So there are two core principles to remember when it comes to dressing your age: 1. Learn the Rules and 2. Know When and How to Break Them.
Think about it – a woman in her 20s doesn’t want to look matronly and a woman in her 40s shouldn’t look like she raided the closet of a teen. Frankly at a certain age (or life stage) mini skirts are off the table completely and it doesn’t matter how awesome your legs are. And frankly if you are over 50 beware of plunging tops and shirts that lack sleeves. All that said, with the advent of Botox and other age defying serums and creams, hard and fast rules are becoming a thing of the past. Fashion should reflect who you are now – your life style, your stage in life and your personal sense of style. Let’s face it most 20 year olds are not Donna Karens and most 50 plus year olds are not Juicy Couture…well except Betsy Johnson.
Here are my thoughts on fashion for your 20s based on my years of experience of working with women in the beauty industry for almost 14 years.
First and foremost, remember you are no longer 15.
You are now an adult and you should dress like one. No this doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with your wardrobe. But the days of Hello Kitty and One Republic plastered on your fashion should be out the door with the diploma…high school diploma. Start looking for clothing that reflects your new adulthood. Move out of the Juniors department and start shopping in the Misses. Trust me you will notice a difference.
Accept your body.
I understand that we all may have a few or more pounds we want to lose or would like to tone up. That’s not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is beating yourself up and comparing yourself to a body you aren’t. Most supermodels are boyish in shape and many are emaciated looking. Trust me, the rare few who are naturally that thin are just that RARE! And they do not reflect the average woman in shape or size. If you have curves, you are never gonna get there. And frankly, why would you want to. Not only does the average women have curves but numerous studies (both in popular culture and those for scientific exploration) have shown the average male likes a woman with curves. In fact, I believe it ranges between a size 6 to size 10 in the US sizing. And given the option between more curvy or no curves, men more often choose the curves. (That is one of the reasons, despite high fashion runways, the boyish figure tries to create curves.) I could go in to the anthropological theory behind this but I am no Bones. Just trust me on this one. So accept your body and all its perfectly perfect imperfections. (see my previous blog on the section on body shape). You are going to have her for a very long time, so why not fall in love with your body and like with all those we love, accept her for who she is.
Most likely you don’t have endless financial resources – Invest wisely.
I highly suggest that you invest in staples for your wardrobe rather than spending your limited resources on the one on trend HOT fashion trend item that will be irrelevant the next season. In order to do this, you really should look at your life style. If you are a working single lady, then a staple would be a great black pencil skirt that can easily look awesome when pair with a cardigan, button up shirt and good pair of heels. But that same great black pencil skirt can look awesome with a sparkly top and stilettos for a night out or a pair of boots and funky top for coffee with the girls. If you are a stay at home mom, a staple would be an awesome pair of jeans or cool pair of brown leather boots. Both can be dressed down for running kids to school, mommy and me classes, errands and yet they can also be glammed up for a date night with hubby or girls night out.
These pieces can also last a long time. They stand the test of time. That which you invest in should last through multiple seasons of fashion because investing should be on classics. Use small funds for purchasing inexpensive items that exemplify current trends. That way when a trend is over, it’s not so painful to let go of the item if need be. For my high and medium maintenance ladies, this allows you to have great always on fashion pieces but also gives you easy permission and a simple way to always or sometimes participate in hot trends.
If there are two things that I can impress upon you that you really want to make sure get great, perfect fits – we are not talking good, definitely not good enough, but great fits – are most definitely bras and jeans. To paraphrase Chorus Line, we are talking T & A. Both should be firm, held in place and in some cases restrained…sadly like mine in both cases (she says as she sighs accepting her bodies fashion challenges). The only way to do it is to seek professional help. (On a side note – when you try on clothing make sure you step out of the dressing room and look in a three-way mirror to make everything looks awesome from every angle.)
I can’t tell you how many times I have had a conversation with a woman about the benefits of a good fitting AND correctly sized bra. Let’s think about this. If your size A friend wears a push up bra with thin straps and one hook eye closure do you really think that’s going to do anything for your DD ladies. I think not. I have found most women I know underestimate not only their cup size but also their bra size. And that includes me! Cup sizes change and so do the bra size as we change in life. All my adult life I have been a large C bordered on a D. Recently, I re-measured to discover I was a whopping DDD! The girls grew and into a size I never thought I would see so needless to say I was way underestimating my size! As a good rule of thumb you will want to get re-measured approximately 6 months to a year. Life causes change to our bodies and that includes the girls. If your clothing size changes, it’s a good bet your bra size has too.
The same can be said about your jeans. Bums aren’t any different than the girls. They come in all shapes and sizes and have hips and thighs to add in to the mix. Getting a professional fitting to make sure your pockets are in the right place and that you are wearing the right shape to flatter your shape will definitely ensure that not only are you avoiding mom jeans BUT that your butt looks smaller! Whether we love our curves or not, almost all of us want a smaller looking butt. Properly fitted jeans, in the right wash, right cut and pockets the right size and in the right place can your backside the perfect and proper amount of booty. For my low maintenance girls, you will love this because once you have a good pair of jeans, it’s easy to live in them. They go with almost, not all, but almost all occasions and can be dressed up or down.
Experiment – at the store!
You are in your 20s! Take chances and try different silhouettes, new combinations and something out of your comfort zone. You might luck yourself in to a great look or shape you didn’t expect. But I encourage you to do it at the store BEFORE you buy. You are in your 20s and so is your wallet. The store is the perfect place to try anything, so be playful and slightly reckless.
Show a little leg.
Right now you can…tastefully. There will come a time that you won’t be able to do so freely. Enjoy this time while you can.
This one kind of applies to all ages but more so to our 20 somethings. These girls are always on the move. I remember when I worked for a corporation and in a conservative role. I had to dress in more modest business attire. At the same time I had a singing class in the evenings with one of Hollywood’s well known writer and producer. The last thing I could do was show up in a suit and there was no time to change. Making sure I was wearing clothing that could easily change from work professional to pop star or a night on the town was essential. Versatility is also key for someone who is low maintenance. There really doesn’t have to be a lot of fuss. Just grab what you know and change it up with an accessory or two.
This time in your life is about finding you, so as you do share it. You can do this through your clothing. My step-daughter is more outwardly rebellious in her attire and expression than most people her age. And while I do wish she would consider the more permanent decisions she makes in expressing her “wild and rebellious” side, she is uniquely her and is a true expression of who she feels she currently is…purple hair, piercings, tattoos and all. One word of caution, I truly feel my stepdaughter has every right to express who she is and I find nothing wrong with tattoos, etc. However, we live in a world where there are still forms of expression that are considered fringe and less accepted. I encourage everyone to express who they are in their wardrobe, even in getting a tattoo. I just caution you on the location and outward visibility. We still live in a fairly conservative world. Express yourself in a way that does not impede or limit you from any path you may wish to take. My stepdaughter has even said, she walks into places for work opportunities and the response once they look at her is “yeah no”.
Steer clear of the grandma.
Look for things with a youthful vibe. Avoiding things without shape or structure should help keep you young. Panty hose have their place, even nude, but your version of nude may be a patterned pair or fish nets. Steer clear of plain nude panty hose, pleated pants and anything too boxy. It screams just plain old…truthfully anyone should stay away from these as they read old regardless of your decade.
Mostly, have fun in your twenties. You have permission to experiment so enjoy it. By the way…all the clothing details were put together with Polyvore’s create application. Check it out at www.polyvore.com and see what fashions you come up with for you!