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When I was younger, I once told my friends I wouldn’t change the way I dressed. I exclaimed, “I’m gonna rock Pepe all the time.” Thank goodness I grew up. Part of fashion is growth and exploring different styles, but what happens when we reverse the cycle? We have moms who hide in the clearance section in Forever 21 and at Pink in Victoria’s Secret, and fifteen year olds who shop at Cato. The reversal is both ways and here are a few ways to help you step your style up and still look age appropriate.

  • Don’t look for size, look for fit: When you normally go shopping, you’re probably looking for something your size. Take into consideration that different brands run either smaller, true to size or larger. It all depends on the demographic that they’re catering to. For instance, H&M blouses run small along with PacSun clothes (every time I’m in those stores I always see older women shopping).  Also, many brands are going for the “bigger is better” look right now, selling blouses and tunics that are meant to be worn loosely, so it really doesn’t matter what size you get because they’re all going to be big! Before you assume something is too big or too small for you, it doesn’t hurt to make a date with the dressing room first to get a dose of reality.
  • Realize that you’re getting older: This isn’t a slap in the face, just a little reminder that you aren’t 17 anymore. The things you wore in your heyday won’t explain the life you live today. Once you see that, you will start to explore different types of clothes and styles.  Remember, just because those Real Housewives of Whatever wear those skin-tight party dresses, that doesn’t mean you should. In fact, they have editors, producers, and really good makeup artists to hide what they’re really looking like, so don’t make a fool of yourself.
  • Buy for quality, not for quantity: We all love a good bargain, but sometimes we have to spend a little more to get longevity in our clothes. Also, most of the clothes seen on the clearance racks are either out of season or just extra stuff that just didn’t sell. There is always a reason it’s there. So just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean that it’s something you have to add to your collection of clothing. Sales in department stores happen almost every other weekend, so sign up for email alerts and get apps like Mobo, Weekly Ads and Sales, or your favorite retailer’s applications so that you can get things that are made better and look better for less.
  • Ignore Fashion Trends: The best thing you can do to avoid being that mom at parent-teacher conferences in sequins and skinny jeans is to ignore fashion trends. I know this sounds cliché, but it’s the truth! We wear what we want to express ourselves and that’s just spiffy, but when you follow a trend you’re not expressing how you feel, but how everyone feels. Plus, spending money on what’s cute right now but might go out of style a few months from now is not really a good look for your style, or your wallet, is it?

All in all, you can do whatever you want. Just because you get older doesn’t mean you have to put on turtlenecks and start searching for orthopedic shoes, but dressing like a teenager in a Justin Bieber video or overdressing to look older isn’t all that good of an idea. Don’t be afraid to grow up and step up your style.

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