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Last Saturday I stood in the dressing room of an Izod outlet store and looked at myself in the object of my longing: a golf skirt. It was summer clearance time and I’ve wanted one all summer. But as I confronted the reality of this trendy skirt on my body, I knew it was time for a moment of truth. “Not in this lifetime,” I said to myself. And with good reason.

I love golf skirts for the femininity they bring to golf attire. But love them as I do, they are a good six inches shorter than any pair of shorts I own. Let me tell you, when you get to be my age, that’s a difference that’s not to be trifled with. Which brings me to the real point of this post: following trends literally is a very dangerous business for almost all regular people. If you’re reading this, that’s you. It’s better to know your body type and play it to the max. Invent. Don’t follow.

For the next few posts, I’ll show you three current trends, who ought to buck them, and what to wear instead:

The buttoned up blouse

I’ve tried (oh how I’ve tried) to escape them, but blouses just suit me. I’m always looking for some way to jazz them up. A couple of weeks ago I Googled “how to wear a blouse” and voila! Everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Coco Rocha is wearing a blouse buttoned up to the throat. Ditto for most of my favorite retailers and bloggers. The next week I attended an event at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and there was Petra Slinkard (curator of textiles and fashion arts for the IMA and one of my favorite local fashion barometers) in a prim button-up blouse and a black skirt. Well, alrighty. Just when I had adapted to the idea of wearing my blouses unbuttoned down to there, this trend came along and changed everything. Or did it?

Who should buck it

This doesn’t work on anyone who is under the age of 40, give or take a few years. I hate to come down on the side against modesty, but this look is sure to age those of us with some life experience. Wear it and risk looking like Marilla Cuthbert, the adoptive spinster in Anne of Green Gables. Unless the blouse is designed with a stand-up collar, consider bypassing this trend.

What to wear instead

If you’re stuck on blouses, consider every option that adds interest to a blouse. Wear your collars and cuffs flipped up. Add a feminine (but modest) camisole or turtleneck underneath and unbutton it down to there. Fill in the open neck with a scarf or a beautiful piece of statement jewelry. Add a narrow belt and wear it untucked and cinched at the waist. Choose a blouse with a mandarin or stand-up collar. If you can, wear a man’s shirt over a pair of skinny jeans. (More on this later!) Trust me, this sort of sophisticated but casual elegance will NEVER go out of style or look inappropriate. For modesty’s sake, I wouldn’t style it like the 1960s blouse in the photo above. But it suggests the general idea of the timeless way to wear a blouse.

What’s your favorite way to style a blouse?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.