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Middle-aged women and above can agree that aging comes with its own set of challenges. Once you hit your 50s, you have to deal with a lot of things: taking care of mature skin and gray hair and finding ways not to dress “old.” As you grow older, your approach to fashion changes a lot. Your personal style in your twenties is way different from how you dress now. However, just because you don’t want to rock some of the daring styles you wore in your twenties or thirties doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your style. Mature women can dress stylishly too. Want to learn how? Here are tips on how to not dress old as a mature woman over 50.
But before we get to the fashion tips, let’s dive into the key things to avoid:
This has been a requested post from my readers, so please keep in mind that these “avoid” ideas are guidelines from a younger perspective, not rules saying you have to dress a certain way. If you don’t like an idea for you, then simply scroll right past it.
- Avoid: Trying Hard To Cover Up Everything
A lot of older women make the mistake of thinking good style means covering up all their “flaws”. You don’t have to wear baggy or shapeless clothing to dress appropriately.
Instead, it’s a good idea to focus on wearing clothes that flatter your body type than picking clothes that disguise yourself. While you’re at it, work on your outfit proportions too! If you pick a top with a lot of volume, then select fitted bottoms. And vice versa.
- Avoid: Colors That Wash You Out
The best way to not dress old is to pick timeless colors such as black, beige, white, gray, or any other neutral colors. Of course, browns may look good on one skin tone and not the other, so make sure you’re picking neutrals that will flatter your skin tone and make you look fresh.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to wear only neutrals for the rest of your life. The right accent colors can liven up your look too, such as a bold red lip, a green sweater draped across your shoulders, or a lively scarf. Just try to stay clear from neons, because for the most part, they can look too harsh on older women.
- Avoid: Outdated Outfit Details
There are certain outfit details that can look dated when not worn correctly, such as cheap lace woven into capris or cropped boleros worn over dresses. An older woman should proceed with caution as these details can be instantly aging and not classic.
- Avoid: Only Visiting Retailers for Older Women
Some people may recommend that women over 50 should only shop at retailers targeted at older ages, but that is not entirely correct. You don’t have to be pigeonholed to stores just for women over 50.
Mixing and matching is a good idea as it can create a collected wardrobe. Even though I’m younger, I’ve shopped at places like Talbots and Chadwicks of Boston myself, but I don’t exclusively shop there. And as an older woman, it’s even more important to keep your look current, yet classic. You can do this by balancing out your mature focused stores with places like J.Crew, Nordstrom, Madewell, Everlane, or Banana Republic.
Okay, now that you have read fashion mistakes to avoid, here are even more tips on how to not dress old!
1. Avoid Certain Formal Dresses
What do the majority of these styles have in common? They’re shapeless. And though there are certainly women who could pull this off, generally, this style of dress is considered old-fashioned and it can date your overall look.
So stay clear from dresses that have a shapeless silhouette or too many ruffles. Even though a loose maxi style seems like the best choice to dress modestly, it’s not the most current way to flatter your figure.
And though a matching set is not a bad idea, there are better ways to execute it. A jacket is usually added for more coverage and style, but this particular style tends to look frumpy and an overly embroidered jacket distracts from the classic A-line dress.
Try These Formal Dresses Instead
No to shapeless,yes to fitted waists, strategically exposed skin, and fit and flare styles.
When it comes to formal dressing, to avoid looking “old”, steer clear of matching boleros. I understand wanting arm coverage, however, this matching set is a dead giveaway for dated. Instead, find a coordinating or complementing cardigan, jacket, or wrap if you can’t find a dress you like that has long sleeves.
When dressing up as a woman over 50, most women’s style goals are graceful, modest, and sophisticated. These goals can all be accomplished with these dress silhouettes, without sacrificing style.
You can look ladylike without wearing a garment that covers you from head to toe, so don’t be afraid of tastefully and subtly showing some skin. For example, a slight v-neck dress that highlights your collarbone adds some allure without showing off the chest too much.
