Age-Appropriate Dressing…Or Not

Looking like we’ve raided our daughter’s closet is one of the greatest fears of the baby boomer woman, and it’s no wonder. It’s hard to figure out what’s right and what’s not as we age, and we certainly can’t use our own mothers as a guide. Mine, for one, dressed in pretty shirtwaists and heels when she was the age I am now, but that’s hardly going to work in 2012. So the dilemma continues…

Can we rely on a style that has served us well in the past, or is it time to rein in…to be more conservative…to turn away from high fashion—or any kind of fashion, for that matter?

Sometimes, the fear of invisibility is so great that we feel compelled to dress younger. But sometimes we just love a particular look, and there’s nothing more to it than that. It’s not about trying too hard. It’s not about an attempt to recapture one’s youth. It’s simply a matter of being flat-out crazy about something that makes us feel good when we wear it. Period.

I feel that way about my Doc Martens. Yes, some would say I’m about 30 years too old to own a pair, but that doesn’t stop me. They’re fun and comfortable and they make me smile, so I just tuck in my skinny jeans and go.

These have an inside zipper, so getting them on and off is easier than it is with the traditional lace-up ones. Also, the shiny leather on these adds a bit of polish to the usual matte-finish nubuck, which I think takes them up a notch. Or perhaps that’s simply my rationale for not being willing to let go of the motorcycle/military look just yet.

I don’t wear my Docs with skirts or dresses, so that’s something to my credit. I have a respectable collection of heels that range from Stuart Weitzman to Cole Haan to Christian Louboutin, so I know how to handle girlie footwear. But every now and then, the Docs beckon. And I always heed the call.

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Style for the Baby Boomer Woman

My blog is going to take a different emphasis for a while, at least through the summer. Because I’ve accepted a gig as a style expert on Live Person (liveperson.com/elle-mansfield), I feel it makes sense to support that work by posting exclusively about fashion.

My speciality is baby boomer women, since that’s what I am and I’m all too familiar with the questions that begin to arise as we get older:

* Do I look like I’ve raided my daughter’s closet?

* Must “age-appropriate” be synonymous with “frumpy”?

* How much skin can I show?

* What’s the perfect hemline for a 50-plus woman?

And my favorite question of all:

* What the heck happened to my neck/upper arms/thighs/belly?!

I hope you’ll visit often, and I hope you’ll find things here that help you make good style choices.

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