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Fashion After 40

With so many designers and trends targeting the svelte bodyof the twenty-something, is it possible to look fashionableas the years pass and your body begins to tell the tale?


In fact, with a little ingenuity and sleigh-of-hand, it'seasy to be fashionable and stylish regardless of how manycandles are on your birthday cake.

Now let's be frank: unless you work out religiously, youprobably don't have the same body at 40, 50, or 60 that youdid at 25. Time, gravity, and pregnancy all take their tollon the female body, as does menopause. And when you mix amature body with fashions obviously made for a youngerperson, it can lead to self-doubt, frustration, andconfusion.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Getting older alsomeans getting wiser, and like a fine bottle of wine, you'reimproving with age. So you don't have the same body asthose twenty-somethings you see in magazines or on TV. Sowhat? Would you REALLY trade everything you've learnedsince your twenties for the body you had back then? Probably no sooner than you'd like to re-live puberty,thank you very much.

So how can you be fashionable without wearing all thosebody-conscious clothes so en vogue these days? Byremembering the "3 C's" when you dress: clean, classic, andcoverage.


Clean lines create a clean silhouette which makes the bodyappear more youthful by skimming the trouble spots insteadof calling attention to them. Complicated cuts, seams, anddetails usually call for a killer body to pull off, so ifyou haven't got it, steer clear of those styles.


Classic styles are called classic because they remain instyle year after year. Why? Because they look good on somany bodies! Sheathes, A-line skirts, flat front pants -all tend to flatter a variety of shapes. What's more,because they remain in style year after year, classics areeasier on the budget than trends.


Covering appropriately is the key to aging gracefully. Ifyour upper arms, thighs, and décolletage have all seenbetter days, it's time to cover them up a bit instead ofsharing the wear-and-tear with the world. Now I'm nottalking about draping yourself in a tent for the rest ofyour life. Far from it. I'm talking about wearing shortsleeves instead of going sleeveless, Capris instead ofshorts, and modest necklines instead of plunging necklines.

Now I know that covering up the parts that used to turnheads and draw envy can be tough to take for some women. Which is precisely why beautiful jewelry and fine fabricsare the revenge tools of choice for many well-dressedmature women.

So your bustline isn't as perky as your twenty-somethingdaughter or granddaughter. So what? Add a beautifulnecklace and draw envious glances from women of all ages. Don't have the same backside you did as a teen? Encase itin a fine fabric and see how many men go out of the way tohold the door open for you. People will look where youfocus their attention, so use that knowledge to redirecttheir interest to the parts you want them to see.

Or, as actress Cybil Shepard once said, "I like to flauntwhat I have left."

Don't flip through fashion magazines and bemoan the factthat you don't look like the models. Instead, look at thevarious fashion elements to determine what will and won'twork for you. Are printed scarves all the rage this year? Grab a few and be trendy. Are mini skirts the style ofchoice? Pass and bank your money.

See how easy this is?

"A woman has the age she deserves," Coco Chanel once said. You don't have to go under cover and dress "like a littleold lady" just because that's what your mother orgrandmother did. You're your own person.

If you remember to dress in clean lines and classic stylesand cover appropriately, you can still be fashionable - ANDdraw long, lingering glances from handsome men -- whateveryour age. And if THAT doesn't make you feel like ablushing girl again, then honey, nothing I can say will!

Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of "Wardrobe Magic," an ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes.