Most of us past 50 deeply admire Helen Mirren, both for her talent and enduring beauty. However, her styling varies, and for that I thank her, for she provides an opportunity for us to consider what works, what doesn't.
Few women over 50 (let alone 60!) are blessed with Mirren's figure, but each of us has our alluring features, soon on display at summer occasions.
Notice how these two ensembles fight or flatter Dame Helen: First, beyond safe into getupy.
The fit, too tight across the hips, makes Mirren look matronly. And could you pick more atrocious colours for her pale skin and blonde hair than flat mulberry mated to limp lavender?
The fabric mix, a heavy velvet jacket over shiny embroidered gown, lends neither movement nor grace. The somewhat dated multistrand pearls are too stark. Grey or pink pearls would be much better, but the clothes are such a disaster it would be a waste of pearl.
Reclaiming her goddess rep, Mirren appeared at "The Last Station" premiere in a black chiffon with a dramatic, jeweled satin bow that draws the eye up. Matching satin clutch, cuff bracelet, diamond studs.
In this dress, she projects an assured, dance-till-dawn glamour. She's one of the blondes who can wear black, and puts paid to the notion that the colour is draining on all women.
This approach, less (but a beautiful less) is more– is available to all of us.
If you prefer pattern for your occasion dressing, consider the scale and pattern of this gown, a blurry, indistinct one that doesn't obscure the long, sleek line.
I love the liquid silk chiffon shawl, softer than a jacket, which bulks up evening gowns and adds weight. See how the long pearl-and- chain and crystal necklaces look so much lighter than the multistrand Queen Mum pearls in the purple shot?
Safe again: A teal wrap dress oddly accessorized with gold shoes. While metallics are often sold as "goes with anything", these shoes are a warm colour, the dress cool.
Silver would be a better metallic, but Mirren, whose toned legs can take the attention that patterned shoes draw, would look great in a shoe like the "Berry" by Bandolino,
or the "Gretel" by J. Renee.
I'll post more on summer dressy shoes on Thursday.
On the positive side, her scoop bodice fits well, the famous poitrine well-supported. But a sweater-in-hand looks unpolished. For a dressy occasion, do not wear any garment that you have to schlep.
Another Mirren miss, and one many women think should work, the black jacket that is supposed to "look right over everything". Too many horizontal lines, and that jacket seems to be saying, "Let me see, my waist is somewhere around here".
The dress might look better in person, minus the jacket, but I think it's too jeune fille for a woman of her stature. And where le heck is her jewelry?
Smokin: Not many of us can pull this off this fitted sheath, but Mirren (age 65) can, and it's miles more sophisticated than the babydoll effect above.
If you wish to wear a jacket, I like Mirren's choice of complementary tones (not matching) to the dress, to keep down the noise but raise the heat. A chic nude pump is high enough but not vertiginous.
Large gold flower earrings with pearls at the centre let the asymmetric draped neckline speak without the distracting static of a necklace.
Mirren shows that occasion wear, from cocktail to formal, even with estimable natural gifts, looks best sleekly simple. Even on a Dame.