Happy Wednesday, Ladies! Today we are talking about staying modern, fresh, and relevant. No one wants to look frumpy or out of date. But we don’t want to fall into the trap of “age-appropriate” style. Too many of us start to question what we can wear after the age of 40, 50 or 60. Shorts? Sleeveless tops? Skirts above my knees? Do I have to set these items away forever? Clothes have sizes, not ages. I subscribe to the idea of wearing clothes in which you feel confident and comfortable. Because that’s where being stylish starts. Women of a certain age make several typical style mistakes and beauty blunders. So today, we are exploring Fashion Mistakes That Make You Look Older – and How to Fix Them!
Beth shares the common style and beauty mistakes that make women look older
With tips and tricks for how to avoid and remedy these style mistakes
Plus, example outfits and items with shoppable text widgets
Some of us may not realize what makes an outfit look frumpy. Which is another way of saying “out of date.” Whether you’re twenty-five or fifty-five, clothing is essential to your persona. Regardless of age, an ill-fitting blazer or outdated jeans will instantly date you. But as we age, we do many things that can give off an “older” vibe, and no one wants that! It’s my mission to age with grace, strength, and beauty. That’s when a few simple yet sophisticated style tips come in handy to keep us looking modern, fresh, and relevant.
Don’t wear the wrong size bra. Even the most spectacular outfit can go awry if we’re not wearing the right undergarments. It’s somewhat akin to building a house – the foundation is laid first. This is the most important step. Wearing the wrong bra isn’t just uncomfortable; it can affect the way your clothes fit and inadvertently cause you to slouch, both of which instantly age you more than ten years.
Believe it or not, the right-size bra can instantly make you look taller, thinner, and more youthful. But the wrong-size bra makes you look shorter, older, and heavier. That’s how vital this undergarment truly is.
What’s the Solution? I suggest a twice-yearly bra-fit session. All reputable department stores, from Neiman Marcus to J.C. Penney, have trained bra-fit specialists that will equip you with your proper measurements – it’s a service they offer at no charge to their customers.
Why twice a year? Because bras are one of the hardest working items in your closet they have a shorter lifespan than the rest of our clothing. And, in the space of only six months, your body and breast size may have changed due to an illness, hormonal changes, or weight loss/gain.
Once you know your correct bra size, then it’s a matter of deciding what brand you like. Don’t be afraid to carve out an afternoon in your schedule and try on every brand known to mankind. Once you find the perfect match, the hard part is over.
Remember, the band should be snug when hooked on the first row. Then, as the band stretches over time, you can fasten it on the next hook for a tighter fit. When it's on its last hooks, time for a new bra.
What are my favorite brands? Simone Perele and Wacoal are my top two, with Chantelle coming in third.
There are three types of bras and two colors I keep in rotation. First, I always have a nude bra at my beck and call as it will easily go underneath even the sheerest blouse. Next, I add a black bra. Once these two primary colors are folded neatly in your lingerie drawer, it’s up to your aesthetics to determine what additional colors find their way into your lineup.
Now onto the three types of bras to keep on hand. First up is the push-up or plunge bra that is perfect underneath special occasions or evening wear. This bra gives an excellent lift and adds a bit of cleavage. Next on my list is a minimizer. Many of you may not need this type, but this is the bra I reach for when I wear my button-up shirts. It keeps me in place and my buttons fastened! Last but not least is the t-shirt bra that gives smooth coverage with its molded cups and fits beautifully underneath my beloved tees and sweaters.
Ever notice someone that’s stuck in a time warp? It’s easy to do when you have more than a decade or two under your belt and have seen many trends come and go. But when we stop analyzing ourselves or playing and experimenting with makeup, hair, and fashion, it’s all too easy to get stuck in our favorite decade.
So when was the last time you updated your look? Think hairstyle, glasses, jewelry, makeup, and clothes.
I’m a classic-style girl through and through. Classic style has staying power and is genuinely sophisticated and chic. But I also know it can look stale and stodgy if I’m not careful. This is why I always watch the trends and recommend you do too.
Updating my wardrobe with new pieces every year is vital. I also update my hairstyle frequently too. I love a classic bob or pixie, and bob styles evolve year after year – same with pixies. So pay attention to what hairstyles are in vogue this year to stay current. The same goes for makeup palettes. I absolutely loved a blue eyeshadow back in the day. This year I’m loving a brown/copper palette.
