What does looking old mean? Well it can mean different things to different people. To me, not looking old is everything from how I hold my body to why I color my hair and how I wear my clothes. For some it also means your every day attitude. For some it means your energy level. So there are a myriad of meanings to what I am trying to talk about today. I am going to go though some of the things that make women look and seem older than they are and how to stop those things from happening.
First step is a no brainer for all of us. There is a fashion to dressing older than you need to. A lot of women confuse comfort dressing and dressing like an old lady. You can be comfortable and not elderly. Let’s start with shoes. A shoe that looks like thisis something you may want to stay away from if you are under 80 years of age. This shoe also says the same thing. But you are reading and thinking wow this woman really doesn’t know what comfort is. I do, I dress comfortably every day and I don’t own a shoe that looks like either of these. How abouta darling little ballet flat by Munro? It comes in 5 colors and I found it under the title ‘Comfort’ on the Nordstrom website. I wear comfortable shoes and boots all the time, they just look more like this classic flat boot from Blondo.
What about your pants and jeans? Do you know something that makes everyone look older and inappropriate? Yes I am talking about pants and jeans that give you a muffin top. For those of you who don’t know what a muffin top is I will tell you. It is when your middle section hangs over the top of your pants creating the look of a muffin top and stem. You must avoid that at all costs. How about trying a pair of pants with a higher rise? Here is a pair of NYJD colored jeans that come up a little higher and won’t give you a muffin top. They are stylish and skinny and you can wear them with everything. NYJD ( Not your Daugher’s Jeans) makes jeans and pants in all styles and washes. There are skinny, straight, wide and even coated jeans. I know they carry them at Nordstrom and at the Bay in Canada. It should be easy to find. Another brand that I love for denim is Eileen Fisher. They are a bit pricier but they are the most comfortable denim I have ever put on and the rise is perfect for not displaying a muffin top. They are the only brand I will wear a white jean from because they are not see though and they come up just high enough. They are really worth the money. Lots of styles and colors. I am showing the straight leg above in blue denim, it also comes in black and the white skinny jean. They also make a wonderful skinny jean in both black and blue denim and every year they introduce novelty colors as well. The best place to shop Eileen Fisher is at their own stores. But it is also availabe at Nordstrom and some specialty stores.
Now tops are a whole category onto their own. I am a true believer in wearing clothes that fit and aren’t too big or too tight. A good tailor is your best friend for making adjustments so things fit perfectly. But pay attention to the size you are buying. I have consciously made the decision not just to pick up something because it has an L on it. L is for large and most of the time larges are too big and I have to belt them or tailor them. So now I am trying on the M first ( medium) and if it is too small then I size up. Something that fits properly looks better. If something is meant to be loose and draped than it will likely look like thisponcho from Whitehouse Blackmarket. Where it fits exactly right in the shoulders but falls into drapes around the rest of your body. If it doesn’t fit your shoulders exactly it is too big and pick a smaller size. But if you are buying something that looks like this layered sweater from WHBM make sure you buy it in the size that slightly hugs your body. Too big looks sloppy and will make you look older. I really like the clothes from WHBM. I find they fit me really well and they all seem to have a bit of lycra or spandex in them, just enough to make them fit close to the body and not so tight that I can’t hide what I want to hide.
Last bit about clothes is underwear. This section is for a very good friend of mine who wonders why I never blog about underwear. Well my friend, this next paragraph is for you! You absolutely need to invest in good under garments. They are the foundation to everything you wear. Buy bras that fit. Yes, you will need to go and get fitted by someone. It’s not that bad. I was fitted last year and found out I was wearing the wrong size. I needed a smaller band and bigger cup. And now all my bras fit and nothing hangs over the sides or slips below the cups. I really like Wacoal as a line for bras.This is the “Awareness” bra by Wacoal. Yes I am showing a bra with an underwire. The only time you should not wear a bra with underwire is if you wear an A or B cup. Everyone else needs underwire. Gravity is a bitch and we need to fight it every step. So buy a good bra and buy one with underwire.
