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I disagree with the popular myth that winter clothing is more flattering to an expanding waistline (with all the layers and scarves) than summer clothing. Summer clothing can look great and flatter your figure when the garments are carefully chosen and accessorized. 

The first step is to realize and focus on the fact that you have evolved since you were in your twenties. I know that sounds silly, but often we keep the mind-set of what worked for us years ago. When confronted with new styles and colors, the response is, “No- I can’t try that- that won’t look good on me”. Of course, not all new styles and colors will work but we all need to expand our ‘palate’. I find that things that didn’t work, now look good. The challenge is to see ourselves as we are in the here and now.

The areas of the body that show the most ‘age’ are our hands, neck, arms and chest areas. Jiggly waists, ‘crepey’ arms, sun spots, spider veins and dowager’s hump are key areas to camouflage.

Make a plan: how do you spend your time and what are your clothing needs? Don’t keep looking for work clothes when you are retired. Banish the expression, “I don’t need anything”. Clothing tells your story and communicates your vitality and enthusiasm for life. If your closet is filled with clothing from your past lives, you do need fresh, new designs. Retire the old and start assembling the new.

Begin with your underwear. Worn out and ill-fitting bras and panties ruin your presentation. Clean out your underwear drawer and purchase new great fitting and flattering under-garments.

Look slimmer:  avoid anything that is too tight (especially skinny jeans) or anything baggy or oversized. Avoid thin, jersey-like fabrics or shiny materials. Instead, find matte fabrics with some body and drape. Stay away from bell shaped skirts and bell shaped sleeves. Cropped or 3/4 length pants can be tricky. It is better to wear full length or ankle length pants. Also, prints with big patterns or high contrast can make you look heavy. Chunky shoes are not a sleek look. Be cautious with bling- it has a similar effect as shiny fabrics. Also, stay away from mini-skirts.

Start to build your summer wardrobe: Start with coordinating pieces in two or three colors.

  • Your neutrals are the most versatile color for wardrobe building (hair, eye, skin and your red colors). It is always good to have your top and bottom match (blend) and add a third piece like a scarf or a vest to create contrast and a vertical line.
  • Accent your neutrals with bright fun colors. Avoid monochromatic color combinations.
  • The key is to cover your problem areas and still be cool.
  • Wear a collared shirt or blouse for an instant face lift. The collar is flattering and camouflages a thicker neck or back.
  • Black is always a good color to wear, but not head to toe.
  • Wear pantyhose if you have visible veins or sunspots. Select a natural color. Don’t wear hose with shorts, capris or open toed shoes.
  • Spray tans or leg makeup are a good option.
  • Update your glasses. A fun, modern pair helps your presentation. Avoid “Mrs. Santa Claus” glasses.
  • Avoid matching sets: necklaces & earrings; matching prints, jean and matching jean jacket. Embellishments can be great, but avoid kitschy.
  • Emphasize your positives: knee length skirts for good calves, fitted peplum for good waist, skinny pants for slim hips… you get the idea.
  • Always wear lipstick, but go easy on heavy makeup.
  • Keep your hair style fresh and updated. If your hair is gray, this is doubly important.
  • Keep your feet looking good with pedicures.

Look for:

  • Cool and easy fabrics. Comfort is key.
  • A pop of color to your neutrals with jewelry, scarf or sweater.
  • Ankle pants are the most flattering and cover veins etc
  • Vests are your friends as are jackets.
  • Elbow length or cap sleeves are good to cover arms.
  • 3/4’s sleeves on jackets or tees.
  • White jeans and a silk tunic top or a collared blouse. Light weight leggings can be good in the summer with a long top.
  • Cotton ruanas and ponchos.
  • Knee length skirts and shift dresses.
  • Color blocking: one color on the inside (pants and top) and another on the outside (sweater or jacket).
  • Maxi dresses.
  • Scarves to minimize the neck and cover upper arms.
  • Tank tops. Wear under shirts to slim the middle and make the shirt look like a jacket.
  • European shoes- seek out the ones that don’t look ‘orthopedic’.
  • Boot-cut pants or wider pant legs in soft fabrics.

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