How to Dress Your Age - Fashion Tips for Women

Updated on February 4, 2013

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The idea of dressing your age is not about changing your personal style as the years go by, but rather adapting your wardrobe to reflect your style in an age-appropriate fashion. Just because you have turned 41 doesn't mean you should donate all your skinny jeans and start filling your closet with mumsy frocks. Likewise, if you're only 26, there is no rule that says you can't wear a sophisticated maxi skirt. To dress for your age is to know how to put together an outfit that wouldn't cause you to look a decade older than you actually are, or make people assume you might have borrowed your daughter's dress. If you were a rock chick in your 20s, you can still be one in your 50s. You might just have to put away certain tanks and tees you used to love in your youth, and opt for rocker clothing with more mature appeal. The clock will keep turning. Fashion trends always come and go. At certain times in life, you do have to make some adaptations, but that doesn't mean you have to completely change who you are.

Coco Rocha
Coco Rocha | Source

Dressing Your Age - 20s

  • Anything under the sun is possible. Don't be afraid to experiment. Fashion is not like drugs. It might make you look foolish at times but it won't ruin your life. Even if you actually commit a fashion disaster, it doesn't matter; you're young!
  • Buy clothing and accessories that can be easily mixed and matched with one another. Allow yourself plenty of room for creativity and adaptation. A short pleated skirt, for example, can make you look all sweet and preppy once paired with a striped cashmere sweater. When the same skirt is complemented by sassy leggings and a washed-out rocker tee, however, that's a totally different look.
  • Your clothes should have lots of personality. This doesn't mean you have to wear bright colors or glitzy accessories, though. If your style is feminine and classy, then embrace it but don't be boring. Don't be afraid to look ultra-feminine with ruffles, polka dots or a retro skirt. No matter what your style is, just keep it interesting and playful. Save serious-looking outfits for your later years.

Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks | Source

Dressing Your Age - 30s

  • Continue to take risks and seek out something edgy, but only within the realm of your personal style. It's okay for twenty-something women to look like an urban hipster one day and transform into a boho princess the next day; being a chameleon is totally acceptable when youth is on their side. When you reach 30, however, you should already have developed a concrete sense of style, know what you like or dislike, and understand what looks best on your body.
  • Move beyond extremely girly stuff. A mini skirt? You can still work it if you manage to maintain a level of polish; maybe pair it with a sleek button-up blouse or a sophisticated jacket. Bright polka-dot prints? Sure, as long as the overall appearance of the outfit isn't silly-looking. Perhaps you could balance the girliness of your pink polka-dot dress with toned-down accessories or a simple cardigan. What about a Japanese anime tee? Throw it out or give it to your teenage niece!

Maggie Cheung
Maggie Cheung | Source

Dressing Your Age - 40s

  • Get serious but don't be square. Your 40s is the time to start accessorizing your wardrobe with refined clothing. Look for items that has a sophisticated and high-quality air. That doesn't mean you should get rid of all your skinny jeans or can't buy basic tees anymore, though. If you can still fit into your tiny jeans after 40, you should wear them proudly. Those tight-fitting jeans can look very classy and appropriate for your age if worn with a no-nonsense blazer or a chic turtleneck. Same story with basic tees. It's not that you can't wear them anymore; it depends on what you pair them with.
  • Wearing a form-fitting outfit is okay, but try to refrain from putting on something too revealing. Generally speaking, most women in their 40s look better in skirts and dresses that are at least about knee-length. It's not that you should shun away from any clothing that has sex appeal. You can absolutely still be sexy in your 40s, but you just have to be more subtle about it. Instead of a super short skirt, wear a curve-hugging knee-length skirt with interesting details. And instead of a low-cut top that draws attention to your cleavage, maybe you should opt for a refined lace blouse with subtle sheerness in the back or mid-riff area. Look at Maggie Cheung in the above picture, for example. That is age-appropriately sexy!

Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone | Source

Dressing Your Age - 50s

  • Now, let there be no sugar coating: once you hit 50, you officially are getting old. Yes, lots and lots of women in their 50s still look incredibly beautiful, but it's not the same fresh and tantalizing beauty that youth offers. What you have cultivated throughout the years, however, are maturity, confidence and wisdom. These are in fact a lot more valuable than physical beauty. So it might be best to celebrate your 50s by embracing and exhibiting these qualities in your fashion style. Aim for mature elegance and a smart look. Plus, whatever you wear should represent you fully and genuinely. This is not the time to chase after fashion trends anymore.
  • Go with either dark or soft colors. Avoid something too bright and attention-seeking. If you happen to adore shocking pink or yellow, you may use these shades in your accessories but don't make them the main colors of your outfit. Instead of depending on a daring color scheme, you should try to create a stylish look with complex cuts or sophisticated details, such as a ruffle-front blouse, a button-down shirt with a scarf tie, or a full skirt with an intricate lace trim. Sharon Stone in the above photo, for instance, is dressed in black from neck to toe, but her look is by no means boring. Like I said earlier, it is very possible to dress appropriately in your 50s and still be a rock chick.

