Fashion for Women Over 60: Tips for “Pear-Shaped” Women – a.k.a. “The Marilyn Monroe” Look


Women come in all shapes and sizes and, as such, there is no one-style-fits-all approach when it comes to fashion after 60. Pear-shaped women such as Marilyn Monroe are renowned for their tiny waists and full-figured, feminine silhouettes. If you have ever looked at your reflection and had a mini-Marilyn moment, you will enjoy the video Margaret recorded with Melanie Payge!

Melanie is a fashion expert who Margaret interviewed in Milan, and the two of them discussed the best ways to accentuate and get the most out of your gorgeous pear-shaped figure.

If you have a pear-shaped figure, chances are one of your best assets is your waist. Melanie feels that specific cuts of jackets highlight this area well. They should be cut in at the waist, with any detailing positioned at the back, particularly for longer styles.

Waist-length jackets are a fantastic choice to emphasize your waist, and no matter the length you choose, the jacket should be tailored with a broad, straight shoulder!

Of course, no fashion over 60 outfit is complete without the right top! Tailored tops with a close or slim fit are lovely for a pear-shaped figure, with special care taken to highlight your décolletage area.

Fashion for older women is about experimenting, letting loose and seeing what you like; however, naturally, some styles will suit different figures better than others. Melanie recommends women with hourglass figures should avoid leggings as they disrupt the silhouette, emphasizing the wrong areas.

Straight-leg pants that fall from your hip area bring your look together, showing off your lovely full figure and lengthening your legs.

Accessories can be a minefield for some of us, and if you feel this way, Melanie has some good news for you!

For pear-shaped figures, she recommends the best way to approach accessorizing is to keep it simple. She recommends avoiding scarves and chunky accessories, leaving your look simple, accentuating your natural beauty.

You would be hard-pressed to find a woman who hasn’t shopped with her so-called ‘perfect future figure’ in mind. For some of us, it can mean putting on weight, but as Margaret says, “Many women shop with anticipation of losing weight.”

This is a silly attitude at any age, but we should really know better by now! Fashion after 60 should be about buying clothes that help express who you are, help you live in the moment, and help you enjoy life! As Melanie says, fashion isn’t about losing weight, “It’s about accepting your body type, dressing correctly for that type and enhancing the things that are positive about your body.”

We all lose weight differently at different ages, so you may even find your shape isn’t what you assumed it would be! The bottom line is, you should never shop in anticipation of your idealized perfect weight. Carpe diem!

Enjoy the video with Melanie, and read the full interview below!

Margaret Manning:

This is a special fashion edition of the Sixty and Me show. Today I’m with Melanie Payge, a fashion consultant in Milan, with whom we’re discussing body types. We all know it’s important to understand our body type, so we can buy clothes that really work for us.

In this interview, we will focus on the so-called pear-shaped body, and Melanie will use me as her model, as I am bigger on the bottom than I am on the top. What advice have you got for me, Melanie, to accentuate my body type?

Melanie Payge:

To be honest, I never really liked those shape comparisons. Many women have bigger hips and a smaller waist, and I call it the Marilyn Monroe type.

You, in particular, have a very, very small waist, while people in the other body types – the petite, the larger waist and the broad shoulders – don’t have waists anymore. The waist tends to disappear.

If you’re the Marilyn Monroe type of body, the one thing you really want to accentuate is your waistline. Now, you don’t want to do that the wrong way. You want to be tailored and fitted. For instance, you definitely want to go for jackets that give you the broader shoulders.

They need to go straight across on the shoulders – not down, not up, but straight across. Then you also want the jacket to come in and define your waistline, and you want to be able to button it.

A very nice touch could be a ruffle, a slit or a seam on the back, which goes a bit lower to cover a certain area. You really want to make sure that the jacket defines your waistline, and you can enhance the effect with a belt.

Margaret:

So, are you saying a jacket should go up to the waist in order to accentuate it? I always tend to buy jackets that go a bit lower, to the middle of my hips. Is this good for my shape, or have I got it wrong?

Melanie:

There are now lots of different types of jackets to choose from to enhance our beauty. You can use them for color instead of using outdated scarves or excessive jewelry.

So, if you had a stylish jacket on, it would be perfectly fine to have it stop at the height of your waist, especially if you’re wearing it with a nice dress that’s tailored to fit your body type.

Make sure though, that the jacket doesn’t go straight down. It needs to have a defined seam that fits your waistline and doesn’t go too high or too low. That’s very important with this body type.

If your hips are two or three sizes larger than your shoulders, you do not want to be wearing leggings or any kind of skinny clothing over your legs. Instead, you want to make sure that your pant leg is extremely straight and comes down from where your hips are.

This really enhances the style of your leg and brings your look together to make it a full-figured-woman look. It has nothing to do with losing weight. It’s about accepting your body type and dressing correctly for that type so that you enhance the things that are positive about your body.

Margaret:

I’m glad you mentioned weight because I think a lot of women from all body types tend to shop in anticipation of losing weight. They go into the shop and buy clothes that would fit them if they lost 20 pounds. As an expert, what is your advice to someone who buys clothing with that kind of mindset?

Melanie:

Well, it’s great if you do lose the weight, but there’s no guarantee you’d lose it exactly where you want to. It often happens that you want to have a slimmer tummy, but you lose weight in your hips instead. That’s why my advice is to just buy the clothing that fits your body type at that moment.

I’m very much an advocate for accepting ourselves just the way we are, regardless of our body type. It’s not right to be envious of another. What we need to do is just look at ourselves, consider our assets and dress with them in mind. That will definitely enhance our looks.

Margaret:

I really believe that when you feel good about yourself, you actually look better. So, that’s really good advice – just dress for your body shape and make sure your clothing is fitted right.

Let me ask you then, since we covered the waist and the pants, what should we do about tops when there’s a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom? Would a dress work in this case?

Melanie:

Well, that depends. If you buy a dress and your body is of different sizes, the dress will need to be tailored. If your hips are larger, then the shoulders and sides will need to be fitted in. You could wear a jacket over the dress, but that won’t make the dress fit better.

A good option in this case would be going for a skirt and a top. This way you can choose one size for the skirt and a different size for the top. When you buy a top, always consider the neckline because a smaller size above would require an accent around your neck, like the pearls that you have.

Margaret:

How about scarves? Does my body type allow for scarves? What guidelines do you have for accessorizing?

Melanie:

It depends on what you’re wearing, but over 60 you never want to have a cluttered, complicated look. You want to keep it simple while at the same time accentuate your natural beauties.

Margaret:

This is fantastic advice. I hope our community finds it valuable. Thank you very much, Melanie, and we look forward to seeing you again in the future. Bye, bye.

Do you declare yourself a certain body type or would you rather not define yourself in such a way? What is the best part of your body? How do you accentuate it? Please share in the comments below.



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