One fashion mistake that can age you is not adding accessories, like a belt, to your look. Leaving your top untucked can actually make you look bigger than you really are, and a belt is a surefire way to define your waist and make your silhouette appear slimmer.
Y’all know I have a love affair with belts and add them to my outfit anytime I can. Today, I’m thrilled to share a classic wrap belt from ADA Belts that comes in three colors: tan, cognac, black, and three different widths. A beautiful leather belt screams luxury, and the more you use it, the better it looks.
The wrap belt is contoured like a smiley face. It will hug nicely around your figure and give you a waistline.
Place the smiley face up, bring the ties back and crisscross, bring the ties to the front, and tie the ties like your shoelace. Et voila! A waistline in a cinch! That’s why I love investing in belts because I believe accessories can make or break your outfit.
Today, ADA Belts gives my subscribers 15% off their purchase with my code Beth15. And your belt comes with instructions on how to tie it multiple ways.
I’ve chosen three different outfits to showcase just how modern you can make an outfit with the addition of a belt.
I love shirtdresses and wear them regularly, especially during the summer months. But they can be shapeless, which can give off a frumpy vibe. When I add a leather ADA belt it instantly adds a flattering shape.
Pants with an elastic waistband can look frumpy, but not when you add a chic belt that can easily disguise the waistband. For this outfit, I started with cropped pants from J.Crew that are perfect for a hot summer day. Pop on a crochet top and add an ADA Belt that cinches in my waist and gives it definition. Drape a cardigan over the top, and you have an outfit perfect for any casual event.
The last outfit features a favorite color combo of mine: camel and white. It’s crisp and clean and perfect for any hot summer day. I popped a silk tunic over a pair of slim-fit white pants, but I added an ADA belt to add texture and visual interest. It also gives definition, so the tunic hugs my frame and adds structure, contrast, and balance to an oversized top.
Baggy clothes are no doubt the comfiest to wear. And we LOVE our comfort, especially at a Certain Age. It’s an easy option when we’re older, have a long to-do list, and want to opt for comfort first. But baggy clothes are extremely unflattering: they cover up your shape and send you directly into the frumpy zone and make you look years older than you actually are.
You don’t have to have a flawless figure to choose clothes that are the right fit for you, and that will showcase your shape. Trying to hide under shapeless clothes actually makes us look heavier. If there are parts of your body where you don’t feel comfortable with a tight fit, then choose clothes that skim over that area rather than choosing voluminous fabric, which ages our appearance.
Accessories are the icing on the cake to any outfit. Many of us spend most of our time and energy picking out the perfect skirt or pant to go with a drool-worthy blazer then completely forget about adding accessories before we dash out the door.
Next time you’re putting together that perfect outfit for work or weekend, remember to put just as much effort into picking out the right handbag, necklace, hats, shoes or sunglasses. I like to add at least two to three accessories per outfit.
Shoulder bags are a must-have item for any woman. It serves as a catch-all for our wallet, favorite lip gloss, sunglasses, or even a snack. A leather handbag is always a good choice, but if you want to add print, color, or texture to an otherwise basic outfit, opt for a snakeskin, rattan, or wicker handbag, adding personality to your outfit.
Let’s not forget hats that keep our heads warm in the winter, hide a bad hair day or protect our eyes and skin from harmful UV Rays. Plus, they make any outfit much more interesting and bold.
Shoes are one of the most versatile accessories that can take any outfit from drab to fab. Of course, white sneakers are a go-to but don’t forget ballet flats, statement heels or colorful slides will immediately jazz up your outfit.
Jewelry will instantly elevate your outfit. Keep it simple with a pair of gold hoop earrings or make a statement with layered necklaces or a cocktail ring. Have fun and play around with a stack of bracelets.
I’m certain you’ve read those articles that dish out rules on what we can or cannot wear at 30, 40, 50, and beyond. Our culture still has unspoken and spoken rules for what women can and can’t wear after a certain age. Instead of encouragement, many style guides are restrictive, dictate what we should wear for our age, and regularly tell us what “I can no longer get away with.” You’ll notice colors fading, styles becoming basic, and we, in turn, become more and more invisible.
