10 style tips for women over 50

10 style tips for women over 50

Style is a way to visually communicate to the world (and ourselves) who we are on any given day. And as such, style has no age limit. We may each have our own version of what’s “stylish,” but we can continue to develop and evolve our personal style over time. Today I’m sharing my top style tips for women over 50.

Showing up for ourselves

When we are dressed in a way that aligns our inner and outer selves, we will feel more positive and confident. Getting dressed then becomes a form of self-respect and self-care. And when we demonstrate confidence and self-respect, it’s reflected back to us.

But I believe a lot women our age struggle with feeling stylish. Our bodies may change as we go through menopause. We may have grown up with a long list of style rules that are hard to shake, and can feel limiting. Or maybe the latest TikTok-er telling us we should or shouldn’t wear throws us into a spasm of self-doubt. I’m not here to give you more rules, just some tips and guidelines to help you find your own best look, at any age.

Top 10 Style Tips for Women Over 50

Style isn’t a function of age, or body shape, or budget. Here are some tips to help you find confidence-boosting style, no matter where you are in your style journey.

How often have we heard, “women over 50 should avoid anything trendy”? I disagree, as long as we approach trends with a discriminating eye.

“Trends” are no longer the dictates they once were, and are at once both more ephemeral and longer-lived than at any time I can remember. And some styles that started out as trends are now considered classic. I look at trends as opportunities. First, they can be an opportunity to find a better selection of colors or styles you’d want to wear anyway. (Hello, low-heeled slingbacks!) And they can be an opportunity to try something new that freshens your wardrobe, and adds a note of currency to your style.

But what they aren’t is mandatory. Personal style > trends any day. If a trend speaks to you, go ahead and give it a whirl. Otherwise, give it a pass.

2. Color matters

Wearing colors that are in harmony with your own coloring will make you look more vibrant, energized, rested, alert, competent, and friendly. Colors that are not in harmony will make you look tired, dull, unwell, faded, and even sometimes a little grouchy.

No, I’m not saying you need to dress like a box of Crayolas, but even the right neutrals can make a big difference. If you’re unsure of your best colors, a Personal Color Analysis is a worthwhile investment. If that’s not do-able, play around with different colors in front of a mirror in natural light. Look at the changes in your skin with different colors, to see which make you glow.

3. Have a few go-to outfit formulas

Susn B. mirror selfies in 3 different outfit formulas: jeans + sweater, column of color, relaxed trousers + cropped blazer.10 style tips for women over 50

Getting dressed dressed every morning shouldn’t feel like solving a quadratic equation. Having a few easy combos in your back pocket goes a long way toward avoiding those “nothing to wear” days. Whether it’s jeans+top+blazer or dress+accessories, or something else entirely, a formula can be the starting point for effortless outfits.

I’ll drop this here too: don’t feel you have to look completely different every day. It’s OK to repeat outfits. The Fashion Police are not going to issue you a ticket. (And accessories can be key to creating variety, see #7 below.)

4. Quality over quantity

Buy the best quality you can afford. I’m not suggesting you need to buy designer labels, or spend amounts that keep you awake at night. But poorly-made clothing in dishraggy fabrics will wear out faster and look tired and sad, which can drag our whole look down. Better quality clothing will not only last longer, but will often hang better on the body, and incorporate subtle but interesting details that elevate the outfit.

Buy less, choose well, make it last.

Dame Vivienne Westwood

Scrunch the fabric in your hand…does it feel flimsy or more substantial? Look at the fabric composition. How are the seams and buttonholes finished? Are patterns matched at the seams? Take time to acquaint yourself with brands that produce higher quality clothing and accessories.

Yes, I hear you, it CAN be much harder to find quality clothing at your price point these days. If your budget is very tight, you can always search for those quality-delivering brands on resale sites like ThredUp or Poshmark. And Eileen Fisher has their Renew program.

