10 Easy Tips to Update Your Wardrobe After 50

Freshen your look with these pieces to look fashionable this season.

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Consider these 10 points to review and update your wardrobe. Plan ahead by reviewing what you have and then buy a few things. You don’t need a big investment, just add a few strategic pieces.
 

1. Longer Tops

Cotton tee shirts, blouses, V-neck or jewel neck sweaters, and jerseys - all are easy to wear in the new longer length- about 8” below the waist or longer. Usually they aren't meant to be tucked in, especially with pants. That goes for most shorter tops too. Let them flow past your middle covering any lumps and bumps.

Nordstrom Long Textured Link Necklace



LAUREN Ralph Lauren Textured Link Chain Necklace

2. Bolder Necklaces

Longer tops make longer necklaces the right proportion. Chains, pearls, often in multiple strands work well, as do interesting beads. Try a long chain or cord with a medallion or other focal point. Shorter necklaces with many strands also look new, as do large beads. Think a little drama. Prices and sources for chic items vary widely from Chico’s to Tiffany’s. (Don’t throw out your short delicate beads or pearls – it’s a matter of time until they come back.)         

Michael Kors Glam Rock Pyramid Stud Earrings

3. Small Earrings for Daytime

Little pearl studs, hoops and small drops all look right for every day wear - nothing too colorful or too large. Party time is different. You can go for longer, larger earrings then.

MARC by Marc Jacobs Abigail Plaid & Lenora Leopard Scarf

4. Animal Skin Print Accessories

Leopard print in black and gold is classic and very fashionable right now. You probably need only one or two pieces, but they do update an outfit. Buy a belt, a handbag, a blouse or a scarf. Wear them with solid color outfits in black, dark gold. Red or purple can work too.

Trotters Dea Slingbacks

5. Footwear

At last! We can look stylish and still walk comfortably. Lower shoes are in. Kitten heels have 1 ½ - 2” heels. (Bazaar says 3" but that pushing it. 3" used to be a normal high heel before 5" heels and platforms). Flats with lower heels and decorative elements – bows, buckles, embroidery are charming and comfortable. Tall, flat boots with your jeans or skinny trousers tucked in is a fast and easy way to look fashionable and put-together.

NYDJ Two-Way Stretch Ankle Pants

6. Pants

Be sure they still fit in the waist and hips. Do the colors work with your tops? Are your tradiional tailored pants still long enough to reach at least the top of the heel in the back or have a slight break at the front.

The new ankle length pants are cut closer to the body and stop at the ankle.  There is a good variety of basic styles for different figures but spend some time trying them on to find what’s right for you. Many pants are now cut with too low a waist for most women past 50. Talbot’s has a number of classics. Gap is emphasizing pants in big ads but they are cut too low in the waist for most of us.

NYDJ Marilyn Straight Leg Jeans


NYDJ Hayden Straight Leg Stretch Jeans

7. Dark denim Jeans

An essential. See the article "Fashionable in Denim – At My Age?"

Jones NY Jacqueline Belted Column Skirt


Ming Wang Pleated Hem Skirt

8. Skirts

They're more important now than in the recent past. Check that yours are the right length - mid-knee or just past the knee. Do they still fit well? If you’ve been meaning to shorten them and never get around to it, now’s the time to see the dry cleaner or seamstress for a fresher, newer look.

Watch for the emerging trend to longer skirts - mid calf or even longer. The problem is that it looks trendier on young women right now but could look like something dated from the back of the closet for us. The cut has to be right and probably new. (Don't you hate it that whenever a style comes back, it's always slightly, but noticeably different!)
 
For a new skirt, try on a number of straight or slightly flared versions – nothing with fabric gathered or bunched at the waist or hips. A solid color or tweed is most useful. Again be sure they’re the right length – even 2” too long makes a big difference.

Eileen Fisher Scrunch Neck
Top in Viscose Jersey

9. Turtlenecks 

Don't forget this classic. They’re classy and somehow sexy while performing a useful cover-up. Remember Katherine Hepburn movies with her endless versions, and Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give” – even on the beach. (Not to mention Nora Ephron’s book “I Feel Bad About My Neck”) But they don't work for everyone's proportions, especially in the neck and chin area. Mock turtlenecks have the look and avoid the bulk.
Check that sweaters aren’t too worn or faded. Good quality wool or cashmere sweaters can last for years – a good investment.

Patra Beaded Mesh Sheath Dress

Adrianna Papell Illusion Yoke Pleated Dress

10. Special Occasion Dressing

Choosing a dress for that big special occasion has never been easy.  The dress should flatter the wearer and yet be just right for the event. After 50 we also sometimes like a little forgiveness for our arms, our figures, our legs.  Keeping all this in mind, it's important to plan ahead to find the right look.
 
 We reviewed special event dresses and selected 12 beautiful and stylish winners.

See more at 12 Best Special Event Dresses for Women Over 50.
 

A couple more points: Dresses are much more in favor than in the past. And handbags are getting more structured, tailored.
Posted October 17, 2013
I'm 5'9," and wear a size 6. I'm in better shape than I've been in years. I wear whatever looks well on me. I won't go near a bikini, but I do occasionally borrow a few things from my 24 year old daughter's closet. What the heck is dressing your age, and who decides what that looks like anyway? I'm still thought to be 30ish though I've never made a secret of my age. My 50 is oldER, but still quite vibrant and youthful. I decided a long time ago that I would never be old, only older.

by MAKEMEART22, IL
Posted October 08, 2013
You all have really good points. While general guidelines for dressing are helpful, showing your specific personality and having some fun is also very important.

by DIANNE, NY
Posted October 07, 2013
I completely disagree. My daughter and I go to a lot of country concerts and older women wearing cowboy boots with dresses or skirts just look like they are trying too hard to be young or hip. I don't care how great your figure is - there are just certain looks that should be left to the teens and 20-somethings. This is one of them!

by CARIBBEANCRUZN, KS
Posted October 07, 2013
I'm so sick of hearing about 'women of a certain age'! Like I have no right to get a little crazy, if I want!

As long as you don't try to be Miley Cyrus pornographic try it out!

I agree, if the knees are saggy cover them. But WHY can't I put a pink streak in my hair or wear red jeans?? I work hard for my money! I want to spend it making me happy!

by NEWYAWKAHBROAD, NY
Posted August 01, 2013
@Help1234 - If the knees are still in tip top shape, then a shorter skirt could work. Generally though, a stretch denim knee-length skirt with a pair of cowboy boots is a great "All-American" look.

by MISSL, NY
Posted July 27, 2013
Cowgirl boots and above the knee skirts - probably a case of "it all depends." Cowgirl boots usually look great in a casual situation. A very short skirt is difficult for women over 50. A skirt just above the knee could be fine, depending on your legs.
But you can't go wrong with a nice midi-length cowgirl skirt with boots - a classic casual American look.

by DIANNE, NY
Posted July 20, 2013
Is it appropriate for women over 55 to wear cowgirl boots with above the knee dresses and skirts? Help1234

by HELP1234, WV
Posted October 28, 2011
when people hear my age they think I should cincider a walker but after reading about my wardrobe i have spent the last two days updating it is not as extensive as it was but it make me feel great thank you
truebrit Florida

by TRUEBRIT, FL
Posted September 16, 2011
One thing i have learned over the years..classic style never goes out of style!!
I took a note of the French women years ago..I only buy a few things when the seasons change, a new scarf,shoes,handbag,or some new accesories, thats it..
Bren

by BRENDAKAY, KY
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