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3 Ways to Add Red to Your Outfits as a Mature Woman – from the Bold to the Subtle

By Stephen Hadley February 11, 2023 Makeup and Fashion

“I want to wear red, but it scares me to stand out!”

I’ve been designing clothing for women – specifically in plus sizes – for decades. And this common refrain about wearing red is something I’ve heard time and time again.

As you get older and your personal style begins to change, you may find that you’re less ambitious when it comes to fashion. You want to look your best – beautiful, elegant, sexy – but perhaps in a more subdued way.

That isn’t the case for everyone. If you’re a bold and gorgeous woman over 50 who wants to show off vivacious colors in your wardrobe, more power to you!

So instead of shying away from adding red to your outfits, learn to make this beautiful color work for you. It can enhance your personal style – whether that’s strong and bold or delicate and subtle.

Go Bold with a Crimson Red Tunic

A strong red color – like crimson – pairs great with basic black. Keep everything else about your outfit simple and let one piece in a powerful red tone do all the talking.

A great way to do that is with a crimson red tunic. A subtle print over the deep red will add a softer touch to the outfit without cutting down on the bold color.

Pair your standout red piece with subtle jewelry for an outfit that looks great anywhere. Dress up your tunic with fine metal jewelry. Or keep it fun and casual with chunky accessories that either match the red of your tunic or complement the black in your outfit.

Going bold with red is not always easy for plus size women who have been made to feel like they should disappear behind their outfits. No way! If you adore this color, show it off! You’ll love the confidence boost you get from looking your best in beautiful, bold red.

Step Up a Simple Outfit with Red Accessories

Not ready to make a bold red color the centerpiece of your outfit? No problem. You can keep your outfit simple – in neutral colors – but step up the interest with red accessories.

If you’re keeping it casual, chunky red jewelry is the way to go. You can choose a simple beaded design with matching earrings, necklace, and bracelets.

To add some more visual appeal, look for creative geometric designs. Or mix and match the shapes and sizes of your necklaces and bracelets. A little variety – plus a beautiful shade of red – will take your outfit from simple to stunning.

Keep It Subtle with a Softer Red

Crimson red is not your only option. There are lots of beautiful shades of red that are subtler, but no less flattering or appealing. If going bold is not your preference, choose a more delicate red to enhance your wardrobe.

One nice way to achieve this look is with a dressy burgundy cardigan. It can be worn over a black top and bottom to create an interesting color combination that doesn’t leap out like more attention-getting hues.

Look for an item that mixes a variety of shades of red and perhaps a simple pattern to keep the color understated but still impressive.

Burgundy is an excellent choice for formal wear. But there are many other subtle, soft reds that work in both dressy and casual outfits. Try a pastel red with white neutrals for a fresh vibe. Or tea rose red that’s light while still offering a beautiful red tone.

Adding more red to your outfits is a great way to mix up your style and introduce a gorgeous color palette. But don’t feel pressured to go too bold or too subtle. Use these tips to create a look that’s perfect for you – with a combination of colors that complements your personal look.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Which shade of red is your favorite? How do you wear it? Has anyone tried to hint at you not to include it in your wardrobe? Does red make you feel bold and beautiful? Please share your thoughts below.

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B L Wenger

Great options!


When a group of friends and I had our colors done years ago, burgundy was the one color that worked for every season. I do, however, have a couple of red tops that are more vibrant than burgundy that I enjoy wearing even though they’re technically not in my “palette”!


Hi, not for me never have liked the colour red.So will never wear it.
Even when younger l was never drawn to it not keen cerise pinks either,same family.

Linda Elliott

Red lipstick is another way of wearing red.


I LOVE WEARING red lipstick. Makes me feel pretty, powerful and full of vitality. I wear “Revlon Red” which I buy at CVS — it’s reasonably priced! I use “Revlon ColorStay” and it really does stay put!

Ana Milian

Thank you so much Stephen. I am plus size, but always have loved the colored red. Wear red but usually for the holidays only. You have given me great tips to wear more red.

The Author

Stephen Hadley, founder of Generous Fashions, has been exclusively creating plus size clothing for women (XL to 4X) since 2002. He designs fabric and garments for and his Etsy shop, which offers Sixty and Me readers a 10% discount here Sign up for the Generous Fashions newsletter for new arrivals and member discounts.

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