7 Ways to Dress the 50+ Woman with Style


I’d love a blog post about appropriate dressing for those of us over 50…what looks good, what doesn’t…

Helen Mirren - softly structured

There are no hard and fast rules for the over 50s and I think that in many ways age is a state of mind.  Trying to look 20 at 50 comes across as rather sad and desperate, but there is a way of dressing that’s fairly ageless and that is what the over 40s should aspire to.

I would look at the same clothes for many ages from 35 upwards.  I avoid ‘old lady’ shops.  Really there is never any need to go into them, ever, at any age, unless you want to be categorized as an old lady.

The only cautions I have is to be more aware of the state of your skin, and don’t succumb to the 1666 look (16 from the back, 66 from the front).

Many people tell me that they really don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb either, but I’ve discovered, that if  you even question yourself about this then it’s really, really, really unlikely to ever happen.  Those that I have met who do don’t even question this and feel that by dressing in clothes that expose a lot of their body, they are remaining youthful, even though to the rest of us we may feel they are grasping at fast fading straws.

So how to dress when you don’t want to look ‘old lady’ but instead modern and youthful (not young or mutton dressed as lamb).

Judi Dench - choosing colour

1. Think about some structure in your garments, flattering cuts that skim over your body rather than cling.  Don’t forget that 3rd piece.  Go sheer rather than showing lots of skin.

2. Don’t overdo trends, but do add some of the latest fashion to your wardrobe.  Be aware of the current silhouette (waistlines on pants, lengths of pants, shape of pants etc.)

Jane Fonda - choosing sheer rather than skin

3. Quality counts, great fit, fabric and construction.

4. Keep it simple, avoid the frills and flounces and anything you’d expect to find on a little girl.

5. Wear colours that suit your colouring now.  Soften your colours as you age so you wear the colour rather than the colour wearing you. Avoid black as it will emphasize shadows, jowls, double chins and wrinkles.

6. Keep active, it will keep you energetic and youthful in your attitude to life, mix with people of all ages, be open to new experiences, embrace change.

Jane Birkin - wears the third piece that shows of her personal style

7. Great posture will make you look more youthful and stylish – always!


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    • Supermum – yes – something that adds some interest or detail – quite often a jacket or third garment (top/bottom + 1 more = the 3rd piece) but in summer when it’s too hot to wear a 3rd piece – great shoes or jewellery.

  • In that photo of Jane Birkin–is it my imagination or is she adjusting her bra strap? Even women who can buy the best can’t get a good-fitting bra!

  • Thank you for this post. I’ve still 20 years to go, but when I reach this age, I would love to look like the stylish ladies you’ve chosen as an example!

  • I’m so glad I have these women to go before me blazing the way. How attractive, both in appearance an character, they are. To Life!

  • I appreciate the article but feel frustrated that it is so limited.
    I would like to see ‘body proportion’ boxes with clothing styles for different events for the lady [or man] over 50. [similar to the ones already up for the younger set]
    If one works out and looks good in a form showing outfit, does one really need to wear something that flows over the body because the face may not be as shapely as the body? At 59, I do not consider myself old, I am short and very petite. I would like to dress and do my hair so I look like a lady-not a kid.
    Hope I wasn’t too vague in my description.

    • Sunday – There is a difference between the skim over the body that still show the shape, and baggy, which is not what I was suggesting here. Hope that makes sense. I’m not sure what you mean by the body proportion boxes.

  • Hi Imogen,

    I have a question that’s been niggling me. Are scooter skirts (shorter-than-normal skirt with shorts underneath) appropriate for an almost 40 woman? (I’ll be 40 next year) I have an H body type with long, thin legs (I’m 5’8″). The skirts I have and am referring to come about 3″ higher than the top of my knee. I know they are definitely casual skirts, but I’m wondering if they’re too short/youthful for someone my age? I ever only wear them with flat shoes. (I sure love them, so I hope they’re okay)


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