And if you prefer coverage for your legs, you can choose a maxi dress or pair a shorter dress with black semi-sheer tights. Just skip the nude, skin-colored tights.
Cap sleeves (or longer) add arm coverage that many women want while the semi-fitted silhouette and tie waist add definition at the waist. There is nothing baggy or shapeless here!
2. Avoid Certain Style of Pants
If there are any pants that will make you look “old,” it’s the elastic waist style with a too-long crotch area and hips that are too baggy. I know they look comfy (and that’s what most mature women over 50 aim for), but you can find other comfortable pants that won’t sacrifice your style.
Even if the crotch and hip area aren’t baggy, capris are a style to avoid as well. This pant style has been outdated for a while and they’re not the most flattering. The exception to this would be high-waisted culotte capris. These are fitted around the waist and then flare out, making these more flattering without sacrificing comfort.
Try These Pants Instead
If you are a mature woman over 50 and still want the comfort of elastic waist bottoms, then consider upgrading your style to the new comparable styles instead, such as elastic waist pants with tailoring or linen joggers with a tie waist. These pant styles are still roomy and comfortable, but they are more fitted and give you more of a shape. Plus, they are “what’s in”, making your whole outfit look current and to date.
Midrise jeans and high-rise jeans are wardrobe essentials for women over 50. They have a body-hugging stretch that won’t make you look shapeless, as well as a laid-back and flattering fit.
If you want jeans to have a cool and fashionable appeal, then embrace distressed jeans. Of course, nothing extremely ripped but maybe a subtle distressing or two. Just pair your jeans with a more sophisticated top to give your outfit some balance, such as a white-button down shirt or a cashmere sweater.
3. Avoid Certain Accessories
Accessories can make a break or look, especially when you are a mature woman over 50 that’s not necessarily trying to hide her age, but you’re not trying to age yourself either.
There are certain accessory styles to avoid, such as old fashioned jewels. Overly fake jewels that are old fashioned and busy can give your whole outfit an outdated look.
And while certain shoes can offer comfort, they can date your outfit as well. Your style in your 50s doesn’t have to be boring! You can still be fun and fashionable, so let your footwear reflect that.
Handbags with busy, loud prints can make your entire outfit look frumpy. Plus, the prints may clash with the other pieces in your wardrobe.
Wear These Accessories Instead
Instead of a necklace with obvious fake jewels, choose timeless pieces like a gold layered pendant necklace or hoop pearl earrings. These pieces exude modern elegance.
And who said comfortable shoes have to be boring? Loafers, ballet flats, and mule slides are all good choices for shoes that are chic, feminine, and ageless. Wear them with black pants or straight-leg pants, and you have got yourself a fashionable outfit.
And if you’re wondering what purse to get, invest in a high-quality tote bag. Why? A classic tote is the backbone of a wardrobe. It’s versatile and has a polished look.
4. Avoid Wearing These Tops
Very dramatic high-low tops are not really in style anymore, and as a mature woman over 50, they can age your look, especially when they are worn with cropped leggings and chunky beaded sandals.
White button-down shirts are always a wardrobe staple, but not when they have large floral prints that distract from this classic piece.
Lastly, these subtly textured shirts with a faded print will age you. The colors are usually not versatile and flattering, plus the fit is pretty boxy.
Wear These Tops
Replace your high-low blouses with blouse options like these. The subtle feminine details like the pleats and tucks are what make this top perfect for creating a fresh sophisticated outfit.
While you’re at it, ditch white shirts with floral patterns and opt for classy styles instead. It has a timeless and classic appeal for everyday life. You can rock the shirt with a gold pendant necklace and straight-leg jeans for a perfect look.
As Coco Chanel said, “Simplicity is the keynote to true elegance.” Sometimes all you need is a simple mock shirt to achieve an effortlessly fashionable style.
Making some simple swaps with your fashion style is the key to not dressing old in your 50s. Swapping old-fashioned clothes for fresher and more modern options will have you looking and feeling your best!
For tips to age gracefully, here are some secrets you need to know: 10 Life-Changing Secrets of Women Who Age Well