Fashion advice for older women is not new, even though it might seem so with the wealth of websites and books on the topic these days. Laurene Hempstead’s Color and Line in Dress, already in its third edition in 1947, included a special chapter of tips for what she calls the “elderly” woman.
Although women’s body shapes can change a lot as they age, this chapter does not recommend special clothing styles for the older figure. Instead, the author pays particular attention to ways to show off—and camouflage—the face. She recommends make-up, hairstyles, necklines, and jewelry that counteract aging skin.
Hempstead’s most striking advice is on the best kinds of hats for the older set. It almost made me want to wear a hat (by which I mean a hat more distinguished than the straw thing I use to keep off the sun.) She recommends wide brims to cast flattering shadows, turbans to cover part of the forehead, and hats with “dignified, irregular lines.” I love any contest where the dignified and irregular wins out over the jaunty and youthful.