The Ultimate Guide to Fifty Plus Women’s Fashion

There’s a subtle art to dressing well over 50 and fifty plus women’s fashion isn’t about clothes or brands that make us look younger. It’s not all about avoiding being mutton dressed up as lamb either. It’s more about knowing what not to wear over 50, understanding your body shape, and following a few sensible style rules to always look drop-dead-gorgeous 🙂

Fifty Plus Women's Fashion

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I look in the mirror and just want to pull an old sack over my head. My wardrobe seems to be full of clothes that are ‘not quite right’ and I conveniently forget all the fashion tips for women over 50 that I’ve ever learned.

Time for a recap.

Over 50s Fashion

It doesn’t matter how old we are, or what shape we’re, because we still have the ability to dress stylishly and look fashionable.

Fashion knows no age – think the ladies in Advance Style  – they’ve really got it going. That kind of confidence though is learnt not given, and as we get older it has to be worked at. I believe that lots of things begin to undermine our confidence as the years go by.

Although women in their 20s and 30s might make fashion mistakes they’re more likely to give different fashion styles a try and wear them with self assured aplomb.

As we get older we’re more likely to stick to what we feel safe with, and Eek, have always gone for in the past, even though that style perhaps could be updated and improved. Yes, over 50s fashion requires us to shake things up a bit without going crazy. 

Good Grooming Pays Off

A hairstyle that flatters (and is easy to manage on a day to day basis is a bonus) and a 5 minute skin care routine along with a 5 minute make up routine, which you have perfected to take the least amount of time, are obviously pre-requisites to looking ravishing. Having nails that are clipped, clean and tidy, and legs that are waxed or shaved add to the overall look of paying attention to yourself. You deserve it.

Now you’ve got the basics covered, move on to the fun part … dressing that gorgeous body of yours.

Fabulous Style for Women Over 50

For me, and possibly some of you, it’s easy to stick to the same old thing and get into a bit of a style rut. A few years ago I was definitely stuck in the mud.

Time to get some Va-Va-Voom in your Dressing Room

To look stylish you need to feel self assured about what you’re wearing, and then remember – carry yourself well.

You don’t have to make huge changes.

For instance, those old baggy jeans that fit like a glove and the T shirt that has seen better days could be ditched in favour of a new, super fitting pair of jeans with a  well cut T shirt  all vamped up with an ooh-la-la tailored navy blazer.

Going out in your old comfy-womfy old clothes is okay, but I promise you if you make an effort to look great a feeling of confidence and chutzpah will stay with you all day and infiltrate into other areas of your life too.

I promise you, it’s not all about vanity. It’s about feeling great, and joyful too 🙂

Fifty Plus Women's Fashion ideas

Wearing *Vivid International top and pants, and sandals by *FRANKiE4

What clothes should women over 50 avoid?

Anything too tight or too tricky and anything too short is a no-no. Leave those styles to the young things. It’s their turn, right 😉

Sexy playsuits, cat suits, jump suits and figure hugging leather pants might make you look a bit, er … trashy when you’re over 50.

At all times aim to look stylish – think French. There’s nothing so elegantly attractive than a simple navy blazer over an expensive white T-Shirt (not K-Mart please) that’s made with quality fabric, worn with jeans in a super cut which flatter your body shape. Finished with ankle boots or pretty summer pumps, this look is an everyday winner.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses

We’ve all walked into stores and tried on things which have taken our fancy only to be disappointed, haven’t we?

Perhaps the designers are cutting and designing for smaller body shapes, or perhaps they have in mind women 30 years younger than us! It happens! Don’t be discouraged.

The trick is to find the stores which stock clothes that fit you, and understand which designers really play to your strengths and help hide your body weaknesses. Stores catering specifically for younger women will rarely stock things suitable for a woman over 50.

I also dislike it when I’m a size 12 in one store and 14 or 10 in another with all the varying sizes and oddities that go with a different size. So now I’ve found the stores which cut for my body shape and which I most like to shop in. I’ll generally always try them first when I’m looking for something specific, before I branch out to wandering the streets or trawling the internet.

