This post is part of The Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sister’s on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown-Up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson. I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way. To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.
This post is an introduction to the subject of wardrobe in your 50’s. Pamela has a lot of great things to say on the subject of wardrobe and fashion choices in our 50’s, so we’ll be covering this topic over several posts. Let’s get started …
Fashion is maddeningly ungoverned at the moment. There are no set rules – except not to have any. It’s all about celebrating your own personal style with an eclectic mix of clothes and accessories. The very worst thing you can do is buy a mumsy, matching outfit. If you aren’t a natural at this sort of thing, it can be a total nightmare. There is no quick fix, but if you put some time and effort in at the beginning to get a basic ‘look’ established, it gets easier.
I agree that we really don’t need rules because different strokes for different folks! I like the concept of having an eclectic mix of clothes and accessories. It’s probably the hippie girl in me but I like the freedom to throw together a mix of things that feel like they work for me.
I think we’ve all learnt (well I have) now that too much matchy, matchy is a no go zone these days. Coordinate – yes, but don’t go too matchy, matchy because as Pamela says that is very ‘mumsy’ and heaven forbid we look ‘mumsy’!!
I think making the right fashion choices most certainly can be a nightmare if you’ve got no idea where to start. You can easily get swept away by trends, regardless of the fact that they may not suit your body shape or even your personality. Maybe you saw something that looked good on your sister or a friend so you go out and buy that, but you have a completely different body shape and it doesn’t look quite the same on you!
The trick is to learn what suits your figure, know what style/s you like and understand what flatters you. Ensuring you have some essential wardrobe basics first (more on this in a future post) is the advised approach and then you can add from there. If you struggle with working all this stuff out, then you could consider getting some advice from a fashion stylist or do as I did and still do – read fashion blogs. Just saying! The blog that has helped me is Nikki Parkinson’s ‘Styling You‘. She understands women, particularly middle-aged women and what we want from fashion. She has written a book – Unlock Your Style – which takes you through a step-by-step process to finding confidence through your style. I haven’t got this book as yet, but I must rectify that, particularly as many of the posts she wrote on the subject prior to writing her book, were very helpful so the book is sure to be a very handy resource to have on hand.
I’m no expert on fashion but I have worked out a few things about what suits me and my body shape (short, curvy, busty) – a few examples:
- V necks work well
- Block colours are flattering – helping to give the illusion of height!
- If wearing patterned fabric on one half (eg top), best to wear a block colour on the other half (eg bottom, and vice versa)
- Wrap dresses are flattering
- Some colours that suit me: black, white, red, orange (strangely), turquoise
I’ve also learnt to avoid the following:
- Busy patterns (less is more for me)
- Any tops or dresses that involve lots of fabric (overwhelming for my petite frame)
- Too much frills and flounce
- Anything yellow (washed out face anyone?)
Pamela’s Fashion Rules for the 50-plus
Casual looks younger than formal
Don’t try to be perfectly turned out
Fight the temptation to be overdressed – it’s ageing
You mustn’t look as if you tried too hard
Um Pamela, I think I’m going to have to disagree quite a bit here!
- I don’t agree that casual looks younger than formal. I think that’s too much of a sweeping generalised statement. I personally am more a casual person than formal but I think that with regards to whether casual or formal suits a person better or makes them look younger or older, it all depends on the person and how they dress, accessorize, do their make-up etc!
- No-one looks perfect really but I don’t think there is anything wrong with putting in your best effort!
- Being overdressed for an occasion is not ideal. I kind of agree here. Not sure that it is aging though?!
- What’s wrong with looking like you made an effort to look great?
Have you learnt what your personal style is? Do you understand what suits and flatters you? What do you think of Pamela’s fashion rules for the 50 plus?
Ciao for now,
Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit
Lyndall of Seize the Day Project
Kathy of 50 Shades of Age
Deborah of Debbish
and Jo of And Anyways
It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all six blogs.
