In How gracefully aging manuals don’t make more noise than dos. No leather trousers! No cracks! No man is a buns! No skateboards! The list of allegedly verboten items for over 50 is endless. Your life is booby-trapped, a false trick and the world will fall into laughter. That’s enough to make your hair white – oh, wait.
Here’s a good idea. Let’s talk about how to dress appropriately according to your age rather than how to avoid being wrong. The list of over 50 style icons grows longer each year, and among them they tear up the manual (except for one about skateboards, sorry). Iris Apfel, a White House interior fashion designer, made her latest capsule collection for H&M filled with fringed purple jacquard miniskirts and frog-shaped crystal earrings, and it sold out in an hour. Apple turned 101 this year.
“You have to dress for yourself before you dress according to your age,” Epfel once said. In fact, I think the trick is to recognize that the two are the same. Dress for the person you are now. There’s no reason to cosplay yourself as a fictional intelligent elder version, but neither do you need to dress like the one you had 15 years ago. You see, I have no doubt that you still have a lot of fun at parties, but let’s just say that nowadays you also enjoy getting up early on Saturday mornings to walk the dog before the park is busy. That you are now and that person can find a better pair of corduroy than leather trousers. Here’s how to fix it.
Dress up, not down
When you’re 22, jeans and a black T-shirt look comfortable and a little mysterious, but 30 years later, the same outfit can make you invisible. For this reason, the topsy sounds like a turvy, a call for old clothes that scream a little louder. Wear 10% more clothes every 10 years and above 40 years. There are several ways you can dial your wardrobe. You can make it smarter and more formal – T-shirts for colored shirts, floppy cardigans for custom jackets – or you can keep it casual but bad for making it glam-casual by adding color and texture. There comes a time in every 50-year life when you realize that the main character’s energy is gravitating towards the next generation, and so you have to work a little harder not to fade into the background. That doesn’t mean you have to go full Tilda Swinton and wear some architectural and tangerine colored clothes every day, just jeans and a t-shirt can’t cut it.
But don’t change too much
My mother, 74, says her secret is the clothes she always wears. “I have always loved to dress, and I still do. The hemlines are one meter longer than they were 40 years ago. At this point, a radical change of style is inappropriate. If you’ve made your first half-century into jeans and trainers, a full Seville row makeover at this point would almost certainly be a costly mistake. Start by swapping that bubbly zip-up wool for an unstructured blazer and pick it up from there. If you’ve always been a phobia philo-worshiper, navy and polo neck type, you shouldn’t start wearing purple and fun brooches to show that you still value fashion. Chanel Lee Radziwill and keep it low with some strategic additions of sophistication and jewelry.
Become a silver fax
Gray is the new blonde. Silver faxes (and vaccines) are more fun. Andy McDowell, 64, ruled the red carpet at Cannes with his white hair last year; A few months ago, Kristen McMany, 57, wore a long silver locks to cover British luxury. Idris Elba, 49, nowadays has a beard of salt and pepper, and Cillian Murphy, as Tommy Shelby, was gray in the temples in the final of the Picky Blinders. The convention that once commanded women to cut their hair in mid-life to avoid being embarrassed by “sheep mutton dressed as sheep” – the equivalent of 20th-century witch-hunting – has gratefully ended. However, it remains true that for both men and women, good grooming is essential as you get older. The same level of devil-may-care scrubness that looks deliciously rock-n-roll at 25, a 55-year-old seems to have deteriorated into sims. Ponytails in men and plates in women stick at your own risk in midlife, but you do.
Leather trousers: Move carefully
At 58, Brad Pitt is one year older than Boris Johnson. I share this fact with you to illustrate that there are no hard and fast rules about what you can get at any age. No doubt Pitt could pull off a pair of leather trousers if he wanted to, but for Johnson on the skin, I can apologize for conjuring up that image. See also: ripped jeans, very passionate shirt-buttoning (men’s and women’s), band t-shirts, anything with a skull motif on it.
If you’re a half-century-old ballpark man, you’re at the age when a shirt worn under a crochet or V-neck sweater has become a smart casual office look for most of your working life. But there may come a day when you look in the mirror and realize that under your shirt (it’s probably a pale blue) sweater (I’m guessing, charcoal gray) you look less like a Silicon Valley boardroom wow. You’re ready to get comfortable in your favorite chair with a hardback historical biography. Try wearing a jacket instead. (Bill Nighe gives a nice jacket-over-casual-shirt, no tie.) For women, trousers are perfect for all ages (see: Viola Davis) but if tailoring isn’t for you, consider the Prada. Not what Musea Prada puts on the catwalk, but what she herself wears: a neatly fitted sweater, a knee-length calf-length A-line or printed skirt, a cat’s heel, very fine jewelry.
Now 40th birthdays seem like a lot of fun all night long, days 50 and up may be the first time you have to wear a big evening gown. Finding out what to wear is as stressful as anticipating a three-day hangover. For men, party shirts are still the safest choice, but nothing shiny, no Hawaiian flowers and, anyway, don’t wear it on the dance floor. For ladies, if déshabillé is your signature, take the steer from Carine Roitfeld which shows that wearing a messy black eyeliner and leather skirt works in 67 even when wearing a simple silk blouse and black sandals. Use with floor length: Kaftan-close maxidress is elegantly gorgeous, and you can wear flat shoes. Your main reference is in the Oprah Winfrey floor-length short dress, not the Duchess of Devonshire.
Having the same three outfits on vacation for 25 years at Trott is a great British tradition and durable to boot, so while Tony Blair is on Downing Street, it’s the green light for the denim mini you bought at the big topshop and the kaftan you bought. On the Beniras beach in Ibiza because the twentieth thing worn by Siena Miller. But as a general rule, if you now have to carry your reading glasses to dinner and / or use the torch function on your phone to read menus, easily go for cheesecloth and embroidered and milkmaid necklines. Comfort and boho are good, but droopy is not a vibe we want to emphasize at this time. White jeans are always a good idea. Men: Only classic sunglasses in black or turtle shell, like anything mirrored will now make you look like a grizzled LAPD cop.
Well, there a A little Does not
I can’t lie, there are some red lines. For women: Sweatshirts or tote bags with cute whimsical slogans containing the words “Proseko” or “Yoga”. For men: Cycling outfits with excessive amounts of lime green. I admit I don’t deserve to stand in the decision of cycling gear that I’ve only been on a bike once since graduation, but does it really require a full ninja turtle to pedal around Regents Park?