You know – Just Less Headaches and Less Confidence Sapping!

Don’t cover up after 50

Everyone has a bit or bits about their body which they don’t really like.

Which is a shame really because if you think of it our bodies are an instrument and not an ornament.

They do so much for us that we should praise and love and celebrate every bit of them.

But I know, I know, you’re saying that doesn’t help when you want to look great at a party, or at a wedding, or if you’re on a country weekend staying in an elegant hotel, even if you are (horror!) camping! (Let’s face it – who loves shorts these days? Don’t you find them tricky to buy? I know I do but I do like them for walks and everyday wear at home.)

So the internal checklist for women over 50 looking for clothes to buy, goes something like this.

  • Nope – can’t wear that as I have batwing arms
  • Nope – my waist is too big
  • Nope – the skin droops over my caesarean scar
  • Nope – my boobs are too droopy
  • Nope – I have seemingly developed a whole spare tyre of flab around where my bra strap goes under my arms.
  • Nope – My thighs are too big
  • Nope – I don’t like my calves and ankles, they are too thick
  • Nope – I have varicose veins
  • Nope – I’ll have to wear hold-me-in underwear with that and I’ll feel trussed up like a turkey
  • Nope – I can’t wear anything which requires me to go bra-less
  • Nope – my bum will look fat in that.

GAH Girls!

I do it, you do it, we all do it. Time to stop doing it, and just live for the clothing moment and find what makes you feel and look good – buggar the bulges. You know what? Nobody is really aware of your own perceived faults, but they will notice something amazing you’ve got on, or look fab wearing.

Fashion Tips for Women Over 50

When you find a brand or clothing store that makes clothes which fit and flatter you, my gosh, clap your hands with joy. This is the Holy Grail of fifty plus women’s fashion.

Nobody needs to wear shapeless, kaftan style clothes unless you are lazing around the pool or covering up at the beach, because quite honestly they will make you look much bigger than you really are.

Trying to look smaller than you are by hiding under baggy clothes isn’t going to work unless you want to look older than you are, and frumpy. Don’t worry – I’ve been there and done that.

Remember, you are looking for a brand which designs clothes not only you can’t wait to get your hands on, on a regular basis, but also clothes which will hide the body flaws you don’t like so much, as well as accentuate the body bits you do like.

If you can, wean yourself towards clothes which flatter your curves. There is a fine line here between being just a tad too tight and a perfect fit, so pay attention to this. A dress which gives you an hour glass shape from the front is all very well but if, looking on from the side, your tummy really does bulge out as if you’re six months pregnant (ahem, been there done that) then the dress is probably too tight rather than flattering.

A great look when you’re over 50 is probably going to consist of clothes of the more tailored variety. We’re talking dresses which are well cut, fitted and sometimes lined.

An A-line dress is a beautiful fit if you want to hide a tummy but accentuate your bust and waist. Below I’m wearing a Yesadress * from Vivid International.

Fifty Plus Women's Fashion ideas

A shift dress with a great cut which ends just above the knee is a great look for most women over 50. You’re not showing too much leg, but you’re probably showing the best bit of your legs, and this cut is flattering for most body shapes. Again, another Yesadress * below from Vivid International.

Fifty Plus Women's Fashion ideas

A jersey dress in a wrap style is a great way to disguise a tummy. It defines your waist and uplifts your bust. It’s a little big sexy without being trashy and you can wear it day or night – winning!

Below I’m wearing a * Leona Edmiston online buy.

Fifty Plus Women's Fashion

Trendy clothes for 50 year old women

I wear, and I love the following fashion brands which are especially suitable for women over 50.

Leona Edmiston designs fabulous, affordable dresses – Shop Fabulous Styles Here

Katie’s has some fabulous styles suited to our age group too – Look and Shop Here – Click on image.

Vivid International totally gets our clothing needs.

FRANKiE4 Footwear – superior footwear designed by a podiatrist – everyone needs at least one pair of FRANKiE4 Shoes in their wardrobe.


