EDMONTON - Women at any age want to turn heads at holiday parties, but only for the right reasons.
With so much variety available this season — sparkle, rich colours and hemlines of almost any length — gals want to look stylish without looking like they’re trying too hard, or worse yet, that their look doesn’t suit their age.
To help partygoers look their best, we asked Southgate stylist Brittanee Tomkow for some advice, and had her outfit four women of different ages to illustrate her suggestions.
Our models cover a pretty wide range of ages, from 23 to 68, and all look fabulously glamorous for the holidays, thanks to clothing and accessories from Southgate retailers Le Chateau, Bellissima, Blu’s and Town Shoes, and hair and makeup from Eveline Charles Salon.
Women in their 20s should make the most of their youth, embracing whatever trends they like — short hemlines, sparkle, high heels — the works, says Tomkow. “That’s when you can really have fun with it — show a little more skin and be a little bit trendier.”
Amanda, 23, is a good example of this, in her short, body-hugging dress with a shimmer of gold. Her super-high platform heels also have a touch of sparkle.
When women hit their 30s, they should tone it down a little, Tomkow adds. “Lower the hemline. If you’re going to show any skin, just make sure it’s one part — so if you’re going to show your legs, do a longer sleeve, or if you’re going to show cleavage, do pants or a longer skirt. Just up the sophistication level a little bit.”
Dawn, 37, illustrates this by wearing a lovely dress that still hugs her curves and bares her arms, but has a more conservative hem line. Her shoes are still fun — chunkier platform sandals, and her dress is a vibrant jewel tone — festive, but sophisticated.
Women in their 40s may want to incorporate some ruching or draping in fabrics to hide any lumps or bumps. “The holidays are a great time to get more formal layering pieces like great cardigans with some embellishments or dressier jackets,” says Tomkow.
Often people are looking for dressier cover-ups at other times of the year for weddings or special events and can’t find them, she adds. “This is the time of year that (stores) do them very well.”
If you’re incorporating a trend, like sparkling embellishments, do it in one area — for example, in a sequined top instead of a full-on sequin dress, or glimmering accessories paired with a more classic outfit.
Our model Yvonne, 44, wears a deep purple dress with a lovely embellishment on the shoulder and the slightest hint of sparkle on the toes of her simple black pumps. The sexy, one-shoulder dress bares some skin while still looking elegant and age-appropriate.
Women who are 50 and older should stick to classic pieces like a shift dress or dress pants with a small embellishment or a piece of statement jewelry, says Tomkow.
“You don’t have to dress like you’re dead just because you’re 50. You can still work in some of those trends.”
As they get older, women are often self-conscious about their arms, so look for a pretty cardigan or luxurious wrap, she adds.
Edda, 68, wears a dress with sheer sleeves that camouflage without covering up in heavy fabric. The draping in front gathers at a waist embellishment that adds interest and holiday sparkle to the dress. Instead of incorporating a lot of colour in her dress, Tomkow chose a teal pump with a pretty but comfortable heel to add a colourful, unconventional twist to the ensemble.
Some trends work well for all ages, like the rich jewel tones so prevalent this season, says Tomkow. Oxblood, deep greens and navy are particularly nice this year.
Sparkle, too, is a look that can be worn by any woman, whether it’s an all-over sequined dress or a subtly shimmering clutch.
Statement jewelry — a bold necklace, cuff or pair of earrings with some sparkle or colour — is also a great way to incorporate a modern trend at any age.
In makeup, women should stay away from too much sparkle as they get older. A bit of shimmer to highlight the skin or the eyes is a pretty touch, but don’t go for the full-on face glitter, Tomkow advises.
“Be careful of shimmer because it can bring out fine lines and wrinkles.”
Read Marta Gold and Amanda Ash’s blog, The New Black