Tips from Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn, best known as the style Godfather on Project Runway, has worked with MORE readers to solve fashion conundrums.  We love all of Gunn’s great advice but here are his tips on how NOT to look old.

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Tim Gunn

Along with his Runway gig, Gunn is also the chief creative officer of Liz Claiborne and the author of two books. His latest incarnation? He’s partnering with Weight Watchers to give style advice to clients who are in the process of sizing down.

Photo by: Karen Pearson

Rule #1

Get out of a rut. You have to keep updating your look. If you’re still wearing big, boxy blazers, you’re aging yourself. Try a shrunken, cropped version.


NY Collection 3/4 sleeve jacket, $58;

Rule #2

Mix and match. Wear your clothes in different ways at different times in order to keep your look fresh.


J.Crew long sequin skirt, $2,500;

Rule #3

Be mindful of hemlines. Too long and you’ll look dowdy, too short and you’ll look silly. The ideal length that’s most flattering on the majority of women is at or just below the knee cap.


Ann Taylor ponte pencil skirt, $78;

Rule #4

Be playful. Try prints, bursts of color or interesting necklines.


Akris blouse, $795;

Rule #5

Be comfortable, but not TOO comfortable. There’s no reason to wear big, baggy clothes or anything that resembles sweat pants.


Gap perfect khaki pants, $50;

Rule #6

Get the hem right. A modern look for pants is longer than it used to be. Your hem should create a “break” on your shoe, not skim the top of it.


Cynthia Steffe wool wide-leg pants, $195;

Rule #7

Try night for day. Little touches of embellishment and sheen look very on-trend when worn during the day. You may not want to do these pieces in sheer fabrics, but anything else will look great.


LOFT sequin striped tee, $40;

Rule #8

Stay “untucked.” Today, when wearing jeans or any other casual attire, shirts and blouses are left hanging out.


Calvin Klein Jeans shirt, $70;

Rule #9

Define your waist. No matter your size, a defined waist instantly pulls a look together, making it look more polished, and hence, more youthful.


Talbots satin puff-sleeve shirt, $90;

Rule #10

Update your jeans. There is simply no reason to wear the dreaded “mom jeans” and if you do you’ll look 15 years older than you actually are.


Gap 1969 straight jeans, $60;

Rule #11

Change your jewelry and accessories from day to day. Great style is often made or lost with accessories, and a very of-the-moment way to enjoy fashion. One, big statement piece is always a fashion show stopper.


Daniella Kallmeyer necklace, $395;

Rule #12

Size down your bag. Only old ladies carry everything around in a big canvas tote. Get yourself something small and chic, and if you need to carry extra stuff on occasion, use an additional black or brown tote to do the carrying.


Brahmin Didi shoulder bag, $275;


Looking for more expert advice? See stylist Phillip Bloch's tips and tricks.


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First Published February 1, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!


why is it that skinney models under 40 are used to show what older women should be wearing? Come on now lets show real stuff so that we can get a better idea on some of these fashions that are supposed to make us over. grrr

Anita Estes05.18.2011

I always wonder why, when giving advice, the age appropriate women are not used. And when I am given advice to wear low cut jeans with my 50 something tummy. Get real, can you say muffin top?

JOANNA JONES04.18.2011

Yes, I am size ten and 5'11" and would never consider a shiny skirt with a t-shirt tucked inside..horizontal stripes? hmmmmmmmmmmmm, maybe not...shirt that costs almost 800 dollars- not for sure- not very impressed with the pictures...sorry...

kristine kolbus04.09.2011

These all look great on these models, but you need to use models that are 40 plus and
weigh over 100 pounds to prove what your saying.

Julie Wilkerson02.22.2011

I OWN Rule #7. It is a great look and can be pared a million ways.

Julie Wilkerson02.22.2011

Rule #4's look would be dreadful on any mature woman with heavy arms... it would look boxy and frumpy. This model is 12 years old. I wonder how it would photograph on a 52 year old woman who has given birth a couple of times...?

Julie Wilkerson02.22.2011

Love the Ann Taylor ponte knit pencil skirt. Now we are talking about style and class ...!

Julie Wilkerson02.22.2011

I'm sorry, Tim. I completely disagree with this look for the 40+ set. It reads, "I'm trying too hard to be cool" to me. Most women carry weight on the mid section and all that glitter with a tucked in T-shirt would be a disaster.

Leah Agonofski02.22.2011

If these clothes are for people trying to loose weight, you need to show them on larger models. A few of those pieces only look good on really thin people.

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