Tuesday, March 23, 2010

30 Days to 10 years younger--10 minute tips. Tip 20: Think like a decorator

A decorator once said that if you walk into a house and look around, you can tell how old the owners are.

I find the whole idea depressing, because I suspect that my house is telling the world I'm 80.

But let's explore the idea and apply it to clothes. Can people tell your age from your clothes? I think they can.

Young people just starting out stay current because current is all they know. If my daughter decided to buy a white t-shirt, a jean skirt, and a cardigan, she'd end up getting something like this:

Fitted T-shirt from Forever XXI

Jean skirt from The Gap

Ruffled-edged tie-front sleeveless cardigan from Forever XXI

Meanwhile, my mother would end up with stuff like this:

T-shirt from Lands End

Chambray skirt from Vermont Country Store

Cardigan from Lands End

Now, when you think about it, nothing says a cardigan has to be a plain, button-up, long-sleeved sweater. Or that a jean skirt has to graze the top of your ankles. Or that a t-shirt has to be boxy.

And certainly nothing says you have to wear the old lady stuff from head to toe.

So for today, do a youth inventory of your clothes. Figure out the likely demographic for each piece you're wearing. See if you can't tweak your look a little. (And include your accessories! The right shoes, bag, and jewelry can shave off a lot of years.)


  1. I try to do this. Problem is: do I succeed???

  2. oh shit., I JUST bought TWO of those Land's End cardigans, and happen to be in love with them. CRAP.

  3. Nothing says "retired" like the Vermont Country Store.

  4. More specifics would be GREATLY appreciated. How can I keep my basic classics from looking matronly? THAT, my dear, is the million dollar question. Especially on this bosomy woman.

  5. Oh for the love of…I just ordered a lovely (I thought) floral cardigan from Lands End. Should I invite your mother for tea?

  6. Well, BabelBabe, Martha, and especially Fannie, I'm not saying Thou Shalt Not Buy a Cardigan. And Fannie, the LE printed cardigans are very fresh. It's the same-old same-old we need to avoid.

    I mean, right now cardigans are printed, appliqué, chiffon-trimmed, and ruffled. Plain ones look a little country cousin at the moment. But that's easy to fix. Loop on a soft ombré or dip-dyed scarf or wear a pretty necklace and you're totally 2010.

    And who am I trying to kid, anyway? I just bought a pale green boyfriend cardigan today from Banana Republic. And it probably doesn't look like a boyfriend cardigan on me. I probably look like Mr. Rogers. BUT I also bought three scarfs, and I plan to layer it over a lacy camisole. That should work.

    Martha, this is the worst spring for busty women in the history of ever. I adore all those ruffle front blouses, and the ones with petal-shaped applique are heavenly, but the last thing we need is more bulk over the bosom.

    To update classics, break up your twin sets. Mix up the colors--wear light blue with green or gray. Avoid the long necklaces you see everywhere. Instead, buy a cheap cuff bracelet or huge oversized watch. Put the fashion emphasis on the wrists. And long, skinny scarves lead the eye up and down, which is what you want. HTH! I'll be posting more on the subject, because I'm finding this spring wonderfully frustrating. The clothes are fantastic, as long as you're flat-chested.

  7. so the floor length denim skirt isn't a classic?

  8. Poppy, awesome post. (Does my use of the word "awesome" date me as much as my clothing?) This is when it's wonderful to have blackbird visit on occassion to affirm your decisions to keep or pitch various items.

    Also, I'm so with you on the issue with clothing fitting over a larger bust this season. My solution is to wear a minimizer bra. It gives me a little more room in shirts in that area. I'm not enormous, but my chest is not in proportion to my shoulders, so when I get a blouse to fit there, it pulls on the buttons. A minimizer has solved that problem for me.

  9. I'd settle for getting manufacturers to make mid-hip length t-shirts again, instead of the ones that either go to your knees or show your navel.

    I'm never going to be hip...


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.