When you look in the mirror are you happy with the reflection that stares back at you? Or do you feel you look older than your years, perhaps clinging steadfastly to an outdated image?
While hitting 40/50/60 years or older may be milestones in your life they need not signal the beginning of a decline complete with loss of style and grooming.
Remember age is just a number (although a scary one at times! ) so set your sights on looking your best and dressing to suit your years, lifestyle and budget.
Getting older often involves lifestyle changes, starting new jobs or retiring, children leaving the nest, maybe moving house and having more time on your hands to indulge your favourite interests so your fashion needs should reflect this.
Your body is changing too. You may not be as trim as you used to be, your hair may be thinning and your complexion may appear dull.
If you were naturally blessed with a flair for fashion in the past then it is just a matter of learning how best to flatter your changing shape (if you are lucky it will not have changed too much ) and will not involve a major style makeover.
However if you are a late convert to fashion nous then you may need to undergo a style evolution. But if time is in short supply and a special occasion is looming in the not so distant future your best bet may be to concentrate on refreshing your look.
So where should you start? Here are some tips to help take years off your appearance and make you feel great, too.
How to look your best
1. Be prepared to pay a little more for clothes that do not skimp on cut. These may cost more but will be well worth the investment. Aim for jackets with curvy lapels, not sharp lines.
2. Updating your hair style and make-up is an easy way to make your image more up-to-the-minute
3. Avoid shapeless clothes. Opt instead for styles which make the most of your figure.
4. Do not dress younger than your years.
5. Learn which colours suit you best. Remember, the shades which suited you in your twenties - especially those which you wear closest to your face - may no longer look so good on you.
6. Experiment with different styles and shades until you find the right ones.
7. Aim to develop a signature look. Do not be swayed by passing trends unless they suit you
8. Buy the correct sized garment. Do not attempt to squeeze yourself into something too small (we have all done it but it is not the recipe for sartorial success ).
9. A slumped posture can appear to add on pounds. It also restricts our breathing, strains muscles and joints and make us look worn out. Hold your head up, keep your back straight and hold your tummy in.
10. Skin tone and hair colour fade with age so it is advisable not to wear the same tones and shades you wore when you were younger. Grape or soft mauve may be a better option than true blue or strong pinks, for example. Wearing colours which complement your skin tone is important to avoid looking tired or grey.
11. Many women get heavier around the hips and waist as they get older. You can play down these extra inches by avoiding clothes with detail at the waist. Choose a soft fabric that drapes and avoid belts. Steer clear of stripes, too. Patterns or designs should be current. Soft crossover blouses or ones which drape at the neckline are wise choices. Avoid polo necks - while they may conceal wrinkles they can give a hard look to the face.
12. A chiffon scarf is an ideal way to add style and colour to an outfit.
13. Fake a tan. It will make you look slimmer/healthier/younger. Check out the self-tan products on sale or else opt for getting one professionally applied.
14. Be bold in your colour choices for blouses, jackets and scarves. Opt for neutral and deeper tones for skirts and trousers.
15. Liven up outfits with jewellery or pretty scarves. These will also help divert the eye from ‘trouble’ spots, such as big hips, short legs or a less than youthful neck.
16. Match your belt and shoes with your skirt or trousers to make your legs appear longer. However, avoid belts unless you are slim because they can appear to cut you in half making you look rounded. Skinny lizzies who want to create an illusion of extra inches should choose double-breasted jackets, bold print overshirts and pale hosiery.
17. Wear darker colours on the lower half of your body if you are pear shaped.
18. Aim for clean, uncluttered lines, such as a cropped jacket and a one colour suit, if you are petite. These will not swamp you and will give a clean, uncluttered line. Wear prints in moderation. Short people look better in outfits of one colour or else with very small prints and simple accessories.
19. Classic basics, complemented by current accessories, will create an illusion of youth.
20. If you a serial cookie jar raider and the evidence is beginning to show on your tummy avoid tight fitting clothes and heavy fabrics which will only serve to emphasise your shape. Well made dresses which hang below the knee are good choices. Equally, simple, classic looks in solid dark colours are sure winners. You can divert attention away from your stomach by wearing tailored styles. Outfits with a little shoulder padding broaden the shoulder outline giving the impression of a more evenly proportioned body.