(And let’s not forget the human and environmental component of cheap fashion. If a pair of jeans costs $20 new, the person making them was probably paid pennies a day. Tee shirts that wear out after 1 or 2 washes will end up in a landfill.)

5. De-tox your closet

A closet that’s stuffed to the gills will make it harder to get dressed every day. It not only feels overwhelming and anxiety-making, but you won’t be able to SEE what you have. So you may end up re-buying similar items over and over. (And tightly packed clothes can be a haven for moths.) I like to go through my closet at the end of each season, clear out (if needed) and reorganize. If your closet feels overwhelming, I’ve shared some tips to tackle it here: Closet cleanse 101: the ultimate wardrobe detox guide

Keep reading for more style tips for women over 50… 👇

6. Shop for building blocks, not outfits

A cohesive wardrobe, with pieces that can be worn in multiple combinations, will help you create a consistent personal look, and do more with less. Rather than shopping for “outfits,” think about your style formula(s) (see #3 above) and what components will add value to what you already have. (Not monetary value, but expanded styling options.)

Shopping for an “outfit” can often result in one or more pieces that are specific only to that outfit, and don’t work with anything else. So you end up with a bunch of closet orphans.

If you’re refreshing or rebuilding your wardrobe, focus first on basics (whatever those are for you). They’re the foundation of your style and the starting point for your day-to-day outfits.

7. Leverage the power of accessories

Accessories can be the style “secret sauce” that adds personality, and makes even simple outfits look more pulled-together and intentional. A switch of accessories can make an outfit more or less formal, or seasonally appropriate.

8. Pay attention to fit

This is one of the most-overlooked style tips I see on women over 50. I’m not saying that everything has to be tailored to within an inch of its life. But clothing that fits properly goes a long way toward elevating our style.

While including pieces with a relaxed fit can look more current, a head-to-toe look that’s baggy or oversized can look sloppy, and as though we’ve given up. On the other hand, clothing that’s too tight, pulls, or bunches up where it shouldn’t will look cheap.

I like to balance proportions by styling a more relaxed item with a more fitted or structured one. And sometimes a simple tweak such as changing a hem by 1″ or nipping in a waistband, or even just rolling or pushing up sleeves, can make all the difference in how something fits and looks.

9. But don’t sacrifice comfort

It’s hard to feel or look our best when we’re not physically comfortable. While we all have different tolerances, in general it’s best to avoid anything that binds, bunches, itches, rides up, needs constant adjusting, is too warm or too cool.

Look for fabrics that breathe and in cuts that allow you to move about your day without encumbrance. Don’t settle for shoes that hurt your feet. (With so many comfortable styles like sneakers and flats in fashion today, you’ll have lots of options.) Avoid bags that are so heavy they cause neck and shoulder pain. (Hooray for crossbody styles!)

Honor your body by dressing for the size and shape you are now.

10. Make it personal

The “best” style comes from the inside out. We are all complex beings, and trying to fit any narrow definition, whether defined by age, body type, the latest viral trend (e.g. “Mob Wife” or “Cottagecore”) will leave us feeling flat. When we have that feeling of wearing “someone else’s clothes,” it undermines our sense of self.

But when what you wear feels aligned with who you are, it’s like a piece snapping into place. I think when people talk about “effortless style,” this is really the underlying feeling they’re aiming for. But it can take some work to get there. 😉

Whether you start with a 3 word formula, your Style Personality Profile, or a moodboard or other visual tool, it may take some trial and error to find that “click.” As women over 50, we’ve learned to trust our gut in many areas of our lives, and style is no different. Start with an idea, try it, then do a gut-check. And don’t be afraid to switch things up now and then to keep that alignment.

Style can be a way of showing up for ourselves in a world that may often treat us as though we’re invisible. So yes, style still matters over 50, over 60, 70, and beyond.

If you enjoyed these style tips for women over 50, you’ll find more in The Style Hub!

Did any of these tips resonate with you?

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