Q: I’m in my mid-40s, and wondering what sorts of age-appropriate looks I should go for this fall? – Lisa G.
Let’s start with a proclamation: Age-appropriate is dead.
I am 46 years old. Ann B. Davis, who played Alice on the Brady Bunch, was only 43 when the series began. And yet, she was portrayed as the aging spinster, piling masks and creams on her face at night in a desperate effort to remain young-looking to further her undying efforts to snag a husband.
I don’t know about you, but I have exactly zero friends who behave this way.
We are on the brink of the anti-aging execution. And that’s great news for females of all ages. Because whether you’re 20 or 70, it’s a shift in the expectations that have been placed on women for years. It means a new level of freedom in expressing your true self through outward appearance – whatever that means to you.
And what better time to experiment with your own personal style than during the season that’s traditionally ripe with the most exciting fashion options of the year?
I’m talking about fall (of course). This year is, well, odd. Are we ever going back to the office? Is back-to-school even a thing? Why bother with pants that require zipping when we have elastic waists?
This fall looks different in more ways than we can count. But it doesn’t mean we can’t treat ourselves to personal luxuries that lift our spirits, no matter our age. There are a few trends that I’m planning on leaving out of my autumn rotation. For example – no strapless tops for me (when you wear them on video calls, it looks like you’re naked). But there are a few key pieces that are easy for anyone to incorporate into their wardrobe. And here are a few local spots to find them.
Chocolate brown appears to be the quickest way to update your look with color and is a shade that knows no age limit. Deep brown can be paired with most other hues in your wardrobe and looks rich when done in silky fabrics and chunky textures. Versona, located at Lakeport Commons in Sioux City, has a great selection of chocolate brown tops, dresses, and accessories that are versatile enough to take you from end-of-summer to beginning-of-fall. Try it paired with unexpected shades like light blue and pink, or more traditional combos like ivory or camel.
Plaids that border on punk are hot right now, and I hit the jackpot at Rue 21, located at Southern Hills Mall (by the way – you don’t have to be 21 to shop here). Check out the killer selection of plaid pants in all color combinations, and the cute little red and black plaid dress that can look casual with sneaks, or dressy with a blazer. With a wide range of sizes available, this is a great spot for playing with trends without investing tons of cash. And if you think you’re too old for this look, channel your inner Debbie Harry (there is no cooler 75-year-old on the planet).
Victorian-era looks were back on the Fall 2020 runways, and what an amazing way to look posh from the waist up for those non-stop video calls. Bohme at Sioux City’s Southern Hills Mall is the spot for Victorian blouses and dresses that will add elegance to an at-home or in-office workday. High necks, lace, and ruffled sleeves are details to look for. For those of an age afraid to be mistaken for the Queen of England – never fear. Just pair your frills with jeans and simple accessories and rule your kingdom in style.
Oversize blazers are still a big trend, and a fabulous way to add a chic, undone feel to your look. Kohl’s at Lakeport Commons in Sioux City is like hitting the blazer jackpot. There are so many colors and sizes to choose from that you will have no problem finding one that’s perfect for you. A blazer can be paired with other trendy options to give your wardrobe even more versatility. Throw one over a geometric patterned t-shirt, or add to a tailored skirt, and you’ll have two more on-point looks to jazz up your season.
And check out patchwork for a fun boho variation to otherwise standard wardrobe essentials. A La Mode at Lakeport Commons is a locally owned boutique, and you can find some great options here, including a fabulous lightweight blue button-down with patchwork sides. Once again, this is a look that can be incorporated into anyone’s wardrobe, regardless of age, and can be paired with tailored staples or more casual pairings.
As the designer Marc Jacobs once said, “Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them.” Real style is about feeling like the most authentic version of yourself, feeling comfortable in how your inner beauty is projected outward, using fashion to instantly communicate who you are to the rest of the world. And age has nothing to do with it.
By Erika Hansen, a lifelong Siouxland resident, model, mom, and community volunteer. Curious about exploring the connection between outward appearances and inner power, Erika is passionate about making fashion fun, and fostering a spirit of inclusion with no limits on age or body type. You can find more of Erika’s love of style, and her modeling journey, on Instagram: @kings_from_ash.