Looking back at my fashion experiences over the years, one particular day comes to mind: I was teaching at Century High School where my daughter was a student. This particular morning I was running late, so I grabbed something in haste from the back of my closet and threw it on. This isn't so bad, I told myself, checking out my image in the mirror. I was wearing a pair of old khaki bell bottom pants and an outrageously bright orange tunic-like top.

My daughter took one look at me and exclaimed, "You're not wearing that to school, are you?"

Now I liked to think of myself as a fairly fashionable person, especially at school where the girls were always checking to see what certain teachers were wearing. Little did I know that I would not win the best dressed award that day.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened at school so I was very surprised when my

daughter burst in the house later that afternoon and greeted me with these words:

"Don't ever, ever, ever wear that outfit to school again!" she screeched. "All I heard today was, 'Hey, your mom looks cool--nice bell bottoms--nice orange shirt--she looked just like Carol Brady. What happened to her? She's usually such a cool dresser."

I was speechless to say the least. And I never did wear that outfit to school again. In fact I didn't even save it for a garage sale; it went out with the trash.

Well, that scenario does not speak to my fashion savvy; quite the opposite. But just how important is it for the mature woman to be fashionable? I asked a very stylish mature friend for her opinion. For the sake of anonymity I'll call her Jill.

"It's very important for older women to stay in the fashion loop," Jill said. "That doesn't mean that she has to wear trendy clothes, but she should have a few good basics in her closet."

She advised to invest in a few good things that are timeless suggesting that less is more when it comes to fashion investments.

When is comes to color, black is always good because it's chic and slimming and can be easily accessorized. If your color palette is busy with neutrals like black or taupe, try splashes of turquoise, magenta or your favorite bright colors to brighten your canvas.

"Fit is everything; poorly fitting clothing makes you look dumpy and dowdy. A good fit is flattering and essential," Jill said.

What about trendy styles? "Jeans are trendy but they're also fashionable." I couldn't help but think of my closet full of jeans that seem to take me (almost) everywhere. And I smiled when Jill said to try on 100 pair of jeans to find just the right fit. Yes, I've done that. Well not quite 100 but enough to wear me out, not to mention the sales assistant.

"Most of all," Jill emphasized, "Just because you've entered your mature years, don't be afraid to have fun with fashion."

I most certainly agree with this last bit of advice. I'm going to check out my boring closet and make some mature but stylish updates. Perhaps if I'd taken a little more time and care in my closet that early morning years ago, I could have saved my 'best dressed teacher' image.

Jan Scultz is a seasoned Empty Nester claiming one husband, three adult children and five adorable grandchildren. In her spare time, she teaches online English for BSC, practices yoga, walks many miles and reads lots of books.