Dressing Your Age - Over 60

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep | Source
  • Unless you have the same fashion attitude as Betsey Johnson's, you would probably agree that once you turn 60, it is the time to get more conservative in terms of fashion. And once again, I'd like to emphasize that it's possible to take a more traditional route without appearing nondescript. Regardless of what your style is, adapt it to be a little more classic and elegant, yet still distinguishably yours.
  • For women over 60, jackets and coats should be the centerpiece, so look for something maturely graceful and can stylishly go with most of your outfits. As for blazers, they shouldn't be either too form-fitting or slouchy, but comfortable and well-defined at the waist.
  • Classic trousers, long A-line skirts, voluminous blouses, well-constructed jackets, shirt dresses and coat dresses should dominate your closet. Stick to subdued shades but don't be afraid to throw in some eye-catching accessories. Let your clothing be a bit understated but compensate it with intriguing jewelry, scarves, shoes, or purses that reflect who you are.

Questions & Answers

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    • abrodech profile image

      Anya Brodech 

      5 years ago from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607

      I agree with the 20's section (I'm 22) and anything goes! ;)

      Do what you can before you have to worry about embarrassing your children/husband lol

    • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      @Vishaka Bajaj - You're very welcome. Thanks for your kind comment.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      @KrisL - Thanks a lot for your kind words, KrisL. I think some bright colors are more okay than the others for 50-something women to wear. The colors you mentioned are all okay; they might be bright but not too attention-seeking. Also, the fact that you look good in them is another great reason to wear them! What I think might be a little inappropriate for your age group, though, are neon green, super bright orange or anything that would be considered "flashy."

    • KrisL profile image

      KrisL 

      5 years ago from S. Florida

      Hi Om - I agree with the person who said this could have appeared in a magazine - in fact, I've seen less sensible advice in women's magazines.

      Your photos are also really well chosen to illustrate your points.

      I'm in my 50s, and agree with your advice, except for the bright colors . . . while I don't wear day glo shades, I'm still very fond of red, purple or bright rose for shirts or sweaters . . . and I think I look good in them.

      Hub shared with my followers (and by the way, thanks for following me).

    • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      @DeBorrah K Ogans - I'm glad you enjoyed this article, DeBorrah. I agree when women feel great about what they wear, it boosts their confidence and accordingly makes them more attractive. Also, I like your advice for married peeps! Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing your thoughts on this.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      5 years ago

      Om Paramapoonya, This hub is marvelous! You have given some excellent guidelines. I have always enjoyed quality yet practical fashion. I am somewhat conservative and luv the classic styles... Sheaths, shirtwaist, slacks & blazers never really go out of style... I was always taught not to dress to impress but that it is another way to express yourself artistically... Dressing appropriately for the activity or occasion is a plus!

      I think it is important for a woman to feel good about herself in whatever she wears even if it is casual or just laid back at home... One suggestion if you are married don't just dress up when you are going out.. Allow your spouse to see you refreshed and neat (even if it is in a Tee shirt) more than not; this lets them know that you don't just take them for granted...

      Thank you for sharing, again this was an enjoyable read! Peace & Blessings! VOTED UP!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      @jewel01 - you're very welcome! I'm glad you found these fashion tips helpful. And yes, I know body changes can be absolutely frustrating. Having to adapt your wardrobe isn't always an easy task. But hey, it can be fun!

    • Jewel01 profile image

      Julie Buchanan 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for the info, I recently arrived at my 50's and have wondered what to do. The shape my body used to have is changing on a regular basis, sometimes not to my liking. I appreciate your help.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      @moonlake - Jeans are fine! You just have to pick the right style for your age and body type, and complement them with a nice top and accessories. Just because you like to wear jeans doesn't mean you can't be stylish :)

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      I can't get rid of my jeans. I wear them everyday. I own a few dress pants but only wear them if I have to. Around the house I wear sweatpants. I guess I'm not very stylish. Voted up on your hub.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      @krsharp - Haha I'd be happy to be your personal stylist! There's nothing wrong with jeans and tees. If that works for you, then it's all good. :)

      @Melissajplum - Thanks a lot :)

    • profile image

      Melissa Plumley 

      5 years ago from West Virginia

      Love this hub! Great advice!

