Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Fashion for Grown-ups

Fashion Faux Pas after 50

I love to people watch.  My mall has a Starbucks very near down and up escalators.  A great place to people watch.  What I saw was 40-something, plus woman wearing every trend from Forever 21: tight tank top, low-rise distressed jeans, metallic platform heels, plastic bangles and oversized earrings. As much as we would like to dream we are not "Forever 21". 

Most of us want to blend in
and do not want to push the clothes age barrier to the limit.  The less attention the better.  If you are 21 and have a gorgeous body then go for it.  Why Not! Not only is it appropriate but expected.  That is not the time in your life to cover up.  I checked several sights and here is a consensuses of item to avoid if you are over 50.  Are you a middle-aged fashionista who just doesn’t know when to quit?  Read on for my top clothing items to leave in the past…

Too-Trendy or Distressed Denim

Why: If it’s super-low-rise, torn, distressed, embellished with rhinestones or embroidery on the pockets or – shudder to think – characters like Mickey Mouse are patched on, go outside your house and light a bonfire now. You’re just too old to wear it.

Costume Shoes aka "Stripper Shoes"

Why: We have all done it: Buy a pair of entirely impractical, overly-theatrical shoes that weren’t suited for everyday life. Maybe they were clear plastic “stripper” heels straight out of Frederick’s of Hollywood. Or perhaps they were stilettos with a six-inch heel you could only walk a block in.

Leave the sparkly platforms, platform flip flops, stacked heels, and Lady Gaga shoes to the kids and the celebrities.  Gladiator lace up stiletto’s and flats will make you look like a fashion victim or a hooker.  And Crocs are ONLY acceptable in the garden when you are communing with Mother Earth.  Never wear Crocs beyond your property line and only then after the mail man, trash man, or pool man has come by.  Crocs are not unisex or any sex.  

Micro-mini Skirts and Short Shorts

Why: “Age appropriateness [in fashion] is partially determined by who you are and what you do – so yes, Tina Turner can wear micro-minis on stage that the rest of us would look ridiculous in.  Unless you’re the Private Dancer herself, get yourself and your teeny skirts over to Goodwill.   Get a  chic straight skirt or a sexy-yet-classy pencil skirt, because both allow you to show off some curves without making you look as though you’re pretending you were born after the Reagan years.  Be critical to what flatters your figure and legs. 

Strutting down the grocery isle wearing a crop top, skimpy Daisy Dukes and stripper shoes doesn't reflect a confident, composed woman.

Fringe Anything

Why: While you have probably seen a lot of fringe in fashion magazines, you need to be careful about how you add it into your wardrobe. Fringe tops and leggings look almost like a cowboy costume.  Even if you were to pair them with a simple top, boots or Jeans, I am afraid you’d still end up looking like a wanna be cowhand!

Tube Tops and Excessive cleavage

Why: Tube tops or boob tops are now a no no.  A young woman can just about carry it off but they are incredibly unflattering.  If your stomach is incredibly flat then maybe but know your shape and be honest. 

No one wants to feel like you're going to have a Janet Jackson moment or make someone think that an explosion is immanent.  So get rid of a plunging neckline and leave some things to the imagination.

Sheer Tops

Why: When it comes to closet conundrums, the sheer top might be one of the toughest sartorial puzzles to crack. Reveal too little and you lose the effect, reveal too much and you’re suddenly cited for indecent exposure.  If you are over 50 you come off as runway reject pretending to be something you are not. 


There are few rules that says when you reach a certain age you can not wear a particular style, especially if it has always worked in your favor.  Almost all of my skirts hit at or above the knee.  That works for me.  But by the time you’re 50 you need to have a good sense of what flatters and what is comfortable. What is right for you.  And if you question if it’s too short or too bold or too trendy or too whatever, it probably is.  Blending in - a good thing.... 

We are aiming for forever CHIC - Not Forever 21.

One of favorite sites for good sound fashion advice is Susan Street's Fifty, not Frumpy.  Susan has some great fashion layouts on Polyvore.

How has your style changed as you've matured? Tell us about it, please.


  1. All excellent comments. By the time we reach a classic age we should remember that it is the classic styles that work best.

  2. Pat, that a great way to say it.

    Thanks for the comment...