The 10 fashion mistakes that instantly make you look older, according to celebrity stylist MIRANDA HOLDER
While a chic hair-do and natural make up can go a long way towards a youthful appearance, poor outfit choices can bring the entire look down.
Most women try to look a little younger than their current age – and yet some could be doing the exact opposite because of their fashion decisions.
Stylist to the stars Miranda Holder says there are some style rules you should absolutely stick to if you want to appear more youthful – including wearing the right colours to complement your skin tone.
She also stressed that those looking to drop a few years from their age should always dress for their body shape.
The celebrity stylist also warns against getting stuck in your favourite decade of fashion.
She told FEMAIL: ‘While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a look inspired by the 70’s, 60’s or even 80s – fashion is after all circular, and even the diciest of trends can come back around like a bad taste boomerang – sticking resolutely to a fashion formula that belongs firmly in the past really isn’t going to do you any favours.’
‘Wearing solely styles of yesteryear whilst resolutely ignoring all that is current is a fast way to the fashion graveyard,’ added the expert.
Here, Miranda shares the 10 fashion mistakes that instantly make you look older…
1. Wearing the wrong colours
Let’s start at the very beginning. The quickest, easiest fashion faux pas, guaranteed to age you in an instant is very simply wearing the wrong colours.
Yep, you can be wearing the most drool-worthy creation from the most coveted Parisian Couturier, but if the colour is wrong, all the Chanel in the world won’t help you, and you’ll end up looking less Carrie Bradshaw and more Pat Butcher.
Whether it’s hiding yourself away in too much black, or washing out your skin tone in too many pastels, choosing the wrong hue for you can add a visual decade to your visage before you’ve even had time to slick your lippy on.
Colour analysis parties beloved by Bridget Jones’s annoying Mum may have (thankfully) remained in the 90s, along with tupperware evenings and ‘get stuck up your bum’ french knickers, but knowing your best – and more crucially – worst colours, is the single most powerful wardrobe weapon we have.
The right shades will give you that ‘lit from within’ glow to rival the very best of celebrity facials, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (yes it really is this transformational) and eradicate dark shadows from under your eyes, faking that elusive great night’s sleep – a perk which seems so wasted on the young.
The reverse is true if we wear colours which do not flatter, we can appear washed out, imperfections are exaggerated, our eyes lose their sparkle, and we can end up looking so unwell we could pass as an extra from a remake of Micheal Jackson’s Thriller video.
Contrary to popular opinion, our ‘colour seasons’ don’t change as we age, just like our skin undertone remains exactly the same – if you were once a ‘summer’ then you always will be, but our best shades within that season may differ, so it’s definitely worth revisiting, or booking in with a colour expert to make sure those vital first impressions count.
2. Shapeless clothes
Repeat after me – baggier is not better! I get it, I really do – I know your body, like mine, is very different to those teenage years, and has its fair share of extra lumps and bumps and possibly the odd spare tyre to boot – but – and this one is a biggie people – it is perfectly possible to look stylish no matter what your shape and size – bellies, boobs and behinds are fine… you just need to know how to dress for them, and the key is not in size or shape… but in proportion.
3. Wrong underwear
The days of hoisting up your chest as close to your chin as possible by means of a cleavage enhancing – but eye-wateringly excruciating Wonderbra – may be long behind you, but throwing in the proverbial lingerie towel, and prioritizing comfort over any form of style is a fast-track to granny-ville.
If you are already feeling past your prime then nothing will propel you down that doom-ridden rabbit-hole faster than donning ill-fitting, greying granny pants that ride up your bum and make your VPL so noticeable it resembles a tectonic plate.
Equally a bra that’s too tight, giving you the ‘double boob’ look, or one that has lost its stretch, will leave you feeling more Matron than Mademoiselle.
I’m all for ditching the G strings that cut you in two like a razor blade, but looking great – and young – has so much to do with how you feel, and while you may not be planning on flashing the world your knickers anytime soon, the underwear you wear says a lot about how you feel about yourself, so let’s invest a little bit of effort here and get our sexy back.