My fashion style is an eclectic mix of boho aging hippie… seriously though, the one think that makes you look old is feeling old and buttoned up. Oh, and looking and feeling like a sausage – or an overstuffed couch. Man, I’m on a roll this morning! #TeamLovinLife
I actually do think there is some boho hippie in me! I like that kinda relaxed, beachy look! It’s how I dressed in the 80’s during my surfie chick days. lol
I read this incorrectly and was expecting flared skirts with petticoats….ha!
Ohhhh you were thinking 50’s as in the era rather than the age! haha
I agree with everything you have said here Min (because it sounds like I’m the same body shape to you). I like the idea of being yourself and not being governed by what others say or following the latest fashion trends. When I get dressed up I do like to go all out and I don’t think there is anything wrong with this. A friend told me recently how gorgeous I looked in all of my overseas travel photos in Facebook and I was secretly chuffed that she noticed. I do like to try and look my best. We should never give up on trying to look good.! #TeamLovinLife
You DO look gorgeous in all your overseas travel photos! You’re relaxed and happy and it shines through! 🙂
I was nodding with all of the things that suit you, as they suit me too – except some of the colours. Though I was surprised to find that orange is my friend this year! Yeah, I’m with you, not sure I agree on the getting dressed up is ageing. P’shaw to that I say! Although, I had a pic taken when I was wearing a denim jacket and everybody commented on how young I looked, so maybe there is some truth to casual looking more useful …
I was surprised about the orange thing too – yet strangely it seems to suit me! I don’t have a denim jacket but I’d like to get one if it will make me look young too! lol 🙂
I’m with you and don’t necessarily think Pamela nailed this one. I definitely don’t think over-dressing is ageing. If anything I tend to think a lot of young people overdress – ridiculous outfits and heels on occasions when it’d be easier to go with something less ‘dressy’.
I’m now following a heap of ‘mature’ fashion types on Instagram and LOVE them and some are seriously over-the-top!
Some of the shoes the young girls wear are ridiculous and how they don’t break their ankles is nothing short of a miracle! OMG I sound OLD don’t I?? I’ve actually found loads of fabulous mature bloggers on instagram and love following them – some focus on fashion, some don’t … but it’s wonderful to find relatable people to follow! 🙂
I find that my biggest hurdle with knowing what works for your body and preferences is finding it when the stores (well the ones I can afford, put it that way!) are all focused on faddy, fast fashion. The only thing I can really do to cope with it is buy multiples of the same item when I find something that’s good.
It’s taken me a while to work out what suits me but yes like you – if I find something that works then I’ll get it all appropriate colours please! lol 🙂
I thought we were going down the 1950’s fashion path too Min! Nice to see it was much more relevant. I think I have the total opposite in body shapes to you – I’m tall, small busted and getting a bit of a pooch in Midlife, but what’s strange is that most of the things that you listed that suit or don’t suit you are pretty much the same for me. My other pet peeve is beige – I can wear it on the bottom half, but it sucks the colour out of my face if I wear it up top – such a shame because it always looks so stylish.
Fancy the same things suiting you even though you have a different body shape. The main thing is knowing what suits and flatters you! You know what – I don’t think I’ve worn cream on my top half for a long time. I have cream pants but not tops. I’m not sure how that colour would suit me worn as a top but generally the more vibrant colours (or black or white) suit me best!
For a time back in the 80’s before marriage came along I was quite avant garde with fashion and colours, or so I thought. I had this stunning red suit that I used to wear with black Cuban heeled R.M. Williams boots, (if you want to check the look You Tube the song Tuff Enuff by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, you will get the idea) I have always liked colours especially in the area of shoes having owned at various times blue, red, orange and green suede shoes.
For a while I cultivated the stockmans look and whilst at Uni in the very early 80’s the red ragger protest look, ready to leave a lecture at any time to storm the barricades.
Then I got married and got smothered and told what to wear. Bland follow the sheep fashion, sometimes it cost a bomb too, a black leather jacket that cost close to $1000 back in 93 that was so heavy it was uncomfortable but because all of my wife’s friends had bought them for their husbands I had to have one as well.
