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Look Great No Matter Your Age

11 fall fashion trends for grown-ups

Trendy after 50 - Designer Eva Herzigova presents the collection N°2 for 1.2.3 at Hotel Le Bristol on September 13, 2010 in Paris, France.

Designer Eva Herzigova presents the collection N°2 for 1.2.3 at Hotel Le Bristol in Paris, France. — Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Remember how much fun it was to shop for clothes in your 20s and 30s?

Back then, you may have fallen for all the fabulous looks you saw in fashion magazines, styles that promised to make you look hip, desirable and successful. At that age, some of us were total fashion victims, updating our wardrobes at the slightest rise of a hemline.

For women, one of the perks of hitting "a certain age" is we no longer feel that we must keep a strict running pace with fleet footsteps of fashion.

As we've matured so has our personal style and self-confidence. We finally know what looks good on us — and what doesn't — and can very easily say no to the latest trend if it makes us look or feel silly or uncomfortable. Beside, trends often fade away fast.

Also, shopping and updating after 50 becomes more perspirational than aspirational, which is to say, mature women shop with frugality, practicality and comfort at the top of the list. The uncertain economic climate combined with fixed retirement income makes it difficult to justify a new jacket when food, housing and medical expenses need to be paid.

Still, while women 50 and older no longer want to look like we stepped out of a Vogue editorial we also don't want to carbon-date ourselves by wearing the exact same styles we've worn for the past decade or two.

So, we talked with Nordstrom Fashion Director Gregg Andrews about the trends in fashion this fall and how women 50 and older might incorporate these new looks into an existing wardrobe.

Modesty Is Back: "We're not seeing a lot of skin," says Andrews. "The body is covered and the look is more about looking feminine and sensual as opposed to overtly sexy. It's looking back at the '70s, which were in turn looking back at the '40s and a return to classic feminine clothing."

Great Lengths: Hems have fallen farther than the stock market, all the way to mid-calf. Is every woman going to embrace a middy length? No, but you will want to cover the knee. If you can only buy one, buy a below-the-knee A-line shape.

Wide Pants: Think Katharine Hepburn. "A lot of women won't wear flares and are hesitant about wide legged pants," says Andrews. "But this style is actually very flattering because it balances out the hips. And since the waist line is also moving up, the new wide pants will give you a long slim look."

Soft Tops: There are lots of fluid soft blouses this season, especially with ruffles, bows and ties at the neck. The trick is that these pretty tops are paired with mannish trousers, sturdy jackets and mannish footwear."There's a juxtaposition, a kind of high/low masculine/feminine look," Andrews explains. "There are lots of chiffon and georgette feminine floral dresses and blouses. But what makes them look new is juxtaposing them with a heavier boot or a chunky cardigan or a parka. It grounds the look. Women don't want to look precious or fragile now."

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