Besides providing the literal foundations for your outfit (and not even the most expensive of looks can be rescued if the sartorial scaffolding underneath is doing you no favours), underwear is the fashion frame in which we view our bodies privately every day. We may not be as pert and petite as we once wore, but our meat-suits are pretty miraculous machines and deserve a little gratitude for all they have endured.
Besides all this if ever you had to be rushed into hospital for an emergency Appendicectomy at least you can be snug in the knowledge that when Dr Dish does his rounds you will be in a matching set. It’s priorities.
Knowing your body shape – and then how to dress for it – is absolutely the cornerstone of great personal style.
Once you dig in, you’ll understand that it’s all about creating proportion through some pretty nifty optical illusion… and counter-intuitively you actually sometimes need to make certain body parts look bigger in order to look more shapely overall.
Once you get your head around this I promise you, it’s literally a revelation, and you can pack away the tent dresses, and invest in some tailored pieces which actually give you some shape.
So find that waist – we all have one (but it might be slightly higher or lower than you think) balance out your top and bottom half, and don’t forget to expose your wrists and ankles (your slimmest parts) and suddenly your figure has got its groove back.
4. Dated hair and makeup
We can’t pay attention to your clothes and not consider hair and makeup.
Just like your wardrobe, this needs a regular refresh too. As we get older, the severe bob or long straight hair you wore in your 30s may not be serving you any more.
As a general rule, softer, layered hairstyles which gently frame the face look better – although if you feel more fabulous rocking a 60’s-inspired bob then you do you!
Makeup also needs to go under the spotlight. More natural looks tend to be the most flattering, so a less is more mantra will be your friend.
Be wary of anything pearlised – it tends to settle in any crevices and highlight every wrinkle.
A dewy, fresh-faced glow is the ideal – and pay special attention to your lipstick – the wrong shade can really date you, odds are if it’s the first thing others notice, you’ve probably got it wrong.
5. Dressing for your new body shape
When was the last time you checked in with which body shape you were? Our bodies are constantly evolving, so which delicious snack in the personal styling fruit basket are you these days?
If you are still following the style guidelines for the athletic ‘banana’ you once were, but you’ve now become an apple, you will be happily dressing to soften your slim frame whilst inadvertently drawing more attention to your tummy.
Similarly, if you once were a sexy strawberry but are these days more of a pear, the old tricks of wearing a lighter brighter colour on your bottom half, will only make you appear larger – it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Here comes that keyword proportion again, there are a plethora of resources online, as well as my YouTube channel (@TheMirandaHolder) to help you figure out which category you fall into. Arm yourself with a little know-how and voila! Employ a few styling tricks to recreate the ‘ideal’ hourglass shape and your golden.
6. Too ‘matchy matchy’
This one can be hard to let go of, but I promise you, it is no longer necessary to match your shoes to your handbag, or wear a set of coordinating earrings and a necklace.
The minute you do, you are putting yourself in the style territory of our late, great Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and whilst our beloved sovereign was an enduring fashion icon, the roots of her image were planted firmly in her fashion heydays of the 1950s.
This is all fine if you want to rock the glamorous granny look – hell, why not go all out and get a top handled handbag and a few corgis to complete the vibe, but if you don’t want to be categorized as dated, it’s time to freshen things up a bit.
These days, the form is reassuringly relaxed, jewellery doesn’t match, and neither do other accessories, in fact it’s actually better if it doesn’t.
My one tip would be to make sure everything is from the same colour family for a more pulled together look – so if you are going for cool tones, keep everything that way and go for silver or pewter as your metallic – the reverse for warm and keep your metal gold or bronze, apart from that, the accessory world is your sartorial buffet – go forth and tuck in!