These days I live alone and dress for comfort, around the house its usually a Tshirt and some track pants, out the front door and the jeans go on, If its an event then a suit, either grey, black or navy blue.
To be honest Im most comfortable in Tshirt and jeans. As a bloke in my 50’s I think I can get away with that, but plain Tshirts, no prints thanks.
Patrick – I never knew you were so into fashion in your younger days! A $1000 leather jacket – wow! Shame it wasn’t comfy!! I dress for comfort these days too – even when I dress up I choose to still be comfortable. Gone are the days where vanity gave way to torturous shoes and uncomfortable clothes. It seems that comfort costs more money but so be it! For a guy in his 50’s I agree that plain t-shirts are nicer than printed and gimmicky t-shirts (just my opinion and taste though). 🙂
I have to admit, that I like the idea of no rules, but many of my older friends feel somewhat lost. It was easier when there were guidelines of what is right and what is wrong.
But I think once you spend some time and figure out what is good for you—it creates a wonderfully unique person!!
Remember the old saying “blue and green must never be seen”? What a lot of rubbish that was. Now we see blue and green together a lot and it’s gorgeous together. That’s a good example of why I don’t like rules when it comes to fashion. I guess there are some rules that might be helpful to people like … don’t wear socks with sandles?! I like the freedom to find my unique way (like you say)! 🙂 xo
Hi Min! Can you just transfer that image of the wardrobe to my home thank you! Just what I would love. I also ordered a wrap dress yesterday for my birthday party in August. They are so flattering for any shape and size. I’m really enjoying your series although I’m 60 in August can I just class myself in my 50s for your series LOL:)
It’s a gorgeous wardrobe isn’t it?! Contents are a bit beige LOL – but oh so coordinated! Oh I hope you love your wrap dress. I got myself one just recently but haven’t worn it yet. Waiting for an occasion to though! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series so far and yes you are you are officially in the 50s club even though you turn 60 this month. Really looking forward to your month of celebrating! 🙂
I love this post Min and yes like Sue I am so jealous of that wardrobe (although the contents are a bit beige). I highly recommend Nikki’s book, it is really excellent. I feel so much more confident these days in my wardrobe choices and I definitely don’t like following anyone’s rules – especially all the pieces written by younger women telling me what an over 40 (let alone 60) woman should or shouldn’t wear. My greatest tip is to know what suits you and makes you feel great and wear that.
Thank you Jan! Yes I just told Sue the wardrobe contents are a bit beige but oh so coordinated! lol Oh you’ve got Nikki’s book? I really must get it. I’d like to read what she says about wardrobe basics. I don’t like rules either and especially not being told by younger women what they think is acceptable to wear in our middle years! I’ll wear whatever makes me feel good about myself. 🙂
Hi Min, I’m loving the wardrobe pic at the top of your post. It looks like actress Diane Keaton’s wardrobe. So organised! If only mine looked like that!! 🙂 I totally agree that you have to know what suits your body shape and skin tone, then wear the items YOU like, not what someone else says is “suitable” for your age group 🙂 #TeamLovinLife
That wardrobe pic appealed to me too! It’s so organised and neat and though all the contents are rather beige – it’s quite a calming and visually appealling look I think! My wardrobe looks nothing like it! lol 🙂
I’ve come to learn my style. Although right now I’m dabbling in a few different looks. Not sure if it is working or not. But I’m enjoying the experimentation!
You have great style Leanne! What you’re doing is working! 🙂
On the fence about Pamela’s advice. I see where she’s coming from and I sort of adhere to the being overdressed bit but I think casual can be ageing if you don’t make a reference to a current trend whether it be a colour, print or style of shoe.
I guess both casual and dressy can be aging depending on the person and how they’ve put themselves together. I agree it’s a good idea to have a point of reference to a current trend (colour, print or shoe style are good examples). xo
Just checked Twitter and thank you for the mention. Lots of food for thought here!
Thanks Nikki – no problem. Couldn’t talk about fashion and getting together some wardrobe basics without mentioning you and your book! 🙂