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Are Your Clothes Enhancing or Impairing Your Lifestyle After 60?

By Dami Roelse July 13, 2023 Makeup and Fashion

Magazines are full of articles about fashion for women over 50. Some give good advice, others not so much.

I want to talk about fashion that enhances our lifestyle. Is your lifestyle healthy with lots of movement? Do you enjoy hobbies that dirty your clothes? Are you attending small group events? Do you travel or like relaxing at home?

These activities require different clothes that offer comfort, ease and style. Not style dictated by fashion magazines, but a style that expresses your uniqueness.

Shoes

Remember the heels you wore in your teens? My stilettos had very pointy tips which squeezed my toes together for the duration of a night on the dance floor or an afternoon going shopping.

The bunion and hammer toe that adorn my feet now make me cringe how shoe fashion in my younger years affected my feet.

Luckily, fashion changed, and in my early 20s, when the counterculture was in full bloom, I wore wide toe box, flat Mary-Janes, followed by Birkenstocks and sneakers.

I thank that fashion era for saving my feet so I can hike and walk at my current age. Professional life did put its constraints on my shoe wear, but I managed with a minimal heel and a roomy enough toe box.

With age my foot has expanded, and I buy a larger size that accommodates my foot changes. I walk and hike many miles each year, and I won’t let ‘fashionable’ shoes impair my active lifestyle.

The shoe market now carries at least a few pairs that match comfort and style for the dress-up occasions that happen less and less in my life.

Dresses and Skirts

I recently did a purge of my closets. I looked at my dresses, reminisced over the graduations and weddings of my children when I wore them, and tossed them.

I looked at the jackets and blouses I wore to the office and kept only my top two favorites. They were made from a knit material that moves with my body, which doesn’t crumple when I stuff it in the overhead compartment in the plane. They give me European travel style when I combine it with a scarf and a decent looking pair of slacks.

Skirts are out, and shorts serve me fine in hot weather. Comfort, style and travel worthiness are my criteria for the clothes that make it in my shopping bag.

Blouses

Blouses are still in my closet, and I follow the yearly design changes that make for an attractive fit. Out are the straight boxy style that hang off my shoulders and need constant pulling to stay put. Out are the flowery kind that make me look like an old lady – patterns do matter!

Out are the sequined, glittery ones for sparkling in low light. Those late-night escapades are over, and I’m in bed early every night.

In are the fitted dress shirts with stretch to accommodate my still muscular arms and shoulders, which are stylish enough to wear when I speak to a group or any other slightly official event.

In got the SPF40 sun protective shirts with side ventilation and a long tail to accommodate a backpack. Short-sleeved shirts have had to undergo the same scrutiny. Does the material wick? Does it enhance my sagging shapes, hide my curving spine?

Pants

At first sight, pants hanging in my closet all look the same. Conservative fit, not too tight, not too loose. Jeans and jeans-like cut. A variety of colors to match shirts and sweaters. A few slacks have more drape, are made of a finer material. I haven’t worn them in the years since I retired.

I switch between loose yoga pants for morning writing and home-office work, and a pair of jeans for working in the garden.

I keep an array of hiking pants, light or heavier depending on the weather. Some of them work for dining out on my travels. I have an array of tights for my work-outs in the gym, on the water and in my exercise room at home.

For style, I have a pair of moderate skinny jeans that tuck in a cute pair of slip-on boots and with a good-looking tunic or shirt make an attractive outfit. This is the style I now consider more practical.

I’m a walker and a backpack is my go-to carrying device. I need my pants to have a pocket that holds my phone securely and keeps it accessible.

I want to live long and be healthy, so I need clothes that serve that purpose. I still enjoy compliments on my looks. I will consider the latest fashion when I buy a new piece, but only after the live-long, be healthy, and comfort criteria have been met.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What are your criteria for life-enhancing clothing? Do you follow fashion trends, or do you prefer to be your own style guide? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Linda

I was in my 20s back in the 80s so did the whole big hair, big shoulders, big statement jewellery thing. I was also very slim, sadly not so much now I’m in my early 60s. My 80s clothes are long gone, but I kept some of the interesting jewellery pieces and still wear them.

I now try to buy separates that can be worn more than one way – for instance a decent stretch yoga pant with a small flare and a sheen to the fabric can be worn in the day with a t-shirt, but can double for evening with a smarter top and some nice statement costume jewellery. This is especially good if you’re travelling light on holiday, I try to travel with hand luggage only.

I tend to now live in trainers, sneakers and other flats as I too have bunions (although in my case hereditary, passed from mother to daughter). However today’s versions are often very fab and glitzy, I recently bought a Skechers pair in a sparkly pale blue, fun with jeans or lightweight cargos in summer.

Worst case scenario for me would be a wardrobe full of beige and drab colours, why do people go down that route as they age? I want to look bright and cheerful, not invisible!

Nancy

Purging the closet is a welcome activity, however, I believe we can also give a nod to the environment and recycle some choice pieces but renovating them. I recently removed the top from a dress (too large) and kept the skirt portion which is now a stand alone skirt. I had one of those dresses we all have, worn once to a wedding but very nice and long – now it is cocktail length and will get a new life.

I must also recommend the best pant I have found in years, the Sketchers Go Walking pant has a boot cut, the stretch of a yoga pant but the look of a pant you can wear any place. There is the long side pocket and even a butt pocket. Now the best thing is these pants make you look great. I am totally in love with them – AND I have no affiliation with the product but just am a careful consumer.

Linda

I am also a fan of adapting things, even just changing the buttons on a garment like a favourite jacket or adding a new trim to something can give it a whole new look.

Anything I no longer wish to wear that’s in very good and clean condition is donated to my local Red Cross shop. As well as selling things, they donate bundles of clothing for free to very needy people who have very little. I like to think there is someone out there who has a little joy in their life through an item of my unwanted clothing.

Things that are beyond wear are taken to a local textile recycling bin for processing into new fabrics or industrial cleaning rags.

Jena

Yes it’s best to take to a charity shop so to recycle.

The Author

Dami Roelse encourages her clients to live life with engagement. She blogs and coaches women 50+ to walk, hike and backpack. Her second book, Walking Gone Wild: How to Lose your Age on the Trail, was published in May 2018. You can find out more about Dami at Transformation Travel http://www.transformation-travel.com

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