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Are your clothes aging you?

Elizabeth Mitchell is a freelance fashion and beauty writer living in Los Angeles. A graduate of New York University, she regularly contributes to The Fashion Spot, The Luxury Spot and authors the Star Style column for StyleBakery Teen. ...

How to Dress to impress

Sure, it was cool to dress older in high school, but now that you're not, well, 16 anymore, the last thing you want to do is add years to your age. Our expert drops some much-needed fashion knowledge on what types of clothes age you and what types take years off.
Woman shopping for jeans

When considering whether an outfit is too “young” or “old” for a woman, there are several factors that come into play.

Luckily, Dress for the Date's CEO and Lead Stylist Jennifer Kelton has the scoop on how to determine if you're dressing appropriately for your age.

Steer clear of overtly sexy outfits

First of all, regardless of age, no woman should ever dress overtly sexy, says Kelton. "Outfits that are extremely low-cut and hit just below the rear are big fashion no-nos. Dressing too sexy not only screams desperation, it can also make a woman appear older." Hmm, we can think of a few Real Housewives who should heed this advice…

Compare yourself to other shoppers

So how do you know if you are dressing appropriately for your age? According to Kelton, the first step is to consider where you are shopping. "Specifically, pay attention to the other customers," she notes. "Are they around your age? That's a good sign that you are dressing age appropriately. If the other female customers appear to be far off from your age, however, you are probably not dressing age appropriately.”

Don't step foot in young, trendy stores

One of the biggest fashion faux pas Jennifer and her co-workers witness are women over the age of 35 shopping at young, trendy stores like Forever 21. "These stores are tempting. They make stylish, inexpensive clothing, but when you wear clothing that is considered 'young,' it will actually make you look older because you appear to be trying to look younger," explains Kelton. Stick to stores geared toward your demographic and you'll be safe.

Do choose bright hues

No need to fret! There are clothing items that can help women appear more youthful and refreshed. "The secret lies in the color and form of your clothing," says Kelton. For example, bright colors like cobalt blue instantly have a youthful effect.

Buy clothing that's figure flattering

As Jennifer mentioned above, the fit of your clothing can subtract years off your age too. She recommends avoiding "mom jeans” and billowy tops that give you no form. Pick styles that hug your curves without being too tight instead. "At any age, a woman can never go wrong with a pencil skirt or A-line skirt. Both are sexy, figure flattering and will keep you looking young, stylish and fresh," points out Kelton.

Amp up your wardrobe this season with these 15 basic staples that are appropriate at every age, says Kelton.

  • Black or blue jeans.
  • A little black dress.
  • A black skirt.
  • White and black button down shirts.
  • A cardigan sweater.
  • Knee or ankle boots.
  • Kitten heels.
  • Three-inch slide heels.
  • Flip-flops.
  • A blazer.
  • A v-neck or crew neck T-shirt.
  • A silk scarf to dress up or down.
  • A statement necklace.
  • Sunglasses.
  • A leather jacket.

"Most importantly, looking your best comes from within, not just from the clothes you wear, so be sure to rock a great vibe too," Kelton says.

More style advice

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Accessories that make you look smarter
Lauren Conrad talks fall fashion dos and don'ts

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