I get a lot of questions from women along the lines of, "Am I too old to wear . . . ?" The style in question might be leggings or sleeveless shirts, ballet flats or short skirts.
Age appropriateness is a tough topic because it depends on your body type, lifestyle and personal taste.
When baby-doll shirts were a hot style, many women over 30 refused to wear them. And some who didn't refuse should have.
Low-rise jeans were and still are worn by women of all ages who have no business wearing them. But the style seemed especially offensive when someone who was obviously over 50 opted for ill-fitting jeans with a two-inch zipper.
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Here are a couple of pieces of advice. Use common sense. For example, if you don't have great legs, don't wear short skirts. Period.
When you put on an outfit, look in a full-length mirror and if what you see is not flattering or prompts you to think, "Hmmmm, this might be too young for me," take it off. If you're thinking it, the look probably is too young. If you go ahead and wear it, you'll be self-conscious all day.
It can work the other way — where a look can be too old for someone — but we know the reverse is usually a bigger problem.
In a time when a youthful look is a life-long goal for many, it's not surprising that designers continue to promote sleeveless styles, hems that hit midthigh and silhouettes that are painfully body-conscious.
These designers don't seem to realize that those of us over the age of 50 — a demographic with money to spend — aren't enthusiastic about those looks.
Maybe that's where the problem of age-appropriateness starts. The selection of trendy, fun clothes for middle-aged women and older seems slim in the summer, so some women go against their better judgment and choose styles that are too young for them.
Bottom line: There is no age limit on any piece of clothing. Try it on and trust your common sense. Or get a second opinion from someone who is brutally honest — a sister, best friend or mother, for example. Husband, well, not so much.
A gentle reminder — Nominations are coming in for the sixth annual Wichita Eagle Makeover.
Judges will select three women and three men who will each receive a terrific free head-to-toe makeover.
Participating salons are Charisma Salon, Planet Hair and Salon Knotty. Women's clothing will be provided by Aspen Boutique, Pink Saloon and K-Lane's. Retailers providing men's clothing are Johnston's and Dillard's. Eyeglasses will be provided by Specs.
Here are the details:
The six winners' new looks will be unveiled at a big event, the Sisterhood of the Divine Makeover, on June 26 at the Wichita Marriott. The event is a benefit for Dress for Success, a charitable organization that provides professional attire, mentoring, life skills and other resources necessary to gain and sustain employment.
If you're not one of the six makeover winners, you'll have a chance for an on-the-spot makeover at the luncheon. The lucky winner will get a new hairstyle and makeup by Eric Fisher and an outfit from Wild at Heart. Such a deal!
How to enter or nominate someone for a free makeover:
* Send a photo taken no longer than six months ago, one you don't need returned. (You may e-mail a photo, but the judges prefer a color printed photo.)
* Include your name, age, occupation and phone numbers, including a daytime contact number.
* Tell us briefly why you want a makeover.
* Agree to be available for the appointments at the salons and the retailers. (They will work with your schedule.)
* Agree to be featured in The Wichita Eagle if you are one of the six winners.
* Attend the luncheon June 27 when all the winners are unveiled. (The winners will be our guests.)
* Be available June 8 or 9 for a quick "before" photograph at The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas.
* Submit your entry by 5 p.m. June 5. Judges will choose the winners on June 8, and I will contact the six chosen that afternoon.
* Mail entries to: Bonnie Bing, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67201.
* Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to purchase tickets for the Sisterhood of the Divine Makeover Luncheon
Tickets for the luncheon are $40, with all proceeds going to Dress for Success. A table for 10 is $400. For tickets, call 316-945-8779.