Are there any rules left for age-appropriate dressing? This is not an easy question to answer when women today are looking better than ever at ages 40 and over. However, I am still part of the old school of thought that “mutton should not be dressed up as lamb”, no matter how fabulous your body is. There is a difference between looking youthful and looking tarty.

Stylists will differ on what age-appropriate dressing means and rules will be broken when we live in a world of botox and personal trainers. That said, here are my rules when it comes to dressing women stylishly for their age:

  • 20’s and early 30’s – virtually anything goes at this age, especially if you have the body type. Have fun following fashion fads and wearing them in just about any combination. You’ll get away with it all and modesty needn’t be top of your list. Ultra short skirts, skin tight dresses, plunging necklines, accessory overload and carefree casual dressing is perfectly acceptable when you have youth on your side. Celebrities like Sienna Miller, Kate Moss and Jessica Alba can take fashion right to its edge because they are at the right age. 
  • mid 30’s and 40’s – this is when a fundamental style change is in order. You are not a teenager anymore even if you have the body of one. Strive to look more pulled together, tailored and sophisticated. Opt to be smart-casual rather than casual most of the time. Become a little more serious about fashion and maintaining a high level of polish. You can still be funky and fashion forward if that’s your persona, but you’ll need to bypass trends that prevent you from looking chic. Pay closer attention to the accessories that you choose and the cosmetics that you buy.  Pay a little more for something that is better-end. Naomi Watts, Sarah Jessica Parker and Julianne Moore epitomize style for this age group.
  • 50’s and 60’s – there is never a need to dress maturely, just appropriately. Wearing tailored and structured clothing of impeccable quality is imperative when you are over the age of 50. Strive to look refined, smart and uncluttered. Select clothing with clean lines and interesting cuts. Stay away from basic t-shirts and loud prints. You’ll still look fabulous in a pair of dark-wash higher rise jeans as long as you dress them up with an elegant shirt, jacket and shoes. Add drama and personality through your accessories and hairstyle whilst keeping your clothing items and make-up simple and dignified. Catherine Deneuve and Jane Fonda are effortlessly chic at this age.

For me, stylish age-appropriate dressing is about becoming smarter, more tailored and more modest as you get older. What are your views? Let us know by leaving a comment to this entry.


Sienna Miller, Julianne Moore and Jane Fonda, each stylish at a different age.