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Are Fashion and Style Truly Ageless?

fashion, style, and the differences between the two“Clothes are not going to change the world. The women who wear them will.” – Anne Klein

This quote was shared with me recently and for the most part, I completely agree with Anne Klein. We are the ones who will change the world with our strength, intelligence, creativity, and confidence. Therefore, I cannot help but think there needs to be another sentence in between the two.

Clothes are not going to change the world. But, the right clothes can help a woman feel confident to go out and change the world.  Confidence is powerful and attractive. We can do so much more when we walk with our heads held high and smiles upon our faces. Many times the cover on our own book determines if we will be heard and respected.

Lately, I have seen over and over again in the blogosphere, these headlines, “Fashion is Ageless,” and “Style is Ageless.” We must understand the difference between the two to know the first statement is false, and the second one is true. As I explained in 8 Steps to Reinvented Style, I understand the difference between fashion and style. We all have some type of style, like it or not. Style goes with us our entire lives, but there are different types of style. Fashion, on the other hand, offers unique designs for different age groups. There are very few pieces which look good and appropriate on all women. But I am not saying midlife and beyond belongs in the frump section of a store.

I am fascinated with the fact clothing sends a message about us. I have learned to control the messages I send while creating my own personal style. This has given me incredible confidence over the last 13 years, and made it possible for me to soar career wise (even at 63!).

As I shared in my reinvented style piece, I can remember my freshman Communications class at the University of Texas in Austin in the 1970s. We studied Marshall McLuhan’s concept, the medium is the message. One source explains his theory as “the form of medium embeds itself in the message creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is received.” It was clear to me that FASHION is the medium and STYLE is the message. And that your choice of fashion determines how your style will be received.

Every day I want to communicate I am strong, chic, dramatic, current, and savvy. An example of what I might put together to achieve those messages could be a proper fitting pencil skirt, a form-fitting suit jacket (many options in my closet), beautiful blouse, and the dramatic and current item might be found in a statement necklace or fabulous shoe. By focusing on my messaging, I can look in the mirror and go out with confidence!

Do you ever think about the messages you send with your fashion choices?

Stylist Stacy London (affiliate link to London’s incredible book) writes, “It’s not an overstatement to say that style teaches me over and over again how to live in my skin. It helps me find the courage and confidence and control when I feel I have none.”

Every woman has style; you send a message every time you get dressed. It is up to us to compose what fits our personality and lifestyle, and then go change the world!

If you would like a copy of 8 Steps to Reinvented Style, feel free to email me at Have a wonderful first week of August, everyone!

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Wednesday 3rd of August 2016

Your post rung a bell with me. In the past few years I've invested in several Eileen Fisher pieces. When I wear them I realize I may not look like a head-turner of a knock out (who needs to, wants to or even can in later mid l;ife) but I feel well tailored, that I look up-to-date without actually being up-to-the minute in style. I feel confidence that I look smart. I may not actually look as good as I feel but who cares?

Prairie Poulet

Tuesday 2nd of August 2016

I loved the British sitcom world of the "Absolutely Fabulous" ladies, showing us how to age disgracefully. Patsy and Edy were fashion victims, a lesson in what not to do and wear.

Style means bringing out your own best outer image. It means dressing for your body shape, height and complexion. It means saying no to trends way more often than yes. It means honoring your outward self. When you think about this, it makes sense that the right clothing can give you confidence. If your honor your outside, you are also honoring your inner life.

Fashion? It's a whole different game. I'm at a point in life where I don't like dictates about what to wear. I know what I like and what works, and will pick and choose from what fashion has to offer. Sometimes this means I go for years with very few purchases.

Frankly, a lot of trends are riduculous to me. So I say yes to wedge heels, not to stilettos, yes to high waists and no to low-rise pants. I shall never wear a pencil skirt. And so on.

Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC

Tuesday 2nd of August 2016

My style has actually changed dramatically over the years... I studied fashion in NYC and then was in film for a while. I got tired of having to work so hard on my appearance. I pretty much live in Prana and jeans or shorts... not that I don't ever dress up, and I certainly appreciate what you are doing. But on a day to day basis, I am not motivated to "do" myself up. That's not the same as not caring or being frumpy (at least I hope not).


Tuesday 2nd of August 2016

Yesterday I had a conversation with a girlfriend who works freelance. She's chic, has great style, is beautiful and "with it," and she has trouble getting work. It's age discrimination. Makes me so angry!!! Brenda


Tuesday 2nd of August 2016

This is very true, that there is a difference between 'fashion' and 'style.' I truly do get the difference. While I have no desire to change the world, per se, I do have a desire to present myself 'out there' as a confident, pulled-together woman. I doubt I will ever lose that desire. I'm (eagerly) anticipating retirement and a different money-earning venture, completely different from the corporate careers I have had for all of my working life. I still intend to step out in my chic, classic style and look the very best that I can and still have fun with it. To me, style is how you present yourself, it's more about who you are and then that is reflected back in how you dress.

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