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Om, I still think you should be my personal stylist! I definitely don't dress my age but my closet is suffering on behalf of a cheapskate owner. I seriously only buy outfits for holidays. The rest of the year I wear jeans and t-shirts because I coach gymnastics. Thank goodness I married a simple man. :) Love this hub! -K

    • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      @anglnwu - Totally agree. No matter how old we are, it's important to wear our clothes with confidence!

      @rebeccamealey - Thanks! Glad you enjoyed reading this. I think jeans and sweats can be appropriate for any age group; you just have to choose the right styles.

      @Lauhulu - Thanks for your feedback, Lauhulu! Glad to hear you like these fashion tips :)

      @leahlefler - Oh yeah, if you make it all the way to your 90s, appropriateness is probably not a big deal anymore! LOL

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      I love it - particularly the bit about giving the Japanese anime t-shirts to your teenage niece, haha! Great advice, though I think I might wear something really crazy if I hit the age of 90. I think if you're 90 years old, anything goes.

    • Lauhulu profile image

      Lauhulu 

      5 years ago from Hawaii, United States

      Good article! I like the guidelines...being that I am in my 40s and love clothes more now than ever. I live in the country but always want to feel prepared for the city (and look professional and age appropriate)!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I mostly hang out in jeans and sweats or shorts. I like the way you have distinguished these styles for women's fashions though.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 

      5 years ago

      Well, you just about covered every age group. It's good to know that you can look your best, no matter what age. I think confidence plays a great part in pulling any ensemble off. Great hub and shared.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      @lindacee - Thanks for your feedback, Linda! I agree that sticking to classic designs and colors makes it a lot easier to manage your wardrobe. Items like basic blazers and form-flattering shirt dresses, for instance, are appropriate for many occasions and never out of style.

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      Great fashion tips for any age, Om! I really enjoyed reading this Hub. It could easily be found on the pages of any well-respected fashion magazine! Now that I'm in my 50s, I definitely steer clear of "out there" fashion trends and find myself sticking to classic silhouettes and colors. That serves a dual purpose -- I always look pulled together and age appropriate and I don't have to go out and revamp my wardrobe each season! Voted up and way useful!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile imageAUTHOR

      Om Paramapoonya 

      6 years ago

      @Cathy Fidelibus - LOL then I'll never ask! :)

      @carol7777 - You looked young in your 40s? Lucky you! I think it's kind of fun to fool people about our age sometimes.

      @watergeek - Glad you found these tips helpful, watergeek! Hope you have lots of fun revamping your wardrobe!

      @Dolores Monet - Yeah, my mom is pretty much like you. I don't think it is bad to be quirky and to not care much about wearing age-appropriate outfits. Everybody is different. Some people think they should dress their age, but many others prefer wearing whatever they fancy. And it's good either way.

      @randomcreative - Thanks, Rose. Glad you like these tips.

      @Cassylu - Haha that's ok. Not sure how old you are but you still look young, so have fun with your wardrobe. No need to think about all the age-appropriate fashion rules yet!

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 

      6 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Excellent advice! I try to dress my age but I sometimes it just doesn't work out that way LOL Saving this hub for later use :) Shared and Voted up!!!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Awesome, versatile tips for many kinds of women! It's so important to dress your age.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Voted up for a great hub. But...after turning 60, I decided to throw conservative dressing out the window. Who am I trying to impress? Of course, I'd never wear short skirts or stilleto heels (should never wear shoes that you can't spell). I feel like an older woman who has arrived, wherever that may be, can do things like wearing sweaters that don't match a dress, wear Bohemian or ethnic clothing, can kick back and have fun.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 

      6 years ago from Pasadena CA

      At 62 my figure is still good and I'm revamping my wardrobe - making things and even designing a few. But I still have this hangup about what's age appropriate. This article is helpful for that - I've already spent the last 15 minutes gazing at my fabrics and thinking about it. Thanks for a well written piece, Om.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I love the way your wrote this hub..Have to admit in my 40s I dressed pretty wild. I was very thin and looked really young. Today as it be where I live I mostly wear jeans and warm ups. And as the body changes sometimes best covered a bit more.

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 

      6 years ago from NJ

      Interesting hub. I just found out I don't dress my age. What is my age? I'll never tell :o)

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