Tuesday 28th March 2017
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Dressing your age: discuss

linda rodin

Linda Rodin: making leather pants work at 67

There are few things I loathe more than lists that tell women what clothes they need to give up once they reach a certain age: my view on the topic is that if you can pull it off, you should wear it—but that you would also be well-advised also pay close attention to your internal radar. Which, around six years ago, told me that it was time to say goodbye to miniskirts. Not because I’d reached any significant birthday, but because they just suddenly looked silly on me. Have you had similar moments, and with what? Conversely, what will you never give up?

Posted on February 4th, 2016 135 Comments

135 Responses

  1. Becky says:

    My Eileen Fisher Harem pants and Birkenstocks in the summer. They are comfortable and I love them and honestly, that’s all that matters to me.

  2. I could not agree more. There is a discussion on the website BitterKittens about the same thing, and my feeling is – if YOU like something, and feel good in it, wear it. End of story. Who cares how old you are? I do, however, agree about mini-skirts on me. That photo you have of Linda Rodin is amazing, and I will wear my leather pants as long as I look like that in them!!

  3. Dana D says:

    I love the way Linda Rodin dresses…every time I see a picture of her I love it (I don’t believe I’ve seen her wear a mini skirt…).

    Don’t you think a lot of it has to do with body type? Linda can wear skinny jeans because she is, well, skinny.

    I wore more color when I was younger. Now I (almost) never wear color, does that count? Also, I just don’t shop certain stores anymore. I’m finished with fast, cheap fashion. I want to know where something is made. Age and income can account for that, I suppose…

    • DeDe says:

      I’m the opposite – I gave up dark black (as opposed to faded black or charcoal gray) clothing after my hair got seriously gray/white. I’m very fair-skinned also, so black makes me look too much like Billy Corgan in drag. I do lots of color now, though I’m careful not to go too bright – it actually helps my mood, too.

      Other things I will no longer wear: converse, band tees, hoodies (in public), leggings (ditto). I also won’t wear slip dresses, pants with cargo pockets, or Doc Martins – basically anything I wore in my 20’s. I don’t shop at H&M or similar places anymore because, yeah, not so much about the fast fashion these days (I am very lucky to be able to afford nicer things now), and everything there looks ridiculous on me, anyway. However, you will always find multiple pairs of sneakers in my closet, and when scarves inevitably become passe, I will still have way too many of them.

      • DeDe says:

        And at the risk of over-commenting, I will add that I agree with Iris Apfel – it’s much better to be comfortable with what you have on and be unstylish than to try to dress to someone else’s standard and feel awkward or embarrassed. As much as I love style, ultimately you have to know, and please (or just respect!) yourself.

      • Dana D says:

        Mmmm…

        I haven’t colored my hair in over 5 years and as the gray comes in more I may need to re-think the black thing. Not there yet. Color makes me feel like I’m screaming for attention (do I need therapy yet again?).

        You’ve given me pause…

        • DeDe says:

          Not necessarily! There are a lot of stylin’ gray ladies (Linda Rodin, ahem!) who look amazing in black. I’m just not a fan of how it looks on me personally. Some of that is probably owing to attitude though, too – I’m happier and more confident now than when I was younger. To a certain exent, I think I was hiding when I wore black by default.

          That said, color can feel fun and uplifting and vibrant! I’m a big advocate of playing with it now, but only if someone really enjoys it. If you feel weird in it, then by all means, keep rocking the black! It’s all about what makes you feel the most “you”, right?

          • DeDe says:

            Oops, my “not necessarily” thing was just about wearing black less often with gray hair, not a comment on your mental health status! 😉 Sheesh.

          • Dana D says:

            Thanks DeDe…

            I got it…! And you’re inspiring me to add some color…

  4. Lila says:

    The comment about body type above is spot on. Yes, the reason clothes look good on her is exactly that.

  5. Tammy says:

    I really adore my distressed boyfriend jeans … any boyfriend jeans for that matter. I can seem myself wearing them for a long time.

    Linda Rodin looks amazing in that shot. Gorgeous.

  6. Ruth Harris says:

    I’m with Linda on hair (grey), statement glasses and red lipstick. I also miss Zoran whose clothes were perfect for any age, Joan Vass (ditto) and the old Issey Miyake store at Madison and 78th.

  7. blackbird says:

    I think confidence has a lot to do with it – one can wear/do plenty with the right attitude.

  8. Lisa says:

    I gave up miniskirts and super tight jeans (also a comfort issue). I personally do not like very girly clothes on women, I think it looks silly, but that’s me. I still wear a bikini on the beach, I still feel comfortable and I think look fine. I am 50 and have an athletic body, so I (think)look sporty.

  9. Maggie says:

    I find myself just more covered up in general. Everything still looks pretty good under there–I just like a higher neck and longer skirt now.

  10. Bernie C says:

    I haven’t stopped wearing anything because of my age, but I was cautious about buying some leather leggings a couple of months ago because I didn’t know if I was “too old” for them. I texted a picture of me in them to a trusted girlfriend, and she thought they were fabulous…and boy am I glad I bought them now! I’ve worn them a few times and I feel like a chic rock star in them. I agree that it’s about whether or not you can confidently pull the look off, not about a number. For me, it’s about how I feel and the image I project in it. Fortunately, as I age, I’m more in tune with that than I was in my younger years.

  11. Susanna says:

    I really struggle with this one. In my late 40s, I went through a period where my body looked better than it had since my teens. I was doubtful about how much to emphasize it, though the feedback I got was always, If it flatters your body type, the age is irrelevant.

    That said, although my legs are probably my best feature, I have now definitely given up short dresses and miniskirts. I will go somewhat shorter with dresses (slightly above the knee) in the winter when I can wear tights.

