The Art of Dressing Elegantly – For Women of a Certain Age: Basic Rules 3 & 4

Rule No. 3: Be Foot Smart!

In our younger years, we used to run around in high heels without any problem. As our feet get older, we are faced with the usual dilemma of either wearing stylish high-heeled shoes in pain or ugly flats in comfort. Years ago, older women were given a measly choice of sneakers, chunky flat shoes, and podiatrist-prescribed comfort shoes. Nowadays, shoe manufacturers like Easy Spirit, Clarks, Naturalizer, Aerosoles, Merrell, etc. have incorporated style with comfort in their collections. Most are expensive, but you can invest in a good pair that can last for years, or wait for sales, or order them online. I suggest you first go around the shops and try the ones you like. Once you have identified the brand, style, and size that suit you, look for it online.

Be sensible in your choice of footwear. If you must wear heels for a special occasion, choose a pair you can walk in comfortably. You don’t want to party with pain written all over your face. You want to be able to walk easily and gracefully. Besides, you cannot afford accidents that can wreak havoc on your bodies.

For casual occasions, flats or low wedged styles are advisable. For walking or exercising, sneakers are your best friend.

Rule No. 4: Accessorize!

My accessories have saved me from spending lots of money on clothes. I have a big collection of belts, beads, bracelets, earrings, rings, brooches, and scarves of various colors and designs that help expand my limited wardrobe.

There are so many ways to dress up your attire without looking like a Christmas tree. A sparkly brooch or a colorful scarf can perk up a dark solid top or dress. Add jewelry that will not overwhelm the rest of your outfit. Dangling earrings can look lovely with an open necked top. If you must wear a necklace with it, choose a matching chain or something low-key.

In the image below, the timeless Catherine Deneuve wears a beaded black short jacket with black satin top and trousers. She chose simple hoop earrings, a bracelet and red nail polish on her nails and toes. The emerald green clutch bag she carried made her whole ensemble a success.


Combining accessories with your outfit is a skill that can be learned. Practice in front of the mirror days or hours before you go out. It will give you an idea of how your whole attire looks. Do not pile up the beads if you have a short neck. You’d look better in chains or long necklaces. If you’re petite, avoid chunky jewelry that can be overwhelming. This doesn’t mean confining yourself to pearls or dainty designs. Medium-sized beads will work for you.

A bright-colored scarf can bring a plain dress to life. You can tie it around your neck or hang it loosely around your shoulders. Use a plain brooch to fasten it on your dress if it doesn’t stay in place. Remember when women used to tie a small scarf around their necks? It looked good with an open-necked top or a white shirt with a standing collar. Practice and experiment on ways to wear one! Be creative!

Whatever accessories you choose to accompany your clothes, remember that less is more, which leads us to the next rule.

Next:  Rule 5 & 6

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