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What not to wear if you're over 50

After many conversations about what not to wear if you're over 50, we thought it was time to collect them all in one place.

We've had a few (controversial) tips on a guest blog from The Women's Room - what did you think of their advice on clothes for older women, and what's the real secret to dressing when you're over 50? 


Some oufits/garments/combos get a resounding no - typically either things that older people traditionally wear or (paradoxically) things that younger people wear. The thinking seems to be: avoid things identified as either definitively young or definitively old and so remain ageless... Hey, we'll give it a go. Here are the things in the "traditionally worn by older people" box...

beige coat fleece

  • Beige or pastel three-quarter length raincoats, pleated or flowery skirts, "slacks" of any description (as opposed to trousers), any combination of beige/lilac/pastel green/pink. gracesmum
  • Tweed skirt suits, teamed with lace-up brogues, A-Line skirts, worn on the knee, anything crimplene, slacks (particularly those with stirrups), pussycat bows (very Thatcher!!), shoes that fasten with velcro straps, anything flowery and flowing, jeans with an elasticated waistband. gettingonabit
  • Never ever wear fleeces or beige macs. Hattie64
  • NEVER will I be one of those old ladies who wear beige/pale green/pale blue anything that makes me fade into the background even more. dorsetpennt

There's a get-out clause to the elasticated waists though...

jogging bottoms

  • I think elasticated or half elasticated waistbands are a boon for those of us with less-than-svelte figures - but they must not be visible!! Anagram
  • Jogging bottoms are fine for home or gym but unless you are young and shapely don't wear them out and about. Casual trousers or jeans would be better. Cargo pants are ugly on young people so why do grannies wear them? dorsetpennt

Here are a few things to avoid until someone invents reverse ageing (any day now, we hear):

bright eyeshadow

  • Forget bright coloured eye-shadow. POGS
  • Cleavage, decolletage, whichever - the phrase that comes to mind is "quality, not quantity". This applies to the whole range of ages, though perhaps early on "quantity" is more relevant, and "quality" applies later. Daisyanswerdo


Leggings are recommended almost universally, as long as you promise to cover your bum.


  • Leggings on their own with just a short top – maximum age seven. Under a dress/long tunic thingy is different. absentgrana
  • Leggings with a skirt or with a long tunic look great. Baggy
  • I wear them all the time. With flat slip ons. With trainers. With walking boots. Anything flat. With anything that covers my bum. So pleased they are back in fashion because they are so comfortable. Bliss. And the tunic skims any bulges in the middle. JessM

Dresses with sleeves are what many gransnetters would choose to wear but due to the constant complaints on the forums about how they're impossible to find, it seems fruitless to recommend, apart from to say, if you find someone selling them: buy it in every colour and come and tell gransnetters where you found it!

dress sleeves

  • My dream dress (manufacturers please note) is an empire line, V-neck. 3/4 sleeves in fine jersey - plain or print. kipper

Jeans are a staple - if a slightly controversial one. Some gransnetters declare they wouldn't wear them past a certain age, but the rest of us are in thrall to their comfort, style and the fact that they make us like everyone else in the world. 


  • I have mostly jeans. They seem to fit me better than other trousers. petallus
  • I've always worn jeans and funnily enough I was thinking the other day that I will never give them up! Most of my friends of my age (I'm 68) wear them too. Seventimesfive
  • Jeans are our fashion. We grew up with them. expatmaggie


Shoes, more than anything else, raise the question of comfort vs style. Blisters, creaking knees, wobbly ankles, hobbling - the days of putting up with all that are thankfully mostly behind us and we're not prepared to succumb to the heels dictators except for the most glamorous party. But what to wear to run round the shops? Or walk in the park? Are trainers a heinous sin against fashion? It depends on what you're doing in them.


  • Trainers essential wear for jogging, walking fast, running after grandsons and so many other occasions. JessM
  • Trainers are good for walking in. Easier to look after than expensive leather walking shoes too. We don't all live in paved cities. bagitha

But not all trainers are equal....The ones you've been jogging and gardening in may not be suitable for public consumption.

  • Clean trainers can look good. wotsamashedupjingl

Crocs are another area of dispute on our forums. Some gransnetters wouldn't go into the garden without them, especially as they're so easy to clean (some even stick them in the dishwasher - although Annobel claims this makes them shrink!). Others say that they're unremittingly awful.


  • Crocs are just as ugly as Uggs and make any feet look fat and frumpy. Moccasins or penny loafers are much better. Moominmamma
  • Say NO to crocs!!! netgran
  • Love my crocs, especially for gardening in the summer. grannygrace


Images: Shutterstock

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