Style and sense for seniors

With the graying of America, senior women are demanding more attention from fashion and beauty professionals.

And the industry is responding. Makeup lines are being aimed at older consumers. Clothing designers and manufacturers are creating fashions for people with arthritis. And a book offering advice for women over 50 is in the works.


"Look Like a Winner After 50" by Jo Peddicord (National Writers Press, $15.95) won't hit shelves until January, but we got an advance look. Here are some of her tips plus a few of our own:

* To hide your "widow's hump," or rounded shoulders and back, wear clothing with a collar instead of a jewel neckline. A large scarf also can soften the profile.


* Avoid fabrics such as knits that cling to the upper body. You don't want anything that accentuates roundness. Go for texture instead: tweeds, mohair, angora, sueded silks and puckered cottons.

* For narrow shoulders, use shoulder pads. But, we must add, keep them in check. Large shoulder pads a la Joan Crawford are as out as "Dynasty" reruns.

* If you suffer from arthritis according to the Arthritis Foundation, half of Americans over 65 do choose garments with front openings. If you can find clothing with fabric fasteners, all the better.

JCPenney offers a line of such clothing. Call 1-800-222-6161 for the Easy Dressing Fashions catalog. In October, Sears introduced The Comfortable Life catalog with easy-care, easy-wear items for people with arthritis. Call 1-800-366-3000. Other companies with such catalogs include Wishing Well (1-818-840-6919), Comfortably Yours (1-800-521-0097) and The Wardrobe Wagon (1-800-992-2737, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). All catalogs are free.

* Don't be intimidated into being uncomfortable. If Katharine Hepburn can wear trousers and look great, so can you.