    • Susanna says:

      I also do wonder about how I come off in moto jackets and boots, but I do still wear both.

    • Mimi says:

      I’m a good bit older than most on this site, but my body also looks better than it has, not just in my teens, but ever. Oddly enough, I find that being thin enough to wear whatever I want doesn’t make not dressing too young easier. Also, a lot of the things I won’t wear now I never liked, even in my 20s, i.e. leggings, tight pants or skinny jeans, ballet flats. I avoid any look that screams of trying too hard and seek to land in a stylish, classic place between cougar and matron. No: short skirts, deep cleavage, jean jackets, anything shapeless. Ok for other gals, just not me. Yes: boyfriend jeans, even distressed, leather moto jacket, black and bright colors. I remember seeing Anne Bancroft at leisure a few years before she died wearing loose khakis, keds and a tailored shirt. So chic! Proof that old preppies never look old?

      • Marianne says:

        “between cougar and matron” – hilarious, just spit out my tea!

      • JenM says:

        Let that be my motto “between cougar and matron!” Love it!

        I want my hair, when it goes gray, to be white and straight like Linda’s. Since I have very curly hair I don’t see that happening but I still want it.

        Would love to know how she keeps her skin so beautiful. I doubt (and don’t expect) it to be natural and all due to drinking lots of water and washing with Ivory. I totally support whatever anyone wants to do. Just would like to know what because she’s AMAZING!

        • Mamavalveeta03 says:

          Don’t forget, Linda has access to an endless supply of her pricey creation “Rodin Olio Lusso”…She probably bathes in it!

      • Tammy says:

        Best post on this thread, hands down!

  12. Erin says:

    I’ve stopped wearing things make me physically uncomfortable. I’m pretty much over super high heels, or super tight or overly revealing clothing. Anything that makes me want to take it off in a couple of hours, or makes me feel like I have to constantly tug at or adjust it is just out. I don’t have time for it! That doesn’t completely rule out revealing though, but you can be revealing without being uncomfortable.

    I’ve also been dropping things that require a lot of fuss. So, shoes or clothes with lots of lacing, or shirts and jackets with many buttons or ties, things like that. I don’t miss them either.

  13. Erin says:

    Now that I’m in my 40’s, I don’t specifically avoid showing cleavage or wearing short skirts, but these days I’ve decided that if it’s going to be revealing it needs to also be comfortable. Constantly fighting with your clothing, or feeling like you need to remove it shortly after you’ve put it on, just doesn’t work for me anymore. Super high heels are also out for me too, and I don’t feel any less sexy.

    I’ve also found that I have started avoiding clothing that feels overly fussy. Styles that require lots of buttons, laces, or ties are just not appealing to me anymore. I’m more of a slip into my clothes and shoes and go kind of person now.

    • kristie says:

      Yes, yes, yes. I’m all good with tons of leg or a big flash of cleavage, but fighting with my clothing is just so not worth it. Plenty of ways to be fantastic without being uncomfortable!

      • Cedar says:

        Yes, exactly! This sums up what I’ve been feeling lately as well. I used to describe my style as “mildly bohemian” but while I still love strong patterns and rich colors, I’m just not willing to deal with “fussy” shapes or anything uncomfortable.

        Coupled with recently being consigned to orthotics and thus reducing my shoe collection to a bare minimum of well made flat shoes, my closet does strike me as more mature these days, and I very much like it that way.

  14. kristie says:

    I understand dress to be about self-expression. I have never, all my life, understood age as relevant. I have also always adored the quirky and eccentric, though I have come to adore classic beauty more as I age. One of the lovely things about being 46 is being able to see my own taste, what I have always loved regardless of the fashion of the moment, and to play the moment as it suits my own self.

    I look back on the insecurity of my youth and the ways I hid myself because of it, and now I push myself internally with the phrase “Rock it while you’ve got it,” to the great delight of my husband.

    The things I do not wear are the things that no longer suit my current shape, which has shifted a little with perimenopause. It has nothing to do with age, it has to do with making the greatest beauty with the flesh I’ve got.

  15. Emily says:

    I’m 29 and I gave up mini skirts years ago. Or more accurately, allowed myself to not not wear short hemlines despite my banging long legs and everyone else’s opinion that mini skirts are great on me. Short hemlines feel silly, impractical, uncomfortable, and unprofessional on me. Sure I love them on other people. No judgment there. Just not for me!

  16. c.w. says:

    I will NEVER give up my jeans. One of my grandmothers wore jeans and cowboy boots and rode her horse right up until she was hospitalized with cancer and passed away so the jeans thing may be genetic.

    What I have given up is high, high heels. Not because they are too “young,” but because they are too dang uncomfortable and I have only just now reached the age where I can say, “no,” to the world of uncomfortable fashion.

    I sometimes wear just above the knee dresses/skirts, but only if accompanied by colored tights––never with bare legs. Otherwise, I wear whatever I want as long as I feel good/attractive in what I’ve selected.

  17. Chelsea says:

    I gave up high heels as everyday wear a few years ago. In my twenties I had no problem running all over the city in my heels but my feet can’t take them anymore so I save them for fancy occasions only. I’ll never give up my red lipstick, though.

  18. s says:

    I am with C.W.- high high heels are OUT due to comfort. Mini-skirts only worn with tights. I do not wear shirts with words on them. They look like I think I’m still in college or in pjs.

    My Grama wore a red leather skirt suit to her 50th wedding anniversary party in 1990 and looked fabulous. Goals, as the kids say.

