Certain classic looks are a perfect fit for every woman, whatever her age. From Helen Mirren to Sienna Miller, we reveal how the world’s best-dressed women stick to the same simple style rules for a look that is ageless.
Build your wardrobe around flattering neutrals
Lessen the amount of black in your wardrobe (it can be draining to your skin tone, especially as you get older) and opt instead for softer-toned neutrals like navy, ochre, putty and oatmeal. Strong colours experience seasonal fashion swings but neutrals are a constant and never look dated. They fit with any woman’s wardrobe, whether she’s 25 or 65. Take inspiration from model Christy Turlington who gets the mix just right.
Use accessories to add originality to your look
A statement necklace, a remarkable cocktail ring or a signature style of earring can all help you to take ownership of your look. Accessories are the easiest way to add individuality to an outfit and create a signature look. They’re also a discreet way of showing that you’re plugged in to what’s current. If jewellery feels too fussy for you, try making a statement with a shoe or handbag. Sienna Miller gives her low-key but super-stylish neutral outfit a touch of flair with a pair of Gucci’s kangaroo, fur-lined slipper.
A great silhouette is the secret to looking ageless
The softer, more rounded our bodies become with age, the more structure required from our clothes. A flattering silhouette is a prerequisite of looking good whatever your age. Invest in tailored pieces, such as high-waisted trousers, a well-cut shirt (a good shoulder line is the starting point of your silhouette), and dresses with subtle corseting. Helen Mirren is the queen (forgive the pun … ) of ageless dressing, sporting sophisticated, beautifully fitted pieces that create classic silhouettes. And remember, at every age, tailored is better than tight.
Be brave and embrace texture
Don’t be afraid to experiment with texture. It adds punctuation to an outfit, while softening what can be austere shades like black and navy. Vanessa Paradis takes this idea to another level in this thick-knitted monochrome Chanel dress. The flattering, elongating V-neck, youthful hemline and belted, shapely waist keep the chunkiness of the piece in check. Styling at any age is all about achieving the right balance.
Flats always look chic
There’s a time and a place for a killer heel, but sometimes a chic flat makes a stronger statement than a predictable sky-high sandal. Stella McCartney and Kate Moss have a fashion uniform that includes boyish brogues and chic ballet pumps. Parisian style maven Ines de la Fressange pulls this look off with aplomb, choosing elegant sequin flats for a red carpet event. Being confident enough not to wear six-inch heels whatever your age sends a message that you’re comfortable in your own skin.
Borrow from another era
Retro pieces like a fifties full skirt or a pair of seventies flares offer a classic, well-defined silhouette that is timeless and works for every age. Victoria Beckham possesses a beautifully curated collection of Audrey Hepburn-style dresses as well as fifties-style cropped pants and Charlie’s Angel-esque flares. Embracing other eras, mixing and matching the past with the present creates a unique look and shows more than a little style savvy.
Add a pop of colour now and then
There should always be a touch of the unexpected to your style. This is easier to achieve when you’re younger as the goal posts are not so narrow. But adding an occasional burst of colour to an outfit is a great way of keeping your look fresh and interesting. Linda Fargo, director of fashion at New York’s Bergdorf Goodman, knows how to inject colour while keeping an outfit understated and classic.
For more style tips, pick up the January issue of IMAGE Magazine, out now.