Lawrence Laundry: Winter style for middle-aged women

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AP

Look for a well-fitted winter coat, like this one from the Thakoon Fall 2012 collection, modeled during Fashion Week in New York on Feb. 12, 2012.

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AP

Mix up a winter look with dark-colored tights like these from the Anna Sui Fall 2012 collection, modeled during Fashion Week in New York Feb. 15, 2012.

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AP

Spice up winter outfits by wearing skirts and dresses with boots, like these from the Narciso Rodriguez Fall 2012 collection modeled during Fashion Week in New York on Feb. 14, 2012.

While the summertime wardrobe no-no’s for women over the age of 40 are obvious (i.e. short skirts), winter style is a bit more complicated.

Middle-aged women have typically passed the life stage of being ultra-concerned about having the latest trends and have stepped gracefully into the arena of life in which comfort and utility are top style priorities.

As a middle-aged woman, you know what you want out of life. You’ve lived long enough to weed out the non-necessities and now devote your time to that which you’ve deemed important, whether it’s your family, friends, job or hobbies, or, for most, an incredible combination of all of the above.

Despite middle-aged women valuing comfort and practicality above all, I would imagine the transition into middle age to be, well, uncomfortable. Being middle-aged is a beautiful thing, and I think we can all agree that the woman who embraces her age and life stage is the most beautiful woman of all. But nevertheless, for a lot of us, the transition is awkward.

However, there is an easy formula to follow when searching for age-appropriate winter clothes. To me, there are three pieces of an outfit to keep in mind in the winter. They are: 1) outerwear, 2) tights/pants, 3) shoes. Here are a couple of the highlights.

The right coat

Proper outerwear is a must for the practical woman. Don’t settle for something that looks fabulous but doesn’t keep you warm, and, on the reverse, don’t wear a coat that keeps you warm but is ill-fitting.

My favorite coats for the winter are tailored, conservative trench coats that hit at mid-thigh. Ponchos are also trending again this winter and work well for running errands or commuting to the office.

Tights are A-OK

Tights are my No. 1 go-to in the winter. They’re warm, versatile and come in a variety of colors.

While there’s no question as to whether middle-aged women can wear tights, there is discussion about colored opaque tights. Can middle-aged women wear colored tights? The answer is yes! And please! Of course, you’ll want to stay away from brighter colors, but rich, dark colors like forest green and burgundy work great.

Boots bridge boring and bombshell

It’s easy to get into the routine of throwing on slacks and a sweater in the wintertime. Stocking your closet with conservative black and brown boots will tug you away from the comfortable habit of pants and pull you toward spicing your outfit up with different skirts and dresses. Opt for boots that hit at mid-calf or just below the knee and pair them with complementary-colored tights. Stay away from heels over 3 inches and boots that come over the knee.

— Ali Edwards can be reached at go@ljworld.com.

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