Let’s talk about fashion for women over 60. One of the biggest myths about older women is that we are no longer interested in looking stylish.
There is a big misconception in our culture that women over 60 are invisible, frumpy, and uninterested in sensuality and beauty – that we’re all matronly and sexless and no longer part of the world of fashion, art, and creative life force.
And yet, so many of the most fashionable people I know are women over 60! Women over 60 are often more fashionable than we used to be when we were younger, because we have better self-confidence and a stronger sense of self – we know how to dress to show who we are.
When it comes to fashion for women over 60 here are a few things to consider:
There is a popular TV show in America (based on a British show of the same name) called What Not to Wear. It’s hosted by fashion experts, who, in each episode, do a makeover of a person who is making horrible choices about their personal style and wardrobe.
One of the interesting truths this show reveals about the participants, especially women, is that many women try to dress “younger” than they actually are – but this is a mistake.
When people try to dress in styles that would be more appropriate for someone much younger, they paradoxically make themselves look much older.
If you are wearing short skirts or high heels or gaudy fashions that might work on a woman half your age, chances are you are making yourself look “older” (in a bad way) than you actually are. The same goes for leggings, which, while comfortable, are one of the least flattering items of clothing that women over 60 can wear.
If you “dress age appropriately,” it often has the effect of making you look younger – because people are not distracted by age-inappropriate clothing, and instead can appreciate what great shape you’re in, or how healthy your skin is, or what a stylish haircut you have.
In this video, we look at how to get a creative and casual look after 60.
One of the advantages of being women over 60 is that “we’ve seen it all” – we’ve been through every kind of fashion fad and short-lived trend imaginable during our lives.
Now that we’re in our 60s (and beyond), we have the simple elegance and freedom that comes from being able to choose the classic styles that truly endure and work for us at any age.
Don’t feel like you have to succumb to the latest fashion trend. After all, most “trends” are designed with younger audiences in mind. If something looks silly to you, feel free to say so.
You will look more stylish if you focus on technical dressing rather than going for the “total look” that you see in your favorite fashion magazine. This is one of the biggest keys to mastering fashion for women over 60.
There are many ways to convey style and health and status other than clothes – and sometimes you will exude more confidence and class if your clothing choices are more conservative and “classic.”
Here’s a quick fashion for women over 60 tutorial on how to pick the best accessories.
There’s an old saying in the career world, “dress for the job you want.” This means that in the workplace, it helps to dress in a way that commands respect and conveys credibility, so that you will be a natural choice for promotion. But choosing classic styles doesn’t mean you only have to dress conservatively.
When discussing fashion for women over 60, there is a related idea: dress for the role in life that you want to have. Do you consider yourself an adventurous spirit? Do you love to travel? Choose accessories or complementary pieces from other cultures in countries you’ve visited.
If you love outdoor sports and activities, find a way for your wardrobe to reflect these interests – it doesn’t mean your fashion choices have to be “all sports, all the time,” but it’s possible to dress “sporty” while still being stylish.
One of the great things about being women over 60 today is that we have more fashion role models than ever before. Women over 60 are still too often marginalized and made invisible by the media and by our culture, but there are some prominent women over 60 who are fashion icons.
For example, Tina Turner has been a style icon not only for our generation, and she still looks healthy, beautiful, and fashionable at age 80 (in fact, back in 2013 Tina Turner got remarried – to a man 16 years her junior).
Priscilla Presley (75) is another style icon with a fashion sense worth considering. As a businesswoman and actress, she has retained her health and beauty beyond what most people imagine.
A word of warning: never forget that celebrities are often asked to wear outfits, not because the clothes suit them, but because advertisers and sponsors want to make a statement. So, enjoy watching the “stars,” but always evaluate their outfits by the rules of technical dressing.
Here are a few of the many older women that I find inspiring:
Women over 60 are reinventing the world in many ways. We are often embarking on new careers (either in retirement or semi-retirement), we are caring for family members, we are creating new concepts of what it means to be “older adults.”
Part of this reinvention relates to fashion. After all, fashion is a process of constant reinvention – finding ideas that work, recombining them in new ways, updating a classic style with modern touches.
Perhaps soon the fashion industry will start to cater more to women over 60 – after all, fashion is not just for 22-year-old models on fashion show runways. And women over 60 tend to have more disposable income than young people. Does this sound like a business opportunity to anyone?
Sandra Roussy, a Sixty and Me fashion and beauty contributor, put together a few outfits that she feels are ideal for women over 60, and I thought I’d share them with you.
Fun printed dresses that are not too loud (and not too boring) are perfect for summer days and long summer nights. Accessorize as much or as little as you want. This refreshing, tea-length, asymmetrical dress from BCBG fits any body type and looks great paired with a cardigan or a short jacket.
Classic black and white never gets old. A pair of well-fitting black trousers and a white top are a must in every woman’s closet. Accessorize with refined silver jewelry to keep your look monochrome and elegant.
Natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and cashmere feel comfortable and are simply better for the skin. A pair of white linen pants is easy to mix and match with colored or printed tops. A staple in my wardrobe! Love that versatile cashmere wrap.
We’re never too old to wear denim. Make sure that you choose straight-leg and high waisted jeans for a good fit. For a more put-together look, we can skip the trendy holes and worn-out looks that younger people wear.
Go for the clean, darker shades of jeans because they tend to look better on mature women. Also, look for jeans that specialize in tummy control. Pair them with a white ballerina shoe and a printed top and you’re ready to go.
We all need a little black dress in our wardrobe that we can dress up or dress down for every occasion. Choose a dress that is knee-length or mid-calf (tea-length) and is also classic and structured. You can keep your little black dress for years and dress it up with your latest accessories to give it a different look every time.
We are over 60 and should definitely not shy away from the beach or the pool. One-piece swimsuits are excellent for our over 60 bodies (and are making a trendy comeback). Look for swimsuits that provide support and coverage.
Jumpsuits are very trendy and are not limited to younger women. This jumpsuit can be dressed down or dressed up to take you from day to night in no time. The cute little silk scarf can be tied around your neck or on your purse handle for a splash of color.
Finally, I’d like to close with a fashion for women over 60 video that Melanie and I recorded. In it, Melanie helps me to get a professional look.
What is your definition of fashion for women over 60? Who is the most fashionable woman you know – whether it’s a celebrity or friend – and what do you like about her sense of style? Let’s have a chat!