At a friend’s house just before the holidays, this phrase came up (thank you for the topic, Christina Downey!). Dressing over the age of 50 can seem difficult—you want to look current and modern without looking like you’re ‘trying too hard.’ You want to still feel attractive and confident—but don’t want to miss the mark and look like you’re ‘dressing too young.’ You also don’t want to head straight into matronly clothes and comfort shoes that say ‘I’ve just given up.’ Here are a few tips…that are really appropriate at any age:
- Just Because You Can Fit into Clothing from the Juniors' Section, Doesn’t Mean You Should Shop in the Juniors' Section…unless you are actually a junior person (25 and younger). Those ‘cute’ jeans with large, exposed buttons up the fly or the ‘adorable’ baby-doll top with the tiny pockets and smocking…avoid :)
- Just Because You Have a Dozen Pairs of Jeans that Are Low-Rise, Boot-Cut and still in Great Condition, Doesn’t Mean You Should Continue to Wear that Style…at any age. Wearing the super-low rise that was popular quite a few years ago will make you look dated; update your denim to a higher rise. This doesn’t have to mean ‘skinny jeans’—actually the leg can be flared or straight or skinny—it’s more about the rise on the pants (the length of the zipper is a good indication of this). If your zippers are super-short, time to release.
- Just Because You Have Great Legs, Doesn’t Mean Your Skirts Should Be Very Short…adding a little bit of length to your skirts, dresses and/or shorts looks more sophisticated, serious and stylish. Think ‘elegant’ rather than ‘sexy’ and you’ll achieve ‘sexy’ every time.
- Just Because You Can Show a Lot of Skin, Doesn’t Mean You Should Do That…unless you’re a movie star on the red carpet, slits ‘up to there’ and plunging necklines ‘down to there’ rarely work. Strapless and Backless need to hit at the exact right spots or else they are a no-go. Again, aim for ‘elegant’ or ‘dramatic’ rather than ‘bare’ and you’ll hit the right mark.
And, here are some ideas of things that ALWAYS work well, again at any age, but especially over 50:
- Make sure your clothes fit well. Extra fabric on the body or too-long sleeves or cuffed-up pants will make you look frumpy.
- Use color and pattern intelligently—dress in similar tones of one color and break that up with interesting textures in your accessories.
- Go for natural fabrics as much as possible—cotton, wool, cashmere, linen, silk—these are breathable and therefore extremely helpful when your hormones are playing tricks on you.
- Make sure your shoes are comfortable—but not dowdy!—lace up brogues, lower and stacked heels, and the plethora of great-looking fashion sneakers available make comfort easy to achieve without giving up on great style.