Is Your Closet Too Old?

Tim Gunn’s guide to dressing your age.
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We all own clothing we shouldn’t wear: culottes, ponchos, suit jackets with shoulder pads the size of compact cars — and that’s just the beginning of my own list. But when your wardrobe is dominated by shouldn’ts, it’s time for a change. Tim Gunn, creative director of the Liz Claiborne Company, costar of Project Runway, and star of his own Bravo hit, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, gave one MORE reader a crash course in updating.

Elisabeth Radow, 46, Larchmont, New York Problem: Outdated Clothes This real estate lawyer can do everything in a day except figure out what to wear. Her wardrobe of boxy suits in drab colors makes her look old. The patterns of the skirt and top don’t mix well, and "the boxy shapes scream outdated," according to Gunn.

Photo by: Karen Pearson

Eek! Wrong Bag

"This bag is too informal for work, and the style isn’t polished enough for the dark colors she favors," Gunn says.

Photo by: Karen Pearson

Eek! Nude Hose

"Nude hose reads old-fashioned," Gunn says, and the shoes lack style. "If it’s comfort you crave, why not a chic flat?"

Photo by: Karen Pearson

After: Work Wear

The belted jacket shows off Radow’s shape; paired with her own (lengthened) black pants, the color mix is sophisticated. Lafayette 148 linen jacket.Theory silk tank top.
Photo by: Karen Pearson

Chic! Open Neckline

"The open neckline is less stuffy," Gunn says. Plus, a bit of exposed skin provides a great backdrop for a bold necklace.Monet faux pearl necklace.
Photo by: Karen Pearson

Chic! Colorful Tote

A roomy tote in a bold color (orange is unexpected) is a great accent and feminine despite its size. Tory Burch leather tote.
Photo by: Karen Pearson

Chic! Comfortable Flats

The gold hardware looks up-to-date, and these flats are secretly comfortable," Gunn says. Coach patent flats.
Photo by: Karen Pearson

Tim Gunn’s Guide to Work Wear

"Invest in core items — a good jacket, dress pants, a day dress, a classic shirt — then fill in with less expensive accent pieces."

"Use tailoring — to shorten, lengthen, and let out or take in as much as necessary — so that a garment really fits your body."

"Try alternatives to traditional jackets. A long, fitted cardigan looks perfectly professional."

"Wear skirts at a stylish length. They should hit somewhere between the lowest point of your knee and two inches above it."

Photo by: Karen Pearson


Nine West Chocolata in black text fabric, $89;
photo courtesy of Nine West

Spring Coat

Simply Vera Brushstroke canvas jacket, $59.99;
photo courtesy of Kohl's

Work Bag

Dooney & Bourke Front Pocket Satchel in natural, $450;
photo courtesy of Dooney & Burke

Pencil Skirt

Ann Taylor Ink grid print skirt, $118;
photo courtesy of Ann Taylor

Bright Bag

Marc Jacobs Classic Lisa Hobo in red, $850;
photo courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue


Ralph Lauren Blue Label Fine tissue linen cardigan, $298;
photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren

Neutral Pumps

Ann Taylor Perfect Patent Pump in walrus, $155;
photo courtesy of Ann Taylor

Easy Dress

Tory Burch-Marsha dress, $365;
photo courtesy of Tory Burch

After: Weekend Wear

The color is bright and, says Gunn, "The fluid fabric provides the counterpoint to the slim skirt [Radow’s own]." Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent Wendy Mink Jewelry earrings.
Photo by: Karen Pearson

Chic! Wide Belt

Gunn: "Oh, what a belt can do. Hello, waist!" Banana Republic leather belt. John Hardy cuff, $1,695,
Photo by: Karen Pearson

Chic! Metallic Bag

Metallics are contemporary. This bronze bag is large enough for the essentials, but it’s ladylike too, something Radow wanted. Bottega Veneta python bag.
Photo by: Karen Pearson

Chic! Nude Shoe

"A nude shoe is today’s neutral," Gunn says. "It’s casual, elegant, and elongating." Note the bit of a platform. Nine West leather heels.
Photo by: Karen Pearson

Tim Gunn’s Guide to Weekend Wear

Here’s how to de-dowdify traditional styles:

"Find pieces that differ from your work clothes. Weekends are the time to look and feel more relaxed."

"Control volume. It adds years and pounds. Want comfort? Choose fabrics that give, such as knits, or that skim the body."

"Wear color. Over-40 women benefit from brights reflected up to the face."

"Use prints to break up solids. Feeling skittish? Try delicate designs first."

"Experiment. Don’t be afraid to incorporate a new color or shape into your wardrobe; just try it!"

Photo by: Karen Pearson

Fun Dress

Calvin Klein Tie dye shirt dress, $99;
photo courtesy of Calvin Klein

Weekend Bag

Foley + Corinna Mega Moto Bag in carmel, $495;
photo courtesy of Shopbop


Rebecca Taylor stitched top, $295;
photo courtesy of Rebecca Taylor

Bold Bag

See by Chloe Grasshopper Cross Body Bag in lady ann, $590;
photo courtesy of Shopbop

Favorite Flat

Mia Toffee espadrille flats in orange, $50;
photo courtesy of Piperlime

Linen Pants

Tommy Bahama Linen pants, $98;
photo courtesy of Tommy Bahama

Pop of Color Cardigan

Martin + Osa-Cardigan, $79.50;
photo courtesy of Martin + Osa

Weekend Sandal

Cole Haan Air Whitney sandal in black, $148; LOVE THE TRANSFORMATION? CHECK OUT TIM GUNN MAKEOVER
photo courtesy of Piperlime

First Published Thu, 2009-04-30 21:46

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