It is totally possible to look Fabulous Over Fifty (and even Sexy Over Sixty … or Seventy!) We just need to rethink our style savvy.  Women often ask what’s “age appropriate”.  I just don’t believe in that whole concept. I see far more women dressing too old for their age than dressing too young. If a look flatters you — has those critical “points of connection” with your own characteristics — then I’m betting it will automatically look appropriate.  (It goes without saying that certain anatomical features shouldn’t be bared … but that applies at any age.)

Start with a realistic look in the mirror.  We’re still beautiful … but we’re beautiful a little differently than  in our 30’s and 40’s.  Here are some easy steps to Fabulous … at any age:

* Reconsider color.  Our hair is losing pigment, and even if we ”chemically enhance” it, we usually choose a softer shade.  Our skin and eye colors     are softening too – typically making the brighter clothing colors we used to wear look harsh.

* Best step:  an updated color consultation with a pro.

*  Interim steps:  Soften your current brighter clothes by replacing a bright-white blouse with cream or soft gray.  Add a scarf that integrates the garment colors and your hair color for a custom look. Avoid outfits with more light/dark contrast than you see in your own facial color pattern.  Too much contrast pulls all the focus to the garment and away from YOU.  And think long and hard before leaving the house wearing black near your face.

makeup * An updated shoe and a great looking bag can subtract years from your look.  Choose something in a color that relates closely to your hair.  Because you’ll wear them most days, they can have a big impact on your look immediately.

* Make an appointment for a professional makeup consultation to update your cosmetic colors.  You’ll learn contemporary application techniques in the process.

 * Style your shape.  Chances are you’ve thickened a little through the middle, so choose styles that skim over your body rather than hugging too closely.

* Look taller and trimmer by dressing in color columns – matching pant and top with a contrasting jacket (worn open so the eye can follow the vertical color bottom to top).  Or match the pant and jacket, with a pop of color in the shell underneath.

bra    * Sneak in some Spandex.  Your clothes can only look as good as the undergarments you’re wearing.  Start with a professional bra fitting.  Contact your department store for the dates of their next Wacoal Bras fitting event.  Or work with one of the professionals at Soma Intimates – found in malls across the country.   The fullest part of your bust should rest half-way between your sternal notch (that little indentation at the base of your neck) and your belly button.  Measure it right now if you need convincing…

great shapes * Tone up your bottom half with body shaper panty hose or tights.  (I know the bare leg look is in, but don’t knock this tip until you’re tried it.)  They are a big improvement over old control-top ones that ended their control right in the soft part of your thigh – oops!  These diminish their oomph gradually from waist to toes.  You won’t believe how much sleeker you’ll look.  Check out Great Shapes TM  on www.NoNonsense.com.

* And don’t overlook the posture-power and overall lift of removable foam shoulder pads.  Not the fullback look of old Joan Crawford jackets, but an inconspicuous tool to square off your shoulder line, minimize fuller upper arms, visually lift a low bust, balance any extra bulk lower on your body – they really are magic, despite the fact that you’ve heard they’re “out of fashion”.  We’re not talking fashion trends here, but rather figure balancing strategies.

* Emphasize “eyes-up” accents.  Keep attention focused on your face/eyes/communications with a fresh hairstyle (shorter than chin-level), subtle but polished makeup and accessories like statement earrings, fun necklaces (above bust level) and colorful scarves.

And just say “NO” to these aging duds:

     Sweats.  Sleek new yoga pants and tops look much more current.  And that Spandex smooths your lumps and bumps in the bargain.

     Jogging shoes, unless you’re actually working out.  Lightweight Keds are a sleek, comfortable alternative that looks a lot more contemporary.

     Holiday sweaters (and other themed embellishments) except maybe for Grandparents’ Day at pre-school.

     Single-strand pearls.  If you love your pearls, layer several varied strands for a fresher look.

     Granny undies.  C’mon now … even if we’re pushing 60, we’re not 6 feet under. Treat yourself to something new and pretty, even if you’re the only one to see it..

     Gathered or pleated skirts.  A gently tapered slim skirt is more flattering on nearly every figure and size.

     Visible elastic waistlines.  If you need flexible fit, be sure the coordinating top is one designed to be worn out-and-over – never tucked in.

     Granny jeans.  If you still look good in shapely denim – go for it!  But if you’re not so sure, opt for a well-fitted tailored trouser instead.  Microfiber wovens and ponte knits wash like a dream, never need pressing, wear like a tank and look “dressed” with an easy sweater and scarf.  And shoulder pads …

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.

