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A woman over 50 is a force to be reckoned with. She’s had enough life experience to know what she wants. And for the most part, she knows who she is and where she’s going. Most of the fashion industry talks about the latest trends and caters to the younger crowd, leaving older women with slim pickings and clothing brands that usually carry frumpy and outdated items.
Age should never be considered a handicap when it comes to fashion, and women over 50 can be just as selective about their outfits as younger generations. The problem is that many women view this as an opportunity to dress in a way that clashes with their age rather than synergize with it.
Nowadays, there are more reasons to take pride in who we are, but it can be difficult to reconcile our fashion sense with our age. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for women over 50 to choose from that can help revolutionize their style without trying to be something they’re not. So, maybe it’s time to take “new year, new me” to a different level.
Here’s one thing I know is true: women over 50 care about how they look! They want to look stylish yet age-appropriate. Because of that, I’m sharing style tips to have you look your best, and I’ve rounded up the best clothes for women over 50 years old to wear.
What clothes should you avoid if you’re over 50?
Before we understand what you should wear, it’s worth mentioning what you should avoid first. When wearing clothes for women over 50 years old, the goal is not to try to force yourself into looking 20 or 30 years younger.
Of course, “rules” are meant to be broken, and you should wear whatever you feel good in at the end of the day, but I’m not going to recommend things like mini skirts, crop tops, or stealing your daughter’s jeans – unless they’re a straight leg style, of course!
I think a woman over 50 is in a special position to inspire younger women and show them that gracefully aging is not only possible but a privilege. You can even look better with time, but you never have to lose your signature style.
I personally am inspired by many women over 50, including Carolina Herrera and Emmanuelle Alt. A stylish woman over 50 can become a style icon – whether on a large media scale, to the other women in their age group, or even to the younger women who may catch a glimpse of them on the street.
Older women with style have a special ability to inspire everyone around them. Years ago, I was spending a winter day visiting a new town, and I saw this older woman walking the street, wearing this statement leopard print coat, black ankle boots, and red lipstick. I thought she was fabulous! I almost asked to take her picture. The glimpse was fleeting, but the memory stayed with me. I remember thinking I could be fabulous over 50 if she looked that good.
Dressing for your body type
Rectangle, pear, square. What do these shapes and fruits mean, and what is one to do with this information?
Your body shape and how you dress are always something to consider, but even more so as you age and your body changes, becoming something quite different than what it was in your 20s.
Figuring out your shape and these body type guidelines are just that, guidelines. They are meant to guide you in your outfits and shopping and may even explain why some things look better on you than others, but I’m a big believer in wearing what makes you feel happy. To determine your body type, I have an eBook with information that should be able to help you highlight your best features!
How to have style as a woman over 50
I think the best style to adopt as a woman over 50 is classic style. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have the items that make your style what it is, but it does mean incorporating some of these classic-style items, one way or another.
You’ll notice that many of the older style icons have adopted some element of classic style, whether it’s a classic black and white color combo (Carolina Herrera) or classic clothing items like blazers and clean denim (Emmanuelle Alt). If classic style is the base of your style, feel free to add to it, whether it’s bohemian, preppy, casual, or even trendy, if that’s what makes you who you are!
Should a woman over 50 wear bright colors?
Well, that is up to you. If you like bright colors, then go for it! There are a few things to remember, however. I’d recommend finding brighter hues that flatter your skin tone. I’m sure you’ve heard about the terms spring, summer, autumn, or winter, and this resource can help you to find the right colors.
Secondly, I’d recommend limiting your bright colors to achieve a classic style. Bring bold colors in through accessories and select items, but I’d try to avoid a head-to-toe neon look.
Best clothes for women over 50 years old
Women of all ages can wear a pencil skirt, but a pencil cut is especially best for women over 50 as it can be the most flattering. Whether you’re a pear shape, an apple, or a rectangle, this curve-hugging skirt is a must-have in your wardrobe. Pencil skirts are usually made of stretchy material, and although they look tight, they’re very comfortable to wear. You can find these feminine and polished pieces at places like J.Crew, Ann Taylor, and Loft.
You can pair it with clothing pieces such as a button-down blouse, a tank top, a jacket, and pointed shoes. Depending on your height and body type, play around with the length of the pencil skirt, as even a few inches shorter or longer can make a world of difference for the overall look.
A cardigan deserves a spot in your wardrobe because it is a polished piece and a touch more practical than a blazer to wear daily. This is a great layering piece and can easily add interest to your outfit. Wear dark denim, low-block heels, and a white shirt for an elegant look. Pair with jeans, loafers, and a basic top for casual chic. This is a piece that can easily go from casual to preppy to polished!