Maybe you’ve heard women of a certain age can’t rock leather trousers or wear shorts or bold prints. It’s time to kick that outdated attitude to the curb. These are the prime years of our life. We’re not over the hill, so there is no need to wear what we consider “grandma clothes” from here on out. But some grandma's clothes are chic and sophisticated. We all watched the Coastal Grandmother look leap into popularity last year, and honestly, it’s a look that’s anything but dowdy. It’s a timeless, classic look that any age can wear and wear well.
Sure, a few women lose interest in fashion at a certain age and plunder big box stores for their fashion choices, but style-conscious women know that thanks to advances in diet, fitness, and healthcare, our ages seem to be less about acting a certain way and more about being the best version of ourselves. So don’t buy into the myth about “dressing our age.”
Remember, we can still be super chic and youthful as we age, so if you find yourself asking, “Am I too old to wear this?” That’s just ageism in disguise. So let’s flip the script and ask, “Does this item fit my personal style?” “Is it sophisticated?” “Does it suit my lifestyle?” Those questions must be asked and answered because I’ve said it before, and I’ll say again, “Clothes have sizes, not ages.” So have fun with your style and rock your outfits with confidence!
Yesterday, I shared a chic and colorful tunic for summer. Click the title or image below to read the article.
is the Founder and CEO of Style at a Certain Age. She writes Sundays-Fridays on all topics ranging from fashion, health, wellness, home design and more.
She’s 63, 5’8, and size 8.
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Good morning, Beth! This is one of THE best columns ever on this topic. No more frumpiness!
You go, girl!
It’s time to be the best version of ourselves no matter our age.
Thank you for this post! Being ‘of a certain age’, I’ve struggled as of late with what to wear – I don’t want to look as though I’m trying to recapture my youth and dress like a teenager, nor do I want to look frumpy (which is an all-too-easy trap to fall into!). You always look great and inspire me to do the same. I appreciate you!
Style is always about being the best version or ourselves no matter our age.
Thanks for stopping by!
Beth, this is a great post. I really don’t wear belts but what you said makes sense. I like your idea of changing makeup colors as well. I think I’ll try the brown/copper eye shadow. Can you give me a good suggestion of one. I wear a lot of neutrals.
Also you look great in the all black outfit.
This is a fantastic write up today! You hit the nail on the head and I hope a lot of ladies read this. I always learn so much from you, and you look fantastic in your outfits. Thanks so much Beth❤️
My pleasure, Janet! Thanks so much for stopping by today.
I am 68 and sometimes struggle with fashion ideas. I love todays post, thank you so much. I embrace a classic look, but love to add a Boho item or two. I am retired, so mostly my look is extremely casual , I work outside in my flowers a lot. But I LOVE the chance to “dress up”
Thanks for sharing, Doris! I bet you look adorable with your boho chic paired with classic style.
Thankfully I think as a society we’re getting better about seeing the power, style and wisdom of these years. Case in point – the women in ‘And Just Like That’ (the Sex and the City reboot) are the same age as the women in ‘The Golden Girls’ were when that show started, and while they’re dealing with challenges such as bereavement, divorce and menopause, they’re also clearly in their prime – strong, successful and carrying themselves, quite rightly, with confidence.
Only eight years ago, when I started my blog and rocked gray hair the common sentiment was “you look old” fast forward to 2023 and it’s commonplace to have gray hair. We are definitely making progress with ageist thinking the past few years. But I still get emails and comments that women of a “certain age” can’t wear this and can’t wear that. Someone even told me my sneakers should only be worn by teenagers. Onward!
Great post, Beth!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by!
May I ask where you got the cropped sweatshirt you’re wearing in the accessory post?
Best tips ever. No more been out off style!!
Todays post was really great! One thing I have to remind myself is to not wear older “dated” clothes because they were expensive or hardly worn. Old is old. I took a deep breath earlier this year and sent dozens of clothes to Good Will so that I wouldn’t be tempted to go back!
Hi Beth,T his is an excellent post todayl
Funny thing…today I attended a luncheon for retired teachers. So, for the last week, I decided to give myself a bit of an update, feeling frumpy since covid. Went for a manicure, pedicure, tinted the eyebrows, wore a new dress with a belt and a contemporary pair of sandals. Decided to keep the gray with a great cut and some highlights. Felt like a new woman! I am planning to order that wrap belt. Thanks for all the encouragement.
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