The New Rules for Age Appropriate Dressing

Colette Werden

Style and Image Specialist

The rules of fashion are changing and no more so than what is considered ‘age appropriate’ dressing. Colette Werden created a personal branding agency with the intention to empower women to be their own walking and talking brand. Werden believes that authentic self expression through clothes is one of the best ways to put your personal brand forward and in a time where a number does not define your age, we’re all about the new rules of dressing. Here Colette Werden shares how she helps her clients create a wardrobe that is always appropriate and will make you look and feel refreshed at any age.

“Mutton dressed up as lamb”. That saying makes me cringe. For those that are yet to hear the term, it refers to middle aged women trying to dress like they’re much younger than they actually are. Whoever invented that term deserves a shearing.

One of the most common questions I get asked in client image development sessions is; “How can I dress to look age appropriate?”.  This is usually followed by, “I don’t want to look mumsy or daggy, but I don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard either”.

What this commonly really means is “I don’t know what my style is and how to dress for my body shape”. I’m a big believer that when you have a crystal clear idea of what your style is and how to camouflage/highlight your body parts, you can never look like you’re trying too hard; no matter your age, size or budget.

As we age, evolve, grow; our style must adapt with us. It’s a reflection of our inner identity, after all. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a general pattern in a women’s approach to her wardrobe as she matures:

– She’s not so interested in fads/trends anymore. She wants classic pieces that she can wear for years without dating.

– She appreciates quality; is willing to invest in the key core pieces of her wardrobe.

– She wants to look stylish, feel confident and sexy again (no matter her age)

– She says good-bye to a big wardrobe with hundreds of garments. She’s more interested in creating a smart, versatile wardrobe that’s full of hundreds of outfit options instead.

– She doesn’t want to waste any more time standing in front of the mirror figuring out what to wear, nor has the time to go shopping frequently.

5 Wardrobe Must Haves:

1. The High Waisted Denim

The term “muffin top” was invented when hipster jeans came out. On the other hand, high waisted denim tuck and shape our stomach area and elongate our legs.

Denim never goes out of style, but style, cut, and wash does. Denim styles usually last 2 to 3 years before they start to change dramatically. An update of this core wardrobe basic will update a smart casual look instantly.

High waisted jeans tend to have a lot of elastane in them, which means they will stretch, so, make sure you go for half a size too small. Opt for a light pair for really casual looks with loafers and a darker pair with a sexy heel to you can take from day to night effortlessly. When they fit you like your second skin, they’ll become your wardrobe go-to.


Jeans from J Brand RRP$189, Nobody Denim RRP$199, RE/DONE RRP$225

2. The Cropped Blazer

I’m a sucker for blazers, if there was a blazer rehab clinic, I’d be first in line. As soon as I slip a blazer on, I instantly feel sharper and put together, no matter how I’m feeling.

Blazers are such an effortless wardrobe must-have. Now, I’m not talking the traditional corporate blazer here, but a modern stylish version; one that you can take from work to play with ease.

These babies are incredibly versatile. They can be worn with t-shirt and jeans, over dresses, skirts, pants – you name it. And the best bit, is that when the fit is spot on, they won’t create bulk around the stomach area.


Blazers from Country Road RRP$279, LAVEER RRP$701.40Camilla & Marc RRP$559

3. The Midi Skirt

Midi skirt madness is making many hot under the collar. And, there are so many different options in store to suit any style preference – leather, crepe, ribbed knit through to mesh panelled pieces; in bright neon, print to muted monochrome and everything in between. Ok, breathe.

It’s the ideal skirt that can move us from season to season flawlessly. Teamed up with t-shirts and flats for an effortless spring brunch to heels, and a killer top for an evening rendezvous.

The key with this Spring go-to, is to ensure that the skirt starts at your natural waistline rather than your hips. And, if you’re loving the flared midi version, ensure that there isn’t too much bulk in comparison to your natural body proportions. These two tips will ensure that we create a longer, leaner silhouette.


Skirts from Dion Lee RRP$1329, Thurley RRP$221, Carla Zampatti RRP$207

4. The Floral Dress

Let’s face it, floral never ever goes out of style, no matter the season. Let’s kiss our Little Black Dress goodbye and embrace our floristry friend.

This year, it’s all about vibrant colour and a mix of unexpected hues – the bolder, the better. Cuts that have a daring touch are the match made in skirt heaven; think plunging necklines, cinched in waists and thigh slights.


Dresses rom Zimmermann RRP$1515, Erdem RRP$869, Ganni RRP$210

5. The Pointed Flat

Ballet flats have a new rival in town that seems to be taking a lot of the spotlight and they’re of a sexier, sharper make. Offering a polished alternative; they redefine day-to-night chic with modern flair and sophistication.

Your options are endless – minimalist, studded, printed, monochrome to colourful. Even a simple elegant outfit paired with a statement pointed flat will give it a fresh breathe of fashionable air.

If you want to achieve a longer leg line without wearing heels, these trusty flats help create the same effect. Oh, and, they’re damn comfortable.


Flats from Raye RRP$160, Ginger & Smart $399, BCBG RRP$116Jeffrey Campbell RRP$95


Follow Colette: Website | Instagram | Facebook


Feature image via pinterest 

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