The Cool Factor

By Sharon Mosley

November 12, 2013 5 min read

OK, so you can't fit into your granddaughter's skinny jeans, and you don't even remember the last time you wore high heels. And those stretchy waistbands? They seem to keep expanding with every Thanksgiving turkey. But this year, you've made yourself a promise: No more holiday pictures with Grandma looking as if she got run over by a reindeer.

Your inner spirit still is going strong; so is the gentleman who is snoozing (or, let's face it, snoring) next to you. But as the years go by, putting ourselves first may slowly slip by us. You know that looking good makes you feel good, even if you are surrounded by all those 20-something grandkids slinking around in their tight little sheath dresses and stilettos. Where are their sweaters? Don't they ever get cold? Hmm...

So how do you get your fashion groove back and look as if you've got just as much style attitude as they do?

Here are some tips to put some youthful spark back into your wardrobe:

--Start with color! This is one of the fastest ways to transform a drab, dull closet. You may have hidden behind black for years and years, but why not break out of a rut? Guys, this goes for you, too. The stores and the Internet are loaded with lots of options. Sneak a peek at the color authority Pantone's website ( for an update on the latest hues. This year, the blues are making waves. Don't just settle for basic navy. Try seafaring shades, which are flattering on almost everyone.

A quick color tip to update the cool factor: Mix shades of the same analogous colors (colors that are close to each other on the color wheel). I love mixing turquoise with cobalt or red with orange. Try it for an interesting change of pace.

--Think classics with a twist! Just because you have a closetful of jewels from the '60s doesn't mean you have to still wear them the way you did when flowers were power dressing. Yes, you may have some interesting "collectibles," but think about mixing them in with new pieces to make them a hit once again.

One of my aunts has several gorgeous hand-painted shawls from the '70s and '80s. She now layers them over turtlenecks or tank tops and wears them with leggings and ankle boots. She is always a hit, even with the young crowd of fashionistas. My dad has a favorite leather jacket from his Air Force days, and he still loves to toss it over black denim jeans and T-shirts. Don't discount your favorite "oldies" if they are in good condition. Just make them more modern.

--Watch your form! There is one thing that can make anyone look old fast: sloppy, ill-fitting clothes. As we age, we do have a tendency to go for comfort. The looser the better, right? Not necessarily. Buy clothes that fit and flatter your figure, no matter what size you are. There are lots of ways to camouflage lumps and bumps these days. Don't be afraid to try a pair of Spanx!

Leggings can be a fun way to update your wardrobe, especially if you team them with a long tunic top or knee-length jacket. They can be a lot more comfortable than jeans. For men, slim-fitting pants (sans pleats) may be an option. Low-rise jeans can be hip, too. The only way you know whether these newer items will work for you is to try them on; there's no excuse not to experiment, with Internet shopping at your fingertips now.

--Accessories can change your life. OK, so you're not going for the leather motorcycle jacket or the jeggings (jeans that fit like leggings). Well, how about some new accessories? They really can make or break a look. Yes, if you can pull off wearing a fabulous rhinestone brooch from your grandmother, go for it. Your granddaughters probably will try to borrow it! And, guys, now is the time to slip into something more comfortable -- perhaps a pair of suede loafers.

But stay abreast of a few trends and incorporate them into your wardrobe and you will be surprised how much you can up the cool factor. Wear colored suede flats; studded ankle boots; huge cocktail rings; giant colorful scarves, handbags and eyeglasses; and animal print anything. And don't forget that a new updated hairstyle can do wonders, as well as a new makeup routine.

Always be open to change -- even in your closet -- and treat yourself to a new, cool you.

Sharon Mosley's weekly column, "In Fashion," can be found at

Like it? Share it!

  • 0