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Tips for midlife fashion savvy

(ran TP, CI, PT, HT editions)

Fashion experts and women who've triumphed over their midlife fashion crises offer these words of wisdom:

+ Tori Hartman, clothing consultant and author:

If you look at a garment and it inspires you, you know how to wear it and have things to wear with it _ buy it. Be willing to spend money on everyday clothes. Shop for bargains in Sunday or special-event clothes. And if sizes bother you, cut out the size tags.

+ Dorothy Carstens, Seattle:

As a woman ages, it's more important than ever for her to know and be comfortable with her style.

+ Gail Alexander, image consultant:

We begin to lose chroma as we age _ the brightness and warmth in our hair, skin and eyes. That means makeup and clothing colors probably need adjusting.

+ Judy Flanagan, Seattle:

Know your colors, know your body type. I have a terrible time with sizes. Everything gets altered. If something fits one place, it's too big or too long in another. But if it doesn't fit through the middle, I don't buy it.

+ Sylvia Wilson, Kirkland:

Invest in a full-length mirror. Some women dress too young for their figures or follow trends that are inappropriate. I see women and think: If they had a full-length mirror they wouldn't be wearing that.

+ Jackie Rogers, fashion designer:

Find things that make you feel good and don't overpower you. Make sure clothes don't hang on you but move with you.

+ Marie Gray, fashion designer:

Wear clothes suited to your frame. Avoid bare midriffs. I can't think of anyone over 30 who can have a bare midriff.

Also mentioned by almost every woman interviewed:

If you find a brand or label that you like and it fits, keep buying it.

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