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How to Be Fashionable After 70

There is no rule you must hang up your style chops on your 70th birthday. It doesn’t matter how many grandkids you have or how long you’ve been collecting Social Security, your style can still shine bright.

Granted, staying stylish becomes more challenging as we get older. The clothes don’t fit as well, our bodies change in shape, and we demand easier, more comfortable pieces that don’t require masterful fine motor skills to put on.

Note: This post contains AI-generated images. See AI policy.

Older woman wearing stylish green jacket with jeans.
Source: AI created by DALL-E.

These challenges may prompt some older women to give in to wearing shapeless and bulky pieces, outdated sweaters, and dresses that cover up more than they show off. But you don’t have to play that part. At any age, you can be polished, classy, and gorgeous by following two simple fashion tips:

  1. Always strive for balance. Pair a tight garment with a loose one or a bright piece with a neutral one.
  2. Use structure to create the shape you want. Don’t like your shoulders? Wear crisp blazers. Can’t find your waist anymore? Belts are your best friend.

Sounds easy, right? Read on to learn the specifics of working these two style rules into your daily rotation.

Finding your fit

Back in the day, you may have had preferred styles that fit you well. But your shape may have shrunk or softened somewhat, so that your old favorites don’t work as well. If that’s the case, it’s time to go shopping — in real stores, with dressing rooms.

Grab a friend, head to the mall, and start trying on everything. Your goal is to find a pants style, top style, and dress style you love. Once you find those styles, invest in them. Opt for neutral tones so you can mix-and-match and get the most out of your new pieces.

Follow the tips below to stay organized in your search. You may also want to see our over-70, plus-size fashion tips.

Be prepared to take notes and photos

You don’t want to start from scratch every time you shop. Be ready to jot down fabrics, brands, and silhouettes you like.

Start with reliable shapes and styles

Fashionable older woman wearing blouse, blazer, and twill pants.
Source: AI created by DALL-E.

Everyone’s body is different, but there are some styles and shapes that are flattering on most. Start your fit search with these reliable shapes:

  1. Straight-leg, ankle-length pants
  2. A-line skirts
  3. Shift dresses
  4. Structured layers like blazers and moto jackets
  5. Peplum tops
  6. Surplice and faux wrap tops
  7. Lightweight button-down tops

The top five items on this list are structured pieces that can create a flattering shape. Straight-leg pants and shift dresses define a balanced bottom half. Blazers and motos establish a crisp upper body. And a-lines and peplum tops encourage the appearance of hourglass proportions. These pieces work best in stiffer fabrics, like denim, cotton twill, linen, and poplin.

Surplice, faux wrap, and button-down tops can provide the perfect flowy counterpart to a stiffer bottoms. Look for these shapes in lighter-weight fabrics like viscose or rayon, silk charmeuse, or modal.

Try on whole outfits

Stylish older woman wearing shift dress and neck scarf.
Source: AI created by DALL-E.

When possible, try on whole outfits, such as:

  1. Straight-leg twill pants with a rayon blouse, leather belt, and blazer
  2. Neutral shift dress with a colorful neck scarf
  3. V-neck surplice top with tidy jeans

An ensemble gives you a better sense of the role each piece could play in your wardrobe.

Talk to a tailor

If you spend hours in the dressing room and still can’t find a flattering fit, talk to a tailor. A quality tailor can turn a garment from drab to fab with a nip and a tuck.

Rethink your undies

Sometimes fit problems are rooted in the foundations you’re wearing. A bra that fits and panties that don’t pinch can do wonders for your silhouette and your confidence. Opt for t-shirt bras and seamless panties that look smooth under your clothes.

Addressing wear-ability and convenience

Your standards for wear-ability and convenience may be stricter than they used to be. Mine certainly are. I’m over the idea of cute shoes that destroy my feet, for example. Follow these guidelines to find clothes that you can put on and wear comfortably and stylishly:

  • Inspect closures before you buy. Steer clear of tiny buttons and intricate closures. They’re too much of a hassle.
  • Never force the fit. Move around in a garment before you buy. Stand up, sit down, do a few squats. Make sure you can exist comfortably in that piece. If not, try a different size or get it tailored.
  • Hide the elastic waist. Bottoms with elastic waists are convenient, but tend to be frumpy. If waist fit is an issue for you, look for bottoms that have partial elastic — only in the back — plus belt loops. Pop a belt on and no one will be the wiser about the elastic.  
  • Wear mules, block heels with stretchy straps, and fashion sneakers. These styles are generally comfortable and more stylish than, say, sneakers with Velcro straps.

Using color and accessories

Color and accessories are resources to help you express your unique tastes. Just know that you don’t need to make big statements — small ones are often more alluring. Examples include:

  • A fun scarf paired with an otherwise neutral outfit
  • A colorful earring when you’re wearing no other jewelry
  • A bright belt with an all-gray outfit  
  • A bold handbag teamed with jeans, t-shirt, and blazer
  • A Kelly green top with bone-colored bottoms  

Note the balance here. Match your bolder pieces with subtler ones to avoid any garishness.

Also, it’s smart to use caution with bold makeup and nail colors. These can easily create too much contrast with your skin tone, potentially giving you a washed-out look.

Loving your whole look

Stylish older woman wearing jeans, blouse and mules.
Source: AI created by DALL-E.

If you’re struggling to put together outfits you love, the problem may not be the clothes. You could be feeling ho-hum about your whole look — which is only partly related to the garments you wear. The fix might be a new hair style or beauty routine.

Hair over 70

Older hair presents some interesting challenges. Maybe yours is thin or you don’t love the color. But you know what? A good stylist can work with those challenges to create a style that suits you. See this gallery of short hair styles for women over 70 for inspiration. The same website, Inspiring Hairstyles has a range of other interesting hairstyle collections.

Makeup over 70

I see many mature women doing too much with their makeup. Know that you don’t need to cover your face — it’s better to accentuate it. You can do that with:

  • A light, hydrating foundation that provides sheer or sheer-plus coverage
  • A bit of loose powder to set
  • A soft eyebrow powder to fill in the sparse areas
  • Light cheek tint that adds a flush of natural-looking color — but no more than that
  • A hydrating lip color or gloss and clear liner to keep the color from bleeding

If you’re not comfortable picking these products out for yourself, head to Sephora or Ulta and ask for help.

Be your best after 70

There’s no age limit on loving your look, ladies. I hope you’re feeling inspired to build a wardrobe that leans on balance and structure. Find the fits you love, wear fabrics that flatter, and use colors and accessories for flair that’s uniquely you. A new hair style and makeup palette could be final two pieces to your new, head-turning look.