The Secrets to Dressing Sexy at Any Age
Less is Not More
Whoever instigated the rule that you need to cover your arms or knees after a certain age was plain wrong. Kristen Park of The Mom Stylist explains, "As you get older, you can wear the same shapes you did when you were 20, but you'll look more polished and feel more confident if you show a little less skin. Accentuate what you love about yourself -- a miniskirt if you've got great legs or a body-conscious dress, but pair them with tights and a thin V-neck cardigan or a blazer for more coverage." Personal stylist Noelle Cellini adds, "Shoulders are a sexy body part that don't get a lot of exposure. I also think the back of a woman's neck is sexy, so wearing your hair up is nice. Hair worn away from the face signals confidence!"
Put Some Weight On, Really
It's not quite as good as permission to eat unlimited dessert, but when it comes to clothing, heft can do a lot of good. "Heavier fabric skims the body and will lay or drape nicely," says Cellini. Unlike silks and shiny materials, these don't cling as tightly, calling attention to every lump and bump. But, beware of anything that straddles the line between thick and shapeless. "Boucle and tweed can look old if they make up an entire suit, and can add unnecessary bulk to your body," she adds. Mix, match, and remember the power of a waist-defining belt.
Show Your True Colors
"Most women work really well in jewel tones," says Cellini. Rich, deep, saturated color -- "think of Michelle Williams in that yellow Vera Wang gown at the Oscars," says Cellini -- will be unique and extra flattering. Avoid "bubble gum colors" -- as Cellini calls them -- like bright pink and shiny red. "They look too young and aren't as sophisticated."
V is Very, Very Extraordinary
No matter your bust size, height or age, go for a V-neck over a crewneck, which can make you look wider rather than taller. "Three-quarter length sleeves are the most flattering because they draw attention away from the hips," says Cellini.
Sometimes, what's left unsaid is most powerful. Fashion adheres to the same rule. "A fabulous pair of shoes, a great statement necklace, handbag or several stack bangles always work. The less muss and fuss going on with your clothes, the better you'll look," advises Cellini. "It's more flattering, elegant, and refined to wear clothes without so much going on."
Stock Up On Stockings
If only everything could be as simple -- and powerful -- as slipping on a pair of tights. Cellini says, "I love black nylons with the seam up the back. They highlight the calves and look great with a simple black dress."
Go Ahead, Spend on What You Love
Still thinking about those divine shoes you forced yourself to walk away from? If they're well-made, versatile, and timeless, go back and buy them. "High-quality pieces are worth the investment both in terms of how they will look and how they will flatter you, since they will last so much longer in terms of cost per wear. Make it your goal to find pieces that fit you well, in colors that flatter you, and that will last you for years!" Park explains.
Strike the Perfect Balance
Author of Secrets of a Fashion Stylist Alexandra Suzanne Greenawalt says, "Know the great parts of your body. Even if you have more than one, just pick one to accent." You don't want to make people jealous! "If you're wearing a tight, low-cut top, don't pair it with a miniskirt. Wear something more demure on the bottom for balance."
What Lies Beneath
Your husband isn't the only one who appreciates carefully-chosen lingerie. "You'll feel ten times better with the right foundation garments. This is key when wearing fitted clothing. Try butt-lifting Spanx or a waist-cincher to give your curves a little help in all the right places," says personal stylist Angela Barnard of My London Stylist.
Give Yourself a Leg Up
Forget about your supposedly bulky calves or knobby knees. To look your longest and leanest, keep skirts above the knee. "Dipping too far below the knee can look dowdy and will shorten the line of the leg," says Cellini. Greenawalt adds, "Hemlines between the ankle and knee tend to make you look frumpy, but if you have to hide your calves, go long!" Now for the hard part -- "As much as some women don't want to hear it, high heels are a must," Cellini notes. She suggests opting for a pointed toe rather than a rounded one, and avoiding ankle straps if you want to make your legs look longer. "Shoes with a thinner heel always look sleek," she says.