Casual look for over 50s

A tunic dress can be worn on it’s own in summertime or with capri pants or leggings in winter and it’s basic shape can be enhanced and look fabulous teamed with some bold costume jewellery. I’m wearing this Portobello * dress with capri pants * and a Travel and Living Collection * super soft leather handbag and FRANKiE4 * sandals. The overall look is casual and a little bit different.

Fifty Plus Women's Fashion

Occasion Dresses

Although I love the look, Retro dresses with swirly skirts, you know, the 1950’s Rockabilly styles – well they don’t suit me now I’m over 50. I look like a mushroom.

Maybe you can wear them though and look fabulous.  Rockabilly Dresses Click on the image to view more styles.

Wardrobe and style tips

Jackets and Blazers

Short Jackets and Blazers which have a sharp shape, and which are lined should be a wardrobe staple – above cardigans. I particularly like those that stop at hip level, although with jeans a slightly longer jacket like the one below looks lovely. Click on the image to view more styles.

Super wardrobe tips

The bottom half

Capri pants in any colour are a winner. You could wear them with a vest under a  blouse – particularly if it has a long back if you want to cover your bum – if it’s gone for the droop! I love the shirt below from Vivid International * because it has a peep hole sleeve and a longer back. The look is very casual.

How to look great when over 50

Boho Hippy or Not?

A woman over 50 is probably not going to look fabulous in droopy, drapey, whimsical things which we loved in our hippy days. A little Boho is lovely, but full Hippy is probably passe. So if you want to wear a flowing maxi dress on a hot summer night, don’t head to the surf shop but rather go for something a little more classical like the Yesadress * below which is cool, sophisticated and casual all at once. Wear it with summer sandals like these from FRANKiE4 *.

Fashion tips for women over 50

I’ve found that many maxi dresses have spaghetti straps – if you can wear spaghetti straps and are confident doing this, then that’s great. If you are not so confident showing off your upper, arms like me, then team the dress with a lightweight bolero cardigan like the one below. Click on the image to buy, and for more bolero cardi styles.
style tips

Shirt dresses? Hmm, not for me. I think they can look a bit dowdy and dated.

Colours for Women over 50

I’m like a tropical bird – I adore colour, the brighter the better!

Of course you can where whatever colour you like as long as you feel great in it – but over time you’ll find that some colours suit you better than others.

I’m finding that as I get older it’s the neutral colours which are the most elegant and flattering especially for day time. Off-white, cream and ivory are so classical. Black, grey and navy are great staples.

Below I’m wearing neutral colours from W Lane which I featured a couple of years ago in a post I wrote about 5 Ways to Look 5 Years Younger than you really are.

Style tips for over 50s

However, having toned down the basic look you can allow yourself to go for the show pony jewel colours – cobalt blue, cerise, pillarbox red, say for one item of clothing, just not the whole lot if you’re wearing separates.

Having said that, there’s nothing lovelier than an LRD, Little Red Dress for special occasions. Below I’m wearing a Leona Edmiston online buy.

Fifty Plus Women's Fashion

Night-time – now that’s a different story. Don’t be averse to wearing something sparkly and sequinned – bring out the sparkly sapphire dress or the emerald coloured jewellery. Bling it up a little 🙂 Below I’m wearing a Yesadress * from Vivid International.

Super style tips for women over 50

When you have the option, wear darker colours on your bottom half as this has a more slimming effect.

Fifty Plus Women's Fashion ideas

Dark trousers with a light blouse rather than light trousers with a black blouse.

Or go for the dramatic contrast. Above and below I’m wearing Portobello * separates from Vivid International.

Fifty Plus Women's Fashion

Perfect Styles for Women Over 50

I think by the time we reach our fifties, high fashion which is designed to yell “Look At Me!” is probably a little passe. At least for trips to the shopping mall 😉

But that’s not to say that we can’t or shouldn’t take cues from what’s going on in the high fashion world in magazines or on the runways, and also these days we might have more disposable income to be able to afford unique pieces and designer wear.

