Trendy But Sophisticated

The Early Show: models
CBS/The Early Show
It used to be that getting older meant giving up on looking young.

But today, with so much focus on youth, even the maturing set wants a shot at what's hot, and that's particularly true where fashion is concerned. More magazine's fashion and beauty director, Lois Joy Johnson, gave The Early Show some tips for older women when wearing youthful styles.

She says that to really pull off the trends, there are rules to keep in mind. The first rule is don't try to look like Britney Spears. Johnson recommends trying to obtain a low key Madonna look instead. Choose clothes wisely. If you're attempting to wear low rider jeans, avoid the ones with metal studs down the leg. One trend at a time is enough.

In 2003, woman over 40 are working out and taking care of their bodies. Most women say they are in better shape now than ever.

Susan Sarandon on the red carpet, or Sally Field in her next movie are perfect examples of older women who still look sexy, without looking silly.

Research shows that women over 40 shop at exactly the same stores as 20- to 30-year-olds. Baby Boomers are found cross-shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, Express, the Gap and Burberry. The older generation can wear anything the younger ones can, they just have to edit trends to suit their bodies and lifestyles, according to Johnson.

Johnson recommends that women invest in some underpinnings, too, such as a thong, a nude body suit with snap crotch and camisole. Also, choose the right fabric. Structured fabrics can look stiff and outdated. Choose forgiving, touchable fabrics to soften a look. Accessories can help modify a trendy look and keep it age-appropriate.

The old saying "less is more," is true for older women to an extent. The more formal the clothes seniors wear, the less formal the hair and makeup should be. Also, seniors should wear color. You will always get compliments.

Here are some trendy styles that with a little modification can compliment an older woman's style:

Low-Slung Jeans and The Sexy Tailored Shirt

How to Modify?

  • Choose a modified low-waist instead of an extreme bikini-line version of the low-slung jeans. For an elegant look, choose a classy "wash" rather than a "dirty," torn jean.
  • Invest in underpinnings. Wear a nude body suit that snaps at the crotch or a camisole that is long enough to be tucked in and that will give you confidence.
  • Wear pointy toe boots to help add inches to legs for a longer, leaner look.
  • Another trendy look for women is the tailored shirt. It is fitted and has details. And, the fabrics are sophisticated enough to wear to work.

Silky Cargos and the Floaty Chiffon Top

How to Modify?

  • The 50-something should choose cargos with a fluid fabric (not the Army/Navy kind!) and a floaty top that's not too bare.
  • Underpinnings (like the nude body suit or camisole) make the top wearable. Wear shoes with anklestraps (rather than loafers or sneakers) to make the outfit sexy.

The Silk Bias-Cut Skirt and Pastel Top

For so many years women wore pencil skirts, but young women are femming-up their wardrobe, and older women can too.

How to Modify ?

Fifty-somethings would wear this with a boot or an ankle-wrap shoe and a ballerina-style cashmere. Those who are 20-something would go for layered tank tops with a slip-top feel and a jeweled sandal.

Wrap Dress

How to Modify ?

Women should wrap the dress over enough of the body to move, sit and stride. Add a pair of clingy sophisticated suede boots. Be sure the fabric isn't too sheer and the dress isn't a halter style. The dress does flatter the curves.

The Metallic Evening Look

How to Modify?

An over-50 wouldn't go for the head-to-toe glitz look. Pair one piece with gold or silver accessories or make sure its "muted" metallic, like a brocade rather than heavy-duty sparkle, keep makeup understated and neutral. Keep hair natural and easy.