wardrobe planning may be more cohesive if you figure out your fashion
style type. Some types of fashion, offered with the over-50 woman in
- arty or bohemian
- simply elegant (or elegant simplicity)
- trendy or trend-setter.
- romantic or sexy.
I call these fashion styles fashion archetypes, because they embody deeper needs and behaviors of our personalities. Expressing one of the types of fashion is a way of becoming the star of our own lives.
As we age, we may have to reassess our fashion style: The suburban mom takes a job and needs a professional wardrobe; the lawyer retires from her professional career and takes up her dream of landscape painting. The suits have to go.
Here are three advantages of basic wardrobe planning around a type of fashion that suits your personality and lifestyle:
- Efficiency shopping and pulling an outfit together, even on the fly.
- Spending limited wardrobe budgets on what will give us the most use. Basic wardrobe planning involves figuring out what types of fashion we most need. It makes sense to add a black skirt to our professional wardrobe when we understand we’ve got 18 tops and three jackets to team with it. Shopping for an item we might have spurned as too ordinary becomes a fashion triumph.
- Feeling well-dressed and comfortable on every occasion. The best fashion advice for women is to decide what feels good and looks good on you. Your personal fashion style emerges from that. What looks and feels good changes over time. Periodic reassessment is essential.
Here’s a summary of eight fashion archetypes.
The arty look is colorful, quirky, sometimes ethnic, and always fearless. Natural fabrics are preferred. A snowy white poet’s shirt, an embroidered jacket that goes from work to art gallery reception, and a luxurious handbag are suggestions for the bohemian wardrobe.
The corporate executive wife and the charity fund-raiser are some typical lifestyle choices of women who express their inner creativity with sophisticated fashions. Wardrobe suggestions are a Chanel suit, a silk dress, gold cloche earrings and a diamond pendant necklace.
This fashion style is tailored. A blazer jacket is a must. It can be worn with a variety of durable, washable cotton pants, such as khaki, a good choice for the active, outdoorsy woman. Sweaters and sweater sets work well. A silk T-shirt adds sophistication. Avoid fussy prints and ruffles.
Suburban fashion goes from town to country with ease. She visits a corporate office in tailored slacks, a fuchsia shirt, an elegantly tailored long jacket, and pumps appropriate for lunch at a chic restaurant. Then she’s off to a soccer game. The pumps are replaced by rubber-soled loafers, the jacket with a sweater. Pick garments for their versatility.
The professional fashion archetype loves suits – pantsuits for every day, skirt suits for court, a tuxedo suit for formal occasions, and a tailored dress when a skirt is a must. Choose suits and tops so you can mix-and-match for maximum versatility. Add an embroidered vest for pizzazz.
If you’ve asked yourself What Would Jackie [Kennedy Onassis] Do?(book by Shelley Branch and Sue Callaway) Or What Would Audrey [Hepburn] Do? (by Pamela Keough), this is your fashion archetype. Stock your closet with solid colors and garments with simple lines such as the A-line, princess, and cheongsam dresses. Shop at designer consignment shops to achieve this look on a budget.
The older woman who adopts the latest fashion trends may end up looking as if she is desperately clinging to her passing youth. For best effect, add fashion trends to classic costumes. For example, an outrageous jacket, with lots of bling and some feather accents, might be worn with simple black or white beneath. Experiment. Every fashion mistake can be changed tomorrow.
Flirty grows up after 50 or risks appearing as if life has passed her by. Ruffles, but not frills; clinging fabrics that hug curves without being skintight; and decollete that knows when to quit are hallmarks of the romantic fashion archetype. Strive for glamor and sensuality using texture and a bit of bling.