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Stacy London’s 3 Tips for Embracing Your Personal Style — & Authentic Self — as You Age

"I think you need to approach anything 50+ with wonder, not worry. Replace anxiety with excitement." — Stacy London

If it seems like everything starts to change once you reach menopause or perimenopause, from mood swings to your hair and skin to your body image, you’re not alone. But Stacy London, celebrity stylist, designer, midlife advocate and former What Not to Wear host, says this changing sense of self – and style – is also an incredible opportunity to embrace your authentic self, unapologetically. And the very first step, says London, who sat down with us at the recent QVC Quintessential 50 “Age of Possibility” Summit in Las Vegas, is to approach this evolving sense of self with “wonder, not worry.” 

“Replace anxiety with excitement,” London says. “And remember that whatever is happening to you, it’s not about success or failure — those are value judgments. It’s all experience! How you choose to think about that experience is your choice.”

Stacy London QVC Quintessential 50 Event
Stacy London at the QVC Quintessential 50 event in Las Vegas.Denise Truscello / Contributor / Getty

That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, especially when it comes to fashion. We all want to look and feel our best — and a big part of that involves the clothes we wear. As a society, we’ve come a long way in our attitudes toward style — we’re really leaning in to wearing whatever we want without feeling like we need to conform to any standard. However, with today’s constant flood of micro-trends and the abundance of products on the market, it can sometimes feel overwhelming trying to look modern and on-trend, while also trying to incorporate the mindset of not worrying what others think. (What even are jeans right now, anyway?!)

From what you feel the most comfortable in, to your relationship with your body image, your overall approach to fashion or even simply the amount of effort you’re willing to put into your appearance, all of this can feel in flux these days.  Here, London, who knows a thing or two about fashion, give us her best advice for owning your evolving sense of style – and authenticity.

Related: Martha Stewart, Queen Latifah, Christina Applegate, Donna Kelce + More Celebrate What It Means to Be Over 50 With QVC

1. Stacy London style tips: Get inspired by Gen Z

While Gen X might have a lot to teach the younger generation, they have a lot to teach in return!  London says that Gen Z has truly become  the embodiment of the freeing philosophy: “Focus more on what makes you feel good, rather than what makes you look good.” It’s no secret that as a generation Gen Z is overall more experimentative, adventurous and “fun” when it comes to their style than other generations. 

London says that what she finds most interesting about Gen Z is their ability to not care about what’s “flattering” and what’s not. “They’re like, ‘flattering to whom? What patriarchal system?’ right? So now I really do feel like, wear whatever the hell you want,” says London.

However, she continues, “On the other side of that, I want you to remember, there is a societal construct, and no matter how much you fight that, you may still have to deal with it.”

2. Understand it’s fine to play the game when it makes sense

There are times when you may have to dress a certain way to achieve a specific  goal, says London. “I feel very strongly about the fact that you don’t have to play the game if you don’t want to, but if you want something and you want to get it, you better know how to play the game. I did not invent the game. I want you to win.”

She gives the example of wanting to work at the most conservative law firm in the country: if you want the job, you need to dress the part – “You’re not going to dress, you know, like a dominatrix in latex!” 

“You’re going to kind of present as you want to be accepted,” she explains. And there’s nothing wrong with that. 

Ultimately, if you’re looking to find more ease and comfort in the world, she says it’s all about finding your tribe. “A lot of times, being your most authentic self is how you find that tribe … but if you decide there is something that you want, you need to think about what the risk of presentation is going to do to change that.”

However, she says, “The more authentic you are to yourself, the less you may care about that.”

3. Stacy London style tips: Find authenticity by leaning into your evolving identity

Stacy London
Stacy London at “Living Powerfully” event.Roy Rochlin / Contributor / Getty

Our ideas about empowerment have changed from 20 years ago, London says. Back then, empowerment was associated with how “good” something looks on you, if it “flatters” you, what your body looks like in it. This was a huge premise of What Not to Wear, which largely focused on what “complemented” your body and what didn’t, she says. Today, empowerment is about how you feel in what you’re wearing.

“What I see is stylists saying things like, ‘I’ll put somebody in something that is very figure-flattering, and then I’ll put somebody in something that’s very avant-garde that isn’t figure flattering to see if they feel empowered,'” London says. “Because empowerment is not about the things that it was 20 years ago. Now, I think we’re really leaning into this idea of authenticity.”

It’s okay for your perception of authenticity and empowerment to change as you get older — in fact, it’s completely natural and common.

“I would never wear what I wore in my 20s and 30s,” says London, who shares that when she started entering perimenopause around the age of 47, she “felt guilty” that she didn’t want to wear pencil skirts and 5-inch heels.  “I was over it.”

When she was younger, London felt empowered from wearing said pencil skirts and high heels. As she aged and started reaching more for suits rather than “sexy” pieces, she experienced conflicting emotions, a natural result of her perception of empowerment changing.

“I said, ‘I feel guilty that all I want to wear now are suits,’ but I feel the same sense of empowerment by having you look at me instead of my tits when I talk to you, right?” London says. “I wanted that kind of allure when I was younger; I don’t need that from you now. I don’t need your validation, I don’t need any of that. So for me, when I walk on that stage and I’m going to speak, you bet I’m going to be in a suit.”

While we may feel at times we are trying to grasp on to who we once were, scared to perhaps lose our identity or our sense of self, learning to accept change, including when it comes to our style, is crucial to embracing and owning our evolving selves.

One of London’s most important messages she wants to send is this:  “Your style evolves the same way you do. And if you didn’t like brussels sprouts when you were a kid and you like them now, that proves to you that you are not the same person that you were,” she says. “And if you can let go of who you were and become who you are, you are going to look ‘chef’s kiss.’ That is true authenticity.”

For more styling tips, click through these stories:

11 Ways to Style Leather Pants, Jackets, Skirts and More, According To a Pro Stylist

Celebrity Stylist Shares the Best Outfits With Boots That Work for Any Occasion

7 Midi Skirt Outfits For Every Occasion From Errand-Running to Cocktail-Sipping

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