How Much Is Too Much: What to Show Off and When


In today’s fashion climate, there’s no shortage (yes, pun intended) of skin-bearing clothing, no matter what your age or station in life. Cut-out cocktail dresses to strappy yoga apparel, no matter what the occasion you can bet you’ll see an option that involves showing more skin.

While for some of us, mostly under the age of twenty, this is fun and fashionable. But for the rest of us, there’s a little thing called gravity, and it’s not everyone’s bestie-for-the-restie. Yes, some of us experience sagging skin at some point, the occasional weight gain here or there, and the internal struggle of realizing that Peter Pan doesn’t exist and we can’t stay in our teen physiques forever. (Sorry, Wendy.)

A few years ago I came up with a few general rules of thumb as I navigated from my twenties into my thirties, and now my thirties into my forties. And these rules still stand the test of time. . . At least for now. So before you wear that college semi-formal dress “just because you still can” does not, in any way, shape, or form mean that you should. Aging can be a beautiful process for a woman. After all, who hasn’t looked at the likes of Christie Brinkley, Iris Apfel, Audrey Hepburn and Isabella Rossellini and not said “Well, didn’t they hit the nail on the head.”

1.) Pick one area to showcase. There needs to be one star of your psychical show. Some feel confident in the shape of their legs (thanks to the new barre revolutions taking place from coast to coast). A shorter length skirt need not be skirted due to age – show off your legs if you have worked hard for them and are proud!

Others elect to showcase their arms for the same reason. Sleeveless tops and dresses are an excellent way to reveal toned and taught arms. . . Not to mention a display arena for some great arm candy. (Male or manufactured.)

Some are proud of the slim nature of their overall physique, and in this case, a fitted sheath dress will blare “dangerous curves” louder than any road sign. And that’s quite alright when you’ve got something to boast about.

Be careful, don’t showcase them all. You aren’t a museum. Everything is not on display. If you elect to wear a form fitting dress to showcase your body, don’t make it so short that you are also showcasing your legs. Further, don’t make it sleeveless to additionally show-off your arms. The key is to think to yourself: which part of myself do I feel best about, and how can I highlight just that one part. Leave the rest to the imagination of others. Trust me, they’ll be thinking.

2.) Age is only a number. There are many women older than me who I find way more stylish than those many years younger. Why? Because they have a sense of self, they don’t get caught up in “trends,” but they exude style. They are comfortable in their skin and have a keen awareness of what looks good on them (and almost as importantly, what does not). They accept where they are in life, embrace it, and in turn it becomes sexy.

To be honest, I sort of long for the time when I can rock a sleek, white, edgy, chin-length bob and wear black cigarette pants and sleeveless black tops. Age is just a number, so who knows. I might try that tomorrow.

3.) Don’t compete with anyone. As a mother of daughters, I see this all the time. A mother who is coming to grips (well, actually not, to be honest) competes with her daughter (probably unwittingly). Borrowing clothing, wearing the same trends (again, there’s that word. . . ). You were her age once, you needn’t go back. Instead, embrace where you are. Think about your fashion icons who represent the look you want to set forth. Your daughter will respect you for that, and it will certainly result in less fights about your stealing her clothes.

In the workplace, if you are surrounded by younger women, do not attempt to compete with them. Hold to your own sense of style. Remember, you are a role model for these young women. By accepting who you are and what your style is, you are giving them the permission to do that for themselves, and not fall prey to trends that will go out just as quickly as they arrived.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that there’s a difference between trends and style. Wear what makes you feel confident, bold, and your best self. Sometimes, for some of us, that means stretchy pants and a flowy top. For others of us, or under different circumstances, that means skinny jeans and a top. Still the rest of us might enjoy wearing a new dress to work once in a while.

Regardless of where you are, stay true to yourself and your desires. Trends come and go, but style is something that separates you from the rest. Find your style, find your muse, and stick with it regardless.

funny. irreverent. entertaining. a mom who doesn't take herself too seriously except when it comes to loving her kids, enjoying family time, sipping a good craft cocktail, being a mompreneur and writing. use the hashtag #yeahTHATmom to share your own motherhood moments, thoughts, and everything in between.

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