Age-Appropriate 60s and 70s Part II

Age-Appropriate 60s and 70s Part II

By Meira E. Schneider-Atik

One colorful piece of jewelry can add a great pop of color and fun to an outfit. Make sure you have several that flatter you

Myth: When you get into your 60s and 70s, you need to stick with conservative clothes.

Truth: You must not lose the element of fun.

Last week, I wrote about the “crazy cat lady” form of dressing. Women in their 60s, 70s, and beyond might wear a pile of colors and prints and accessories all at once. No, it does not work. But it’s actually not so common in our circles. What is more common is the opposite: older women who dress so conservatively that they look like old ladies. That does not work either.

From me, you get the truth.

Having shoes in a fun color or print can really make you feel good. Animal prints are trendy classic, so they’re not too far out of anyone’s comfort zone

Most women who are in their 60s, 70s, or beyond belonged to a generation of women who dressed according to old-fashioned rules of those days. Everything had to match. Certain color combinations didn’t work. Every outfit had to be worn as an outfit, with no breaking up the pieces. Accessories had to match the outfit. Shoes and bags had to match each other. These rules did not allow for a lot of individual expression and they were very limiting. No wonder that these women needed to constantly buy new clothes because “everyone’s seen me in that.” There was no shopping your closet or mixing and coordinating.

Thank goodness, those old rules have died. But so many women from that generation are still stuck in that mentality. And when they dress within those rules, they wind up looking old-fashioned at best, old and infirm at worst. That’s really bad, especially since so many of these women are healthy and active and do not deserve to dress as if they have one foot in the grave.

I remember a teacher I knew from my work. She was an older woman and I thought that she probably has a few infant and toddler grandchildren. I was shocked when I found out that she has adult grandchildren. She told me that she never told anyone how old she really is. If she were to tell her hairdresser her real age, she’d wind up with an old-lady haircut. If she were to tell clothing salespeople her real age, they’d find old-lady clothes for her. Then there’s my aunt who tells everyone that she’s 29 even though she has two married grandchildren. I used to think it was just silly schtick, but I realize that this actually works well for her. My aunt is very healthy and active and she always dresses agelessly and attractively. Saying she’s 29 keeps her in the mentality of healthy and active.

So, what does that mean for the rest of us?

First, I cannot overemphasize the importance of good health. The healthier you are, the easier it is to look great. Make sure you’re eating right and exercising. Don’t smoke. Get regular doctor checkups and do self-exams. And aside from exercise, stay active and do fun things. If you love playing a particular sport, do that. If you love drawing or painting, do that. If you love museums, go to those. If you have grandchildren, take them with you sometimes to these things – it’s good for them and for you.

Second, while it’s true that women in their 60s, 70s, and beyond should not dress like crazy cat ladies, you must not give up the fun items completely.

Start with a base of classic neutrals and then add base pieces in secondary neutrals. Make sure there’s a big pop of color somewhere. If you’re wearing classic neutrals, use a bright color for your underpinning and your accessories. You need the color by your face both to flatter and to give yourself that energy boost. If you’re wearing secondary neutrals, your bright pop can be a bit smaller, such as a bold piece of jewelry, because you have the extra color from your secondary neutral (remember that secondary neutrals make more of a color statement than the classic neutrals).

When you’ve reached this stage, remember that your coloring has likely changed, so your best colors will change too. Adapt and go with it.

Your clothes must fit you and flatter you 100 percent, even if you’re taking your grandchildren on a simple outing. It’s okay to dress casually (there are awesome denim skirts that come off as classic and ageless), but remember that casual =/= sloppy. Sloppy gets you nowhere fast. You want clothes that give you a great shape without overemphasizing it. If you have thick ankles, keep your skirts to JBTK (just below the knee). If you have a larger bottom half, keep those skirts A-line and wear them with fitted tops. If you’re larger on top, stick with structured tops. If you have big arms, keep those sleeves fitted (not tight) and ¾ length. If you have any thickness on your neck or jawline, avoid turtlenecks like the plague along with bow blouses, choker necklaces, and scarves wrapped directly around the neck.

