What not to wear when you’re of a certain age

What not to wear when you're of a certain age.

Okay so you have in your mind a whole list of things that you think you shouldn’t wear now that you’re older.

“It will make me look like mutton dressed up as lamb,” you bleat.

But you know what? I say now that you’re of a certain age you really should wear whatever you want. At least whatever makes you look good. You’ve made it this far in life and really you don’t need approval about dressing appropriately because one of the best things about getting older is …

#NotGivingaYouKnoWhat! and #LovinLife #JustBecauseYouCan!

We don’t have to worry about other people’s opinions relating to the way we look, because in reality there are too many more pressing concerns in the world to worry about.

The world won’t die if you wear a short skirt or a dress with no sleeves. No one will go, “Oh Yeeuk, look what she’s wearing,” because you see mostly they’re more worried about what they themselves are wearing.

So don’t spend your energies worrying about what other people might think, but do spend energy finding out what you feel comfortable in and what suits you the best.

Still, there are a few things that women over 50 really shouldn’t wear:

  1. Resting Bitch Face. Oh gosh I rest my case. See below.

Things not to wear - resting bitch face!

There is nothing worse than my uncomposed face. I look so stern. And honestly I’m not stern at all!

You can wear hats – as many different hats as you like. Wear them. Protect yourself from the sun and for goodness sake Have Fun with them! (Stop worrying about flat hair – afterwards just throw your head upsidedown and pump your hair up Rapunzel for goodness sake!)

Things not to wear. Things to wear. Wear a Hat.
2. Dresses with no sleeves. Okay, I’ll admit I generally don’t like wearing dresses with no sleeves, but on occasion I’ll go, “so what!” And I think this attitude can work if you have a dress that says, “Hey look at me,” like this sparkly razzmatazz glitter ball I wore to some of the formal nights on the world cruise.
Things not to wear when you're of a certain age. Sparkly dress is okay.


3. Another thing not to wear is anything which makes your legs look fatter. The blouse below, has a lovely skimming affect and hides my tummy as well as drawing attention away from my upper arms, but those retro style patterned pants make my legs looks shorter and stockier than they really are. Slim black pants would have balanced the look much better and been more slimming.

Things not to wear. Pants with a loud pattern.

4. Be careful about buying clothes when you travel. While that Peru T-shirt looked great when we were in South America and travelling, I’m not sure that I agree with wearing slogan T-shirts in real life back home. Also that cardigan – it’s lovely, but it’s a bit too mannish and boxy for my short figure. The hat though – I’ll keep that hat! (You can read about how it’s made Here)

Panama Hat, Peruvian Cardigan.

Oh but I think DO wear dark glasses, whenever you can get away with wearing them. Although sporting them in a shopping mall is probably a bit much.

On a no make up day like the day below, the dark glasses can hide tired eyes with crows feet, and make even a pale face with no lipstick look more glamorous.

Sunglasses and a Hat for a more glamorous natural look

5. Don’t wear the clothes and styles you wore when you were younger. My lovely friend who was a matron of honour at my wedding in South Africa (a long time ago!) posted this photo of me on Facebook yesterday – just for the memories. Crikey. I don’t know what I was thinking with that bow on my head, and the tie died jump suit tucked into white cowboy boots but one thing is for certain … I’m glad it’s not something I hoarded and hung onto in my wardrobe because 30 years later it’s not a look I would do now!

What not to wear when you're of a certain age

And one final tip: Don’t wear a short black dress on a very hot humid night with white legs sticking out – especially not if they’re also covered with mosquito repellant!

Little black dress.But do wear Frankie4 Sandals 🙂

Forgive me Fashion Goddess, for I have sinned. But even so, I’m lovin life just the way I choose to style it.

What tips do you have for what to wear and what not to wear when you reach a certain age?

Lovin’ Life

Can’t believe it’s the Lovin’ Life Time of Week already!

Anyway, most of you know what to do by now, so here goes 🙂 (and welcome newcomers)


  1. LOL I love this age I’m not so worried what people think and dress to please myself.

  2. Fabulous post. I drafted one yesterday on a similar line when someone made mention of being age appropriate & growing up. Seriously?

  3. Jo, you were definitely with it in the fashion stakes all those years ago. I had white cowboy boots just like yours! Mine were quite ‘floppy’ at the top and I used to wear them with a chambray skirt and a bright orange (from memory) shirt! I thought I was the height of fashion!! How times change – for the better, thankfully.

    • I can just see you in my mind’s eye Carolyn – I bet you looked amazing (at the time!). Isn’t it funny when you look and think back to those days. Somehow it all went by and changed so quickly 😉

  4. It’s been my day of the disappearing comment. It didn’t show up on yours and when I commented on another post it put it there instead (damn you wordpress!) Just wanted to say that I loved the red layered top and would steal it in a heatbeat. And I think dressing for your bodyshape and colouring is more important than dressing for your age. I love 3/4 pants (I’m tall) my daughter hates them (she’s short!)

