"I retired a year ago and have some great designer clothes and shoes from many years of working. I can't afford to buy anything new, but wonder how to adapt what I have to still look stylish in retirement. I am 5'4", about 112 pounds, still have nice shaped legs as long as they are covered in tights. I can't wear heels anymore, I have to be sure on my feet, without looking like an 80-year- old. Most of my clothes are black or variations thereof, but I do love to wear colour in the summer. Any suggestions?"
Heather, sixty-nine, retired brand and marketing manager, Edmonton, Alberta.
Our lives evolve and our closets need to keep up. When your lifestyle changes it forces you to think long and hard about your wardrobe. Most women have a habit (yes, it's a habit) of wearing things the same way over-and-over instead of intentionally creating an ever-evolving style recipe.
How do you do that? Shop in your closet and identify the great staple pieces you love and experiment on putting them together in different ways. Don't worry about the fashion police, just have fun playing dress-up and evaluate what works and what doesn't. I'm a huge fan of building a solid wardrobe of basics, however beware the classics of yesteryear can begin to look dated so keep an eye out for changing shapes and fabrics. Treat yourself to something new from time to time to keep your wardrobe fresh.
For many of us by our 50's and 60's we've moved to wear shoes that make our feet happy. Lots of brands make sandals, flats, boots and loafers (some with arch support) that allow you to be comfortable and stylish. They look great with tights too.
Look to style mentors (those women you notice who have figured out what works for them and enjoy dressing for themselves). You might notice them passing on the street or maybe you'll find your inspiration on-line, in a magazine, or notice what a celebrity or public figure is wearing. Your style mentor might even be someone you know.
Are they wearing a look you like? Are any of the items of clothing they are wearing similar to something you already own? If so, how did they put it together? How can you mix your pieces up to better reflect the woman you are becoming and what you want to wear for the rest of your life.
Don't confuse fashion with style. Great style is not about trends or necessarily about money. Stay true to who you are with what you have. Declare your personal dress code and you'll carry yourself with confidence and self-awareness at any age or stage of life.
The world is your runway.
Copyright 2022: Helene Oseen