Age Appropriate Aging Personal Style

Personal Style and Aging – 5 Things I’ve Learned

A woman standing in front of a stone wall.

Today is the day I became the mother of a TEENAGER! My only child has officially moved into the next phase of life. His milestone birthday (and MY mamaversary!) has made me look back fondly at the adorable smiley baby he once was and deeply appreciate the fine young man he is becoming. While it’s a pleasure to see how much he has matured, it’s less pleasurable to acknowledge time has also passed for me.

I was 35 when Ryder was born and it struck me, for the first time then, that some clothing might not be appropriate for me any longer. I started to mull over my personal style and mothering. Now with 50 on the horizon (some might even say I am middle aged<Gasp!>), I can’t help but contemplate personal style and aging.

A woman and a boy are smiling for the camera.

My Thoughts on Personal Style and Aging

1. Getting Old is a Privilege

I learned this lesson early in life when my own mom passed away all too soon at 36. Knowing how full of life she was, and how she still had so much to do has driven me to create a juicy life full of passion, inspiration, meaning and connection. Rather than resent my laugh lines, I’ve learned to consider them a souvenir of a life well-lived. My achy joints? They’re just Mother Nature’s way of telling me not to stop dancing. (I am still working on accepting my crepey neck, but hey, progress not perfection, right?)

2. Becoming Invisible is NOT Inevitable

I used to hear all the time about how as we age, men become distinguished and women become invisible.  I’m calling bull****.  Women can stay relevant, sexy, beautiful and modern to the end. For some women it isn’t until they reach “a certain age” that they feel comfortable enough in their skin to own their looks.

Thanks to fashion icons like Iris Apfel, celebrities such as Annie Lennox, Helen Mirren and Julianne Moore, and fashion bloggers like Susan B. of Une Femme D’une Certain Age, there is a positive shift happening in society’s attitude toward women, personal style and aging. No longer are we limited to pastels and orthopedics. We can still dress with edge, a bit of funk and always, always with intention.

3. I Am Every Age I Have Ever Been 

This is how I feel on the inside, despite what the ever-increasing grey hairs and diminishing eyesight might say. Being in this frame of mind allows me to have heart connections with friends that are half my age as well as friends old enough to be my mom. I am in such a good place! I’m no lamb, and I’m ok with that. I don’t wish to dress like my younger friends, although I may admire their sense of style. Dressing young does not make one appear younger. I’m taking pleasure in my own style evolution, and discovering which clothes I look and feel my best in. I’ve always enjoyed playing with fashion as creative expression, and don’t intend to ever give that up.

4. Age Appropriate (Whatever!)

Embracing my age instead of apologizing for it is how I want to live and inspire others to live.

I refuse to subscribe to any hard and fast rules that say women shouldn’t wear ______ after 40. A great deal depends on a person’s personality and energy. We encourage our clients to use their clothes to emphasize the parts of their bodies they love, and as a tool to communicate who they are to the world. I never want that to change for myself or our clients. Personal style and aging are not mutually exclusive.

5. I Am Worth It and So Are You

“Get busy living or get busy dying” is a quote from one of my favourite movies, The Shawshank Redemption. Taking the time to dress in way that makes me feel how I WANT to feel, is always time well-spent. It brings me joy and makes me feel alive. Curating a closet of timeless items while keeping an eye on the latest trends, keeps my style current and keeps me young at heart. Investing in quality pieces that allow me to be self-expressed and comfortable is a practice in honouring myself.





A woman standing in front of a brick wall.

Dee Clarke

All women deserve to feel beautiful, confident, modern and sexy at any age. Not feeling it? Contact The Joy of Style. Mara and I will help you find your mojo.


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  • Aneta
    January 16, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Love this post. Once I had kids I know I had to change some ways I dressed but I believe that we can and SHOULD wear whatever makes us feel good.

    • Dee Clarke
      January 17, 2017 at 6:56 am

      Aw thanks, Aneta. Truth be told, I had quite a style-identity crisis when my son was born. It didn’t help that every outfit had to pass the “Can I breastfeed in that?” test. I was a little taken aback that HIS milestone birthday would make me contemplate my own stage in life. I probably should not have been surprised.

      Fortunately, it seems like many of us feel the same way. Wear what you love for as long as you like.

  • Joan
    January 16, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Love it! And agree with all points in this post – I’m right there with you! Owning it….

    • Dee Clarke
      January 16, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks, Joan. Right on, Sista! 🙂

  • Michael Kwan
    January 16, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    I’ve been told now that I’m a little older, it’s not really appropriate for me to wear silly, “youthful” t-shirts and baggy zip-up hoodies any more. I disagree. It’s who I am. Just because I’m older doesn’t mean I need to grow up.

    • Dee Clarke
      January 16, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      Thx for your comment, Michael. I think it’s about striking the right balance between feeling confident and authentic in your clothes, but also being aware of the message you are sending to your “audience”. What might be cool and fun to wear for pho is not what you would wear to apply for a loan or pitch an important client. You might also want to step up your style game when you take your wife out on a date. When you dress with intention, people notice and appreciate.

  • Katherine
    January 16, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    I really enjoyed this, everything you speak about have been things I’ve either thought about, or will now be reflecting on. I have always enjoyed fashion and having a unique personal style. Like you I think of it as a creative expression, a way to communicate who we are to the world. This, as we do ourselves, changes over time. I look back and love some of the things I’ve worn, even if I wouldn’t wear them now. And as for adapting fashion as we get older- whatever that transition/ age may be- I love the different styles we get to experiment with and enjoy in different phases of our life, and that like us, they adapt and change. Thanks for writing this, it’s put a big smile on my face. 🙂

    • Dee Clarke
      January 16, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks Katherine. Glad you enjoyed it. It was quite an emotional experience for me, (Mind you, I cry at the drop of a hat. haha!)

  • Melissa
    January 16, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    I love this…fashion should never be limited by age! Dress how you feel, I totally agree!!

    • Dee Clarke
      January 17, 2017 at 6:29 am

      Thank you, Melissa. I feel like we it owe it to ourselves AND to the children, to be models for living out loud and self-expression.

  • Eschelle
    January 16, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Preach sister!! Ftw and do what you want to feel good!!

    • Dee Clarke
      January 17, 2017 at 6:21 am

      Thanks a lot, Eschelle. It’s really great to see so many people feel the same way. We’re going to be stylish grannies together. 🙂

  • Stacey
    January 16, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    I have chosen to kick my fashion sense up a notch this year and this is a good reminder for me to keep making good choices when I get dressed in the morning.

    • Dee Clarke
      January 17, 2017 at 6:43 am

      Good for you, Stacey! I know I certainly appreciate a well-dressed man.

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