Common Mistakes in the 50+ Wardrobe

Since beginning the blog, I spend a lot of time reading websites, newsletters, and books for women over 50. Often, the advice and observations are the same. Take for example, the common wardrobe mistakes made by middle aged women….I compiled a list of the ones mentioned multiple times:

1. Dressing too old….this is the frumpy look I’ve discussed on over 50.

2. Dressing too young….trying every trend and using no discernment for what might be sophisticated for our age.

3. Dressing too oversized….attempting to cover a multitude of sins…when in actuality; oversized garments make us look larger.

4. Dressing too tight….the opposite can also be true. Sometimes women, young and old, think too- tight- breasts –falling- out is sexy. One stylist I recently read said that you need to be able to pinch one to three inches of material in order for the garment to be proper. If you can’t pinch at least one inch, things are a little too crammed in there!!

I mentioned the word discernment. defines discernment as discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding. We need to listen to that small voice inside of us when we look in the mirror….if we question whether a look is appropriate, then many times it is not and we need to return to the closet. But, then there are times when we feel like it is appropriate, though out of our comfort zone, and we need to just take the plunge and wear it. There is a balance here as we learn to trust ourselves. This is not about the fashion “rules” so many of us balk at…it is about taste and achieving the style we are going for in an appropriate, stylish manner.

For example, one site said that a message or graphic t-shirt is too young a look for our age. However, my “discernment voice” tells me that I can pull it off and it can be youthful, but not too young for a 50+ woman. I have set goals (to be discussed in a future post) for my style and this look falls within my goals. On the flip side….you will never see me in a mini-skirt…that’s not what I am going for.


What would you like to wear that you are not quite sure whether it is a over 50 fashion faux pas or not?

Jacket: Old Navy
Capris: Talbot’s
Cole Hahn Flats: Marshall’s
Graphic T: Handed out free
last year at Lane Bryant’s with a
Bracelet:  Forever 21
Ring and Earrings:  Stein Mart


  1. I always wear what makes me feel good, but I would never go for a mini skirt or shorts ( only trekking), hehehehe.

  2. I hear you. Dressing appropriately for one's age is challenging but possible. And you're right about being able to wear a graphic print t-shirt at any age, it's all about accessorizing it so that it doesn't look too young. What I go for is youthful not young. There is a difference. I see too many women over the age 40 trying to dress like their daughters, it doesn't work. No matter how great their bodies are, their not 20-something anymore. Luv the bracelet!

  3. Well cut clothing for those interested in looking respectable usually has ease. When you're shopping at less expensive places moving up a size can help as long as the essential spots still fit.

    As a 50+ I assume that looking respectable is a goal. If it's not then that assumption is out!

    I wouldn't wear a mini-skirt to work but I'm not opposed to not young gals in skirts/shorts with exposed legs. However, things like tennis skirts need to stay on the court.

  4. I'm one of those who pays very little attention to fashion. If I like it and am comfortable wearing it, then I'm sold! However, you won't see me in anything tight or short! LOL

  5. Sometimes it is hard to dress your age… I recently cleaned out my closet and it was very hard to part with some items that I knew I was too old to wear….

  6. Hi Pam,
    Thank you for visiting and following and your great comment. I used to cover politics for our newspaper too. I moved to entertainment before it got really ugly though. I already follow you and love your blog because I have no sense of what to wear. I have a book tour coming up so I am trying to put some fun age appropriate outfits together. I get so disgusted when I see women our age wearing tight clothes. I have always loved my jeans and sneakers when not working and my daughter and niece just told me this is now a big no-no. Thank you again for your comments. I am sure I will be back soon.

  7. Thanks for visiting! I'll definitely be back to visit you. I saw that you're from SA; I have a couple of aunts that live there (my parents grew up in S. Tx.).

  8. Pam, thanks for dropping by my blog! You are right about not judging by store names, it is just a silly goal I have. Believe it or not my frame is very petite and it is hard for me to find things that I can just walk out of those stores with that don't need tailoring, which makes it an expensive adventure.

    As for clothes I wish I could wear, I just find there are cuter shirts in the non-plus size dept that fit my arms better.

  9. That is so true about dressing appropriately for any age. However, that being said, if I were the same size I was at 20, I'd dress like a hoochie mama. My daughter in fact, does not want me to lose much more weight! lol I will be 50 this year, but in no way, shape or form feel it (well, sometimes feel it) or act it. What really is acting 50? But that is another subject. I think it is a fallacy that women over a certain age should dress frumpily, or for that matter have short hair. I have longish (to the band of my bra in the back) hair for the first time since I was 18 and loving it. Yes, there is a difference in frumpy and appropriate. You look great and not at all frumpy. 🙂
    Thanks for the follow at Life or Something Like It. You've given me a blog topic for tomorrow.
    Following you back.

  10. Ok, Pam, you know me by now, and I still wear mini skirts. In fact, I wore one last weekend. I figure, like Desiree over at Pull your socks up, I'm growing old disgracefully, one mini-skirt at a time! That being said, tho, I make sure I'm wearing a mini wear I can get away with it–this was a small family get-together. I do have to be careful–its not always appropriate.

    All your guidelines are so true. And guidlines are just that; we know we can cheat here and there! And I do!

  11. Hi, Pam. I agree with everything you say in your post today. Especially is you are asking the question – you probably already know the answer. I am taking advantage of asking your readership a specific question, "How old it too old to wear brown/tan 2 toned oxford flats? …..and no matter how good a body you have – I SERIOUSLY question wearing a miniskirt. However, I do completely agree about the mini-skirt….fashionoverfifty…. YOU ROCK! I am going to run over to your blog to see if I can find a pic of you in a mini. I COMPLETELY agree that if you CAN wear one – you SHOULD wear one. Cheers!

  12. Such an interesting post!!
    I never wore minis, because I don't like my knees and I never wear torned clothes.
    I try to wear what I like and I feel and I LOVE breaking some rules…. but I think that's what style is about 🙂

    Thank you so much for dropping by my blog and left such nice note.
    Following you…. keep in touch…


  13. I feel too old at 21 to wear things that people think are "appropriate". I feel uncomfortable in mini-skirts. I like to be covered up whenever it's not too hot (after 90F and 100% humidity all bets are off). I think balance is key at any age.

    Now to gush over that statement bangle. I love it!

  14. It is a fine balance for us. Don't want to dress to old or too young
    I try to go with what I feel good and comfortable in.
    I am always making mistakes and learning and that is the beauty of this whole thing.

  15. Stumbled upon you.
    I love clothes and wear what looks good and fits well. I don't like rules. If you have great legs wear a mini. Great boobs show a little C…….
    Going to follow you now!

  16. hey there!

    i love these tips… i love to break the rule of what to wear and what not to wear… but i'm finding as i'm getting further into my 30's that the idea of 'dressing young' has less and less appeal. not to mean i want to dress matronly, but to take the advantages of being older more confidence, less caring about what people think, more distinctive sense of taste and running with it.. i don't dress like a woman in her 20's and to be honest, i don't want to.

  17. I lost the short shorts, push up bras, low cut tops, bathing suit, everything tight….now at 53, I wear soft feminine comfortable clothes. I also quit dying my hair and switched to light makeup. I was blessed with a familiar looking face and natural beauty. People tend to stare at me in public which has caused me to feel quite shy. I've been reading your blog and enjoying how it helps me deal with my feelings about being older. Thank you!

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