If we are splashing out on designer wear, we should be taking our cues from fashion icons who have stood the test of time and dress with grace and style. Quirky Style: Diane Keaton. Classic Style: Helen Mirren and Michele Obama. Everyday Style: Twiggy

Capsule Wardrobe for Women over 50

Every woman over 50 should have a working capsule wardrobe .Classic, well cut items which she can pull out at any time. Items which never go out of style, and which never let your wardrobe fall into the “I’ve got nothing suitable to wear” category!

  • A great pair of jeans
  • A fabulous white shirt
  • A well tailored navy jacket
  • A flattering easy to wear day dress x 2
  • A bolero cardigan in a neutral colour
  • A little black dress or a little red dress
  • A well fitting pair of ponte pants – here’s what to wear with Ponte Pants.
  • A longer length blouse to go with the ponte pants.
  • A tailored pair of trousers in black or navy.
  • A smart blouse to go with the trousers.
  • A pair of capri pants (three quarter length) in a neutral colour (beige, navy, black or white)
  • A blouse to go with the capri pants
  • A comfortable pair of sandals
  • A small wedge heel shoe
  • A pair of ankle boots
  • A silver pair of shoes for evening wear (silver goes with some many things and can be accessorised with silver jewellery and a silver evening clutch)
  • A pair of sneakers
  • A gorgeous trench coat (light or heavy depending on where in the world you live)

If you keep these items updated in your wardrobe, in basic block colours as far as possible, you can then add the show pony pieces to go with them. You will always feel confident, sophisticated and ready for anything.

11 Super Fashion Tips for Fifty Plus Women’s Fashion

  1. Time to ditch the low waisted jeans.
  2. Wear skinny jeans or slim fit jeans with appropriate tops which cover your bum and crutch.
  3. Straight cut jeans and boot cut jeans, well cut, which don’t show ‘camel toes’ can be paired with anything including shirts that tuck in, and colourful or feminine blouses.
  4. Simple patterns are more sophisticated than loud busy prints.
  5. Block colours always look stylish
  6. Well tailored, high quality clothes that have a great structure are now your friends.
  7. Get your bust measured correctly and wear bras that uplift and which are comfortable.
  8. Remember that showing a lot of flesh was sexy in your earlier years but can look vulgar now.
  9. Stop spending a long time with your make-up. Simple is now best. Develop a swift make-up routine which veers towards as natural and dewy as possible.
  10. By all means keep your long hair, but sorry, that tousled ‘just out of bed’ look is not appropriate now. Long hair should be sleek or styled and well trimmed.
  11. Short hair, especially a  bob cut whether short or long is flattering on many mature women.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these fashion tips for women over 50 and that by implementing them you’ll become a more ravishing version of yourself and always look chic, feel confident and exude style.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please PIN the image below 🙂

Fifty plus women’s fashion. Want to look fashionable after the age of 50? Know your body shape and follow a few simple style rules. Understanding over 50s fashion is knowing what not to wear when you're over 50. This ultimate style guide includes advice on clothes for women over 50, fashion for the older woman/

This post contains affiliate links from which I stand to earn a small commission but at no expense to you. Some garments and shoes in this post were gifted, and are marked with an *.  Lifestyle Fifty Website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Thanks to everyone who supports my blog. Please read my full disclosure here.

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Showing 17 comments
  • Dee
    Reply

    I don’t have to worry about attire at work because I wear scrubs. I am totally out of my comfort zone with a lacklustre wardrobe. I have two favourite pair of skinny jeans and that I top off with a turtle neck and a cardigan. Not exactly the high street look. I would love to have a capsule wardrobe.
    Finding something that flatters is very challenging since I’m 5 feet tall and thick around the middle. Also, finding good quality items of clothing is very difficult when I’m financially stretched.

  • Michele
    Reply

    I am still working on figuring out my new style. I knew what worked in the business word, but now I need nice casual clothes rather than suits. Finding a new wardrobe is a work in progress. I want to be causal and comfortable but still look pulled together. I like your style!

