How to Be Fashionable after 60

If you or someone you love is over 60, then please read this! This is the ultimate Budget Fashionista Guide for fashion for women over 60.

Just because you are of a certain age does not mean you can’t be stylish. Yes, our youth-obsessed culture will have you think that everyone over the age of 30 should either:

  1. Dress like Miley Cyrus OR
  2. Wear horrible mommy jeans and Christmas sweaters.

Yes, we know, many trends are geared for the younger generation. Example: very few people over the age of 14 can wear neon leggings. But it’s the seasoned fashionista who can exude real style, which is something very different from being ‘on-trend.’ If you’ve crossed the 60-year mark and still want to keep it poppin’, here are some tips on how to do it.

fashion after sixty - goldie hawn wearing gold, lowcut evening gown

Goldie Hawn keeps her look young and sexy, even in her 70s.

Fashion for Women over 60 : What to Do First

There are certain garments that will, more often than not, make you look frumpy dated. If you have these in your closet, toss them immediately:

  • Floor-length floral printed dresses
  • Muumuus (unless they are for lounging around the house)
  • Long (ankle length), unstructured, A-line skirts
  • Elastic-waisted pants that make everyone look like a balloon
  • Unstructured pants and suits
  • Large, oversized t-shirts
  • Khaki/mauve-colored grandma flats
  • Unstylish jumper-type dresses (usually made of khaki or jean material)
  • Sweaters with embroidery, appliques, etc. (especially Christmas sweaters)

Then start re-building your wardrobe. The easiest first step is to go the monochromatic route. This means wearing one simple color, like blue, red, green, black, white, khaki, at a time. Don’t worry about being boring — a monochromatic outfit is a slimming and classic look.

You can always experiment with textures of the same color if you need more interest. For inspiration, see our Pinterest board of exclusively monochrome outfits.

Clothes for Women over 60

Take a look at fabulous women over sixty like Susan Sarandon, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, and you will notice that they keep the patterns to a minimum, tending to focus more on wearing solid colors. That’s not to say you can’t wear patterns. But when you do, keep it simple and consistent.

Nothing Like a Great Accessory

fashion for women after 60 — Carolina Herrera against white backdrop

Caroline Herrera looks fabulous in a basic suit paired with a statement necklace.

One area that older women always seem to get wrong is in the accessories department. Instead of wearing your entire jewelry box every day, focus on one wearing one standout piece at a time. Also, don’t be afraid to wear trendy accessories. If you keep your wardrobe basic, you can add trendy accessories without looking like you’re trying to be young. Stores like Target, Forever 21, Mango, Zara and H&M are all great places to find accessories without spending too much.

Pearl Pendant Necklace, $25.99, Mango

Denim looks Fabulous on Women over 60

And yes, older women can wear jeans.

To clarify, I’m not taking about low rise, hootchie mama denim jeans. BUT a nice pair of trouser cut, straight leg or wide leg jeans look fabulous on older women. If you’re a bit larger on the bottom, try a trouser cut or boot cut jean, as the flare will help draw attention away from your mid section and make you look slightly taller.

Also look for jeans with at least 2% spandex/lycra content. This will allow the jean to stretch to fit you and help to control any problem areas. Some brands to try: Gap, Banana Republic, Levi, Seven, UNIQLO, and Mossimo at Target.

And about those skinny jeans

fashion for women after 60 — Old Navy skinny jeans

Outfit with skinny jeans and gold flats.

If you’re a bit smaller on the bottom, then yes (gasp), you’re a perfect candidate for straight leg or skinny jeans (even if you have a bit of tummy). For those of you with a bit more of a tummy, try skinnies from brands like Old Navy and New York and Co as they have a bit higher rise (which will help it sit better on your waist).

Also, if you have gray hair, the dark navy color of the jeans really set off the gray in your hair. Pair the jeans with a bright colored tee from a store like Old Navy or a fitted sweater. But please, for all that is fashionable and good in this world, avoid wearing denim from head to toe.

Wear Color, Lots of Color

Reader, I need you to make me a promise: that you will try to inject a bit of color into your wardrobe. As a “seasoned fashionista” there is no reason why you have to hang up your color wheel just because you’ve reached a certain age.

If you have a darker skin tone, you’re lucky, you can wear almost any bright vibrant color. The brighter the better. If you have fairer skin and are concerned about looking washed out, start with the color of your eyes. This is universally flattering!

Show Cleavage!!

fashion for women after 60 -- Helen Mirren in formal attire

Remember when women over 60 were told to cover up? Well those days are now a distant memory. If you’ve got the goods, show them (within moderation of course). Showing a bit of cleavage is not only sexy, but can make you look thinner too.

Other things to include in your wardrobe

fashion for women after 60 — Diane Sawyer wearing a leather skirt

Diane Sawyer wearing a leather skirt.

