasts squished together in ill-fitting bras, back fat oozing out from underneath an armpit or waist hanging above a pair of low-riding jeans. They are the women who wear clothing that fits, who keep it simple, understated and are timeless. Nipples poking through a Lycra shirt are not timeless. And just for the record, men do like to have a bit of mystery. Being able to see your every bit of your body through a transparent lacy dress is not sexy; It’s just poor taste.
3. Pass over the baggy
As much as small clothing is a problem, large, oversized clothing seems to be just as bad. Baggy is an oversized, ill-fitted t-shirt draped over an otherwise perfectly fine body. Large clothes make women look, well, large. The solution is to find the balance: not too big, not too small. Just try to find items that are just right, which can be hard when shopping at chain and department stores. Most ready-made clothing may not look fabulous on many people. If it fits in the bust, it would not fit in the waist. If it fits in the waist, it would not fit in the arms. The solution is to find a good tailor. A small nip or tuck can make all the difference in how an item of clothing fits. You can find quality material pieces at lower prices and have them tailored. Tailoring does cost some money, but in the end, it’s more important to have a few pieces of classic clothing that fit perfectly than heaps of shirts and skirts that don’t look or feel right. See tailored made clothing as part of your asset. And remember, highlighting your best features doesn’t mean hiding in a bag.
4. Minimise your accessories
A celebrity fashion designer once advised that before you leave the house, take off one thing. Let that ‘thing’ be an accessory. For instance, if you wear a necklace and earrings, bracelet is often unnecessary. The matching bracelet and ring are really bad. In fact, accessories should be minimal. One tasteful necklace or even a bold statement piece of jewelry is enough. Jewelry and accessories should serve to accompany an outfit, to add a small touch. They shouldn’t take over your dressing. In addition to jewelry, keep other accessories low-key. Big flouncy hats with flashy jewelry and oversized handbags often undermine what could otherwise be a perfectly fine collection. Too many bows and buckles overdo an outfit, and minimise the overall look.
5. Avoid fashion faux pas
Fashion come and go, and they usually only look good on the very, very young. At the age of 18, pretty much anything looks good given the suppleness of one's skin, the firmness of one's body, body fat on a 18 year old doesn’t wobble, and the lusciousness of their non-grey strong fashion foundation. If you keep your daily pieces simple, classic and true, you can branch out a bit with fun, fashionable pieces to assert your wardrobe. For the rest of us, fashion can be very dangerous. Fashion is great for handbags, sunglasses, scarves, and jewelry. If, for example, 80s style is in fashion, pick up a great handbag that uses this trend but that doesn’t overshadow the outfit. Keep the rest of the outfit simple and let the handbag be the statement piece. In addition to looking fairly dated quickly, fashion also tends to be quite expensive if you take it too far. Fashion come and go, so don’t spend a sizable amount trying to belong. Keep a few added pieces for panache, ensure your foundation is in order, and you wouldn’t look like you invaded your 18 year old daughter's closet for a Friday night in town.
6. Avoid sports shoes
Leave sports shoes at home, unless you’re running or working out at the gym. Wearing jogging shoes with shorts is bad. Wearing jogging shoes with mini skirt is very bad. Wearing jogging shoes with a dress is unbearably awful. Jogging shoes and shoes and sports gear should only be worn while playing sports. Otherwise, find a comfortable pair of flats, a nice low-heeled pair of shoes, a nice pair of sandals, or slip-on casuals. Simply leave jogging shoes for the purpose – running or walking.
7. Stay with flattering cuts
One common problem is not being able to dress for one’s particular body type. Some women look great in an A-line skirt but look scruffy in a pencil cut skirt. Other women look fabulous in flared pants while some look wonderful in tapered jeans particularly if you have a great figure. The point is that if you dress specifically for your body type you will ensure a classic, figure flattering look rather than a fashionable but badly fitted pair of outfits. The solution is to keep your basic pieces simple and stay to cuts that flatter your body type. The goal is to highlight your best assets rather than select items that will attract attention to your imperfect points. A woman with great arms might wear a sleeveless blouse, while a woman with great legs will focus on a skirt or pair of shorts. This is not encouraging you to hide parts of your bodies that aren’t as fabulous as others. Surely, the last thing you need is to spend hours in front of the mirror assessing and scrutinising your beautiful bodies. The suggestion is simply to drive home the point that a few well thought out choices in style can shift an outfit from badly fitted and poorly suited to make way for one’s best assets to shine through.
8. Anything short is unflattering
Short pants, short skirts, bum shorts. Short pants actually make most women look bigger on top. Bum shorts and short skirts are anything but flattering on the many people. Even if you have fabulous legs and a great, toned butt; bum shorts and skirts run the risk of being quite tacky almost all the time. It is a risk few women shouldn’t be willing to take, especially at work or on a date. Nothing screams ‘brainless and empty’ like a pair of denim shorts riding up your butt. Short shirts are another common problem. If you can see the belly over hang, which is a problem on its own, your shirt is too short. If your shirt rides up and would not stay put, it is too short and too small especially when you spend all day pulling it down. Short shirts, again, make people look stocky, heavy and, well, short. If you want to lengthen your frame and slim your shape, focus on maxi length rather than short clothes.
9. Avoid mixing animal prints
If you love animal prints, fine, but mixing animal prints is simply wrong, particularly for women over 55 years. It’s just too much of a good thing. Leopard print, cheetah print, zebra print - stick with one wild animal item at a time. Animal print itself like other fashions should actually be focused on accessories such as handbags, shoes, bangles, hair wrap, shawl rather than a whole leopard jumpsuit. If you have a zebra print pair of ballet flats (super cute), just leave it at that. No need to take on a leopard print handbag and some jaguar print earrings. The point is that a little of animal print goes a long way.
10. Dump shower cap
Wearing a shower cap outside one's own bathroom is a no-no. Seriously, not even in the kitchen or living room. A shower cap protects your hair during a shower or bath, and also prevents your hair from getting wet or into your eyes when washing your face. Finish. It shouldn’t be part of your clothing collection. If your hair is untidy, you can decide to tie in a pony-tail - really cool. Don’t wear a shower cap. A triangle scarf is better hiding unkempt hair than a shower cap.
So, it's honestly simple and to the point. The primary objective of dressing well and remaining fashionable is to keep it classic, modest, spotless, and suitably fitted. Think about your own figure, body type, and style when selecting clothing, and endeavour to put your hard earned money on quality, timeless pieces. Dressing well is a little pleasure we give ourselves that shouldn’t cost a fortune or take too much time. With these tips on how to avoid fashion pitfalls, looking trendy becomes easier than trying to force yourself into a pair of size 12 jeans that you can’t zip up simple for fashion.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons.