since a young girl, i’ve always been drawn to classic American style. tailored clothes with structure suit me and my personality. it’s who i am – steady, sure, concise, straight-forward, polished, determined, and honest to a fault. if you ask for my opinion, you’ll get just that no mincing words with this girl. although i’ve learned the art of diplomacy through the years and never find it helpful to mow people down with words. but the trouble with classic, timeless clothes is it can look dated and boring even stuffy if you’re not careful. so how do you keep classic American style working for you year in and year out? today, i’ll share a few secrets with you.
hair and makeup
if you’ve heard me say it once you’ve heard me say it a thousand times – your hair is your number one accessory. it isn’t your hair color that ages you; it’s your haircut. love blonde hair? then keep it blonde. how about a bold shade of red? or if you’re like me and embrace your natural grays then go for it! especially if it suits your personality. but we’ve all seen blondes, redheads, and silver locks trapped in a dated haircut. keeping your hair current and fresh (yes, it should change to a degree over the years) will keep your timeless, classic outfits updated. so what does your hairstyle say about you?
makeup trends come and go. anyone remember the seventies and our crush on bronzer? who didn’t want that sun-kissed glow? eyebrows were plucked into a thin line. popular eyeshadow colors were blue, green, and purple. and we loved a smokey eye.
the eighties came along with big hair and bold makeup that was in your face. there was nothing sweet or delicate about that decade; it was all about power. and most of us would love to forget our bad fashion sense that erred on the side of outrageous. ’nuff said.
the nineties introduced scrunchies, glossy lips, and crimped hair. eyebrows were back to being plucked and skinny (btw i’m still waiting for mine to grow back from the seventies trend of over plucking). our updo’s loved tendrils and butterfly clips. and if you can believe it, blue eyeshadow was still in vogue…
at the dawn of a new century, chunky highlights were all the rage, short spiky hair, and zig-zag parts. and we loved fake tans and fake nails. as you can see trends come and go not only with clothes but with hair and makeup. it’s important to stay abreast of what’s currently in style. fresh makeup and hair trends is what keeps my classic pencil skirt and blazer from looking dated. so keep your makeup updated. no one wants to be stuck in another decade.
here’s a video where i share five beauty tips.
there are some items in my closet that i’ve had for twenty years. TWENTY YEARS! that’s the beauty of a classic wardrobe. but how do i keep those items current rather than dated? it’s as simple as adding trendy accessories. my favorite ways to do this is with shoes, jewelry, and handbags. and, yes, even accessories can be classic in nature like a string of pearls, pointy-toed pumps or a structured handbag that never go out of style. but we all know that shoes go through trends – heel shape, toe shape, heel heights, and colors come and go. jewelry shifts from soft and delicate to bold statement necklaces and back again. metals are always popular, but years ago we would never mix gold with silver. now we do. these days smaller handbags are all the rage whereas a few years ago bigger was definitely better.
the devil is in the details, and the details will update your classic wardrobe. mixing and matching trends with your classic pieces are the secret to a successful outfit. want to wear classic jewelry and shoes? pair them with a top or skirt that are currently on trend. or maybe you’re in the mood for a timeless tweed jacket? then wear it with a fresh and modern handbag and sassy booties. if every single item you wear is classic and timeless, then you risk being frozen in time. by adding a few trendy items here and there your classic look will look edgy instead of stodgy. one trendy item per outfit may be all you need to stay current, and that’s when trends can be your friend.
stay true to your signature style
yes, stay true to your personal style. so many times through the years i’ve heard people who know my style say “that is so you!” my mother was so good at identifying items that were quintessentially ‘me.’ mr. style is darn good at it too. but don’t let your signature style go stale. let your style evolve and keep up with the current trends. just don’t let the trends sway you too much. stay selective on which trends you choose to adopt. that’s what i do. neutrals will always have a place in my closet. black, navy, white, and brown are the workhorses in my wardrobe. but i love bold colors and throw in pops of reds, pinks, yellows, and greens every chance i get. sheath dresses, blazers, pencil skirts, cardigans, pointy-toed flats, and riding boots are classics that have true staying power. all of them are on my ‘must-have’ classic pieces list. but mules and slides are seen everywhere this year and i kind of like them. thigh high boots are to die for. wide-legged pants are popular as are skirts and pants with ruffles. but i don’t worry about being ‘too trendy’ when my outfit is anchored with at least one classic item. don’t forget to throw in texture from time to time. a leather skirt looks fabulous and fresh with a tweed blazer. animal print? it’s classic and edgy mixed together. and stripes? they’re always a good choice no matter what decade.
see how easy it is to keep classic style timeless instead of dated? even as the trends and styles shift i stick to my signature style. that’s what keeps me looking like me.
is the Founder and CEO of Style at a Certain Age. She writes Sundays-Fridays on all topics ranging from fashion, health, wellness, home design and more.
She’s 63, 5’8, and size 8.
GREAT ADVICE! Thanks so much!
Puh-leeeeze, just no furry mules!
Totally agree with your tips of ways to embrace the classic look but keep it updated and modern. Recently, I gave away some lovely blazers that I kept over the years but I had to admit that the fit wasn’t all that flattering. Even classic styles evolve!
You are the personification of Cool. Thank you for your lovely blog.
Great post as usual……. you are a style icon these days
I don’t usually comment, but this post was terrific! It covered all the bases and was very helpful to me as I try to maintain my own “look” but keep it current. I particularly liked the 5 beauty tips. I’m always looking for ideas to keep my makeup up to date. Thanks for doing what you do!
Not sure how I found your site but just love it. It is nice to see a site for mature women who still want to look stylish. Perhaps a discussion of hairstyles for mature women who would like shoulder length hair and still look good.
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