When it comes to borderline pieces and accessories, make sure you have fun. While it’s good to have your basic nude and/or black shoes, having shoes in a fun color or print can really make you feel good. And animal prints are trendy classic, so they’re not too far out of anyone’s comfort zone. Your bag does not have to match your shoes ever. In fact, matching these things can often appear too contrived and old-fashioned. It’s good to have a basic neutral bag for everyday that goes with everything, but a bag in a color and/or print can add a nice, fun touch.

If you like oblong scarves as an accessory, go for that. Look for colors and prints that flatter you. And drape them in ways that don’t crowd your neck too much – it’s not flattering. If you like belts, try to tone them to your outfit so that you don’t break up the lines.

If you like oblong scarves as an accessory, go for that.
Look for colors and prints that flatter you

If you wear a non-sheitel head covering, make sure it’s a style and color that flatter your face and coloring. Hats, berets, and mitpachot all can work great. But avoid snoods and pre-tieds. They tend to make even younger women look older and frumpy. If you wear your own hair or a sheitel, make sure it’s in a color and style that flatter you now. The styles and colors that flattered you in your 20s won’t work now, so adapt and find what does work. And make sure your hair is neat; I’ve seen women with hair/sheitels that are messy and it’s not pretty.

One colorful piece of jewelry can add a great pop of color and fun to an outfit. Make sure you have several bold, colorful pieces that flatter you. Earrings can be big and dangly, but they must not come too close to the shoulders. Necklaces work best when they’re longer and away from the neck. Bracelets can show off slim wrists. Wear only one showstopper piece at a time and keep any other pieces small and neutral, but try to avoid matching; again, this looks too contrived.

As grown-ups, we’re the ones setting the example. At this stage, we have to set the example that getting older is nothing to fear. If you dress clean and streamlined but with those fun touches, you’ll feel great and no one will think you’re too old to do anything. Last week, I wrote about the “crazy cat lady” form of dressing. Women in their 60s, 70s, and beyond might wear a pile of colors and prints and accessories all at once. No, it does not work. But it’s actually not so common in our circles. What is more common is the opposite: older women who dress so conservatively that they look like old ladies. That does not work either.

From me, you get the truth.

Most women who are in their 60s, 70s, or beyond belonged to a generation of women who dressed according to old-fashioned rules of those days. Everything had to match. Certain color combinations didn’t work. Every outfit had to be worn as an outfit, with no breaking up the pieces. Accessories had to match the outfit. Shoes and bags had to match each other. These rules did not allow for a lot of individual expression and they were very limiting. No wonder that these women needed to constantly buy new clothes because “everyone’s seen me in that.” There was no shopping your closet or mixing and coordinating.

Thank goodness, those old rules have died. But so many women from that generation are still stuck in that mentality. And when they dress within those rules, they wind up looking old-fashioned at best, old and infirm at worst. That’s really bad, especially since so many of these women are healthy and active and do not deserve to dress as if they have one foot in the grave.

I remember a teacher I knew from my work. She was an older woman and I thought that she probably has a few infant and toddler grandchildren. I was shocked when I found out that she has adult grandchildren. She told me that she never told anyone how old she really is. If she were to tell her hairdresser her real age, she’d wind up with an old-lady haircut. If she were to tell clothing salespeople her real age, they’d find old-lady clothes for her. Then there’s my aunt who tells everyone that she’s 29 even though she has two married grandchildren. I used to think it was just silly schtick, but I realize that this actually works well for her. My aunt is very healthy and active and she always dresses agelessly and attractively. Saying she’s 29 keeps her in the mentality of healthy and active.

So, what does that mean for the rest of us?