Stay away from underpants that you could also use as a satchel. There are so many brands in stores that fit your body closely that there should be no excuse. How about this seamless hipster from Nordstrom ( their own brand), lots of colors and no seams and bands so no panty lines. VPL or visible panty lines are one of the most aging things a women can have going on. No one is going to tell you that you have to wear a thong. But you can if you want to. Hanky Panky makes 2 versions, original rise and low rise. If you have given birth likely you want original rise. The other way you can go is boy shorts. These are by Spanx and they will hide what you want to hide and make your look fabulous under fitted dresses, skirts and pants. There are lots and lots of brands to explore and try. But what ever you do stay away from VPL!
Now what about other aging things you need to stay away from. One of the things that make a woman look older is gray hair. GET RID OF IT! No excuses! And I will be brave enough to tell you what all your friends aren’t, it is not complimentary to anyone’s skin tone. Do not embrace your gray. Find a good hairdresser and color it. If you can’t get to the hairdresser regularly buy yourself a can of this it is root concealer for gray hair and it comes in 4 colors at Sephora. You could also buy something like this from Maison Reed that you can brush over where your gray is showing until you can get to the hairdresser. There are lots of ways to camouflage gray hair. Talk to your hairdresser, he or she is your best asset when it comes to figuring out how to cover and conceal gray hair. But giving up coloring it is not an option. Nothing makes you look older than gray hair!
Another thing that will make you look older than you are is your posture. For goodness sakes stand up straight.( I sound like your mother right now, but I guarantee I don’t look like her ). Keep your shoulders back. Old people look round shouldered. You don’t want to look like that. If you are lucky enough to work with a personal trainer, talk to him or her about making sure your back muscles are strong enough to hold you up. If you go to yoga on a regular basis or do something like the Dailey Method, you are already working on it. But running, biking, working on the computer etc all make you slouch forward. Standing up straight and not being round shouldered or slouching will make you look younger and thinner!
I had a good trainer years ago when I finished nursing my second child who gave me some good tips to adjust my posture. At every traffic light when we have to stop, I puled my shoulders back and down down and tried and touch my shoulder blades together. It really worked, you just have to practice doing it at every stop light and you will be standing up straighter.
Last couple of tips is about your face and make up. A smile goes a long way to making your face not slouch. You can hold your face up or you can let it sag. Old people let their faces sag. You can also have help in holding your face up. There are lots of things and products you can do that encourage the muscles to stay strong. I like Lumi Lift which uses LED light to keep the muscles active in keeping your face up and not letting it sag. But go see a skin specialist or a good esthetician who can diagnose your issues and tell you the right things to do to keep your face from looking old.
When you wear your make up always wear it lightly. You don’t want it to settle in any creases. Lips should always be lined before applying lipstick to prevent lipstick bleeding into the little lines around your mouth. And make sure there is no gap between your eyeliner and lashes. Find a good make up artist or someone at a store who really knows their stuff and ask them for advice. They will help you pick colors that work for your face.
And don’t forget to whiten your teeth! Yellow or stained teeth really show age. So do cracks in the enamel. If you need more help that a whitening toothpast will provide, go see your dentist. They have all sorts of wonderful ways to give you a youthful looking smile!
Last piece of facial advise: wax or tweeze dark hairs. Get rid of your moustache and chin hairs. At least bleach them. Nothing is worse than talking to someone who looks great but when she turns the light catches her long hairs on her chin. Get rid of it! Those things will absolutely age you.
I really hope this blog wasn’t too preachy. But I have been looking around lately and I just see too many women giving up and not doing what they can to look younger. Trust me if you look younger you will feel younger.
So now it’s December and I am hoping that you will email me blog suggestions for the next 2 weeks and then we will break until January 11. Please email me what you would like to hear about at suethefashionista.com. Also if you would like a styling appointment for January now is the time to email me before I get completely booked up. I hope you are finding my blog helpful and a good resource. I would love to hear suggestions.
Until next time, stay stylish!