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It is easy to be held hostage by the rules of dress that you grew up with. There’s that tiny inner voice saying, “That doesn’t go together!” But is that voice right? That voice probably needs to be updated and made relevant. Fashion changes and so should you.

Do I have to dress my age?  Clothing choices should not be determined by your chronological age, but by your body shape, proportions, energy level and occasion. Some folks act old at 30 and some are full of zip at 80. Your clothing choices should reflect your outlook on life.

Do I have to change my look as I age? Maybe/no/yes- you do need to evaluate whether your current hair and makeup still flatter the present-day you. “Signature looks” can be part of your identity, but usually need to be “evolved”. As we mature hair, skin and bodies change and it’s good to adjust to those changes. A good tip- cast a cold eye on a current picture and analyze what you would like to change. Be brave- have a stylist or trusted friend help you make a plan. Fashion not so much, but style yes.

Are neon brights classic? No, of course not, but everyone can add them in small amounts to enliven quiet wardrobes. Wear a neon in a scarf, a tee-shirt, shoes or a handbag. The color will look less intense when paired with navy or beige rather than black.

Gray hair makes you look old. Gray hair can look great if you have a modern cut and you are willing to wear makeup to brighten your face. Lipstick is a must. There are a a lot of ways to handle the gray: go partial, low lighting to add contrast or lightening the whole head of hair to a color close to the gray. Nothing is worse than visible roots on dyed hair.

 Is there one size that fits all:  Ha, Ha,Ha- the only thing that comes close are NPR’s slimmers. They really do fit most.

Horizontal stripes always make you look fat or short.  It all depends on the width of the stripe and the amount of value contrast (the light to dark of the colors). Some stripes are actually slimming and can make you appear taller when the stripes are variegated in width.

Big prints should be saved for wallpaper. Hmmm maybe, but again if there is not much contrast between the colors, the pattern could work. Also your height dictates the size of pattern you can wear.

Shoes and handbag need to match: No, not anymore. A playful mix of accessories always elevates your look. I love a pop of color in a shoe.

You can only wear white between Memorial Day and Labor Day: No- white is a fashion staple in jeans, blouses and jackets. Winter white looks fresh on dreary winter days.

High heels are more sophisticated.  No, flats and 1½”- 2” pumps can be adorable and kinder to your feet and back. The important thing to remember- shoulders back, chin up and chest out. Good posture always makes you look more put together.

Patterns can’t be mixed: Yes they can. Mixing textures and patterns in different scales or sizes can make your outfit look sophisticated. Solid color accents help unify the look. It’s advisable to only mix two- stripe or print- or two types of prints. Scale is key to looking sharp.

Never combine black with navy or navy with brown: Another old wives tale. Black looks great mixed with navy and navy mixed with brown is the new “go-to” color combination in suits this season. Mixing different colors always works better when your accessories (scarves or necklaces) pull the two or three colors together.

You have to spend a lot of money to look good: No- you just need to be knowledgeable about fabrics (and how they wear and launder), how to accessorize and how to shop sales. Remember, we believe in Never Pay Retail! Look for simple designs that can be dressed up or down with scarves or sweaters. Keep your shoes in good repair- no scuffs or rundown heels.

You have to have a lot of clothing. Not at all. A small mix and match wardrobe of 40 pieces can be perfect. It’s your decision, but you do have to be disciplined.

You can only wear sparkle in the evening. Sparkles can add oomph to an outfit as long as everything else says daytime.

You can’t combine gold and silver jewelry. So wrong… gold and silver look great together and combining the two metals is a good way to wear your seldom worn heirloom jewelry.

Classic clothing is better than trendy: hmmm- not necessarily. Classic clothing can be worn for more seasons, but consider the cost per wearing for the garment. If you have classic styles that are seldom worn, you are probably better off buying trendy clothing that you wear more frequently. Know yourself and buy what makes you happy.

No short skirts after 30:  Sometimes the last thing to “go south” on a gal is her legs. Consequently, if your legs look good, wear your short skirts. It’s refreshing to see women “over a certain age” showing their legs.

What is your favorite rule to bend?


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