Dressing when you are over 50 does not mean giving up your personal style. Women and men of all ages should be encouraged to dress in a way that makes them feel confident. However, for many people, turning 50 brings some changes in body shape and appearance that may make buying clothes feel challenging, especially when society encourages us to maintain a youthful appearance. You may be afraid of choosing clothes that make you look older than you are, but some styles that may seem youthful can accentuate your age. We encourage everyone to embrace their age, but we also understand the desire to maintain a youthful appearance.

Jeans from another decade

If you're old enough to have worn ripped-up mom jeans the first time they were in style, you're too old to be wearing them this time around. Forego the holey, super high-waisted, acid-washed jeans in favor of a more conservative, classic look. Everything you wore in high school will come back in style eventually, but you don't want to look like you've been wearing the same clothes all along.

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Neutral colors

By the time they reach 50, most women know what colors look good on them. Avoid neutral colors that make you appear washed out and dated. There's a wide range of clothing available in neutral shades, and some may be flattering to your eyes or skin tone. You can test a color by holding it up against your face. If your skin looks sallow or gray, or your eyes fade instead of popping, move on to another color.

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Crop tops

When you were a teenager, crop tops were probably a fashion statement. When you're 50, not so much. Just because you see older Hollywood celebs wearing them doesn't mean it's the right fashion statement for you. If your heart is set on showing off a little peek of that flat and fabulous midriff you've been working so hard to achieve, you'll find an array of less-revealing, classy crop top styles on the market.

Young woman wearing pink summer crop top and crystal necklaces at the beach on sunny day


Wild hair color

Candy-colored locks are a fun way to add bright flair to your personal style. If you are not ready to give in to nature’s gray, the right hair color can look fresh, healthy, and even youthful. However, much like with natural hair colors, a bright hue can look unflattering if it doesn't work with your skin tone. Work with your hairstylist to determine the right color for you.

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Hot pants

Four decades ago, a respected fashion magazine featured a pair of super-short shorts constructed of unique materials like satin and velvet. It didn't take long for the trend to become mainstream, but their popularity waned after the adult film industry featured them prominently. If you're over 50, and you're not a cheerleader or a dancer, chances are, hot pants are not something you should be wearing.

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Peasant skirts

They're comfortable, colorful, and feminine and give off a Boho vibe, but it's hard to find a peasant skirt that fits well and doesn't detract from your appearance. This fashion trend emerged in the 1970s and has held on for decades. For older women, this type of skirt tends to increase the frumpiness factor. If you're trying to hide your shape behind the tiers, beware. A peasant skirt adds extra weight around your hips and midriff and can make you look shorter if it's the wrong length.

A mature woman holds up a dress while shopping. Jonathan Kirn / Getty Images


Wireframe glasses

Wireframe and frameless glasses tend to add years to the face. Thick, bold frames in a dark color result in a cutting edge, more youthful appearance. Black frames are considered the "little black dress" of eyewear that pair well with any outfit. However, acetate frames come in a variety of styles and colors, making it easy to select frames that accentuate your features and fit your style.

Woman in wireframe glasses. PeopleImages / Getty Images


Track pants

Tracksuits made their way to the top of sports fashion in the 1960s. By the 1970s, they became culturally relevant, and they lasted well in the 2000s before fading away. Track pants have stuck around, making a transition into ladies' trouser fashion. The problem is that this type of trouser commits an alarming number of fashion faux pas, especially when older women wear them. They're often too tight, they're usually the wrong length, and they can give off a "long bottom" appearance to your behind, which is most unflattering.

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Massive makeup

Makeup is a great tool for personal expression. Some prefer bold, theatrical makeup and consider makeup as an art form. However, if what you want out of your makeup is to enhance your facial features and reduce the signs of aging, minimal makeup is usually best. Too much makeup can make wrinkles and pores seem more prominent. A light application of liquid foundation and natural-looking neutral lip color creates a more youthful appearance.

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Cowboy hats

If you're still sporting a cheaply made cowboy hat you wore to an outdoor concert in the 1990s, it's time to toss it. Cowboy hats are functional headwear for people who work with livestock or under a hot sun all day. As a fashion statement, they may look cute on 20-somethings, but on an older woman, cowboy hats look like they're trying too hard to hang their carefree, bygone days.

A beautiful mature woman in her 40s with a cowboy hat and flawless complexion. JenniferPhotographyImaging / Getty Images


Sports shoes when you're not sporting

Suits and sneakers don't mix once you get past a certain age, and neither do skirts and athletic shoes. Have you ever seen those women downtown, briskly walking in skirts and tennis shoes on their lunch break? Unless you're under 30 and doing a power walk around an office building with your arms swinging in an exaggerated motion, wearing a skirt or dress with tennis shoes can make you look like a bag lady. The only thing missing is a shopping cart loaded down with all of your worldly possessions.

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Gladiator sandals

Few footwear fashions make a statement as strongly as gladiator sandals do, but women over 50 should take a hard pass on them. Even if you have the loveliest legs in the world, gladiator sandals look best with very short skirts or even shorter shorts, which older women should also avoid. They're age-appropriate for your 20s and 30s, not your 50s.

