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Fight the (Fashion) Power!

We'll give up these style trends when they peel them from our — well, you know the rest!

Rebel, Rebel

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For beauty and style tips, check out "The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life and Love After 50," as well as AARP's Beauty & Style digital magazine, which is free on iPad for AARP members.

Not only is spring in the air, but defiance is, too: More and more women 50 and older are choosing to ignore decades of "age-appropriate" do's and don'ts.

I say bully for them — and phooey on fashion rules! Why shouldn't we toss our received "wisdom" about age and weight out the window and start our own "A La Mode Mutiny"?

The first shot in that revolution is to let nothing come between us and our:

Striped boatnecks: For years, fashion pundits tricked us into believing that horizontal stripes fatten our figures. But we've recently thrown that myth overboard, taking the French-inspired "Breton" tee to our bosom — literally. Hmm, might we have become a bit obsessed with these striped tops and their wide, shallow, flattering neckline or with their discreet three-quarters sleeves? Target, L.L. Bean, Old Navy and many others can put you in touch with the je ne sais quoi of a boatneck, but forget about the supposed "bad optics" of stripes wrapping around curves: A good support bra will keep everything chic-shape.

Fishnet tights: Who says they're tacky? (Besides your mother-in-law, I mean.) Open-weave, diamond-mesh tights have to be the fastest leg camouflage a gal can find — especially with spring around the corner and dresses and bare legs beckoning. Here's why else I like fishnets:

  • They make veins, brown spots and broken capillaries undetectable.
  • Cher wore a pair to the Met Gala in 2015.
  • Paired with black heels or open-toed sandals, fishnets make for a mysteriously alluring evening-wear look.
  • Basic nets in "nude" (skin-tone) shades work — day or night — with every color of footwear. Certain high-tech blends of nylon and spandex are silky soft on the soles. (Dance-wear manufacturer Capezio, for one, offers a wide range of skin-tone shades.)

Ripped, distressed, vintage-wash jeans: Everyone tries to tell me they're not for my demo, but if you like a little rebellious rock, pair these with a lady-like blouse, blazer and peep-toe booties (or pointy-toed flats). Just make sure your bleached-out denims are a loose, relaxed, ankle jean or boyfriend style, not a skintight skinny. For extra polish, add a structured bag and some statement jewelry.

Our chameleon-like ways: Aging gracefully is for sissies. We like changing our looks and locks — a lot. Molting from gray to a streaky blond (or bouncing from a bob to a pixie crop) may seem fussy to outsiders, but we treasure such transformations as stress relievers. Same goes for experimenting with eye makeup and lipstick colors: If we suddenly decide to sport cat's-eye eyeliner or lilac lip gloss, we're simply indulging our sense of adventure.



That clothing cache from the 1960s/'70s/'80s: The best trends are the ones that come back around — and fail to take you by surprise. So fie on anyone who doesn't love your Diana Ross-inspired gold lamé top, your Stevie Nicks-style fringed shawl or your second-coming-of-Debbie-Harry neon dress and studded leather boots. Yes, there's no shame in hauling out your jumpsuits, your maxi skirts and clogs or your leopard-print everything. You can throw us to the wolves, but we'll only come back leading the pack!


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