Metals and fabric with metal threads as well as metallic looking fabrics have fascinated humankind since the Antique. New industrial techniques made them affordable for evening in the last century and later for everyday. Having seen metallic over the decades and how it was styled, we can quickly step into a routine and end up looking old-fashioned and Old Lady because the styling is not up-to-date. This post answers the pressing question how to wear the metallic trend over 40 now.
- History of Clothing with Metallic
- What Type of Metallic Clothes Do Work
- How to Wear the Metallic Trend over 40 the New Way
- What to Wear with Metallic Shoes?
- What Doesn’t Work
- Take Home Message on How to Wear the Metallic Trend over 40
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Clothing with metallic treats have been around for more than thousand years. However, in antique and the medieval times, only the Nobility and Rich wore these clothes because the threads were namely real gold. The price and Sumptuary Laws prohibited these garments for Jane and John Doe.
Early in the 20th century, cheap metallic threads and colors became available. As a result, gold, silver, copper, and rose-gold clothes, shoes and bags became affordable for mid-class women in the evening fashion of the 1920s.
From the 1950s to 1970s, lame sweaters were worn for special occasions, and festive attire for the holiday season. Typically, these sweaters had just a subtle thread that gave the black, gray or beige sweater some festive, mystic touch. Of course, as kids, we adored these sweaters! If we felt lucky, we got one for Sunday’s Best in red with gold or silver or in pink with silver foil lame.
In the late 1970s, the Bohemian Style Indian dresses, skirts, vests and tops with gold painting were just awesome. I had a skirt-top-vest outfit and a dress in this style.
In the 1980s, full-on lame dresses, golden or silver jackets and tops came up for going out and some gold stripes made it into everyday wear. I recall having knitted a winter-white sweater creating stripes with thin gold lame thread.
I spent most of the 1990s in East Germany after the unification. East German women of all ages loved everything with crystals and metallic, while I run around in the all black 90s’ uniform with an Euro Chic twist.
Stylist tip: Don’t fall into an old style rut when a trend is around again.
To look modern and ageless
- Try a metallic or brocade with metallic treats classic trench coat. More on what to look for in a trench coat.
- Wear a classic blazer or cardigan with metallic foil in the weave or solid metallic with khakis or jeans.
- Pair jackets, skirts or low-shine leather pants in metallic with other neutrals.
- Wear metallic shoes, sandals or bags instead of the non-metallic neutrals during the day.
- A day dress in metallic silk or with metallic embellishment or embroidery.
- Mix metals in jewelry.
In the Millennium years, metallic became a neutral and fully integrated into day wear. This means you style it the same way how to wear neutrals. Actually, gold, cooper, silver, and rose-gold are neutral colors. Go for a classic cut with your metallic item.
Stylist tip: Always go for a sophisticated and understated look in simple, clean cut style pieces with minimal accessories.
Since pleats are eternal classic, a pleated silver skirt can be styled easily in a street style chic way with sneakers, a denim jacket, graphic Tee and a statement necklace. Wear the necklace the Jenna Lyons style – over the jacket. Added a scarf and bag in a similar color as the Tee.
Because a pleat skirt is an eternal classic, style it with pumps, a Tee and jean jacket like your Casual Friday Outfits.
More on the fall trend with leather pants.
For inspiration on how to wear metallic shoes see the photo outfit inspirations below.
Stay away from
- Styling metallic clothes like in previous decades unless you go to a theme party or are dressing for Halloween.
- Wearing patchwork clothes in this trend. Cinderella alert!
- Wearing metallic clothing with bright colors except with metallic shoes. This means wearing a little red dress for Valentine’s day or date night out with silver or gold pumps is awesome. However, an outfit of a golden tunic top with black leggings and red patent leather pumps is looking like you are trying too hard.
- Big metallic prints on T-shirts just look cheap. Looking cheap is never ever in style.
- Overload of embellishment/embroidery in metallic in one outfit. The curb is not Star Wars, and you are not a knight in a Mid Evil Festival.
- Silver, gold or copper stockings are a no-no at any age. You are not an Alien or a robot!
Metallic at day are a safe bet when paired with neutrals, but when paired with bright, bold colors make the colors the statement and reserve the silver/gold/copper for the shoes, belt or bag.
When you like these outfit guide, and want styling tips for all kind of dressing situation in midlife, buy my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife.
Photos: G. Kramm
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