Jeans are a staple clothing item and your best friend. Don’t shy away from updated jeans even if you think you’re too old for them or even if you think you may have a few pounds to lose.
But do find the right wash, as dark blue or black jeans would look amazing on you, and instead of adding a spotlight to your body, they can help slim out your thighs.
One of the biggest mistakes I see women over 50 make concerning their denim is wearing jeans that don’t fit! Though Gen Z may be all over this look, baggy jeans are not what you want.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to go extremely skinny either. The best option is skinny jeans, slim jeans, straight leg, cropped, or bootcut. All of these jeans should hug your curves – even the bootcut. Those should flare out at the bottom – not all over. High-rise jeans can be very flattering, too.
For casual outfits, pair your jeans with a simple white T-shirt. Ensure you get a basic top in many colors, as these will allow you to create many outfit ideas. Once you’ve covered your dark blue jeans, look for white jeans. These are another wardrobe staple!
If you’re looking for more advice on what to wear with each kind of jeans, I have a resource library that you can sign up for here – it has 40+ prints, checklists, guides, and lists you can take with you on your next shopping trip.
Wondering where to go jean shopping? Madewell has comfortable and high-quality denim that caters to many sizes!
If you can, I would try to avoid elastic waist jeans like these, unless you don’t plan on showing the waist. If for comfort or health reasons you need elastic waist jeans, there are plenty of better options for you out there – like these.
A wrap dress, made popular by Diane von Furstenberg, is perhaps one of the most classic clothing items out there, and for good reason, it is so flattering on all body types, and it deserves a spot in your wardrobe. Though it’s a dress, it doesn’t have to be seen as only something that can be worn to church or weddings. You can pair it with sandals and even white sneakers for casual spring or summer outings.
On the topic of dresses, you have probably heard lots about an LBD – a little black dress, another top staple piece, and one worth considering adding to your wardrobe. If the formality of this piece is hanging you up, just know that it doesn’t have to be a formal dress if your lifestyle doesn’t call for it.
A more casual black dress in a looser-fitting material that you’ll wear a lot is better than a formal dress that you’ll rarely wear. Plus, classically stylish French women love the wrap dress. If you want to read more about how to dress like a French woman, read this post: How to Dress Like a French Woman Over 50.
Boots with slight heels are perfect for a woman over 50 to wear to elevate her classic look. High heels are chic but not very practical for the day-to-day, and probably even less so if you are over 50 and find yourself chasing grandkids often. Find a pair of boots that you can easily walk in with just enough oomph to elevate everything from a long skirt to your favorite pair of jeans.
Everlane has many great high-quality options.
A classic coat will go a long way into putting together the perfect outfit that is polished and refined, and sometimes, this is all someone will ever see of you, so you want to make sure you leave a lasting impression! The perfect classic coat is usually wool or something similar, longer in length, and a neutral color with some interesting details such as tortoiseshell buttons or a tie wrap belt.
One of the best ways to add style to your look is with prints, especially animal print. And I’d say this matters even more when you’re over 50, and you find you can’t wear the same things you used to wear. Animal print will always fit and look chic on a mature lady. It adds sass to your overall look!
Pick 1-2 areas you want your animal print to go, whether a top, pants, scarf, or a handbag. Keep it minimal, subtle, and classy.
A great way to tie every look together is to have a pair of comfortable and stylish flats. Avoid the shoes that give away your age (you know the ones). However, I know that some women, due to foot and health problems, don’t have many options for footwear, and that’s okay. If you’re looking for good types of shoes if you have foot pain, read 7 Best Women’s Shoes for Foot Pain.
I’d say just focus on the things you can control, and even if you think your shoes are less than stellar – you can do more than make up for it with awesome jeans and a beautiful coat. Distract, distract!
Fashionable outerwear options
You’ve got your classic coat, but there are still some other outerwear options that your wardrobe needs! You should have a trench coat for a chic look, a denim jacket for casual style, a cozy cardigan, and a leather jacket, to name a few.
How to elevate the best clothes for women over 50
- Don’t forget about your accessories as they can truly transform your look. Earrings, a necklace, and a scarf go very far in adding style to your outfit.
- You can’t have a good outfit with scuffed shoes and a bag that’s falling apart. A classic, high-quality handbag is a must as well as nice shoes. Follow these other tiny tweaks that make you look expensive instantly.
- Don’t be embarrassed about shapewear! Find the undergarments you need that give you a smooth, supportive, and streamlined look.
Even if you add just one of these items to your wardrobe, you can be confident that you’ll be dressing your age – stylishly and comfortably.
Ready to elevate your style even more? Find out how to overcome common fashion struggles in the next post: Can You Relate? 13 Common Fashion Struggles for Women Over 50 and How To Overcome Them