5 Ways to Look Youthful– Not Frumpy
While we (fabulous) women over 50 are learning to embrace our maturity and lean into the wisdom of our years, most of us do enjoy feeling and looking as youthful as we can as we step into 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond.
For youthful style inspiration, look around at what younger women are wearing. You don’t have to dress much different. Perhaps a small tweak is all that’s needed to make a stylish young woman’s outfit work for you.
Try Googling your favorite “mature” celebrity’s name followed by the words “street style” and look at the Images tab. You’ll likely find that their style and fashions they’re wearing are not far from younger women’s styles–youthful, modern.
This post offers a few tips for looking your best and dressing so you feel youthful.
1. Wear Clothes That Fit!
No matter what body type or size you are, clothes that fit your shape will give you a much more youthful appearance than baggy clothes.
When we’re carrying a little extra weight, our tendency is to attempt to hide it by wearing loose clothing. It’s actually accomplishing the opposite of what we’re trying to do.
Baggy, loose clothing is aging and unflattering. Experiment with this concept if you’ve fallen in the habit of dressing in loose clothes that are, in reality, too big for you. Take a couple of sizes into a fitting room and compare. Ask a friend or the retailer’s stylist/salesperson to choose which size and look is better and more youthful.
One helpful style guideline for avoiding that all over baggy look:
- When wearing a close fitting top, wear something a little looser on the bottom.
- If you’re wearing a top with volume, keep your bottoms close fitting.
When It Comes to Jeans…
The concept of wearing clothes that fit your shape definitely applies to jeans. Contrary to inclinations, baggy, loose fitting jeans will not make you look thinner.
If you’re used to wearing loose jeans because you’re not comfortable with a closer fit, try the fitting room test mentioned above. And include a rear end check. Don’t buy jeans that don’t look good from the back!
One way you might start wearing jeans with a closer fit that flatters you rather than makes you look frumpy is to try a pair of jeans with a flared leg. Flares are back in style, and the wider leg opening is a great balancer for the hips. Another thing to try is to pair your loose jeans with a closer fitting top to balance the proportions.
Below, the black jeans look more youthful than the looser fit blue jeans on the right.
2. Accessorize Strategically
Accessories perk up our outfits. They add interest and give us an opportunity to be creative.
As women age, accessorizing can be a way to give your look a youthful appearance by using accessories strategically.
The number 1 “rule”: Wear accessories that bring focus to your face.
Accessories worn close to the face–a scarf, necklace, even statement earrings–compliment your face. People’s eyes are drawn to that part of your body and don’t focus on the parts of your body you may prefer not to call attention to
The number 2 “rule”: Less is more.
There’s a theory that I’ve heard of that suggests using no more than three accessories with one outfit. For example, add a pretty scarf, a pair of earrings, and a bracelet. That’s it. No need to have a necklace and a scarf. Or, wear earrings and a bracelet and skip the necklace that sometimes can be in competition with earrings.
Also, try some bright colors in a jewelry piece or scarf to brighten and focus on the face.
A Note About Earrings
Here’s the reality: earlobes (and ears) grow forever. And the earlobe may stretch as we age, especially if we’ve been wearing earrings for many years. If you have pierced ears, you may even notice that the pierce hole itself is a bit stretched.
To have a more youthful appearance, avoid wearing earrings that pull your earlobe down. Take a look at the piercing in your earlobe; if it looks stretched with your earring in, you may want to consider retiring that pair.
Earrings that are very lightweight or that cover the piercing in your earlobe give you the best option for a less aged earring look. Light hoops or stud earrings offer alternatives that may work better as we age.
If you enjoy wearing statement earrings, look for styles that have a post rather than a wire that goes through the piercing. Wire styles really spotlight the pulled down appearance of an earlobe.
(Thanks to my friend and earring model Sarah. ❤️)
3. Shoes Can Make or Break a Look
Have you examined your shoes lately? I have. And I realized a few pairs are looking a bit shabby. Time to say goodbye.
Shoes can truly elevate your outfit, and a worn pair can diminish it. Make sure to keep your shoes polished and visiting the shoe repair when needed. And if they need replacing, don’t balk (like I do!).
When sandal weather arrives, I look for sandals that have a straight strap across the front on my foot to cover a slight bunion I have on one foot (hate that word!). If you have the same situation, and choose sandals that have a strap across the front of the foot to hide a bunion, make sure that the strap doesn’t rub or hurt.
I’ve just added these to my sandal collection. They hide the part of my foot I don’t love:
And finally, stay away from shoe styles that are just old! There are so many brands that are stylish and comfortable. You can wear trending styles that younger women are wearing.
4. How’s That Bra Fitting?
There’s nothing that ages a woman more that sagging chest look. If you pay attention to passing women, you’ll notice that many older women’s “girls” are sitting low–too low. Your bra should provide lift. Your bust shouldn’t be sitting on your ribs. And find a style/brand that you can wear without it cutting into you–the back fat or bulging skin look isn’t what we’re after. There are so many bra solutions that address different sizes and body types. Make sure your bra is holding up its precious cargo.
This article from Real Simple magazine has tips for finding the right bra fit.
5. Is Your Hairstyle Current?
Keeping your haircut fresh and your hairstyle flattering is one of the key ways to keep a youthful look. Most hair stylists have great ideas for hairstyles that will look good with your face shape, and they’re up to date with hairstyle trends.
If you’re ready for an update, you can Google hairstyles. I recently Googled medium length hairstyles–if you’d like, you can tack on the words “for women over 50.” You’ll probably find that the style results from the web search with and without that “over 50” add on are pretty much the same.
Show a picture of a style you like to your stylist who can adapt it for you.
Below is the new style I shared with my stylist. I’ve had short hair for so long, I thought I’d try a longer style, and I’m growing my hair to have the look!
A fresh and modern hairstyle is a huge confidence booster as well as youthful!
The video linked below is one I discovered when doing research for this post. She shows examples of ways an outfit looks “old” and how to freshen it for a more youthful appearance.
What Do You Think?
There are many positives to maturing–wisdom, feeling more comfortable in our skin, having more freedom, maybe even feeling happier overall. Along with those positives, we want to look our best–I do. There are simple ways to accomplish that: healthy eating, exercising, spending time with those who lift us, creating a spiritual routine of some kind. These practices can lead to feeling more youthful. And so can presenting ourselves in a youthful way.
I value some of the gifts that aging brings, and I still want to look as youthful as I can. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
If you implement the very simple suggestions in this post, I bet you’ll notice that you feel a little more uplifted.