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As a woman over 50, you aren’t limited to shopping at places made just for older women, but it’s true that places like Forever 21 just don’t capture the essence of the woman you desire to be, which is timeless, stylish, and age-appropriate.
We can probably all recall a woman we’ve seen on the streets, wearing clothes a few sizes too small and a few decades too old, all in an attempt to grasp onto fleeting youth.
At the end of the day, what is “age-appropriate” is going to look different for every person. I’m a big believer in dressing in what makes you feel confident and happy, no matter what people think. (Yes, I’m in my 20’s and I wear loafers!)
But dress from a place of confidence, not fear. Whether that’s a fear of getting older, a fear of not fitting in, or a fear of looking old. I’ve interviewed French women over 50 and one particular French woman says:
The Parisian also knows that after age forty, there are a few things she will have to give up if she wants to be chic and elegant. She knows the limits of her body and face. She is perfectly aware that, to age graciously, the worst thing she can do is to dress like a teenager and to rely on physical charms indefinitely.Nathalie Piegney , author of Sophie the Parisian, excerpt from this post
You and I both know that women over 50 care about style. Sometimes even more so than the younger age group! While previously, fashion for mature women might have been synonymous with frump, thankfully, the fashion industry is catching on and there are now better options to find more mature clothing that suits an older woman without making her look like one.
In this post, we’ll get into where to shop for the best women over 50 fashion. But let’s go over some quick shopping tips first.
Before you shop
Shop for your body shape & skin tone
With your experience in life, you probably already have a good idea about what looks good on you. But it’s worth repeating that before you buy anything, make sure it suits your body type and skin tone the best.
If bright colors wash you out, then don’t fill your closet with bright tops! If you really love color, a pair of bright pants would be okay because they are not close to your face.
Some may find shopping for your body shape and skin tone too restrictive (I do too sometimes), so just use it merely as guidance to help lead you to the right pieces for you. Or to steer clear from the ones that totally don’t work!
Shop quality first
As another year passes, you have probably realized the value of quality items and have favored high-quality pieces to put together a classic look.
I’m not saying cheap and fast fashion are mutually the same (I love H&M for certain items), but usually, basics found at Target, Walmart, & Old Navy are not going to last as long as the higher-quality alternative.
Shop trends sparingly
It’s wise to be aware of the latest trends without adopting them all into your wardrobe. One of the best fashion tips I can give you is to hone in on your personal style.
Whether classic style or preppy style, knowing the look you love and desire will alter your wardrobe and the way you shop. Instead of picking up whatever your best friend is wearing (whether you like it or not), you’ll only buy items that you love.
Before adding another item to your wardrobe, ask yourself if this flatters your body shape and fits into your signature style.
Shop for comfort
Dressing for comfort is key. You already know that as you get older, your body changes. It’s just science! Even more so if you had kids. There’s no use squeezing your body into mini skirts just to feel younger! Great style is cultivated over time, and time is an advantage that you have.
Swap out the mini dresses for wrap dresses, and the mom jeans for a straight leg style. Take inspiration from a French woman who embraces her age and doesn’t try to fit in with the young crowd. She finds the best jeans for her body and looks for the perfect fit for her.
There are misconceptions out there that the older you get, the frumpier you look. Not true! Yes, a mature woman can still wear skinny jeans and animal print. They aren’t left to clunky orthopedic shoes (if not medically necessary) and can more than wear a pair of stylish boots.
The fashion industry has come a long way. And though there’s always progress to be made, there are now good clothing store options for women of all ages. The idea that older women are frumpy and shapeless is only true if you make it so.
Okay, now on to the places to shop & outfit ideas I put together for you!
Where to Shop for the Best Women Over 50 Fashion
These three clothing stores are a great place to shop if you like casual style. And no, casual outfits don’t mean sloppy!
At L.L Bean you can find many athletic-inspired, casual, and classic quality staples, such as a utility jacket, cashmere crewneck, quilted coat, and more. Eddie Bauer, another American store, carries many adventure-inspired pieces. But there are many classicly casual pieces for women here, such as long sleeve layering tops, crewneck sweaters, and sherpa vests.
Casual meets preppy at Land’s End. From plaid shirts to riding jackets, here you’ll find quality pieces that match your casual preppy aesthetic.
Preppy Style: J. Crew
Speaking of preppy style, if you lean towards a back-to-school meets preppy style and love blazers, stripes, and chinos, J.Crew is the place for you! Here you’ll find pieces to put together the perfect outfit for work too.
J.Crew has a beautiful aesthetic, but they’re not cheap. Thankfully, if you wait for sales you can usually score a pretty good deal.
If you frequently find yourself wearing neutrals, a pencil skirt, and timeless pieces, then you may love classic style. At these classic clothing stores, you can add to your wardrobe staple pieces like a white shirt, a little black dress, and other key pieces like a black blazer.
At Uniqlo, you can find a lot of great pieces where affordability and quality meet. Eileen Fisher and M.M LaFleur lean towards the high-end scale and don’t typically have sales. Banana Republic is right in the middle. And here’s a little tip, you can shop at Banana Republic Factory to save even more- it’s their online outlet store!
Though there is a lot of cross-over between classic and professional styles, these clothing retailers are geared towards making upscale polished clothing.
From sheath dresses to tailored suits, if you are looking to add to your workwear wardrobe or business professional aesthetic, these places will allow you to do just that!
Not your daughter’s jeans started out by creating jeans for women that were stylish while still being comfortable. They’ve branched out, and now carry everything from tank tops to dark denim. Some of these items are on the trendy side, but you can still find staples too.
JCPenney’s carries many brands that are geared towards older women without looking frumpy, such as St.John’s Bay and Liz Clairborne. a.n.a has a lot of youthful pieces that can be carried over for a more mature style as well. Be careful of the Alred Dunner brand, though!
Who says people over 50 can’t have a fun, eclectic style? If you resonate with flowy fabrics, floral prints, and bright colors, then a bohemian style may be for you. To look age-appropriate and less “hippie gone wild”, the key is to still balance it out with timeless pieces or timeless colors.
For example, a flowy floral dress in a darker color or a floral print in a tailored piece like a blazer.
Minimal prints and colors, these are your go-to places for a simple, timeless, and minimalist look.
If you prefer to shop from businesses with sustainable practices, then these 3 retailers aim to be transparent about their products and processes, using recycled and eco-friendly materials.
Honorable mention: Talbots
It’s a more mature store, but there are some gems here. And since they use older models, it can be helpful for those that want a realistic idea of what something will look like on them.
Though it’s worth noting that not everything at every one of these places will be stylish and work for you. It’s still wise to use your fashion sense! And you may find that mixing and matching help you put together a look you love.
Now that you know the best clothing stores for women over 50 fashion, it’s time to keep elevating your wardrobe. For other helpful tips and the best ways to look stylish as a woman over 50, keep reading!