  • A leather skirt, which is now considered a classic.
  • A pair of tailored black pants in light fabrics like cotton and rayon. Again, look for pants will a little spandex/lycra content- this will help to control any problem areas.
  • For skirts, stick to straight or A-line cuts that hit slightly below the knee.
  • Wear a shoes with a slight heel. Try brands like Soffit, Gentle Souls, Cole Haan,a nd even Tory Burch which are both comfortable and very stylish
  • A couple of fitted (not tight) t-shirts and tanks to wear underneath blazers.

For inspiration, look at Vogue, More Magazine and Harpers Bazaar, which tend to have fashions for women of all ages.

More Fashion Tips for Dressing After 60

1. Don’t shun your past

You’re a few years older, but you’re still you, so dress accordingly. If you think you need to redo your wardrobe, think again.

Movie star Rita Moreno is still working the hot pink dresses and big baubles she loved in the days of West Side Story — she’s just wearing updated versions of them. Moreno doesn’t shy away from color (we would really like to meet the person who said mature fashionistas can’t wear color, so not true) and trades the 4 inch heels in for a pair of 2 ½ chic sandals. At over 80 years old, Rita is showing everyone that she’s the same fun, fiery woman she was in her youth — with the same chic style.

fashion for women after 60 - Rita Moreno wearing a hot pink dress

Rita Moreno wearing a hot pink dress

If you’ve always loved the way you look in blue, or if your wardrobe work-horse is a tailored pair of slacks, stick with it. Love that strapless dress? Wear it, but pair it with a chic cropped blazer.

You know what works for you, so don’t be swayed by others’ opinions of what you should wear. Recall your greatest fashion moments and find a modernized, mature way of recreating them.

2. Experiment with prints and textures

No, you can’t wear every trend that comes down the runway. But on the flip side, a twenty-something fashionista couldn’t get away with half the fabrics you can.

So while you can’t go wild with mini skirts and cropped shirts (not that you’d want to), you can show personality in animal prints, florals and bold textures. No one does this better than Vogue Editor-In-Chief, Anna Wintour.

fashion for women after 60 -- Collage of Anna Wintour looks

Collage of two Anna Wintour outfits.

Like Anna, you can make a statement in your signature style. If you haven’t already, find out what silhouette best flatters your figure. Anna likes sheath dresses, but you may prefer an A-line skirt.

Once you’ve narrowed down the shape of your clothes, anything goes when it comes to prints. Another great way to make a statement? Statement accessories, of course. Bold sunglasses, necklaces and watches look chic with a classic ensemble.

3. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

When it comes to signature style, repeating a look isn’t just acceptable, it’s encouraged. Once you find a style that you look and feel great in, go ahead and buy one in every color!

The best example of this is designer Carolina Herrera. She creates some of the most beautiful, elegant clothes on the runway and red carpet, so she would know.

fashion for women after 60 -- Caroline Herrera in a classic white blouse and black, a-line skirt

Caroline Herrera in a classic white blouse and black, a-line skirt.

Crisp blouse, A-line skirt, drop earrings: it’s the uniform of the chic 62-year-old fashion queen. We see her in it almost every time she steps out, and are we bored? No way! She looks fabulous, and so do you in your signature look. Whether it’s a shape of dress, a style of shirt or a particular color, if it works, work it, all the time.

4. Embrace pantsuits

Admit it, you used to envy how chic Katherine Hepburn looked in her pantsuits. Maybe you still envy the powerful presence her ensembles conveyed, so why not steal her style? A pantsuit works for day or night, for luncheons or parties, for the office or the church, and it always, always looks chic. Take a look at Exhibit A: Diahann Carroll in this gorgeous wear-anywhere outfit.

fashion for women after 60 - Diahann Carroll looking classy in a pantsuit

Diahann Carroll looking classy in a pantsuit

The pantsuit is the LBD of women over 60, partly because it takes a certain degree of sophistication to pull it off. Find one that fits your personal style and figure, get it tailored, and wherever you go, you’ll always have the perfect outfit.

5. If you’ve got it, flaunt it

And yes, you’ve still got it. Want to know what else you’ve got? Elegance and sophistication, qualities inhabited only by a seasoned fashionista. If you’re having trouble being convinced, this should give you a little inspiration:

fashion for women after 60 -- Helen Mirren wearing a bikiniCopyright Brenna/ Jason Fraser

That’s Helen Mirren… in a bikini. Mirren is now in her 70s and is as breathtaking as ever. Newsflash: so are you. Whatever your best features are, don’t be afraid to show them off. So what if fashion seems focused on the younger crowds sometimes?

When it comes to style, that’s all you. Have fun and create your own rules for fashion after 60!

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fashion for women over 60 - 6 tips to live by

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Catherine Brock

Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on DrLaura.com, Wellness.com and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.
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