Looking the business…well into your 60s

“Whether we like it or not, the state pension age is rising (and is likely to continue that way), meaning it’s even more important to stay employable. That’s particularly true for those of us who are approaching – or have ‘gone there and done’ – the big 50.

Dressing for work isn’t always easy and when your personal brand is what’s setting you apart from your colleagues one of your biggest dilemmas is, “How should I dress to appear professional while still expressing my individual personality?”

But it can be done and, as a personal stylist who intends to be working well into my 60s, here’s my 5 top tips on how those in the second half of their careers can gain confidence and self-belief through the way they look.

1. Accept the changes
By the time you are in your late forties the chances are that you will have a very good idea of what suits you but, as you progress in years, it’s important to accept the details often need to change.  Colours may need to soften a bit, hemlines lower a bit, and waistlines expand a bit.

2. Build a wardrobe you love
The right clothes can make you feel confident and stylish in that important presentation or sophisticated at that special after-work event. So, the importance of “building a wardrobe you love” becomes more of a mission as we move away from younger, throw-away clothes and start to invest in some seriously lovely pieces – reliable clothes that will last and suit our work requirements.

3. Old does not equal dowdy
The aim is to express the fact you’re a grown-up, worldly man or woman without looking dowdy and boring. And it’s entirely possible with some great fashion brands on the high
street and the internet.  We can still buy fun, best-sellers but adding a great, statement piece of clothing – a wonderful, high quality white shirt, a beautifully cut pair of black trousers or even a bespoke jacket in our perfect colour – will add panache and sophistication.

4. Accessorise for success
A great way to express you individuality is to add some really personal accessories – a scarf that was your mother’s (true vintage!), a pair of very expensive cuff-links that you were given as a present for one of your ‘significant’ birthdays (we’ve had quite a few of those!) or a pair of extra-special shoes.  We can afford to invest in some quality accessories, and will have inherited some others, so wear them with grown-up pride!

5. Don’t forget the basics
There’s more to image than clothes. After all this effort to wear the right things, make sure you don’t forget the basics. A great hairdresser is a must. If you’re covering up the grey then do it well with advice from a good colourist. Have regular haircuts – even though in some cases there’s less to cut – and chose a style that really suits your personality. Well-tended nails, good teeth and up-dated make-up will also add professionalism and gravitas to your personal brand.

Looking good has such a positive effect on the way we interact with others – I’ve helped many clients become more self-assured in the office after a wardrobe update or a shopping trip. A stylish, confident woman or man can work happily into their sixties knowing they are someone that others look up to and respect. After all, isn’t that what we’re all looking forward to?”

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