You've heard of acting your age, but how about dressing your age? Whether you think of yourself as young at heart or baring an old soul, we recommend re-examining your wardrobe and adjusting it to keep in line with an age-appropriate standard.
Check out the style role models we've selected for each generation, beginning in the 20s and climbing up to the 60s, for cues on how exactly to execute a look that's stylish and age-appropriate.
These precious 10 years represent the most lenient of the age groups in terms of attire. "You can afford to be more daring at this age," said Avril Graham, Harper Bazaar's executive fashion and beauty editor. "You can have fun with shorter hemlines and different silhouettes."
That said, take note of the 26-year-old Jessica Alba's style. As fit and beautiful as she is, Alba shows just enough skin to keep her distinctly separated from the Paris Hilton circle.
Rocker T-shirts, mod minis, funky shorts, dangerously high heels -- and any element that adds a pronounced pizzazz to a look -- work well for this adventurous, coming-of-style age group.
THIRTY AND FLIRTY
By this time, you've had a whole decade to figure out your personal style. "These people tend to start buying statement pieces that will last over the years instead of the disposable clothes they bought in their 20s," said Jenna Doughton, local life stylist.
Women in their 30s haven't completely flown the youthful coop, though. Eva Longoria, 32, has mastered the feat of conveying a girlish glamour. She manages to keep one foot in the trendy camp and the other in the grown up and put-together camp -- whether she's on the red carpet at Pure or at one of her fiance Tony Parker's basketball games.
To pull this style off, reach for fitted trenches, handbags with pop, jackets with interesting silhouettes, romantic details (lace, frills) and pants with razor-sharp tailoring.
In case you haven't heard, 40 is the new 30. What does that mean for your wardrobe? Judging from the example 40-year-old Halle Berry sets, seductive dressing, so long as it is executed properly, still passes.
"This is when you begin to get more polished," Graham said. "You can be creative but keep it polished; look to your advantage points."
If you have lean legs, smooth shoulders, defined arms or firm abs, then champion them with your clothing. Just concentrate on one asset at a time.
Mastering the look of this age group comes easy with the assistance garments such as wide-leg trousers; a crisp, white shirt, a sexy tunic; and a chic wrap dress. Also, don't shy away from jolts of bright color.
Each age group after the 20s slowly but surely lets go of something from the decade before. For those in their 50s, it's about loosening your grasp on trends. "People who still look chic at this age have learned their body types and the silhouettes and clothes that work for them," Doughton said. "In your 50s it's just about updating those things with smaller, trendy pieces."
Kim Cattrall, 50, understands this theory. The former "Sex and the City" star simply sprinkles her outfits with the updated pieces each season.
You can do the same by adding an oversized clutch; modest cuts in graphic prints; modern sunglasses; printed flats; or a well-tailored, white suit.
SIXTY AND SENSATIONAL
"This is where things start to change," Doughton said. She refers to the types of changes you can't correct with a snug pair of Spanx, such as texture and tone differences in the skin and hair. "It usually means you have to shift your colors into another color palette," Doughton said. "Either make them more subdued or more vibrant."
Helen Mirren slightly changed her color schemes when her locks grayed and her skin loosened. "Helen Mirren was the best dressed of all the women during the awards season," Graham said. "She does it with classic looks that have updated tailoring."
Other women can accomplish the 61-year-old Oscar winner's unshakable ability to dazzle with updates that still respect modesty. Try these pieces: tulip skirts, lantern sleeves, slim belts, non-traditional necklines, ballet slippers and current capris.