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What not to wear if you're over 50


After many conversations about what not to wear, we thought it was time to put them all in one place. We've had a few <ahem> controversial tips on a guest post 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? Gransnetters reveal their thoughts.


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1. Clothes identified as being definitively "old"

It all depends on body type of course, but do certain styles and outfits age you before your time? 

beige coat fleece

"Beige or pastel three-quarter length raincoats, pleated or flowery skirts and "slacks" of any description (as opposed to trousers)." 

"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..." 

"Never ever wear fleeces." 


2. Elasticated waistlines

Comfy, it's true, but only good if they can't be seen? 

"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!" 

"Jogging bottoms are fine for the 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?" 


3. Long jean skirts

A favourite in the 80s, but not always the most flattering. 

Jean skirt

"One of the most unattractive styles are long jean skirts...they don't hide a thing. They just make you look large ALL the way down." 


4. Low necklines

Does the phrase "if you've got it, flaunt it" still apply?

"Cleavage, decolletage, whichever - the phrase that comes to mind is "quality, not quantity." This applies to a whole range of ages, though perhaps early on quantity and later on quality." 

"I've never had much of a bust until now and my decolletage is envied by my friends as it is smooth and not wrinkly, so I wear lowish tops!" 


5. Loud makeup 

"Forget bright coloured eye-shadow." 

Try a more subtle and attractive approach as shown in this helpful video...



1. Leggings

Recommended almost universally - as are their natural bedfellow, tunics. But be sure to cover your bum.


"Leggings on their own with just a short top - maximum age is seven. Under a dress or long tunic is different." 

"I wear them all the time. With flat slip ons. With trainers. With walking boots. Anything flat. So pleased they are back in fashion because they are so comfortable. Bliss. And the tunic skims any bulges in the middle." 

Read more about how to wear leggings here


2. Dresses with sleeves

They may be impossible to find. So if you're one of the lucky ones, make sure you buy in every colour and tell us where you found it!

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


3. Jeans

A staple, if slightly contentious, one. Some declare they wouldn't wear them past a certain age, but the rest of us are in thrall. "Can you ever be too old" for jeans?


"I have mostly jeans. They seem to fit me better than other trousers." 

"I've always worn jeans and I will never give them up! Most of my friends of my age (I'm 68) wear them too." 

"Jeans are our fashion. We grew up with them." 

See here for tips on how to find jeans that really fit.


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 behind us. And we're not prepared to succumb to the heel dictators except for the most glamorous party. But what to wear to run round the shops? Or walk in the park?


1. Trainers

A sin against fashion? It depends on what you're doing in them.


"Trainers are essential wear for jogging, walking fast, running after grandsons and so many other occasions." 

"Trainers are easier to look after than expensive leather walking shoes too. We don't all live in paved cities." 

But not all trainers are equal. The ones you've been jogging and gardening in may not be suitable for public consumption...give 'em a clean before going 'out' in them. 


2. Crocs

Another area of dispute. Some wouldn't go into the garden without them, especially as they're so easy to clean (dishwasher anyone?). 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." 

"I love my crocs, especially for gardening in the summer." 


Other things you might like:

cardigan woman
How to wear a cardigan Seven secret makeup tips for over 50s



Images: Shutterstock

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