Fashion in your 40s and 50s
Q: I’m 45 and at a loss for what to wear. I don’t like frumpy, and I don’t want to dress like an “old lady,” but I know I can’t get away with the funky, youthful fashions anymore (even though I like a lot of them).
Any suggestions for some casual and moderately dressy outfits? And any suggestions as to where to shop?
A: Sometimes, when you’re shopping, it seems like the clothes you find are made for anyone but you. And no one wants to look too young or too old! For advice on looking stylish in your 40s, I turned to Marlene Shiff, stylist and owner of Toronto shop Boutique Le Trou on Queen West West. She says:
“There’s miles of room between old lady and funky youth! You have great options.
“Mixing up the pieces will work for you. Start with what you consider age-appropriate in a bottom. In a pant, go full and sweeping. Flat front. In a skirt silhouette go NOW in a round skirt (balloon bottom), to the knee or all the way to midcalf. Again, flat front. There are a lot of them out now, in a variety of fabrics and weights.
“Pair your bottom with a shoe that is very current. For example, stay away from the platform espadrille clog. Nothing screams oldest living teenager louder. Look for a fun, colourful sandal, or a slight heel on a rounded or squared pump. Go colourful.
“Then go crazy on top! You can do fun T-shirts at all ages, wild jackets, layered tanks and tees in various lengths, accent vests. The easy way out is accessorizing. Add bold jewellery or a belt.
“Try West Queen West, Dundas/Bathurst and College Street [in Toronto], for exciting designer boutiques catering to all ages. And Sarah Pacini, although hard to find, is a grown-up girl’s stylish dream come true.
“You are not relegated to wearing polyester sacks! Forty-five is when real life begins. Live it up.”
Q: Should a fifty-year-old woman consider trendy fashions as part of her wardrobe? Or should she be more conservative, because of her age? I love to dress really stylishly, but am afraid I may be dressing inappropriately if I follow the trends too closely.
Which styles are appropriate for a working woman my age (who still feels very young!) whose office environment is a considerably younger demographic?
A: This is not an uncommon problem for many women seeking to build a wardrobe that is at once classic and chic!
Fortunately I am good friends with the people behind one of Canada’s leading fashion labels, Pink Tartan. Kim Newport (the line’s creative force) has a simple concept behind the clothes she designs: By blending sophisticated tailoring with ultra-feminine details, she’s able to appeal to a broad range of women with varying tastes.
Here, she helps an ELLE reader get her style groove back!
“You should absolutely consider the latest fashion trends in your wardrobe,” she says. “However, interpret them according to your personal style and your body type. One should always feel comfortable and confident in their clothes!
“For fall, pair the perfect fitted jacket with a slim pant and a beautiful, well-made tall boot. Also, a long, sleek pencil skirt with a soft ruffled blouse and fitted cardigan is another great option. Daytime dresses in wool jersey are extremely comfortable, but they’re also very chic.
“Always, always have a well-polished shoe! Personally, I’m a big fan of the rounded toe with a slight platform.”
Miss Chic is ELLE Canada’s go-to girl when it comes to fashion. Whether she’s scoping out the latest trends to hit the runways or mingling with some of the industry’s biggest stars, this style enthusiast is your connection to all the latest news in fashion!