At the ripe age of 24, there's still a lot for me to learn in matters of style. That said, I have already noticed positive shifts in my wardrobe with every year that passes, from my earlier days of wearing an over-the-top mish-mash of trends to my current regimen of pared-down back basics with a slight twist.
I haven't totally found my niche though, and still find myself questioning my choices more than I'd like. I aim to be in a more comfortable place with my style, but the women around me who harbor this confidence seem to be at least five years older than me. Perhaps age, and the wisdom that comes with it, is the secret sauce here. I suppose I'll have to wait my turn, but in a society that seems set solely preoccupied with youth, it's refreshing to realize that an exciting rite-of-passage still awaits.
To prove my point, I spoke to six women of varying ages—whose opinions and style I really admire—about how their style has changed over the years. See what they had to say below!
"I think there is a lot of fear when it comes to getting dressed. Fashion was never an industry designed to empower women as much as we'd like to believe. Sure, we say, go without makeup. But only if you're swathed in cashmere and have the bone structure of a supermodel. We [seem to] have a fear of being invisible. Now I say: It's OK to embrace being invisible. Have you ever been the under-dressed person at the party? Try it. It's quite fun. And those are usually the best-dressed and most dynamic people there are. To be subtle is also a statement." –Lulu, designer, The Fashion Club
“I remember reading a piece in Vogue several years ago by Jane Herman, about finding her uniform, her style groove. I think it was about turning 30 and knowing what looks good on you, and what makes you feel most confident. That article has turned out to be memorable because it held so true. When I was younger, I wore sexier clothes that weren't necessarily that well made—I wanted a new outfit all the time. As I got older, my looks evolved into a look, singular, which is much more conservative and comprised of a faithful cast of rotating basics, high and low. I try to keep it from being boring with shoes and jewelry.” –Claire, editor, Time
"I've never really cared about clothes as my family and friends can sadly attest. The irony is that at this point in my life, when I could care less than ever about what others think, I am actually putting more time and thought into my clothes than ever before. Not for them, but for me. Three weeks ago, I went through my closet and discarded a quarter of my wardrobe. Out with the plentiful horrendous clothes and in with classic items that have more feminine lines. I never buy 'here today, gone tomorrow' stuff—I prefer quality items that are timeless. I will also say this: I 100 percent believe that if I had dressed better earlier in my career, I would have been more successful." –Ellen, Wall Street trader
“The truth for me is that, as I became more aware that what is most beautiful shines from within, I became more free to dress for myself. I want what I wear to resonate with my inner spirit and values. As the discrepancy between my inner and outer self diminished, my true colors emerged and I think can be felt by all—even if they don't necessarily like my 'style.' I hope my fashion conveys that I care about real beauty, the earth, and a reduction of consumerism, trend-following and men-pleasing.” –Kristen, therapist
"My closet always had too many 'mistakes' in it for me to think I ever had a style. But I was always attracted to the simplicity of menswear. I was lucky in that I had a body type that could wear almost anything, but having too many choices can be as bad as having none. Sure, it looks good on me, but am I comfortable? Too many times I was swayed by the look, not the comfort, and ended up being stylistically confused.
Over the years, whenever I was moving, purging or downsizing, I slowly realized that the items that always remained in my closet were the classic, tailored, simple clothes. That, apparently, was my style, my default position on the fashion-spectrum. The 'costumes' were usually things I bought to impress or please someone: a lover, or a fashion crazy adolescent daughter who thought I was old and boring.
Now, I just want to keep it simple. I want to avoid the panic and confusion of choosing what to wear. The costumes have gone to Goodwill. Shopping has become easier. I gravitate to the clean lines, the comfy fabrics, the stuff I can wear forever. It may be boring to others, but I am comfortable, and confident, at last." –Kathy, homemaker
How has your style evolved as you've gotten older? Let us know in the comments!