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Thank you Michele 🙂 I know … it’s hard. I also tend sometimes to want to look businessy, but realise that I’m not in that space, so pull myself back from the more tailored look, which ironically quite suits me, but not my lifestyle! Thanks for your kind comment 🙂

  • Reply

    It’s a challenge to sort through options to find the cut, fit, style, color that suits! This is good advice. I loved seeing you in all your lovely outfits. I especially loved you in the floral with the pretty hat and the blue sparkly dress. If there is one thing I do, it’s get good haircuts and color on a regular basis. Hair and make up can make or break your look no matter how beautiful your outfit! Thanks for this post!

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Hi Linda, thanks for your lovely comments. Yes, as I sit here needing a hair cut and colour I totally agree 🙂

  • Amanda Nel
    Reply

    What a laugh I had reading this – it is so spot-on! Nowadays when I get ready for work or something, I end up with a pile of clothes on the bed…nothing seems to fit or look good enough anymore…I am so glad, I am not the only one! Will have to check out your range – and may I say…you are still looking very sexy!

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Hello Amanda, so glad you had a laugh and thanks for your lovely comments. We do say some funny things to ourselves when we’re getting dress. Yes, me too – I often end up with a pile of clothes on the bed that always seemed lovely before but at that point in time look dismal or don’t fit!

  • Reply

    What a fabulous post Jo and I’m ready to throw out all of my clothes and start again! You always look stunning and I agree a good hair style can make or break a look. I like a classic look and actually have similar taste to what you wear. Thanks so much for sharing this with us at our inaugural Midlife Share the Love link party. I’m sure many women will find this post full of valuable information. Have a great week and see you at the next party! #MSTL #midlifesharethelove

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Thanks Sue, and don’t throw ALL your clothes out (I know you’re joking really) just the ones that are tatty, torn, that you haven’t worn in over a year and those that don’t fit. Well done on the inaugural Midlife Share the Love party 🙂

  • Victoria
    Reply

    Love the clothing you are wearing. It is nice to hear an over 50 woman say there are some things we just shouldn’t wear.

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Thank you Victoria. I think there’s nothing worse than just pretending that we can wear anything when really it looks blimmin awful on an older women. We have to be realistic, don’t we 🙂

  • Reply

    Hi Jo – just wanted to say thanks for linking up with us at our first #MLSTL party – it gave me another chance to look at your lovely outfits – those Vivid International floaty tops just appeal to me so much!
    I’ve shared your post to my social media and hope you’ll be back next week x

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Thanks Leanne, and I’m glad you like the Vivid International floaty tops.They have some great designers onboard designing things which appeal to mid-life ladies.

  • Rae
    Reply

    Jo I enjoyed your article but would like to ask why, when I open Vivid, it only shows clothes from 2017, 2016 etc? I love the dresses you are wearing but they don’t show up.

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Hello Rae, you’re right the Vivid website only shows a selection of the seasonal ‘collections’ and the actual clothes (brands Yesadress, Portobello and Vivid) are sold at various regional fashion outlets, two in Perth. At this stage clothes are not available from Vivid online, but they are available online from various stores.

  • Reply

    What a great post Jo – I was quite pleased that I could tick off most of the things on your capsule wardrobe list (especially when it comes to capri pants – I think I have half a dozen pairs in various colours!) I like that you aren’t trying to sell the “we can wear anything we like” train of thought – because let’s face it, we’re not 20 any more –
    – even if we think we are at heart, our bodies are telling us a different story. We can dress for our age and still look great – it’s not a competition 🙂

    • Johanna
      Reply

      Hi Leanne, thanks for your lovely comments. And yes, I agree – we really can’t wear just what we fancy anymore. Some things just don’t look great, and as you say we are not 20 years old 😉 I think probably each decade almost means a shift in what looks good on us as our bodies changes shape, as gravity takes hold and it does require an adjustment in our wardrobe. Glad you have capri pants in many colours – me too! So versatile 😉

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