    • Thanks Leanne, and I’m sorry you’ve had a frustrating commenting day! Yes, like you I think dressing for your body shape and particularly your colouring is very important. Some colours completely drain me, while others make me look really happy and healthy! Go you wiht the 3/4 pants! Lucky you being tall too!

  5. ah ha! you actually do make fashion foo-pars Jo! Who would have thought! Seriously, thanks for the fashion tips. hee hee I love that bo Jo!

  6. Love the final tip! LOL.

  7. writeofthemiddle says:

    I think you could look good in anything Jo! Some of the things I used to wear in the 80’s are horrid when I look back at photo’s now. Lucky I had a tiny little figure back then that could get away with wearing anything. Things are a little trickier nowadays!! I love your throwback pic LOL – such a cute outfit – bow included. 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Hello Min, you are too kind! I’m not so sure that I do look good in most things – you should see me throwing things on and off if I have an important engagement to go to! I bet you didn’t look horrid at all in those 80’s photos – I suspect you were cute 🙂

  8. I loved so many of those outfits – especially that layered red top! I think we all know what we shouldn’t be wearing (no matter how we try to convince ourselves otherwise) but sometimes we get to step over the line and have fun. My go-to for everything is 3/4 pants because I’m tall – my daughter hates them because she’s short, so I guess body shape still comes into play even in your 50+ years. Lovely seeing so many pics of you x

    • Hello Leanne (again!), thanks for persevering 🙂 Yes, I think we have an innate sixth sense about what personally suits us at the end of the day.

  9. robjodiefilogomo says:

    ahhh, Johanna!! That throwback picture brought back so many memories—I have some with that bow in my hair! It was the Madonna time!!
    And I agree with the resting bitch face—a smile makes every face look so much better!!

    But as a fashion blogger, I have learned that clothes are meant to show your personality!! So I have to say I see nothing wrong with sleeveless dresses, graphic tees, print pants and the LBD with my pale legs! I struggle at times with looking at an item on my body and wondering if it’s “flattering”? But then I remember, that it’s not important that I always look thin or slender. What’s important is that I look great and like me!!
    All of this, of course, is my own personal opinion!! But I look at those print pants on you and think fabulous!!

    • I love your words there Jodie, “It’s not important that I always look thin or slender. What’s important is that I look great and like me!” Definitely something we should all aspire to. And,Thanks for saying those printed pants looked fabulous on me!

  10. Love it! I was a huge fashion victim – being a child of the 1980s!

    I don’t do the sleeveless thing much because of my weight and I’m probably the same re dresses. They don’t feel as secure / comfy.

    And I hate to admit it but I do probably sometimes judge someone (older I guess) if they’re dressed ridiculously… huge heels, tiny dress etc… I think it can be a look someone in their early 20s can get away with and after that it looks as if someone’s trying too hard. But I realise that people should be able to wear whatever they want and I’m putting my values on them… Or something!

  11. kathymarris says:

    How cruel of your bestie to put an 80s photo of you up on social media! I totally cringe at every single 80s photo of myself. I had short cropped hair that looked very butch and wore some very unflattering outfits. Even my wedding gown was cringeworthy! I think we are all too hard on ourselves and should embrace wearing whatever we please (within reason!) Wide brim hats and sunnies are definitely my staples when I’m on holidays and not really bothering too much with makeup! 🙂

    • Hi Kathy, I think she knows me well enough to know that I don’t take myself too seriously and wouldn’t take offence – and that I would be sure to laugh. Which I did. I’d forgotten that outfit completely but it jogged lovely memories of my bestie’s wedding and our days together way back when. Hmm, methinks it might be time to get her back though – going to scour my photo albums at the weekend. Watch out Yol! xx

  12. I must admit, I was a bit of a fashion victim back in the day … some of those 80s outfits were shocking, weren’t they? Now I have a better idea of what suits me and I try to stick to that. I have very very white skin too, so I do hear what you’re saying about the black dress. Having said that, I think you look gorgeous in all your outfits Jo. Thanks for sharing your fashion advice with us 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Hi Lyndall, thank you 🙂 Yes, those 80s fashion disasters are hilarious. It’s made me want to find some other old photos to have a good laugh! Fashion has changed, hasn’t it – I think we are much more prone to looking stylish rather than standoutish these days.

  13. I am at the point I don’t care. I am almost 50 and my son bought me a Grateful Dead shirt with the dancing bears. I am going to wear that puppy out.

  14. Fabulous sparkly sleeveless number Jo, and showing off great arms! Love the flashback to the 80s photo, and don’t we all have these outrageous-looking outfits in our old photo albums? My white cowboy boots from that era had fringing! I am so grateful things have changed with our generation. Our mothers were all wearing Osti dresses past the age of 40 and women looked unnecessarily older. We now have scope to wear basically what we want, and not worry about whether something looks too young. Thank you for the great advice in this post.

    • Hello Jo, and thank you 🙂 Oh, I can just see your lovely white fringed cowboy boots from the 80s! – I know aren’t we lucky these days to be able to wear just what we like without having any stigma attached to our age.

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