7. Getting stuck in your favourite decade
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a look inspired by the 70’s, 60’s or even 80s – fashion is afterall circular, and even the diciest of trends can come back around like a bad taste boomerang – sticking resolutely to a fashion formula that belongs firmly in the past really isn’t going to do you any favours.
Remember that long-grey haired rocker who still wore all his hair-metal gear to the supermarket for his Friday ‘big shop’? Yes, you are committing a similarly fantastic fashion crime. You may possess an upcycled wardrobe even Greta Thunburg would applaud, but wearing solely styles of yesteryear whilst resolutely ignoring all that is current is a fast way to the fashion graveyard.
Staying relevant is as much about attitude as style, and doing so definitely keeps both young. Now I’m not suggesting you take on the latest Tiktok dance craze, but showing a selective interest in the current trends, both on the fashion front and culture in general, will keep your mind sharp and your dress sense even sharper.
Like anything, use your discernment and choose what appeals to you, but keep an open mind – you never know, the latex dress trend might just be the confidence injection you’ve been looking for, you only live once, after all!
8. Convenience dressing
I get it, it’s easier and quicker to wear the same old ‘uniform’ of ill-fitting jeans and a comfy tee because it’s easy, practical and most crucially, takes little to no pre-planning other than turning over the odd load of laundry. Decision fatigue is absolutely a phenomenon and these days, thanks to the increasingly fast and furious pace of living, it is worse than ever.
It is said that most of us wear 10% of our wardrobes 90% of the time, and in all my years as a personal and celebrity stylist I can vouch that in most cases, this is true, but besides being convenient, what is this approach to dressing actually doing for you? Diddly squat, that’s what.
I know it feels like an effort at first, but if you aren’t going to employ the services of a personal stylist and I know we aren’t cheap, despite saving you £££ of shopping mistakes in the long run, putting some regular time aside for a little wardrobe playtime is an investment that swiftly pays dividends.
It’s easy to forget this when you are tired and under pressure, but fashion is essentially one of the arts – just think of those ridiculous runway looks you see on the news – so therefore dressing is a creative process and to get into the spirit of things you need a little playtime.
Set the scene, play a little music and put time aside to literally play dress up, often the best combinations are ones you have never previously thought of and it will keep your look young and fresh.
9. Being a shrinking violet
Whether you are a shrinking violet or a Wendy wallflower, attempting to fade into the background will inevitably succeed in making you more invisible, and you may as well be a glamorous ghost.
Instead, get comfortable with taking up space – both physically and mentally. You have come this far, I am pretty sure it wasn’t the easiest of rides, so stop apologizing for being you and stand tall and proud.
Choose clothes that bring you joy and literally ‘wear your happy’, a great outfit will work wonders for your posture and you will instantly feel more youthful.
Think about how you walk and move, do you shuffle? It’s never too late to develop some ‘sassitude’ and nurture a little walking hip wiggle – your confidence will soar and those high vibes will be reflected tenfold back to you. Don’t believe me? Try it for a day and see!
10. Wearing the wrong fabrics
Last but not least a practical word of warning for us all. Be choosy… be very choosy, about the type of fabrics you wear.
Jersey and similar stretchy creations may be big on comfort, but they will highlight every crease, crevice and dimple, providing us without so much as a fighting chance to look and feel our best.
Instead, choose something with either a bit of structure, a crisp cotton, luxurious linen or with the luxe factor, such as silk, satin or velvet, all of which can reflect some much-welcome light back up onto our faces – mood lighting anyone?
The ultimate ‘fabric’ for some handy soft focus in this manner has to be the humble sequin, which also niftily helps to bring some fun, joy and ‘sassitide’ to proceedings (absolutely no wallflowers here) – so maybe it’s time to step out of your clothing comfort zone and give them a whirl?
Finally, any piece that’s tailored or structured – think darts, shoulder pads and vents – will help build that coveted shape back that we once had.
Ultimately – clothing can be your best friend or worst enemy when trying to look and feel our youngest and best – so why not invest the time in employing these savvy style secrets and make them your secret wardrobe weapon?