“So I just turned 50,” writes a reader named Chelene. “I also realized that the fashion that I want to wear is not fashion that 50-year-old me SHOULD wear, and I’m having a bit of a crisis. Add to that I’m going through perimenopause and can’t seem to shake these extra pounds and those slim, streamlined looks that I’m used to wearing just stare back at me in confusion…I’m just trying to figure out what in the heck works and what the rules are going forward as I get older.” OK, the first thing you need to do, Chelene, is get the pesky notion out of your head that there is anything the 50 year-old you should and should not wear. As I wrote here, the notion that women age out of certain items when they reach a particular birthday is ridiculous. At the same time, it’s true that as you get older, certain items just don’t look right anymore—I’ve more than once tried on something I bought when I was younger, looked in the mirror, and thought, nope. But you are the best judge of what no longer works for you, so trust your instincts and then just let your freak flag fly. One of the women whose style I’m most inspired by is Lyn Slater, above, a professor who writes the blog Accidental Icon, and who clearly has no use for all of those dopey listicles that purport to tell women over 40 or 50 or whatever what they can no longer wear. And as for the weight gain bit, you’d be surprised what you can get away with if you simply accept your stature, and buy clothes in the right size instead of trying to squeeze into pieces that no longer fit (also, if you’re interested, you can check out my post about what to wear if you’ve put on some pounds).