One day she’s 62; the next she’s 47. But it’s not a case of invasive surgical procedures or expensive pots of miracle creams – it’s actually the startling ‘clothes-metic’ effect that a woman’s fashion choices can have on her perceived age.
That’s according to new research from mature online retailer isme.com, which discovered that a well-cut wardrobe miraculously sheds up to eight years from a woman’s face. In contrast, ill-fitting, unflattering items can age her by seven years in the blink of an eye.
In a collaboration with former Clothes Show presenter and respected fashion commentator Caryn Franklin, isme.com conducted a carefully controlled visual test in which 2,400 British adults were asked to guess the age of one 55-year-old, size 12 model pictured in different outfits. In each shot she had identical hair, makeup, lighting and posture. Six outfits were selected from the isme.com Savoir range, while another other six were taken from the wardrobes of everyday 50+ women.
Caryn Franklin said: “This confirms what I have always known: that clothes are a very powerful beauty aid, and when women make clever clothing choices they are more youthful and fully of vitality in the eyes of others.
“This is about taking control and feeling good about ourselves from the inside. Well-made, well-designed clothes, that create definition and enhance our appearance, can also empower us to feel good about who we are. When a woman is confident and radiant she is always beautiful.”
Fitted fashion to flatter the face
Interestingly, researchers discovered that not only did all participants believe the model was much younger-looking when wearing the correctly fitted and styled clothing, they were also more likely to base their age assessment on her face (65 per cent) than on the clothes themselves (31 per cent) – suggesting that style has a powerful subliminal effect on the appearance of physical features.
Indeed, when sporting on-trend skinny jeans and a short summer mac, three quarters (74 per cent) of respondents believed that the 55-year-old model had the face of a 47-year old. However, when the same model was dressed at the other end of the sartorial spectrum, in a loose polo shirt over boot-cut jeans, her average perceived age was 62 – adding on an unwanted 15 years almost instantly.
Franklin continued: “Women my age are experiencing increasing age-hysteria from companies selling expensive beauty treatments and invasive procedures that cost a fortune. This research can reassure every woman that the best and most effective way to shed years and shine is to dress well.”
Caryn’s top tips for dressing to take the years off:
1. Always wear a correctly fitted bra as clothes will mould themselves to your shape. Most women need a tighter band with and fuller cup to give a more youthful shape – even tightening the straps can make a big difference
2. Accentuate your strengths by picking one area to focus upon from either neckline and bust area, waist, hips or legs and create definition, by choosing garments with features that draw attention to this area
3. Avoid washed out or drab colours all over your body and instead make a colour statement. It’s not about how much of the bright colour you wear but how confidently you place it. A rich colour scarf draped over a neutral jacket will do wonders
4. Choose classic garments that are shaped with gentle tailoring to give a youthful silhouette. Prioritise vertical seaming for a more streamlining effect if you want to give your body a firmer appearance
5. Enjoy on trend accessories and build your look. Bags, shoes, belts and statement jewellery are a great way to bring an up to the minute trend into your wardrobe and re-invigorate your look. Have fun with all the latest trends but on your terms.
Femalefirst Taryn Davies