How to Wear Fall’s Punk Trend When You’re a Grown-Up Gal

Michelle Pfeiffer punk rock look

photo:Ruven Afandor/Ladies Home Journal

This year in Manhattan, the rich and fabulous gathered at the Museum of Modern Art to celebrate its new punk exhibit. On the fall and winter runways, rocker-inspired style reigned supreme at Michael Kors and Saint Laurent. Now Michelle Pfeiffer has turned up in the Sept. issue of Ladies Home Journal sporting the look.

All this adds up to one thing: Punk fashion is back in a big way.Whether or not you were a fan of the Ramones back in the day, you can get in on the trend now. But how do you dress like a rocker chick without sacrificing chicness and age-appropriateness? Read on to find out!

Find the Right Jacket

A leather jacket is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of punk fashion, and with good reason: Every punk worth their salt has a black leather jacket covered in spikes, studs and zippers. But jackets so tough-looking can look costume-y on women over 40. If you really want a classic motorcycle jacket, pick one that is more lightweight and refined without too much hardware. Or you can opt for a blazer instead with a small dose of punk elements- like a handful of small studs, slight chain detailing on the lapels or an exposed zipper. The key is to choose one feature, applied lightly, to a jacket that would not look punk-y otherwise. While choosing a fabric other than leather ensures a subtler take on the trend, if you want leather, opt for a quilted leather jacket for the perfect mix of punk princess and modern woman.

Punk fashion after 40

 

Oasis crepe shift dress, $70 / Tory Burch leather jacket / Pretty Polly opaque tight, $16 / ALDO boots / Vince Camuto watch

 

Create a Classic Outfit Base

One of the biggest differences between “punk” and “punk-inspired” is what the outfit is based upon. To make sure you look age-appropriate and modern, aim to look “punk-inspired” by choosing simple, well-fitting basics to ground your outfit. For instance, a simple shift dress and black tights create a great backdrop for more punk accessories and additions. Meanwhile, bootcut jeans with a simple blouse are a more casual way to create an overall refined effect, balancing any pieces that may be harder-edged.

Add Some Color

To help soften your outfit and make punk-inspired pieces more wearable, be sure to add some color to your outfit. Michael Kors’ fall/winter show was the perfect mix of glamour and punk- and the designer injected nearly every outfit with bold cobalt blue. Since many punk styles tend to have a lot of black, adding bold, sapphire blue is a great way to add a chic pop of color. If blue isn’t your thing, try any jewel tone instead.

Punk Fashion Post-40

Punk Fashion Post-40 by fabafter40 featuring a black jacket

MaxMara v neck top / Wallis black jacket / Black fake leather jacket, $62 / Oasis bootcut jeans, $86 / MICHAEL Michael Kors black pumps, $275 / Michael Kors black handbag / Michael Kors jewelry

 Kick Up Your Heels

Choosing ladylike, thin heels to pair with more punk influenced pieces will keep the look chic overall. Heels with studs or chain detailing are the perfect mix of fancy and funky, and ankle booties with thin heels and exposed zippers are the perfect shoes for a grown-up punk rocker.

Choose Bold Accessories

Accessories are the way to add a real punk edge to your look. Choosing stud earrings that are, well, studs, is a great place to start- they’re small and unassuming, but still have a tough-chick impact.  Watches with flat studs or chains attached to the wristband create a rocker feel that’s much more grown up than leather wristbands. Purses should be ladylike in shape but embellished with studs, exposed zippers or chains to continue the theme. By following these tips you can balance sophistication and sass, and wear the punk trend in a mature, age-appropriate way. You’ll be the most stylish rock fan around!

*This is a guest contribution by Morgan Mullin , a fashion journalist who blogs about all things style-related at Ruby Red Lipstick. You can also follow her via Google+  



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  1. Thank you for sharing all the tips! I like to think my style is a little bit “bad ass” and a lot of girly. The idea of just adding pieces of a specific trend in small amounts is a perfect way to combine different feelings and define a personal style.