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Sharon Haver, Fashion Expert & Style Advisor

Age-Appropriate Casual Chic for the Silver Hair Set: How To Shop To Master An Ageless Stylish Wardrobe

Sometimes age-appropriate casual chic can be a tough call to shop for… a FocusOnStyle reader shares how to work around it…

Q: Thanks for the article/photos on Susan Sarandon. Any advice for a retired 60 year-old female graphic artist, (60)? I like to be somewhat trendy/edgy while still being age appropriate and doing it on a budget.

I’ve begun a capsule of sorts (turquoise, charcoal and some violet), and it helps a lot, but if you could recommend basic pieces one should have for a casual wardrobe that’s stylish I would appreciate it.

Our pretty reader

Our pretty reader

I am petite, about a size 10/12 and gain weight at my waist/midriff. I don’t know where to shop. Chico’s is usually too glitzy for me, Jjill is often too basic. Coldwater Creek is sometimes to0 matronly. Those are the stores easily accessible to me. Any ideas? I don’t object to shopping online.

>> WATCH: Petite Fashion Tips On How To Dress To Look Taller

Also, keep the whitish gray hair, or put in some blond streaks?

Your site is bookmarked and looked at more often than any other site I browse. Keep up the great work! Thanks. (via Fashion Advice)

 >> WHY NOT: Look at our Online Shopping Guides

A:

Why THANK YOU, what lovely words! I’m glad that you find style encouragement at FocusOnStyle!

What you want to achieve is to look ageless and modern regardless of where the item came from. At a certain age, whatever that may be, I find it difficult to pigeon hole oneself into certain stores or brands that cater to a more frumpy than fashionable look– dressing matronly will add ten years and more to your look.

Diane Keaton has dusty blone highlights and soft face framing layers in her hair.

Diane Keaton has dusty blonde highlights and soft face framing layers in her hair.

On the same token, you can find that one special piece anywhere and should not be discouraged by the rest of a store’s style vibe.

Also, as we age, our body starts to shift and even though we may be (close) to the same size we always were, things just don’t fit the same way. So a pair of updated chinos in a modern color that can be ageless, just don’t sit the same way on many 60-year-olds as a 35-year-old even though both ladies are in good shape.

As you are saying, it  doesn’t mean that you should give up on style or squeeze yourself into an unflattering fit.

It means that you may have to work a little harder to find the brands, stores, and designers that cater to your body type; there really is not a universally easy solution. You may be fine in a jacket from one brand but need another one for pants.

It’s a pain, I know. But true.

 I would buy what you must where it fits the best, pants are universally the hardest. A good tailor (I LOVE mine) can tweak a few little darts here and there to make something slightly blah fit incredible… but don’t go hog wild on tailoring tweaks as it can add up… anything more than a couple of fit enhancements is just not worth the redo.

Then tzuj it up with accent pieces, accessories, and less bodycon pieces from whatever store has the most modern pieces that strike your fancy! This way, you don’t have to feel married to a certain store, just know where to go to find your hard to fit items and the world is open to you for everything else.

 As far as basic pieces, I would go with items that are a bit drapey layered over ones that are more tailored and lean for a younger look. The older we get, the less fussy our clothes should be. Simple, yet stylishly well-cut classic items look the most chic.

I hate to narrow things down to specifics, because it’s what you do with each item counts and whether or not is the RIGHT cut for you. Anyway, here goes a general guide for some key pieces to keep in a stylish casual wardrobe:

  •  Pants in a fit that flatters you- straight or flair or both.
  • A drapey cardigan sweater
  • A well-cut, tailored  jacket
  • T-shirts and shirts that you can layer
  • A gorgeous, lightweight and voluminous scarf
  • Good shoes that don’t scream old lady- bad shoes are the killer of all looks

Jamie Lee Curtis rocks short gray hair. Martha Stewart has the best blonde highlights. Diane Keaton, who has a mind-blowing figure in person, has some dusty blonde highlights with soft face framing layers that are a fantastic way to experiment with a little blonde without looking fake or heavy-handed.

Looking for fashion advice? Just ask!

Photo:PrPhotos; lead outfit by BananaRepublic.com

Published on May 03, 2012

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