At age 65, Academy Award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren continues to take sex appeal to an entirely new level. Ever wondered whether you should you wear a bikini in your 50s and 60s? If you're Mirren, it's a definite fashion do. Uh huh, "Calendar Girls" anyone?
With no signs of slowing down anytime soon, Mirren is slated to receive a career achievement award on March 31 at CinemaCon, the annual convention and trade show for movie theater owners (formerly called ShoWest) in Las Vegas. She's also starring in the much-anticipated remake of "Arthur," with Russell Brand and Jennifer Garner, due out in April.
Not only does Mirren prove that talented actresses of any age can compete with Hollywood starlets on the big screen, but the Brit can show them up on the red carpet as well. It's a fact that she still looks good in a bikini, but her real talent is masterfully exuding elegance, fully clothed.
Never one to shy away from an opportunity to look devilishly sublime on the red carpet, Mirren took the Sunday church suit and gave it a much needed makeover when she attended a special screening of her film "The Tempest," when it opened recently in London. She added some peek-a-boo cleavage and a flirty bubble skirt. To transform her skirt suit from business attire to red carpet ready, she chose an uber chunky statement necklace, sleek silver envelope clutch and nude heels.
A skirt suit is always great for work but you'll need to find one with character if you're going to wear it to drinks after. Mirren chose a striped version but any pretty print, unique hemline or belt accent will turn your skirt suit into evening wear. The Tahari by ASL suit, belted jacket and skirt for $139.99 at Macy's has a fun belted jacket, The Nine & Co. tweed skirt suit at JC Penney for $59.99 comes in a chic tweed, or the pleated hem skirtsuit from Metrostyle.com for $47.99 has a flirty pleated hemline. [For the record: An earlier version of this post featured a Tahari skirt suit from Dillard's but that item is nearly sold out. It was replaced by the skirt suit from JC Penney.]
Statement jewelery pieces are an inexpensive way to add a little fancy factor to any outfit whether it's a skirt suit or a plain colored tee-shirt and jeans; and they make you feel like you're playing a modern version of dress up, without the boring pearls. Get Mirren's chunky jewelry look with the Fanned branches bibbed necklace from Banana Republic for $41.50 or the Tinley Road three layer necklace from Piperlime.com for $18.99.
For any style-conscious woman on a budget, to say that a go-to reversible clutch is a golden find would be a gross understatement. We're talking best-use-of-money-ever status. This reversible clutch by Nine West for $39.99 gives you a silver sheen for day and a little black clutch for your evening cocktail party. A good pair of nude-colored heels should leave you just as giddy. They go with anything and everything and can be your closet's best asset. Kohl's carries a pair of Elle Yalena platform high heels for $39.99.
Have an outfit you're dying to buy but need a frugal alternative? E-mail us a picture. We're up for the challenge.
-- Jenn Harris
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Photo: Helen Mirren attends a special preview screening of "The Tempest" at the Mayfair Hotel on March 3 in London. Credit: Gareth Cattermole /Getty Images.
Suit photo: From left, Tahari by ASL suit, belted jacket and skirt from Macys.com. Credit: Macy's; Nine & Co. tweed skirt suit. Credit: Jcpenney.com; Pleated hem skirtsuit from Metrostyle.com. Credit: Metrostyle.com.
Necklace photo: From left, Fanned branches necklace from Banana Republic. Credit: Bananarepublic.com; Tinley Road necklace. Credit: Piperlime.com.
Bottom photo: From left, Ninewest reversible clutch. Credit: Ninewest.com; Elle nude pump. Credit: Kohls.com.
[UPDATED at 11:00 AM 03/16/2011]