Dressing when you are over the age of 70 may present a unique set of challenges, from hiding problem areas to incorporating trends without trying to look like your granddaughter. However, as style icons Raquel Welch, Annette de la Renta and Jane Fonda have all demonstrated, fashion over 70 can be an elegant and chic affair. Building a wardrobe from classic basics in quality fabrics, choosing well-fitting clothing that flatters your body type, and incorporating meaningful accent pieces will ensure a stylish silhouette.
Classic, Tailored Pieces
The building blocks of a 70-something woman’s wardrobe should consist of timeless, tailored pieces that are versatile and fit well. A crisp, white button down cotton shirt, a wool blazer or boucle jacket, and tailored wool pants in neutral colors like navy and camel are stylish and comfortable year-round and can be paired with each other or with other trendy statement pieces. Add silk shirts and linen pants for warmer weather, and a chunky knit and classic wool coat for cold weather. Quality fabrics are essential to minimize cling, draw attention away from the skin and to create a sophisticated look.
Know Your Body
One advantage with age is having the experience choosing the right clothes for your body type. Utilize that knowledge to choose pieces that make you feel good about your best assets, and hide those areas that you are less comfortable with. For example, a silk ruffled collar shirt or cashmere turtleneck can help hide the neck and collarbone area. A fitted blazer will slim your torso and hide an unsatisfactory waistline better than a cardigan or cropped jacket. High-waisted pants can help elongate petite legs, and a belt around the midriff, as suggested by the Huffington Post, can help give the body some shape and definition.
Accessories are a wonderful way to dress an outfit up or down, add color, or incorporate a trend. Avoid thin or small pieces of jewelry and trendy costume jewelry that may draw attention to wrinkles. Instead, wear significant statement pieces, perhaps from an area you like to travel to or from a designer that you love. Quality vintage jewelry offers a unique look and is always trendy if combined properly with modern pieces. For instance, wear a vintage Cameo ring versus the set with your more modern jewels. Colored scarves are great for hiding the neck as well as dressing up basic outfits, and hats can also add a personalized flair. Finally, a signature leather bag in a classic cut is an essential addition to any outfit. And don’t forget about shoes! Just because you’re over 70 doesn’t mean you have to swap sexy for orthopedic! Today many shoe designers create stylish and comfortable footwear. Check out shoes by Gabriella Rocha, Taryn Rose, Rockport and Fitzwell.
While it is difficult to embrace youthful trends such as short hemlines or a low-rise pant, by no means should you avoid trendy colors, patterns or cuts. Rich hues and textured fabrics set a distinguished and sophisticated tone. For example, gold and auburn, recent runway favorites, are elegant colors for the over-70 set, according to “Harper’s Bazaar.” Structured or architectural cuts work well on mature women and offer more shape to a silhouette. Patterns, such as a bold stripe or trendy animal print, are elegant when paired with a solid. For evening, choose a long-sleeved maxi gown in a bold color that fits your shape, like the Versace gown that Jane Fonda wore to the 2013 Oscars.
References and ResourcesHarper's Bazaar: Fabulous at Any Age: 70s
Refinery 29: Stylin 70 Year Olds, Fashion's New It Girls
Oprah: Dressing Your Age
Huffington Post: Clothes for Older Women: Tips for Those Seeking a Style Boost