  19. renee says:

    So glad to see this topic under discussion. In addition to your blog, I regularly check Advanced Style. While I agree that attitude is key, it’s not always enough to keep from looking like mutton dressed as lamb, as the Irish say.
    Short skirts/pants, hard shoes, heavy boots, nude sheers (never a favorite, really), heels – except on rare occasions – are things I used to wear.
    “Skinny” anything was never an option for my physique. Besides, ethically? Leather is up there with fur coats on my never never list.
    As others have commented, I like to indulge in better made garments. I used to sew and knit many of my clothes to obtain the quality I couldn’t afford to buy in shops.
    A friend calls my style foreign exchange student; I’m not the jeans-and-a-cute-top type.

  20. Jo says:

    I agree with giving up high heels. How I loved dancing all night in heels, but the highest for me now are kitten heels. But I still like to dance all night! I don’t wear cotton sweatshirts out like I used to, but will wear the style in cashmere.
    My short length went from a 3 inch inseam to at least a 4-5 one (I’m 5’3″). Other than that, if it feels good, wear it! Life is short 🙂

  21. Barbara says:

    I believe in wearing what looks good and makes you feel amazing. For me, dressing like a 20 or 30 or even 40 year old doesn’t make me feel amazing. Showing off the cleavage I’ve been lugging around for years in my expensive bras? Yep. Me and Susan Sarandon for the win.

  22. caroline says:

    Never ever give up jeans!
    Never could wear high heels anyway.
    There’s a certain cute girl vibe that has definitely taken a back seat
    in my clothes…
    I miss it sometimes but am aiming more toward elegant. With so so results…
    I veer away from too short skirts. Trying to hard.
    Linda Rodin is my perfect idea of a stylish older woman!!!!

    • caroline says:

      would like to add that although I have a soft spot for denim jackets I just can’t anymore. whenever a see a lovely quaffed older woman sporting a denim jacket it just screams “heading to play bridge with the ladies”
      No Bueno

      • Mamavalveeta03 says:

        I’m going to have to reconsider my jean jacket. But maybe my hair doesn’t look so perfect, so…

  23. Marianne says:

    Love this question. I’m 46 and perimenopausal so I avoid tee shirts with lycra in them. I find they retain heat and don’t breathe. I love linen tee shirts and silk camisoles to regulate my body temperature. I dropped mini skirts and shorts a few years ago. My skin mid thigh just isn’t visually appealing to me and prefer not to show that. No heels above 3 inches and only worn at evening events. Overall my style leans toward modern silhouettes and clean lines. Cutesy looks don’t feel me anymore.

  24. Dana says:

    I have a huge stash of Betsey Johnson dresses from the 90s. I loved them but at some point they stopped feeling like me. I could probably still fit into them, and I might look lovely in some of them, but I would feel weird. I’m saving them for my daughter now.

    • Cedar says:

      Oh, this hits home for me. In my early 20s I sprang for a red floral Betsey Johnson dress. I really couldn’t afford it, but I loved it and how I looked in it, so I scrimped on everything else for months. I wore that dress whenever I could for years, so the cost per wear actually worked out pretty well for a cocktail dress!

      About five years ago I put it on and realized that while it still technically fit I too felt “weird” in it and that the way it made me feel when I bought it – sassy, carefree, sexy – wasn’t going to happen anymore. Giving it away was tough but felt right in the end. Lucky you to have someone to save yours for, Dana!

  25. Mary Alice says:

    What an interesting discussion! Ive always been sort of conservative in my dress (the result of having big boobs and not wanting to look like a hooker)but, having said that, I refuse to give up converse sneakers and high heels (in a limited way, I’ll admit, but still. I’m dismayed to hear people adding denim jackets to the mix. I think it’s all in the way you style them. I wear this one all the time and put it with a pencil skirt and a T-shirt and I think it looks spiffy. https://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/outerwear/denim/PRDOVR~E6199/E6199.jsp

    • caroline says:

      I’m sure you wear it with style and pull it off beautifully!!!!
      Not interested in undermining your fun😌

    • Viajera says:

      Agreed on the converse. They’re just sneakers, I don’t know why they’re apparently seen by some as too young. Every other person has them on now. I am eyeing some platform ones, if they are comfy. Anyone know?

      Mind you, what I’d reeeeally like would be brandless sneaker that is well-made. Anyone try the Mujis? Maybe brandless is an affectation too at this point. Oh bleep.

      • rita says:

        I am an italian girl of a certain age ,55. I love my platform Converse and my black Converse . I wear the platform whit large black trousers and the black one whit jeans .I have every type of jeans . Only miniskirts out of my wardrobe now!

      • Suz says:

        Converse are ageless classics to me. I oddly enough never wore them when young (have very high arches)but wear them now all the time as they fit my custom orthotics. They are my older lady comfort shoes. Their low profile goes with everything.

      • DeDe says:

        Ok, now I really am overcommenting, but for me, it’s not that Converse as a whole are too young – like anything, it’s all in how you wear them. It’s that, like everything else on my no-longer-worn-list, they feel too young for *me*, because I wore them constantly from the time I was 13 till about age 34. At that point they started really hurting my feet, and I also realized that they just weren’t me anymore. I don’t have a problem with other women wearing them (or band tees, or Docs, or anything else I’ve chosen not to wear for personal reasons). You should wear what gives you the most happiness and makes you feel great. They just aren’t the thing for me anymore, you know?

  26. Debra says:

    I bought my first pair of Doc Martens 1460 boots (black monochrome) at the age of 53! For some reason, they just called out to me – I didn’t analyze it too much at the time. (This was about the same time I was giving up heels.) I’ve definitely gotten a great cost per wear out of them. They make me feel like I can kick some serious butt. Will I be wearing them at age 70? Can’t say for sure but I’m betting I’m still going to be up for butt kicking so, why not?

