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Let's face it, when someone tells you to "act your age," it's not usually a compliment. As you become more lady than lass, you realize that it's a very fine line between looking younger and "What was she thinking?" With fashion trends moving at the speed of light, it can get pretty confusing, even to a seasoned shopper. The secret to looking great at any age is simple: Edit, edit, edit. Keeping this mantra in mind, you'll soon develop a well-trained eye that will tell you what's hot and what's so not.
When In Doubt, Keep It Classic
Looking younger in your clothes requires three basic elements: timeless styles, great fit and cool accessories. Your core wardrobe should include simple basics like sublime jeans, a classic white shirt, a black skirt, menswear-cut trousers, a cocktail dress, a simple black dress and one or two great jackets. Make sure your closet includes these first, and then expand from there. Buy clothes that fit you now, not the size you used to be, or will be 10 pounds from now. Keep accessories impeccable with weekly care and seasonal sort-and-donate missions.
Interpret Trends Instead of Following Them
As you grow up, being a slave to fashion can make you look dated. Watch the runways each season, pick one trend that blows you away, then interpret it to fit your lifestyle. For example, if sheer florals are in, buy a floaty floral blouse and pair it with classic jeans and colorful accessories. This keeps your look on-trend without giving you that "trying too hard" vibe.
Reveal One Great Body Part At a Time
Keeping your style youthful has a lot to do with your level of taste. This means selectively showing skin. Yes, you can still wear a short skirt if you have great legs, but pair it with a jewel or ballerina neckline and a slouchy jacket. If you worked hard at the gym to define your arms, go sleeveless, but keep skirts just above the knee and save the skinny jeans for another day. You can do short, tight or shiny, but never more than one in each outfit. If your outfit makes you pause in front of the mirror and think "Can I get away with this?" -- you probably can't.
Have Fun With Fashion
Fashion should be fun, so keep your spirit refreshed by playing with color, accessories and texture. Each season, designers will give you myriad choices: "Tweed is in, military olive drab is the new black, parachute pants are everywhere." Pick a single perfect bloom from that boisterous garden. If pastel tweeds makes you feel like a Scottish princess, grab them in a bag or pair of fabulous pumps. Olive drab? Work it into a metallic eyeshadow or a hot leather belt. Parachute pants? Seriously, some things are best left to the "under 25" crowd.