It’s a myth that good fashion sense belongs to younger people alone. We women know that often we feel more comfortable in our skins as we get older, and this is a feeling to be celebrated. That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy to know what to wear, and this choice anxiety can crop up at any age.
What will suit us best? Which clothes can accentuate the bits we like and conceal the parts we don’t? All these lessons can be learned at any age, and here are some tips for mature women to get you started.
What do you think is an excellent way to make a woman feel youthful?
Often, the women’s fashion businesses that specialise in older women can feel a little dowdy. So we have the problem of either feeling like we’re dressing “too young” by visiting shops geared up for people half our age or settling for clothes that border on frumpy.
Although we might not want to reach for the things we did in our twenties and even our thirties, you don’t have to play it safe. So often, this is the time in our lives when we revaluate our wardrobes, ditch cheap fast-fashion items, and make sartorial choices that will stand the test of time and make us feel young and current. You can wave goodbye to always shopping for new season lines and wearing paisley prints or pleated skirts just because they're "in."
What can you wear to make you look more fashionable after 50?
Step one is finding those timeless pieces that make you feel great and give you the key to looking fashionable at 50 and beyond. Classic women’s clothing relies on things like tailoring and shape-flattering styles that will instantly make you feel fantastic.
While we talk about things like this, note that there’s more than one way to nail this. If the word “tailored” makes you baulk, worry not. This isn’t about wearing formal-feeling clothes that don’t sit with your lifestyle and personality. Ready to break it down? Here’s all the inspiration you need, top to toe.
Dressing from the bottom up
Any outfit at any age is helped with the right underwear. We’ve all experienced the dreaded VPL in our lives or the too-tight bra. On the other hand, although there’s no shame in donning big comfy knickers, sometimes you do feel better with something more feminine underneath.
This also ties in with the misconception that older women aren’t sensual or sexual. We shouldn’t feel like we’re destined for the scrapheap at 50 or that skimpy thongs and no-support bras are the only way to feel good in your body.
First, think about what truly makes you feel good on a feminine level. That can range from bright colours to lace or something stylish, figure-fitting and comfortable. Slip-on underwear like shifts can also enhance your curves and feel silky and luxurious.
Full briefs and bras with the proper support are often the best way to celebrate your body in the right ways. These days breathable, sustainable materials like bamboo also give you supremely comfortable underwear that looks great.
Wardrobe essentials for older women
The general wardrobe essentials don’t change much as you move through your decades. But, of course, your lifestyle may, with significant events such as retirement all part of the journey. Things like this change the way we dress and the emphasis we place on our clothing. So, for example, if you’ve always had to stock up on formal office wear, you’ll need to make room for more comfortable and equally stylish outfits.
Typical items that you’ll want to adapt and perhaps stock up on include:
- Knitwear, including cardigans and jumpers: the wonderful thing about these is that they can be as slubby or as dressy as you like. Shopping in any age-appropriate high street store gives you reams of options from bejewelled to oversized. Sweatshirts are another way of adding to your comfy collection.
- T-shirts: again, go for items that feel tailored and stylish. Good quality fabrics such as organic cotton will make these timeless and last longer, too. Short sleeve and long sleeve t-shirts are an option here, and they are a must for any wardrobe.
- Blazers: perfect for more formal occasions, blazers are your figure’s best friend. Designed to contour your body in just the right way, you can opt for something that’s soft and more laid back, or boxy and formal.
- Dresses: so, miniskirts might be a thing of the past, but dresses are a fabulously comfortable and stylish way to approach warmer days of special occasions. Explore what suits you best and what makes you feel most comfortable, with popular choices including figure-friendly wrap dresses, maxi dresses, A-line dresses, midi dresses and smocks. If you’re going for shorter styles, tights can enhance your silhouette further, especially if you opt for opaque black tights.
- Trousers and jeans: yes, older women can wear skinny jeans. Straight leg and wide-leg trousers are also big hitters and can be supremely glamourous with heels. Always think about what you’re pairing yours with. For instance, trousers work well with t-shirts, jumpers, or blouses tucked in. Skinny jeans are best worn with longer tunics and tops. For a spin on this, see how a jumpsuit feels on you.
- Drapes and shawls: no, this is not for your granny in years gone by only. Wraps, shawls and drapes can all help to elevate an outfit, whether it’s casual or dressy. Bonus – it keeps you cosy too!
- Blouses: sheer blouses over a top are an instant fashion go-to for women of any age. Ideal for anything from trips to the theatre to lunch with friends, they are an ultimate failsafe.
- Skirts: discover how elegant knee-length, high-waisted skirts accentuate your figure, and get busy shopping for both A-line and flowing styles.
Quick note, always think about the neckline of your tops. Something low-cut might not make you feel fabulous at the moment. If you do go for a V-neck, choose something that’s cut a little higher, or layer with a vest or slip underneath. Alternatively, other cuts like a round neck always work.
We spoke to Sara Marsden-Shreeve, Award Winning Holistic Image & Style Coach, who had this inspirational message for Age Times readers: "The key to your style already lies with your closet gems and outfit heroes. Look in your wardrobe and embrace the loved, the trusted and the confidence boosters and take those as clues to your style personality. We all know what works deep down, but sometimes we just need reminding."
Tailoring and layering
Wearing tailored clothing or creating layers like a pro is one of the simplest ways to dress stylishly when you’re older. Adapting this to casual and dressed-up occasions is as easy as browsing the shops.
Tailoring is perhaps one of the most interesting growing fashion trends for women right now. Traditionally reserved for men, women tailors are now breaking into the industry at a rate, and there are options to cater for female customers. The advantage here is that you’ll get a garment made specifically for your body shape, which is extra fabulous for special occasions.
Layering can be perfected, too, with the right tips at hand. Look out for items like gilets for your cosier outerwear or even your smart-casual attire, and think about how layers can elevate other outfits too. For instance, a sheer blouse or dress can be worn over a vest or a sleeveless slip to add definition and give you some structure.
Now, embrace your new style!
We’ve talked a lot about age-appropriate dressing, but if you’re still wondering what you can get away with, think like this. This isn’t about penalising you for your age and banning particular looks. It’s more about celebrating the body you have now, which is different to that of our teens and twenties.
Let’s be honest, if you look back on those years, you’ll probably remember a lot of self-consciousness about your looks and hesitation about what suits you. So, all hail having the knowledge and experience to know what our personal style is and makes us look at our best now.