    • Yes! I just had this talk with my sweetheart the other day and he was the one who said that I would still be wearing my stompers (he is French 🙂 to the end. It just fits who I am. While not everything about Patty Smith is phenomenal (I say because I once saw her kick a photographer in the face at a concert), I do think that she has a look that I will be happy to embrace, that I am heading towards. Bring on the Yohji!

    • DeDe says:

      That’s awesome. Kick some extra butt for the rest of us!

    • MAC says:

      For my 40th birthday, my husband bought me the Liberty print Doc Martens boots. For no birthday, I bought myself the Hogarth Doc Martens. I love them. Hand’t had a pair since 1992/3 when I went all over Italy in them.
      Since my wardrobe is now pretty much solids, and I live in London where it rains all the time and I walk all over, I need the waterproof/comfort + makes me happy print of the Docs.
      And the youngsters working in the shop were all jealous that I could afford the Hogarths!

  27. Janet says:

    I gave up tight t-shirts, short skirts and dresses as well as short shorts — have to be knee length now. I try to cover up my arms,too, even in the summer. But I will probably never give up jeans, even though I’ve heard it recommended.

    Wow! Sounds practically Victorian! I’ve always been pretty modest, even at age 20.

    Linda Rodin looks great. I think her excellent posture helps.

  28. emilyhallnyc says:

    Have kept my hair very long, which my mother thinks looks witchy and inappropriate for someone approaching fifty. I have resolved this by putting a white stripe in it and growing it even longer. Bring it on.

    • Excellent. My mom is 67 and for several years now I’ve been dyeing her long grey hair in various ombré shades of pink-purple-turquoise-dark blue. She looks amazing.

      • Viajera says:

        That does sound lovely. Very Stockard Channing character? In a good way! Would love to see pics. I’ve been trying to get to a Mrs. Robinson look just using demis. I’m not there yet, and I keep getting lift. Anyway. I suppoooooooose I should ask myself if this is healthy? Thing is, I was risk averse for so long, and it’s just hair.

  29. Jenny says:

    I’ve stopped wearing minis & shorts, even though my legs look the same as always. No more sleeveless in the office, either, even though my arms are the same as always. At 45, I have lost interest in leading with my flesh.

    For me, the question is not what I’ll never give up, but what I still hope to grow into, and that’s all about attitude. For example, I have all the pieces for the french magazine editor look, but none of the spirit that makes them look… french mag editor, rather than, “headed for the grocery store in the station wagon.”

  30. Viajera says:

    It’s probably fair to say that I’m one of the ones here who, from a certain point of view, wasted their youth. I wore sack clothing for big swaths of the 90s and maybe even until about 10 years ago. I did not and do not have the conventionally attractive body type — what a friend calls boobs on a stick — and there were other reasons too, none that would be a surprise here. Bottom line, there was a kind of attention that I didn’t want.

    Still, in retrospect, I also think I wasn’t nearly as unsightly as I thought and felt that I was, and I worry a bit about the youngsters now, what with the androgyny and the dreary colors. (Androgyny can be good or bad, and maybe both. People are much nicer to trans folk now, which is a huge step forward. Anyhoo. I just wonder about a perceived rejection of femininity. What the heck is wrong with pink? Didn’t it used to be a “boy’s” color anyway?)

    On the happy side, I think our taste gets a loooooooot better. We figure out what suits us. We *finally* find that one hair stylist (Derek Smart, Hollywood) that makes us not hate our hair anymore.

    I think maybe I will think about possibly having the wearing of leather, or faux leather, pants be a *goal.*

    • Rebecca says:

      Ohhhhh….the sad sack dresses of the 90’s…paired with super chunky shoes and long cardigans…what a way to spend my 20s, covered from head to toe..like a peasant in a long Russian novel.

      • DeDe says:

        But a very comfortable peasant!

        • Viajera says:

          True, I was comfortable. With me it was mostly those oversized tees over pants. That’s also when I started wearing black too much, a very tough habit to break. (Not that it’s categorically wrong… depends why you do it I guess.)

          Perhaps oddly, I have never managed to adapt to LA heat, even now, after another 10 years here. (God’s not finished with me…) One really needs woven fabrics, and knits are so much easier to find.

  31. I’ll wear jeans ripped at the knee but not the thigh. I’ll wear Converse but only with nice pants. And a band t-shirt only under a blazer. I’m growing up!! hahaha.

  32. sdk says:

    I’m about to turn 40 and I’ve done a total wardrobe revamp – no time for anything uncomfortable or too fussy. My wardrobe went way more preppy, bright, and ladylike when I lived in Boston, but now that I’m back in Austin at a casual workplace, I find that I’ve reverted to dressing more like I did back in the 90s (skinny black jeans or bellbottom blue jeans, flowy tops, grandpa sweaters, leggings, dresses with black tights, only real difference is Frye boots instead of Docs, and some nice statement jewelry that I couldn’t afford back then). I’m comfortable but still feel stylish and confident. Haven’t given up the heels, though.

  33. Chuky Reyna says:

    I couldn’t agree more on the issue of wearing a mini skirt after you’ve reached certain age. I believe you have to tell yourself the truth and get rid of everything that doesn’t make you feel great. When your gut tells you something’s wrong, look at the mirror again. Always be true to yourself and your own personal style, that is why Iris Apfel and Linda Rodin look always as chic and stylish as the do.

