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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caters to the younger crowd, leaving older women with slim pickings and clothing brands that usually carry frumpy and outdated items.
Here’s one thing that I know to be 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 looking your best and I’ve rounded up the best clothes for women over 50 years old to wear as well.
What clothes should you avoid if you’re over 50?
Before we get into what you should wear, it’s worth mentioning what you should avoid first. The goal when wearing clothes for women over 50 years old 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 be able to inspire younger women, to show them that aging gracefully is not only possible but a privilege. That not only can you 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 that may catch a glimpse of them on the street.
Older women with style have a special ability to inspire everyone around them. I remember 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 that if she looked that good then I too, could be fabulous over 50.
Dressing for your body type
Rectangle, pear, square..so, um, 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 they 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.
How to have style as a woman over 50
In my opinion, 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 personal 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 you!
Should a woman over 50 wear bright colors?
Well, that is up to you. If you like bright colors, then go for it! A few things to keep in mind, however – I’d recommend finding brighter hues that are flattering to your skin tone. I’m sure you’ve heard about the terms spring, summer, autumn, or winter and this fun quiz can help you to find the right colors.
Secondly, I’d recommend limiting your bright colors in order 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 actually very comfortable to wear.
Pair with a button-down blouse or a tank top and jacket, and some 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 not only is it a polished piece, but it’s also a touch more practical than a blazer to wear on a day-to-day basis. This is a great layering piece and can easily add some interest to your outfit. Pair with dark denim, low-block heels, and a white shirt for an elegant look. Pair with jeans, loafers, and a basic top for casual chic.
Where to find it: J.Crew for styles ranging from 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 to slim out your thighs.
One of the biggest mistakes I see women over 50 make when it comes to their denim is that they wear 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 either 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. Make sure you get a basic top in a lot of different colors, as these will allow you to create many outfit ideas. Once you’ve got your dark blue jeans covered, 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.
Where to find it: Madewell for 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- check out the widget below to see.
Perhaps one of the most classic clothing items out there and for good reason, it is so flattering on all body types and it definitely 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.
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 to add 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 a slight heel are the perfect thing 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.
Where to find it: Everlane for 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 in a neutral color with some interesting details such as tortoiseshell buttons or a tie wrap belt.
Where to find it: Mango for timeless pieces
One of the best ways to add some 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 it looks chic and stylish on a mature lady. It adds sass to your overall look!
Just pick 1-2 areas you want your animal print to go, whether it be a top, pants, scarf, or a handbag. Keep it minimal, subtle, and classy.
Where to find it: Amazon for affordable, trendier pieces
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 a lot of options as far as 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 more than make up for it with awesome jeans and a beautiful coat. Distract, distract!
Where to find it: M.M. LaFleur for an older woman not interested in fast fashion and wants made to last luxury
Fashionable outerwear options
You’ve got your classic coat, but there are still some other outerwear options that your wardrobe needs. I definitely think you should have a trench coat for a chic look, a denim jacket for casual style, a cozy cardigan, and yes, even a leather jacket.
Where to find it: Nordstrom for a wide range of options
- 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.
- Don’t be embarrassed about shapewear! Find the underthings 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. I even went shopping with my mom to try out some of these tips, which you can read more about on the next post, Taking My Mom Shopping & Finding Clothes That Flatter.