Sherrie Mathieson, style consultant


Designer preaches message of style not fashion

Of The Patriot-News

Consider what baby boomers have faced in their sartorial lives since Mom stopped dressing them:

Beatnik black, mind-bending tie-dyed shirts, midi, mini and maxi skirts, granny dresses, beaded headbands, Nehru jack ets with peace symbol pen dants, unisex attire, love beads, hot pants, bell- bottom slacks, boots, platform shoes, lei sure suits, every thing polyes ter, Annie Hall's mens wear baggi ness, "Dynasty's" big hair and bigger shoulder pads, sneakers with business suits and grunge and minimalism.

Yikes, with all that apparel flotsam and jetsam lurking in the back of the closet, no wonder many of today's boomers are drowning in a sea of psychedelic ward robe flashbacks.
I think that's what's interesting about our lives and also what's challenging, because the more we have lived through, there's a certain amount of 'who am I?, what shall I pick from now? what is right for me now?'" said Sherrie Mathieson, 60, award-winning costume designer, style consultant and author of a how-to-dress book for baby boomers.

Mathieson said the boomers' wardrobe should be based on style, not fashion. "Fashion is fleeting; style endures. Style is something that you work on your entire life. It can evolve, and, in fact, it should evolve. It centers on how well you know yourself inside and your body. You marry the two, and then you decide what you want to project to the world.

"Fashion is transitory," Mathieson said in a telephone interview from her home in Ridgefield, Conn. "Things go in and out of fashion. They come back. It's dictated from the outside. You can take part in what we call fashion trends, but you just have to be very judicious about it and consider does it work with your style."

Mathieson's book "Forever Cool" is a delicious smorgasbord of clothing and accessories tips for all occasions for women and men over 50. Nonprofessional models of different stature, weight and diversity showcase attire in "never cool" (dowdy) and "forever cool" (dynamic) versions.

Mathieson said today's boomers make two mistakes in appearance. "One is actually falling behind the times and being very out of date."

The other is trying too hard to look young. "The interpretation of that usually takes an oversexualized look, too much plastic surgery, too many hours in the sun. With men it's wearing toupees. With women it's not doing their hair in a natural way and just overdoing things in a way that makes them look very plastic."

Instead of adopting singer Bob Dylan's famous song "Forever Young" as their mantra, boomers instead should strive for youthfulness, a forever coolness, by assembling a wardrobe with a classic core, modernity of style and a hipness in spirit.

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