  34. gk2829 says:

    I have seen 70 year olds dress like sorority girls in their early 20s and I know this will sound cranky and prudish, but they looked terrible. They may have felt good but it looked awful. I don’t think women should dress like my grandmother did years ago or wear only track clothes and tee shirts but on the other hand, when I read writers talk about women who don’t dress their age, they usually show older women who are and have always looked fantastic. Is this a realistic goal for most people? I don’t think so. You should dress fun but also know what looks good on you and avoid those clothes that make you look silly.

  35. Stacey says:

    Things I’ve given up: most jewelry especially dangling earrings, puffy sleeves, cap-sleeves, empire anything, most ruffles (one discreet row down the front of cardigan might work), low-rise pants (though below the waist is fine), two-piece bathing suits. Things I keep: leather motorcycle jacket to up the cool factor, jeans, good black pants in several fabrics, well-made t-shirts, a cardigan in the perfect shade of red, also purple and green sweaters. I have too much black and grey in my wardrobe, so safe. I’d love to add more color in ways other than scarves but as I’ve gotten older my skin tone has changed and I’m no longer certain of what looks good on me plus I’m somewhat color blind.

    • Stacey says:

      Also, for some reason, I now find open-toed shoes and strappy sandals to be somewhat vulgar. I’m still on the hunt for a pair of nude pumps

      • caroline says:

        I get that.
        Check out need supply.
        They have some lovely slides right now.

      • JJ says:

        I’m 50 now, and someone would have to pry the sandals and open-toed shoes from my cold, dead hands if they want me to stop wearing them. I actually have decent looking feet, and live where we have hot summers. My toes need to be free from June through September!

  36. Rebecca says:

    I’m 48 and my daughter is 10. I find that the shifts in my wardrobe from blacks and grey to color (and lot’s of it!) is more about context and less about age. When I’m carting four raucous girls to the pool for practice at 6:30 on a summer morning – a bright skirt and purple flip flops feels right and sets the tone.

    That said, I do feel like some of my skills developed over time – using asymmetry, combining multiple patterns, accessorizing (or not!).

    Off topic, I never would have predicted the joy I take in watching my daughter (totally different style and body type from myself) develop her own fashion sense and have so much FUN with it, rather than think about what the other girls are doing.

  37. Leslie says:

    I never liked wearing miniskirts, heels or anything revealing, cutesy or girly so at 50+ my style is much the same as in my 20s, just tweaked. Still lots of black, but nicer quality, no vintage unless it’s in good condition, no ragged clothes. Better shoes, accessories and underpinnings. (that last, especially, is crucial)

    My first bi “you might want to not wear this anymore” moment came a couple of years ago when I noticed that despite regular yoga and lots of home renovations, the upper arms looked fat-ish and had gained a wobble. Between one summer and the next tank tops and sleeveless shirts no longer looked good. I love the clean, streamlined look and had collected some really great ones, plus it gets really hot here in the summer, so this was hugely frustrating.

    I remind myself, in 20 years I’ll think “your arms were not that bad”, and on really hot days I still pull out a tank, make sure everything else is well thought out, and just get on with .

  38. Donna says:

    I am 73 years old and I will never give up jeans but I hardly ever wear a dress anymore. Dresses are either too short or too long on me, nothing hits me right. I’ve given up dangling earrings

  39. Kathleen says:

    I loathe too and along with those “wear” articles, pop up plenty of sidebar ads for cosmetic surgery. . . another topic . . back to topic . . . the minute I see a headline –‘what to wear, be, do, say when you hit a certain age. . . . I get fierce, disgusted, ready to make a phone call . . . . Recently, a magazine posted a picture of Joan Didion criticizing her exposed neck line, in a black crew sweater . . . color choice et al, ‘at her age’ . . . i couldn’t believe it. . . I let that one go — Too bewildering . . . and . . . I will never give up the “boy” shoes I bought because they reminded me of my dad. K

  40. I have already posted a few times since this is such a great thread but I will just add what I hope to never give up: a bit of leopard print, white men’s shirts and a touch of blue red lipstick.

  41. Leslie says:

    Never liked miniskirts, heels, or anything revealing, cutesy or girly, so at 50+ my style is much the same as in my 20s, just tweaked. Still lots of black, but better quality and with careful attention to fit. No vintage unless it’s in good condition, nothing raggedy. Better shoes, accessories, and underpinnings(that last one is especially important!)

    My only “maybe this doesn’t work so well anymore” moment thus far was when I suddenly realized that even after lots of chaturangas and home renovation the upper arms wobbled and sleeveless shirts no longer looked good. I love the streamlined look of a tank and it gets really hot here in the summer, so this was hugely frustrating.

    Usually, I’m willing to be a bit too warm in exchange for feeling more attractive and confident. But on a really hot days I will still put on a tank, make sure the other details of the outfit are good, and just get on with things.

  42. poppy says:

    I’ve just hit 60, what a shock. I will never give up skinny jeans, leather or denim. I also love my moto jacket and denim jacket. I have given up heels except for special occasions. I love my Skechers memory foam now. I have adopted a sort of uniform of skinny jeans, loose t or shirt and jacket or dressed up sweat pants and denim shirt. Only wear dresses with tights in winter. Love ‘between cougar and matron’!

  43. Katie Lynn says:

    You can tear my bootcut jeans from my cold, dead hands. I will never give them up. Never!

    I will also never give up comfortable (yet sexy) high heels. I have a high arch, and so a heel of around 4″ is infinitely more comfortable than, say, a kitten heel. There’s really no feeling quite like strapping on a great pair of heels.

  44. Jen says:

    I am curious: When all of you (including you, Kim!) say “miniskirts,” do you mean just without tights or generally? I am almost 50 and wear short skirts with tights probably more than I ever have, having realized over the years what a boon they are to the short-legged. Always black tights, with boots. This year I even ventured a flared mini, which just a year ago I had decided was way too youthful, and now I love it! But I would never in a million years wear a mini with bare legs. Am I the only mini-wearer (or short dress wearer) of a certain age– with tights?