First, I cannot overemphasize the importance of good health. The healthier you are, the easier it is to look great. Make sure you’re eating right and exercising. Don’t smoke. Get regular doctor checkups and do self-exams. And aside from exercise, stay active and do fun things. If you love playing a particular sport, do that. If you love drawing or painting, do that. If you love museums, go to those. If you have grandchildren, take them with you sometimes to these things – it’s good for them and for you.

Second, while it’s true that women in their 60s, 70s, and beyond should not dress like crazy cat ladies, you must not give up the fun items completely.

Start with a base of classic neutrals and then add base pieces in secondary neutrals. Make sure there’s a big pop of color somewhere. If you’re wearing classic neutrals, use a bright color for your underpinning and your accessories. You need the color by your face both to flatter and to give yourself that energy boost. If you’re wearing secondary neutrals, your bright pop can be a bit smaller, such as a bold piece of jewelry, because you have the extra color from your secondary neutral (remember that secondary neutrals make more of a color statement than the classic neutrals).

When you’ve reached this stage, remember that your coloring has likely changed, so your best colors will change too. Adapt and go with it.

Your clothes must fit you and flatter you 100 percent, even if you’re taking your grandchildren on a simple outing. It’s okay to dress casually (there are awesome denim skirts that come off as classic and ageless), but remember that casual =/= sloppy. Sloppy gets you nowhere fast. You want clothes that give you a great shape without overemphasizing it. If you have thick ankles, keep your skirts to JBTK (just below the knee). If you have a larger bottom half, keep those skirts A-line and wear them with fitted tops. If you’re larger on top, stick with structured tops. If you have big arms, keep those sleeves fitted (not tight) and ¾ length. If you have any thickness on your neck or jawline, avoid turtlenecks like the plague along with bow blouses, choker necklaces, and scarves wrapped directly around the neck.

When it comes to borderline pieces and accessories, make sure you have fun. While it’s good to have your basic nude and/or black shoes, having shoes in a fun color or print can really make you feel good. And animal prints are trendy classic, so they’re not too far out of anyone’s comfort zone. Your bag does not have to match your shoes ever. In fact, matching these things can often appear too contrived and old-fashioned. It’s good to have a basic neutral bag for everyday that goes with everything, but a bag in a color and/or print can add a nice, fun touch.

If you like oblong scarves as an accessory, go for that. Look for colors and prints that flatter you. And drape them in ways that don’t crowd your neck too much – it’s not flattering. If you like belts, try to tone them to your outfit so that you don’t break up the lines.

If you wear a non-sheitel head covering, make sure it’s a style and color that flatter your face and coloring. Hats, berets, and mitpachot all can work great. But avoid snoods and pre-tieds. They tend to make even younger women look older and frumpy. If you wear your own hair or a sheitel, make sure it’s in a color and style that flatter you now. The styles and colors that flattered you in your 20s won’t work now, so adapt and find what does work. And make sure your hair is neat; I’ve seen women with hair/sheitels that are messy and it’s not pretty.

One colorful piece of jewelry can add a great pop of color and fun to an outfit. Make sure you have several bold, colorful pieces that flatter you. Earrings can be big and dangly, but they must not come too close to the shoulders. Necklaces work best when they’re longer and away from the neck. Bracelets can show off slim wrists. Wear only one showstopper piece at a time and keep any other pieces small and neutral, but try to avoid matching; again, this looks too contrived.

As grown-ups, we’re the ones setting the example. At this stage, we have to set the example that getting older is nothing to fear. If you dress clean and streamlined but with those fun touches, you’ll feel great and no one will think you’re too old to do anything.


Meira E. Schneider-Atik is a wardrobe organizer, personal shopper, jewelry designer, and fashion writer and speaker. She helps women look great while saving time, effort, and money, all within tzniut.  Her jewelry pieces can be seen on Facebook (just look up Rena Mei) or in person.  She also has the YouTube channel “Look your best in mitpachot,” where she does head-wrapping tutorials, and she is available for private demonstrations.  She can be reached at (718) 644-6135 or at MESAtik@gmail.com.

 

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