Over the course of the past century, women’s fashion has drastically evolved. In the early 1900s, it would have been completely normal to see a young woman in a corset-style dress that quite literally altered her posture, as women had certain style standards they were required to follow. Yet as time went on and society’s perception of what is right and wrong matured, women started to gain an essential aspect of fashion that was lacking before: confidence.
“I would argue that women can wear virtually whatever they want today; style and fashion are meant to be fun,” says longtime wardrobe expert and stylist Naina Singla. “There really aren’t any rules—it’s all about the confidence a woman has in pulling off a certain style or a specific item of clothing.”
And, in 2020, Singla’s claim surrounding the “rules” of fashion rings true, reflected by the increase of casual dress code in office settings. According to a 2019 study by Indeed, the number of U.S. companies that allow casual dress throughout the workweek has increased from 32% to 50% in just the last five years. Plus, a global study conducted by fabric brand Comfort revealed that the majority of women choose the clothing they wear based on how it makes them feel, with feelings of confidence, happiness and empowerment being the most common factors.
According to Singla, the previously common expression of “dressing your age” is also one of the stigmas that has faded away in modern times, giving older women more freedom of expression when it comes to their wardrobe.
“Age has nothing to do with style. Great style is possible no matter what your age is,” explains Singla. “Gone are the days when women need to dress their age or a specific way. Older women should and can still take risks, be a little daring and try new styles. A number shouldn’t define your age, rather it’s more about your lifestyle, energy and what makes you happy.”
The key to finding happiness through style, according to Singla, is determining which pieces foster self-confidence, making you feel the most comfortable. Her top recommendations that women should have in their closet? A blazer, non-frumpy knitwear, a white blouse, well-fitted jeans, a pair of high heels or flats, a black dress, tailored trousers and a few finishing touches, such as a high-quality everyday bag, scarf, jewelry and a clutch.
With these few pieces as a base, women can define their personal style and vibe over time, allowing for more creativity in their personal fashion.
“We live in a time when mature women are still professionally active, creative and ambitious, and personal style should reflect these qualities—regardless of age,” says Singla. “It’s a natural progression for style to change as one matures, grows and has more body awareness and confidence. I believe having some kind of uniform is a good idea. Your uniform changes and evolves, but over time you develop a personal style and you become more self-aware—you know what works for your body type and lifestyle.”
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