    • Knitter says:

      I am 58 and will wear a nice short skirt with black tights to work. No way I would wear a mini with bare legs except to the beach! Rock on.

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      I’m 5’10” with a 34″ inseam. A mini, tights or no tights, would make me look like I was wearing my undies out in public.

  45. Keri Blair says:

    This is such a great topic. I believe that if certain clothes make you feel confident and beautiful, you should wear them. It’s good to keep in mind, however, that there are certain garments and silhouettes that flatter a specific body type over the other. But in the end, when you feel good inside, it projects on the outside.
    Keri
    http://www.thestylestudiobykb.com

  46. joannawnyc says:

    I don’t try to be “cute” anymore–no more vintage or poofiness–I’m much more restrained and elegant.

    But basically I wear what I want. Occasionally I am attracted to a trend, then realize it just feels too young, for whatever reason, and breath a sigh of relief.

    • lorna says:

      Vintage is harder to pull off when it doesn’t look ironic. I don’t do it either.

    • c.w. says:

      Ha! What is now called “vintage” is what I wore in high school! However, I do have a couple of blazers that are from the 40’s and I love them––the cut and the fabric of both make them “timeless” which edges them out of that “she-is-too-old-for-vintage” category.

  47. Knitter says:

    I love this discussion. As a 58 year old librarian, I’ve actually gotten more stylish as I’ve gotten older. Partly, it is because I can afford nicer clothes. Partly, it is because nicer clothes are not as expensive as they used to be (hello Everlane). And partly it is because I will where what I like regardless of trends and not worry about what other people think. I’ve also allowed more color into my wardrobe. The older and more drab I look, the more I depend on my clothes for my appearance, if that makes any sense.

  48. Kate says:

    I’m 31. I had a couple of shorter, bell-shaped skirts that were nice, but all of the sudden felt wrong, so I sold them. My taller heels were similarly carted off to the thrift store last year. If you love it, you should wear it…but now I want to look like a grown up.

  49. Amy in StL says:

    Some time in my 30’s I gave up platform shoes. Then in my 40’s I gave up theme dressing (hippie, asian, native) and began to stick to classic clothes. I finally decided my style didn’t include any weird stuff that I’d been trying; even if times I feel like I am dressing out of a Lands End catalog.

  50. Mrs. C says:

    I gave up wearing heels years ago because I walk like a robot and they hurt my feet. I decided that I really like wearing dresses and skirts, so I do every day – bare legs in the summer, tights in cooler weather. My clothes are mainly black, with colorful accessories. I like how I look, and I feel comfortable.

  51. DelawarDeb says:

    Not sure if above the knee qualifies as miniskirt territory, but anything below the knee just makes me look frumpy. I’m only 5’3″.

    Clothing is also adornment and a personal statement. There are no rules except the ones we impose on ourselves about what is appropriate to wear at any particular age. Age has it’s perks, actually. A bit of outrageous style (at 60 plus years) seems to be considered eccentric, quirky, and unique by society.

  52. Mary Alice says:

    Already posted but I did want to chime in again – living in LA, where it’s hot a lot, you start to have to think about comfort vs baring an age-appropriate amount of skin. Open shoes (with a perfect pedicure) are a no-brainer. Short skirts or shorts and bare legs, and sleeveless – that get’s trickier. I’m happy enough with my arms so I’ll wear a knee-length skirt or long shorts (Vince makes great ones,and I love the Gap’s boyfriend roll-up shorts) and a sleeveless shirt (not too tight and not low-cut). And when I was younger I used to mock Birkenstocks; now I live in them when I’m off duty all summer long.
    I also am lucky enough to have two twenty-something daughters who know my style and will tell me if I’m veering too close to the edge.

    • AmyM says:

      Living where there is what the news is calling a Winter Heat Wave (record high of 88 today), there is no way I can or will ever give up open-toed shoes (I do get a pedicure ever two weeks, faithfully). Same goes for sleeveless. I’ve never loved my legs above the knee so anything shorter than that has always been a non-starter for me. Developing more of an appreciation for sneakers of all kinds, from Converse to Stan Smiths to Nike Cortez reissues. Finally care less about what others think of my style and more about what I love wearing.

  53. Tina L says:

    I’m 47 and I still wear mini skirts, without tights. I live in L.A. and it’s hot here! My legs are my best body parts (I’m an apple body type) – but I only go two inches or so above the knee (just what feels comfortable to me). I agree totally about your clothes being comfortable and wanting to feel like YOU in them -especially your best YOU at the moment. My wise mother-in-law did once tell me “You’ll never be younger than you are today” when I complained about my age, and I do try and remember that when deciding what to wear. Ha!

  54. Christiana says:

    Leopard print used to look punk rock when I was younger, but now I feel it makes me look desperate/suburban cougar. I stopped wearing short, wool pleated “schoolgirl” miniskirts which still technically fit my body type and shape, but look ridiculous. I’ve given up ironic shirts, but not Converse or flannel shirts. I’ve also had to give up my Betsey Johnson baby doll dresses. I feel that I look less “me” since I’ve become middle aged but to wear the clothes I used to wear connotes a new message, one I’m not in control of. I basically look to Kim Gordon to see what I should wear now.

  55. Susan G says:

    I love this topic! I turned 40 this year and have had those nagging thoughts of what “should” I wear now? My hair is half pink, I wear pigtails more often than not, and love skinny (but no low rise) jeans. Sometimes I feel like I should dress differently but working from home makes it easy to not deal with it. I really admire people who have their own sense of style whatever that may be. Some people just have IT.

