Trying to not look your age is a perennial problem, especially for women of a certain age who must look professional and stylish at work. Like many of my contemporaries, we didn’t really have role models when we entered the professional workforce after college or graduate school. This made finding your style at any age hard, but that challenge seems bigger now that designers don’t seem to understand that women of a certain age still work and have money to spend.
Designers must think women of a certain age should wear clothes like the ones above. I don’t know about you, but I’d never be caught dead in something like this with the sensible shoes, a skirt length that’s either too long or too short, and the sweater that’s just plain ugly. If I wore this to work, I wouldn’t blame folks if they lost all respect.
But, what are the options?
We can look like this.
Very attractive and stylish but I don’t think most of us would look our best in something like this. Even if we did look fantastic in this outfit, I’m not sure it says that we’re a high-level professional, which is what most of us are at this point in our careers.
How to not look your age
It took me years to find my style. When I first started working, there weren’t many options when it came to professional clothing–mostly a version of the boxy suit worn by men. You probably faced the same challenge when trying to find something to wear in the ’70s and ’80s when women were making inroads into professional positions where men were the standard. And, I never saw a woman who looked good in the traditional suit. Then, the dreaded pantsuit came on the scene, which almost single-handedly explains Hilary’s loss in 2016.
Now, I’m not a fashion designer or even a fashionista, but I know what I like. And, for my money, the answer to the question about how to not look your age comes from Chico’s. I especially love their mix-and-match approach to fashion so you can create multiple looks from just a few pieces.
Now, before you go getting your panties in a wad, let me say I don’t make a dime from saying I love their clothes. I just do. They fit well and are really comfortable. They look professional and the designers make clothing with coordinating colors so you easily put together a nice outfit, even women who aren’t fashion-forward.
A few favorites
I have a “uniform” for work. Partly because it’s easy and partly because I’m not fully awake in the morning and can’t face hard decisions. It’s the same reason people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same outfit every day. For Jobs, it was a black turtleneck and jeans. He probably owned a hundred of them and just pulled out a clean set every morning.
For me, my uniform starts with a pair of black dress pants because everything goes with black. Then I choose any jacket from my large collection and a matching top. Again, Chico’s makes this easy with sleeveless tops in every color to match their jackets.
Here are some of my favorites from my collection.
What I love
My jackets provide a pop of color that makes these fun and the solid top blends everything together. So different than drab grays and darks used in traditional suits and less gaudy than weird color suits you often find in women’s shops.
Unlike the boxy jackets common in women’s suits (and I do own a few of them for very formal meetings), these jackets aren’t lined and more form-fitting, often with 3/4 length sleeves or sleaves you can push up to a comfortable length. Hence, no more dowdy sweaters.
The best part, take off the jacket and you have a nice outfit for happy hour. Or, add some jewelry (and Chico’s makes great statement pieces) and you’re ready for an evening out.
OK, enough for today.
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