| Nicola Menke |
HAMBURG (dpa) – When you start wearing grey or tan every day, you know you are old: senior citizens seem irresistibly drawn to conservative, almost colourless clothing after passing a certain age.
“That is partly due to the selection of clothes for them in the shops. Unfortunately most of what the industry makes for older women looks rather dowdy,” says Angelika Hansen from Germany’s Association of Senior Citizen Carers.
But the grey-or-beige look is a matter of choice. “Most seniors don’t trust themselves to wear bright colours or strong patterns when they reach the age of 60 or 70,” says Hansen.
One reason may be that elderly people feel the need to wear what they think is appropriate clothing that won’t draw attention.
“Some are just very unsure about what looks best with their mature status,” says Evelyn Baganz who advises senior citizens on styling issues.
“A fashionable outfit with a nice design and colour makes the wearer look more attractive, younger and happy. It can also give a boost to your confidence,” says Angelika Hansen. Criteria for deciding what looks good are independent of age and apply to everyone.
The first important thing to watch out for is that the style of clothing suits the person wearing it.
“It should look authentic. When the exterior and interior don’t work in harmony, such as when a conservative type of person wears a very bright hippy outfit, then you can end up looking like you are hiding something,” says style consultant Martina Berg who has specialised in clothing senior citizens.
Other factors to watch out for are the cut and colour. A garment’s cut is important because it depends on the figure and size of the person wearing it.
A small and rather full woman should wear a blouse with a waterfall neck because it will make the wearer look a little taller and it hides any excess weight.
Colour is very important. To illustrate just how important it is, try holding pieces of different coloured material beside your face while standing in front of a mirror. Depending on the colour, you will have a different appearance and radiance.
“Whether or not a certain colour suits you depends on your skin complexion as well as your hair and eye colour,” explains Evelyn Baganz.
Not everyone finds it so easy to get a good wardrobe together.
“I would advise any elderly person who does not feel confident choosing clothes to ask a friend or relative for advice,” says Ursula Lenz from the German senior citizens lobby group, BAGSO.
Lenz advises taking someone with you when you go shopping. And if you don’t have anyone prepared to give you fashion tips, you can always go to a professional style consultant or ask a carer.