  56. gablesgirl says:

    This Miami girl will never give up her bikini. In the best shape of my life at 50, so why not?

  57. Rachel D says:

    Threads like this are why I adore Girls of a Certain Age. I recently turned 52, and I’m completely preoccupied by this question. I want to dress like Kim Gordon/Kim France, but I work in an office, so….maybe the wardrobe question is not so much about age but about one’s style of life. That said, even in the office environment, I am never, ever giving up great boots and great leather jackets, which I have been wearing all my adult life. What I pair them with has evolved over time. Oh, and smoky eyeliner.

  58. Rachel says:

    I’m 36, and I’m learning to never say never! I’m not sure where my personal style will end up, but I’m enjoying the journey.
    However, I have made some promises to myself this year. No more leaving the house with half-hearted makeup and second-day hair. I’ve realized being well-groomed and being polished says more about me than the clothes I wear.

  59. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    I’m 55, and there are certain things I just wouldn’t feel comfortable in, like a bikini. But if someone else wants to rock one, that’s cool with me! I’m kind of over sleeveless tops, unless I’m at home in the summer or on vacation where no one knows me.

    My rule of thumb: If my 17-yr old daughter wears it, then I probably shouldn’t. However, she feels free to borrow liberally from my wardrobe. And, there are exceptions to every rule.

  60. y.k. says:

    i will never give up my leather jacket partly because it was so expensive I will need a few more decades to amortize to an acceptable cost per wear.
    i recently saw a picture of gigi hadid on fug girls in very ripped jeans& it struck me hard how silly she looked (i bet they were like a $1000 & by balmain). i remember loving my ripped jeans in the 80s but i cant go back there.

  61. Lesley says:

    I’m a spit short of 70 and have been lucky enough in the genetics crapshoot that I still have the legs to wear short (but not mini) skirts – but always with dark tights because they act like a girdle for my aging knees. I now tend to dress from the feet up, and wear heels only if I will be sitting down most of the time. Sleeveless? Rarely, although I can still get away with it (thanks both to the genes and years of competitive paddling).
    I’m more conservative than I used to be, and do reject some styles because they are too young or cute. Tall, slim, elderly and cute simply do not work together. It’s getting more difficult to be stylish without looking either silly or matronly.

  62. mlinky says:

    I’m short and 60 and will never give up jeans, black turtlenecks and high heels. I never dressed in fussy clothes, so my style hasn’t changed much. I have, however, reluctantly given up fitted tank tops.

  63. Susanna says:

    I know this thread is about not dressing too “young” for your age, but it’s also making me think back and remember the years in my early 20s–throughout my 20s, really–when I mostly dressed much older (or what I imagined that to be) than my chronological age. Partly it was because I always looked quite a bit younger than my actual age, and I worked in a conservative office environment at the time, so in order to be taken seriously I would try to dress the way I thought a grownup would. (It was the 80s, so that meant a lot of suits, shoulder pads, sensible pumps, and nude pantyhose, ack.) But what a relief to reach an age where I generally don’t worry about much of that anymore–I dress for myself, in what genuinely pleases me and feels right. And the end result is that I’m now dressing younger than I did in my 20s, in clothes that I think suit me better.

  64. At 44, I find that I don’t feel comfortable in the tight shirts I’ve worn most of my adult life. I’ve moved into looser, drapier, often asymmetrical tops, usually worn over either jeans or a knit pencil/tube/miniskirt-with-tights. Rarely patterns, usually boots (or, in the summer, Spanish Avarca sandals, which I discovered in a comment thread on this site). My husband calls my style “sexy Jedi,” lol.

  65. Jessie says:

    In my teens & twenties, I used to wear flip flops all summer long. Now they’re only for pedicures, showers, pool or beach. I try to find beautiful leather (supportive!) sandals for the summer now.

    As a current SAHM, I live in jeans, tee-shirts, button downs. I try to do “quality above quantity” when I can & I try to make these casual clothes look as neat & polished as possible.

    Emerson Fry was a game changer for me. Love pretty much everything she does, her Mick pants are perfect for me, as are her linen sweaters & button down shirts. Nice, clean, classic look that I am embracing.

  66. Meg says:

    Mini-skirts. I put mine on last year (I’m now 49) and event though I still have the legs to wear it, I felt silly. I go with how I feel in anything I wear.

    I will admit that I take more fashion risks now with color and style, and I think that has much to do with this group. You girls bolster my confidence and remind me that it’s all about how I feel in what I’m wearing.

  67. Viajera says:

    Can I just say, I don’t know any “cougars?” I am not fond of the word, but I also just don’t see that happening. (But that could also mean I’m just out of it. A strong possibility.)

    At least, can we think up an equally pejorative word for men doing the exact same thing, which no one even notices? Words matter.

    Please know, I’m not trying to make anyone else stop using it. I am though maybe a little bit calling b.s. on it. I don’t think it exists as a phenomenon much outside of tv writers’ febrile little minds. Now, do women sometimes date younger men? Sure. But does that alone make one a “cougar?” (And in my limited experience, it’s usually just a few years younger anyhow. Not a guy in his 20s. They aren’t DiCaprio-ing or anything.) (Or should I politely not notice such things entirely? No doubt, I’d be happier that way.)

    Christiana said something very interesting about not feeling in control of her image anymore. Though I may have misunderstood. (Also not uncommon.) Well, when were we ever in control of that, as women? Or again, maybe I just didn’t have that experience. I’m glad someone did!

    I’m sorry to say it, but as primates, I think sexism may just be another one of those instinctive behaviors. Maybe we aren’t going to get rid of it. Like war. (Of course, it is still worth *trying* to stamp them both out.)

