Editor's Letter: Dressing by Decade: The Truth

Read Lesley Jane Seymour's March 2013 editor's letter here

By Lesley Jane Seymour
lesley jane seymour image
Photograph: Melanie Acevedo

I love packaging. Admittedly, I am that sucker who goes to the beauty counter (or sometimes, in my case, the beauty-sample closet at More) and reaches for the shiniest, fanciest, most cleverly packaged product I can find. When I open the gorgeous box, am I disappointed to see a pink lipstick that looks awfully like the one I already own? If the two are truly identical, the answer is yes. But if the new one is even slightly enhanced—with, say, a bit of shine or sheerness or lip balm—maybe not so much. I have lived long enough to know that very few things are entirely original. As an aspiring writer, I was told over and over again (mostly to get me past being blocked): Remember, all the great themes have already been covered by Shakespeare or Dickens or some other giant, so all you get to do is give these ideas your own spin. Which is kind of freeing.

Still, I have held off on doing a dressing-by-decade story. Splicing dos and don’ts by age is an old packaging gimmick in the magazine business; I have used it myself, at previous jobs, in all kinds of areas—fashion, beauty, even sex. And while some maga-
zines take the same stories they were going to run anyway and simply add an age rubric, at More we would never be so cavalier. We know that our readers think a lot about dressing age appro-priately, so for this month’s story “What to Wear in Your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s,” on newsstands now, we worked hard to come up with good advice.

We’ve already published by-decade beauty and health articles in More because in those areas there are facts to guide us. Fashion is more about opinion. So as you look at the story, please realize we did not choose these fashion pieces lightly. In fact, I think I drove fashion director Jonny Lichtenstein and contributing fashion features editor Susan Swimmer insane by repeatedly asking, “But why is this for a 40-year-old and not a 50-year-old?” I also demanded that they not fall into the stereotypical traps of saying that as a woman ages, she should wear longer sleeves, longer skirts, lots of turtlenecks and—well, never mind, just go buy a burka! But please understand that with 1.3 million readers to advise, we are forced to speak in generalities. Use your mirror and your friends to see what works for you. There are always style outliers who will look fabulous at every age in any outfit, even a paper bag. And there are certain fashions you’ll never love, no matter your age. You’ll make your own decisions. Meanwhile, have fun and let me know if any of the tips are helpful. You can also go to facebook.com/moremagazine and add your own.

Next: Editor's Letter: Dreams From My Daughter

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