16 Comments

  1. Elaine Earnshaw on December 12, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Great advice Nancy. I always appreciate your e-mails as I want to look as good as I can. I have a pair of your shoulder pads and they certainly give you a much better shoulder line and improve your overall look. I’m not sure about a shorter than chin-level haircut. I’m at the age when we are supposed to have shorter hair. I will have to ask my new hair stylist for her suggestions. I certainly don’t want a tight curly perm!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on December 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks Elaine. About the haircut – obviously your own hair texture plkays into the decision in a big way. I’d love to see a photo of the new look you and your hairdresser come up with.

  2. AnnG on December 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Nancy, your advice is always so helpful and I always learn something to apply to my own wardrobe. Your blog and comments are a pleasure to read as well. Loved the “Grandparents Day at pre-school” comment! We get the picture in just a few words. Thanks a bunch.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on December 12, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks Ann! It’s much more fun to write when you know people are actually reading, so keep those comments coming!

  3. Jennie on December 13, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for this, Nancy. I need all the tips, tricks, and encouragement I can get.

    But I’m really sad to put away my lovely snowbird-themed Christmas sweater. Seriously. [sigh]

    • Nancy Nix Rice on December 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Jennie – None of my recommendations – in this post or any other – are dictates. If that snowbird sweater makes your heart sing … go with it. The glow on your face will steal the moment, no doubt.

  4. Judy Kempf on December 14, 2014 at 1:56 am

    Nancy , I have forwarded this email on to a lot of my lady friends and the whole bunch of them said this was so helpful. and they wished you would do more of these for the older ladies…….I myself am now 73,,,,,,,,So I know I need to update my make up from the days long ago when you did my color palette.
    I am still following it……In fact I am getting ready to make myself a whole new outfit out of some new patterns that I got out of Australia. Called Style Arc. com………..they have such updated patterns…… I so enjoy your emails……..Thanks so much. Judy Kempf.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on December 15, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks Judy. The advice in nearly all my posts is applicable to women of every age. I try to target the artwork toward the “middle” so younger and older readers may have to adapt a bit from the illustrations. But as long as the things you wear have those all-important “points of connection” to your own characteristics you are probably LOOKING GOOD. I see more women err in the direction of dressing too old than dressing too young. The Style Arc patterns are tastefully on-trend so it sounds as if you’re on the right track.
      Nancy

  5. Nancy Van Apeldoorn on December 18, 2014 at 2:15 am

    Nancy when you were in Rochester N.Y years ago for American Sewing Guild you made a presentation. I have my color palette you did for me and I really learned alot.
    Thank you! Your posting today has helped me again.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on December 18, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      Thanks Nancy – this is such a fun topic to explore, isn’t it?

  6. Carol on January 14, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    All of this information is so pertinent and helpful. I recently retired and am working on my “retirement” look–casual but not too grandma looking. I visited my daughter recently and consciously put together “outfits” complete with jewelry instead of my usual 4 tees, 4 pants, etc. My daughter noticed the change and I felt terrific. Now could you please do something on choosing glasses. Thanks!!!!!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on January 14, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks Carol – it’s always so gratifying to hear readers’ success stories, especially when a small effort generates such a big payoff. For excellent information on selecting glasses, checkout pg 148-8 in the LOOKING GOOD … Every Day book. We took our friend Anna shopping for new ones and share all the details – with photos – about what worked and what didn’t … and WHY. If you don’t already have the book you can order a copy from the Boutique on our web site.

  7. Eunice on March 10, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Hello Nancy, I’ve enjoyed your video and book so much! Thank you for great information. One question, and a limiting factor for me, is hosiery that looks good but covers veins. I just wind up wearing the same pair of pants all the time. I only wear a skirt when opaque tights “go” with it. Are there brands that provide a little more coverage without looking like those awful things my mother used to wear? Or do I just ignore the veins and hope others do, too? Thank you!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on March 10, 2015 at 1:39 am

      I think the solution is to sort of split the difference. I really like the Great Shapes panty hose from No Nonsense (nononsense.com). They firm and tone beautifully and are sheer but not super sheer, so they obscure any discoloration but don’t completely cover it. Is suspect that like many of us, you notice a “flaw” like that far more than anyone else does.

  8. JC on March 10, 2018 at 6:34 am

    I have green eyes and a reddish complexion (exacerbated by hot flashes!) and naturally red lips. My once coppery blonde hair is starting to turn toward medium-dark ash with silver highlights at my temples and I expect it will stay more medium-dark ash than silver as I seem to be following in my mother’s footsteps.
    How do I transition from the reds, rusts, and olive/moss greens that have done so well for me to something that will go with my new darker ashy hair (still streaked with my old color)?

    • Nancy Nix Rice on March 19, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      Sounds like you are on the typical path … having your coloring move gradually in a softer, less warm direction. Consequently you’ll want over time – to move your neutral to less warm browns and your accent color to less obviously warm versions. Think of a dusty brick red or coral instead of bright orange-y red. A grayed sage green instead of a yellow-er olive. The teal/turquoise/aqua range should carry right through. Also soft plums.

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