The Art of Dressing Elegantly – For Women of a Certain Age: Basic Rules 5 & 6

Rule No. 5: Keep it simple!

This is the most important rule to remember. Understated elegance is simplicity at its finest. Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Katherine Hepburn had it. Lauren Bacall has it. A lot of us work hard to achieve it. Think minimalist!
Spend what you can on clothes of good quality because they will last you a long time. The simpler the lines or style, the more versatile it is.

About 15 – 20 years ago, I saw a lovely sleeveless woolen dress in chocolate brown, with a matching jacket in a shop in England. I fell in love with it, but the price was more than I was willing to spend. It was a Valentino design. I could still kick myself for letting that go. The tailoring was just beautiful. If I grew too big for the dress, I could have had it altered. The swing jacket would have lasted me for years.

Most women wear black because it is easy to work with. Choose a few basic colors that you like and look good on you. If you are dark-skinned, the world is your oyster. If you’re on the pale side, perhaps, camel brown, tan, and pastels will suit you better. You can get wild in your choices, but make sure your colors and patterns don’t clash. Solid colors are a safe bet but you can mix-match them with more adventurous designs.

Here is a woman dressed in well-coordinated attire. She could have gotten away with a chunky silver bracelet in addition to her dangling earrings, but she opted to keep it simple. Casual? Yes! Elegant? Yes! Achievable? Easily!

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The few times that I have traveled to Italy and France, I always marveled at how well mature women there dressed despite their age. They don’t apply lots of makeup on their faces or wear clothes meant for younger women. They simply wear clothes that fit right – not too tight nor too loose. And, they carry them well in spite of the extra weight on their bodies. So, where do we find these clothes?

Rule No. 6: Watch out for sales!

You don’t have to travel far to buy good quality clothing. Several times a year, shops sell their merchandise at reduced prices. Scour the clearance racks! I would avoid shopping online or by catalog unless you are familiar with the company’s sizing and the quality of its merchandise. The following is a list of shops where you can find affordable, but stylish clothing. These stores may not be your cup of tea but do shop around and find your style that agrees with your budget.

CHICO’S ( – Visit Chico’s sales racks when you have a chance. They carry nice separates and accessories in various colors and sizes.

H&M ( – Believe it or not, you can find inexpensive, but stylish sweaters, tops, skirts, and accessories from this store. They may cater to youngish clientele, but one can find lots of separates which can be suitable for all ages.

T.J.MAXX ( – This store can be a mine for good bargains if you know what you’re looking for.

MARSHALLS ( – Again, I would advise against shopping online just because you want to be sure of the fit of the clothes. If there is a Marshalls store near you, then you are in business. They offer lots of choices at reasonable prices.

JJILL ( – Their clothing and accessories are pricey, but if you check out their sales, you may be able to find some classy outfits within your budget.

DRESS BARN ( – Here is another store where one can find affordable clothing and accessories. They carry women’s clothing in both regular and plus sizes.

ZARA ( – Zara is pricier than H&M, but you’ll find stylish clothes of good quality and lovely accessories at reasonable prices here.

Go through the sales racks at Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and their outlets. Shopping requires a lot of patience so it is never a good idea to shop only when you need something. It puts a lot of pressure on you to find it quickly and even pay a hefty price for it. Shop leisurely and you will probably find a “keeper” and a bargain at that!

Next: Rule No. 7

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