A model walks the runway in a design by Tacoola during the Swim show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Resort 18 Collections at Carriageworks on May 17, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. Zak Kaczmarek / Getty Images


Deep diving necklines

A tasteful open neckline or V-neck top is attractive and works for many women, but necklines that expose deep cleavage do not do much for mature women. The societal standard for revealing clothing dictates that older women should show as little skin as possible because skin showing signs of aging should be concealed. If you feel confident in your skin, however, wear a deep V with pride — go for bust and ignore this rather dated rule.

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Press-on nails

The original press-on nails are not the same easy-to-apply versions tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings are wearing today. Still, mix-and-match patterns, rhinestones, and neon colors may not be the look you want to portray in your 50s. Instead of enhancing your look, they can quickly cheapen it. Not all sets are of high quality. Plus, if you wear them too long, nail fungus can be a real problem. If you are a hardcore fan of press-ons, do it for special occasions, not everyday wear.

mannequin hands on display in a fingernail decorating shop, showing examples Owen Franken / Getty Images


Too much jewelry

Jewelry, like makeup, is designed to enhance the overall look, not detract from it. Excessive bling can appear tacky. A chunky and eye-catching necklace may bring unwanted attention to an aging neck or a chest with wrinkled skin. A few good quality but not necessarily expensive pieces look attractive, classy, and can add finesse to an outfit.

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Your ex's clothes

So, your ex left a super comfortable hoodie at your home when they moved out. Should you wear it? Everyone deals with the loss of a relationship in different ways. But wearing their clothes won't make you feel better. For women in their 20s, it's sort of an expected phase. Women over 50, through numerous trials and tribulations, have learned to be kinder to themselves. Toss the ex's clothes and allow yourself to move on.

Woman wearing hooded sweatshirt, closeup, autumn Jonathan Kirn / Getty Images


Thigh-high hemlines

A mini skirt or dress and a nice pair of legs go together like bread and butter, but after fifty, it might be a good idea to re-evaluate hemline length. Women can wear dresses and skirts that they feel comfortable in, but a short hemline doesn't necessarily give a more youthful look.

A woman in a mini-skirt Mlenny / Getty Images


Athletic wear outside of the gym

When you're over 50, there's no such thing as being overdressed. Gone are the days when you could show up somewhere in pajamas or sweats and be considered "cool." Yoga pants aren't very forgiving, and by the way, leggings are not pants!

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Bolero jackets

They've been around since the 1950s, and they don't appear to be going away anytime soon. Designers created bolero jackets to cover bare skin, usually over strapless dresses or those with shoestring straps. They're a bold fashion statement but work best on specific body types — tall, thin ones. Women over 50 who are self-conscious about their midline should avoid them. Boleros will make your waist appear shorter than it is and bring attention to the areas you aren't crazy about.

Studio shot of a mature woman isolated on white PeopleImages / Getty Images


Clothes with a sprayed-on look

Much like mini skirts, leggings and tight clothes may seem like they offer a younger appearance because they tend to be worn by younger people. However, tight clothes should not be chosen over well-fitting clothes. Choosing cuts that match your style but still feel comfortable can enhance your natural figure and make you feel good in your own skin.

Side view of an anonymous fit Caucasian woman doing a lunge on her gray yoga mat FreshSplash / Getty Images


Baggy clothes

Some looser-fitting styles can look trendy and chic, but baggy clothes can look ill-fitting and sloppy. Many people wear baggy clothes because they don't feel confident and want to hide their bodies. However, embracing your body type and learning to dress for it will enhance your best features and can offer a slimming appearance. There are many guides online offering tips on how to choose clothing for your body type.

Mature woman in hat relaxing in nature


Pastels are not your friend

When you're over 50, your cheeks lose their rosiness, and wearing pale pastel colors can wash you out even more. There's a reason pastel colors have names like baby pink and baby blue — those colors look good on babies. Mature adults should stick with black, tans, or bright, vivid colors instead of a more vibrant, youthful look.

stylish woman in white sweater and skirt in the modern house in sunny winter day holding huge pile of sweaters. CentralITAlliance / Getty Images


Frumpy fashion

Decades-old clothing can appear frumpy. Sometimes individuals become stuck in a clothing time warp, falling in love with a particular look or style. Pieces like classic blazers are timeless, but that 10-year old floral blouse or Hawaiian print shirt in your closet probably looks way out-of-date.

Woman shopping for vintage clothing pawel.gaul / Getty Images


Shoddy shoes

Old shoes may be comfortable and suitable for lounging around the house, but they detract from nice clothes. Scuffed shoes, frayed laces, nicked heels, and worn soles can ruin a perfectly good look. Sometimes all it takes is a little shoe polish and heel dressing to breathe life into a pair of shoes that have been around for a while. However, when shoes can’t be made to look better, it’s time to toss them for a better-looking pair.

A worn-out woman's boot ArminStautBerlin / Getty Images


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