I mentioned before that I was reading the book Style Evolution by Kendall Farr and today I will tell you a little bit more about it. Her book is called Style Evolution: how to create ageless personal style in your 40s and beyond. It offers a lot of practical advice on how best to dress after 40.
I really like her idea that your style should evolve as you age. She says:
“Woman’s 20s are about style surfing, chasing trends for provocation and outrage and for experimenting with as many personas as possile. Her 30s are for growing up and into her fashion identity along with developing an eye for silhouette and quality. Her 40s are a kind of staging decade for a new approach to her style that will wear well in the years ahead.”
But in many ways she tends to be quite conservative: “What all women of a certain age should now go for, I believe, is a wardrobe that is essentially ageless and timeless, that reflects being grown-up while it visually asserts self-confidence, individuality, and ease.”
This vision is reflected in the book where she offers many practical tips on how to dress after 40. She absolutely goes for the tried and tested ageless and elegant look, which in most cases means a less is more approach and going for the perfect hourglass silhouette.
Style personas and body type
She starts of with describing style personas, which she classifies as matched, midecentury matron, middlescent, the girly girl, novelty and status addict, overripe, that nineties uniform and active wearer and gives advice on how each type could dress better. Her next chapter is about dressing for your bodytype, where she distinguishes 6 body types: A, B, C, D, E, and F. This is similar to my own how to dress for your body type section, in which she offers a lot of detailed advice on which clothes suit each type best.
The next chapter is on trends and Kendall has chosen ten trends that keep coming back due to their endless appeal to designers. These include:
- the little tweed jacket
- floral prints
- animal prints
- global inspirations
- lace and
Although this chapter is very wordy, the most interesting part is where she gives examples (in drawn illustrations) on what she considers ageless, ‘time’s up’ and ‘at no time’ looks. It’s interesting to see that almost all of her ageless looks emphasise the waist and have a very elegant look and feel.
Undergarments, cherry picking and accessories
A whole chapter is devoted on undergarments. A very important topic for women over 40 and certainly one that I should probably write more about on this site. She gives many practical tips on how to find and wear the right bras and other under garments. The last 2 chapters are all about picking the right garments from the collections and the addition of accessories.
There is no denying that Kendall gives a LOT of practical information on what garments to wear. what to pay attention to and how to dress for your proportions and that she knows a lot about the subject. But since the book was called style evolution I expected her to encourage women to experiment a bit more with style. Instead she is sticking to the old rules that older women should dress elegantly, always aiming for the most flattering silhouette and stay away from too many frivolities. This is no doubt sound advice if you want to play it safe and be sure that you look good, but I found there to be too many rules of what not to do.
Another thing I missed, being a very visual person, is plenty of images. Although there were ilustrations in the book, there were many pages that contained only words. I personally enjoy style books more when they are very visual and give endless examples. A picture speaks so much louder than words!
Still, this is a very good book if you want to brush up on all the do and don’t of dressing after 40 and learn more about ageless dressing for your specific style personality or body type. Style Evolution is available at Amazon.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
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