What’s Aging You: Boxy Cuts
So what if your 22-year-old body is long gone? That’s no reason to hide under muumuu-esque tunics, manly suits, or those pajama-like linen separates. “The older you get, the more important it is to have properly fitting clothes,” says Kim Johnson Gross, the author of What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life ($25, amazon.com).
The more youthful approach: Well-tailored or draped garments—e.g., a structured jacket with a nipped waist or a ruched jersey dress—hint at your figure while camouflaging the parts that you’re not so crazy about. “No matter your size, formfitting clothes make you look younger, because you’re showing that you have a bust, a waist, and hips,” says Krupp.
What’s Aging You: Same Bag, All the Time
Schlepping a heavy black satchel, no matter what, even if it’s the middle of July or you’re at a fancy affair, says that you’re set in your ways and unwilling to change with the times. “It’s an easy mistake, since your bag becomes such an extension of you that you almost forget that it’s there,” says Boston.
The more youthful approach: Don’t blow your budget on an enormous bag collection. “You need only one day bag each for warm and cool months,” says Krupp. For May through August, opt for bright or pale shades in leather, suede, or straw. Come fall, try gray or an animal print. If you want just one year-round option, go with a jewel tone. For parties, choose a metallic clutch that coordinates with anything.
What’s Aging You: Shopping in the Juniors’ Department
No one ever sets out to be mutton dressed as lamb. Nonetheless, trying too hard to be hip—think four-inch strappy platforms and leather leggings—can make you look older by comparison. For reference, see The Real Housewives of Everywhere.
The more youthful approach: You don’t have to sit out on every hot trend. Many brands (Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, DKNY) offer grown-up versions of the latest styles. Instead of teenybopper leggings, buy a pair in a high-quality knit and wear them with a long tunic. When miniskirts are in, find a middle ground with a hemline that goes only two or three inches above the knee. “You know a trendy item is age-appropriate if it easily fits in with the rest of your wardrobe,” says Boston. The piece should also be available in the stores and departments that you’re used to shopping in. “When a 15-year-old is wearing it, chances are you shouldn’t be,” says Rothman.