If someone documented your closet with a time-lapse camera, over time you might see quite the evolution: One day you’re charmed by anything floral print or Bohemian—only to outgrow it for the security of stripes and their clean lines and orderliness. Trends come and go, so it’s important to find style that suits your personality. Call it intuitive style, if you will, but every age deserves a fashion rebrand.
Some might say the twenties are a time to experiment. Play around to find out what you gravitate toward (and what’s best left to others). Trendy or “disposable” clothes that could be bought on a whim and tried for their taste is part of fine-tuning your look—cultivating fashion flavors that will carry you through the years. Similar to a fashion buffet, pick up a little of everything and find what you have an appetite for. Ashely Lehman, a twenty-four year old wardrobe stylist, is at the prime age to test looks and inspire her clients.
“It is my job to create looks that my clients will love and wear comfortably and confidently,” Lehman said. “The No. 1 task of being a stylist is to reflect my client’s taste and personality.” Her best advice? “Fashion always makes a statement if inspired by a great creative process.”
Lehman, from a small town in the Midwest, looks to the landscape and history of her surroundings as inspiration to build a small wardrobe based off scenery and knowledge that captivate her. Scattered throughout the town are murals painted in bright, bold colors on old buildings. These everyday influences resonate with her and—“like a painter who has no rules or limits”—bring those motivating factors into her wardrobe using different fabrics, designs, beading, and accessories. “My style is bold, daring, and fun,” said Lehman. “I like to express and carry myself confidently. I need my clients to view me as a fashion forward person, and to also believe me so they believe themselves.”
Believing and trusting your style instincts can mean being real with where you are in life. Wanting to look put together but knowing your daily duties might clash with that supreme vision could mean toning down ensembles so you can still do what you need to do. (So, no stilettos during toddler duty.)
Talking style for women in their thirties, Facebook friend Stacey McInerney Goss finds this the age for “casual and comfy that can be dressed up or down to accommodate ‘mom’ time or ‘me’ time.” Many women find themselves balancing career and family, so their clothing choices might need to be split into two categories: careerwear and “kidwear.” Ballet flats (in a fun print) to chase the children show you know what’s on the fashion forefront. Clothing choices that reflect the two sides of your life are worth exploring. Choose tops that could go glam with sassy jewelry or could be worn alone for a play date. Life changes, and so do our clothing requirements. Try to keep priorities and personalities aligned, so you always feel good in what you’re wearing—at any stage in the game.
“I like More magazine, because it’s written for those of us over forty,” said Kathy Palmer. She feels the publication helps women her age stay fashionable, “without looking like we’re wearing our daughter’s clothing!”
Tricky is how forty-five year-old Elizabeth Gibbons describes style at her age. “There is nothing worse than a woman who does not embrace her age and tries to dress like a teen or twenty-something,” she said. Gibbons loves the leather looks for this fall and likes to shop for trendy accessories. “But always marry the trends with quality pieces for an overall, age-appropriate and stylish look.” She stresses the importance of taking care of her health, complexion, and overall well-being to keep her looking her best. “Lack of sleep, activity, exercise, and stress ruin any outfit, no matter how fabulous it is.”
Put your own stamp on attire, so you feel good in your clothes—and you don’t feel as though you’re wearing some costume a woman your age should wear. Another Facebook friend, Margie Vaughn Perry, puts it perfectly: “My biggest thing is just be yourself. Dress age appropriate, in fashion you like.”
So, if you’re inspired by animal prints, at twenty try the pants. When you hit forty, a snappy scarf shows you know what you like, but also feels right for your age. And don’t forget the leopard flats or pumps, smashing at any age!
Written by: Missy Black is a freelance writer for West Michigan Woman magazine.