Most of you I know are probably not in your 50s and most definitely not older than 50 BUT I bet you have a mom, mother in law or aunt that you wished dressed a little more with it, especially when you are out together. This is for them.
Fifty is not a dirty four letter word (in fact it’s not even a four letter word). Nor does fifty mean frumpy. It’s about elegance and comfort and frankly, fifty is about change. These days most 50 plus year olds I know are out living life, having fun and embracing their younger side. However, this is not an excuse to raid your daughter or granddaughter’s wardrobe. Let’s face it. As we age so does our body. Even if you haven’t gained a pound since your 30s, chances are things still don’t fit the same. Honestly, unless you have had some nips, tucks, lifts and implants, the once formerly toned aspects of your body most likely have shifted or have started to sag. As such, you should not make Forever 21 your fashion store of choice. I know a lot of people think, “If I dress young, then I must look young.” You’d be wrong. And people will notice your age fast when you dress like someone 20, 30, 40 years your junior. At the same time, your wardrobe should not immediately take a turn for the land of forgotten shapes and pastels.
Believe me, people do notice if you go one way or the other too much. I know this one lady who I would love to give advice too but can’t. Do you know someone like this?
Her skirts are often too short showing legs that are so not toned anymore, pale and, candidly, a little saggy. Or worse, her skirts or shorts are way too seethrough. She bends and I can tell you whether or not she is wearing briefs, granny panties or (shudder) thongs. General rule regardless of age: Panties are for your husband’s and doctor’s eyes only and only they should know what kind you wear. Panties and panty lines (even white panties under white bottoms) should not be visible regardless of the position you happen to be in…standing, getting up, sitting or walking away. Or she opts for true mom jeans that are too short and pairs them with chunky heeled sandals. Her tops plunge beyond where they should go for the state of her chest area and while I will admit that she at least has a good bra, there is way too much wrinkled girls showing and far too much cleavage. Unfortunately, she often wears tank tops without a wrap or other arm cover and when she moves her arms, it’s a reminder of the thanksgiving turkey. Or we go the exact opposite spectrum – pastel, shapeless top with eyelet detailing and boxy white Capri pants. Sadly, most of the time her wardrobe looks caught between that of her teenage daughter’s taste and a 1950s grandma. Frankly, it’s a little schizophrenic.
I feel really bad for her because she really thinks she looks good. Interestingly enough, I truly believe while she will never recapture her 20s, she can definitely look better, more stylish and younger than her current wardrobe and hair and makeup say she is.
Recognize that things change.
It’s okay. It’s a part of life. Your hair color and skin tone have changed. And just as you should have done with your make-up, you should also do with the colors you wear in your clothes. Change them. Don’t be afraid of pink in the right places and be sure to play around with colors to find the ones that best suit your coloring now.
The same goes with fit. Sadly what once may have been an hour-glass curvy body may have shifted to the hip heavy. Adjust your styling to reflect your new body…toned or not. If you haven’t already, invest in shape wear. It’s a must at this point. Now more than ever the girls are going to need a hand and a GREAT bra is a major must. Nothing says 50 plus like girls that have dropped. With the wonderful technology out there these days, there is no reason at all for girls to not be at attention in the right place and properly while appropriately bouncy.
Keep Current in Cut and Casual.
You are at a time when classic should be your word of choice regardless of personal style. Steer clear of trends unless they fit all of the following – your body shape, your personal style and your age. If not, then move on. If you have never embraced animal prints, now is not the time to start regardless of trends.
However, it is equally important that you keep clothing cuts modern and current. Cuts that are too old or shapeless can age you drastically. Cuts that are too long or too short can also do the same thing. When it comes to skirts, think middle of the knee to right below, whichever flatters your legs more. If appropriate, i.e. not too saggy or for those of us with larger breast too crinkly a cleavage area, a lower cut scoop top that doesn’t show cleavage but implies cleavage will help you look more youthful.
Keep casual current by avoiding traditional “retiree casual”. Stick with a great pair of dark wash well-fitting jeans, fabrics that layer and travel well and pair them with a few appropriate accessories. Think coordinating but not matching. Remember the narrower the jean leg, the more delicate the shoe should be and avoid wearing a tennis shoe with jeans as this looks dated on you.
Ten things to avoid in your 50s besides the obvious leg warmers, micro-miniskirts and holiday sweaters:
- Ankle bling: bracelets or others can draw attention to sometimes not so shapely ankles
- Too Short Bottom Wear: Avoid Boy shorts and short shorts (same for skirts)
- Aged Shoes: Crocs or penny loafers or orthopedic shoes all scream outdated
- Dated Headgear: Newsboy caps are for just that…newsies
- Say Good-bye to the 60s: Tie-dye is for teenagers and hippies
- Release Your Legs: Flesh-colored or reinforced hose or panty hose with open toed shoes
- Make a Statement without Words: Don’t wear souvenir, college T-shirts (unless it’s game day!), or T-shirts with sayings
- Exit the Congo: Cargo pants are for rebels and the young
- Elastic waist pants…enough said
- Acid-washed, ripped or super-low-riding jeans…ditto to above
If you have already invested in great classics you are a head of the game but if not, invest in tailored pieces that are figure flattering and think quality fabrics like cashmere, wool and cotton which will hang best on your body. Ann Taylor, Anne Klein, Talbots, and Jones New York are excellent sources for a wardrobe built on classics. Make sure you include: crisp fitted white shirt, wool pants in a great neutral, year-round leather jacket (think fitted not boxy), low heel in black, a flat, an evening shoe and a casual shoe as minimum, fitted pencil skirt, a little black dress and a trench coat.
Now, add some pop! Mix your prints, but remember they need to match in color tone but coordinate in color. Do make sure your handbag and shoes do not match. Mix bargain pieces with quality basics like a slamming current chunky necklace with your staple fitted white blouse. Make a single piece a statement piece and the rest of the outfit its backup dancers.
Cover When You Have To and Accentuate When You Can.
Let’s face it. Very few women have the body of a 20 year old when she’s over 50. Don’t dress her like she is 20 then. That does not mean you should dawn a nun’s habit and become a prude in your fashion. What it does mean is show skin appropriately. If your arms are still toned and fit, show them off. If not, use a wrap. If you still feel your legs are awesome, use a slit on the side or back to show them with a peek-a-boo affect. If your back is in shape and there are no rolls, say yes to a backless or sheer top dress. Opt for a strapless top if you have sculpted shoulders and a top that is not spilling out. But if you aren’t, then don’t. It’s about being tasteful in how you choose to show off your body. Remember, sometimes hiding skin can be far more sexy and sultry than showing it.
Consider monotone outfits with pops of color or bling to draw attention where you want attention and away from where you don’t. For example, putting a floral print on your round waist would draw the eye right there. BUT putting on a chunky necklace just above a scoop top pulls the eye up and away from the belly. Think about warm jewel tones that work well with most skin tones. Stop shopping by size and start focusing on fit. Size changes per designer so who cares anyways. Emphasize your waistline to show off your curves. Consider using a belt on a sheath dress to distract the eye from the belly. Don’t wear baggy or tight clothes. Choose waisted jackets, scoop necklines and fitted tops to flatter your body best. Do consider purchasing a great wrap dress or two, which will work with your curves as they increase or decrease. If something you are wearing feels too tight, it probably is. Change it before you leave the house.
Fifties can be fun but you should remember size and age are just numbers.
Hope you are enjoyed the series on Fabulous Fashion at any age. As a reminder all the fashion looks I have put together come from items pulled together on www.polyvore.com create link. Try it and have some fun!