Charla Krupp’s New York Times best seller, “How Not to Look Old”, is an insightful and informative read (published in 2008). Formerly the beauty editor of Glamour and senior editor of InStyle magazine, Charla shares her expertise on looking 10 years younger, 10 pounds lighter and 10 times better in fast and effective ways. The information is detailed, tangible, easy to absorb, hands-on and unapologetic. Although I don’t agree with all of Charla’s opinions, this aspect of her book really resonated with me.

The chapters on personal style, fashion and wardrobe planning feature sidebars with succinct checklists that are food for thought. The list that intrigued me the most was “forbidden fashion items for every woman past the age of 30 who wants to look effortlessly chic and classy“. In other words, she considers these items “too young” for women over the age of 30.

Here is the list along with my 2 cents on the subject. I have highlighted the areas where I differ from Charla.

  • Ankle bracelets: I generally agree, but some ladies wear an ankle bracelet with their national dress. An ankle bracelet looks perfectly appropriate with an Indian Sari, for example.
  • Belly necklaces: I see Charla’s point. But you might get away with a belly necklace if you’re in superb shape (or if you’re a belly dancer).
  • Body piercing: Agreed.
  • Boy shorts: If this refers to underwear then I am guilty as charged, but I imagine that Charla is talking about what I call “hot pants”, or short shorts.If so, I agree.
  • Collegiate sweats, T-shirts and caps: I wear adorable collegiate lounging sweats every day. They don’t leave the house and they fit well. Until I find a more grown-up substitute I’m sticking with these. I’m with Charla on the T’s and caps though.
  • Colored cowboy boots: I’m not sure about this one. Perhaps the Texans can help me out.
  • Crocs: Agreed. My age limit for this item is eight.
  • Earmuffs: Looking sweet in earmuffs is achievable when you’re older than 30. I saw this look in NYC earlier this year and wished I also had a pair.
  • Ear piercing in multiples: Agreed.
  • Flip flops in the city: Agreed. In fact, I’m much stricter here. I say ban flip flops at any age when you’re in the city. It’s beachwear.
  • Go-go boots: Guilty as charged. At 38 I love my go-go boots and feel that I pull them off with style. I hope to wear them for a little while longer.
  • Leg warmers: Tough one. I have seen these work on older women who wore them over jeans and in boots.
  • Micro mini dresses: Agreed.
  • Mittens: Agreed.
  • Nameplate necklaces: Agreed. But I have a friend in her early 30’s who wears one with style. I think it’s because she doesn’t look a day over 25.
  • Newsboy caps: No age limit. I see women in their 50’s sport streamlined versions with style.
  • Scrunchies: Agreed. My age limit on these is 14. I can hardly believe that my favourite chain store Club Monaco is selling them right now.
  • Super low riding jeans: Agreed.
  • Tattoos: This is difficult. If you have a tattoo, you’re stuck with it. Does Charla mean don’t get a tattoo after the age of 30?
  • Tie-dye anything: I can see tie-dye tops working after 30 if you have a bohemian edge to your style.
  • Tights in neon colours: Agreed.
  • Toe-rings: As with ankle bracelets, you can sport these when you’re older if they are part of your national dress.
  • Tube tops as stand-alones: Agreed.

Overall I think that 30 is too low as a cutoff point, even in some of the areas that I agree. After all, 40 is the new 30! Over to you. What are your thoughts on the items on Charla’s list? Do you think she’s left anything out?