    • diane says:

      i think a man decided to label a not woman in her 50’s or 60’s a cougar. live how you want without labels.

      • diane says:

        hot not not…

      • Viajera says:

        Agreed. And I didn’t mean to sound like I disapprove of women dating much younger men… just that ime, there don’t seem to be many. But that’s just me. True love can happen at any time or age, I believe it. Though… more for other people! Maybe I’ll work on that too with the leatherish pants.

  68. Just to say that this thread is so good that I came back to read the rest of the comments…and there are many! I would love if next up would be what beauty/makeup go-tos have become no-gos. Just a thought.

  69. lorna says:

    This is an interesting read. I’m much more careful with patterns – I like to think of my hair as silver (not gray). In floral patterns I feel a little Ms. Marple.

  70. diane says:

    i’m in the best shape of my life at 52, screw it. wear what makes you happy, confident and beautiful. i don’t need to explain who i am to people, they can see it.

  71. Anna says:

    Such an interesting discussion! I dressed sassily in my 50s but suddenly I began putting on weight and had to get used to that. I am determined to feel and look comfortable yet stylish and my worst nightmare is to look frumpy. I am experimenting with looks that suit a fuller, mature body. So I bought a pair of leather pants recently…! I haven’t worn them yet but I will! And a new leather moto jacket. Agree about mini skirts, though I wear hemlines that reach the top of the knee as I’m short and midi skirts on me look – frumpy! I wish I didn’t care so much about how I look, but appearance has always been important to me. So I love these discussions.

  72. Anne-Marieke says:

    I do know two cougars (hot women with boyfriends more than 10 yrs their junior) who don’t mind being called ‘cougars’. They actually enjoy it I guess…
    I very much agree with the comments about fast fashion and won’t touch something so cheap a child or very unfortunate Asian woman may have slaved over. If you can afford it, buy good quality and you will feel and look great! Style is so personal, it has nothing to do with age or size. Perhaps once you get a bit older you know better what suits you, what boosts your confidence and what won’t hurt your feet after a few hours.

  73. sc says:

    I just look at the Real Housewives – AN DO THE OPPOSITE.

    No fake tan, no rhinestones, no overly bright colored dresses a toddler would choose, no hooker shoes, subtler make up —

    The Isabel marant look is chic as hell – classic boho that FITS with a little edge. And great classic dark colored expensive bag and jewelry or watch you could not have afforded at 20.

    I also gave up dark goth lipstick. Looks good as nail polish, but aging on the face. A classic French red looks great tho.

  74. Anna says:

    I stopped wearing miniskirts when I hit my early 30s, because suddenly I felt too old for them. Funnily enough, I’ve started wearing them again in my early 40s. What changed? I moved from Australia to Europe, where women much older than me wear quite short skirts, with dark tights, and look great. Made me realise that something that felt natural to me at the time was actually totally contextual, and maybe much more about subtle social pressure/ageism than I would have imagined.

  75. Rosanne says:

    Getting dressed is like writing. You need to be your own critic. You need to enlist other harsher critics. (Highly recommend sisters). You need to ensure that you are delivering the message you want to deliver.

    Coco Chanel said that elegance is refusal. For me, this approach works. Not succumbing to certain trends…or removing one “too much” item…often makes me happiest.

    I’ve eliminated nothing categorically–except maxi skirts and dresses. Never worked for me, and I think they are a very tricky item to pull off. They’ve become a springtime mommy uniform where I live, and I think few are pulling it off.

    The other no-no for me is spending any time in a tennis skirt when I am not on the courts. I play frequently, and I used to think nothing of running errands before or after playing in my tennis togs. I am in perfectly good shape, but something about this no longer feels right. Maybe it’s the micro-mini-skirt-with-bare-legs thing…but it feels undignified.

  76. Maria says:

    Like many here, my hemlines are lower now, just slightly above the knee. I wore the heck out of those tight black bandage mini-skirts in the ’90s, so no regrets. Converse I wear all the time. A jeans jacket with anything but jeans, unless they’re white. I love dresses, but find it harder to find ones that feel right these days. What strikes me is how much my style hasn’t changed. I have Chelsea boots in my closet that are 20 years old and still going strong. I am 54 and I loved peasant blouses when I was a kid and still can’t resist them today. I am wearing one from Zara today, with skinny jeans and flats. (I live in LA)I love dangling earrings, too. (Just watched the Dem debate and noticed Judy Woodruff who has to be in her late ’60s was wearing them, too.) Women like Judy are my style icons. Stylish, pretty and totally appropriate. Oh, and super smart and engaged with the world, too.

  77. Robin says:

    I have given up heels over 2 inches. I like comfortable shoes like converse and kitten heels. I wear jeans almost daily and sundresses in the summer. Dangly earrings….I wear what I want,,,

  78. Elaine says:

    This is so fun! I am 57 and an ecologist who works outside. I bought some delightful Doc Martens a year or two ago because when I was starting fieldwork all the boots were the same brown leather. Now I have black fabric with whimsical flowers. How fun is that?! I have my go-to styles. Being very large of breast I wear v necks almost exlusively. And my straight leg jean (levi of course) with a little spandex dang how great is that?! My guilty splurges are not on dresses or other fem-my things but on jewelry that feels special. Cool necklace and earring pairings. Must go well with Docs, levis, t shirts and puffy vest tho!

  79. Cara says:

    Biggest change for me: stop dressing the way I thought I had to(will be 63 in April and just went back to school for a Master’s). Now, I am wearing black leather pants from October to March, then various weight black pants. Actually, black from head to toe. Accessories are where I am spending my money on: jewelry,scarves and glasses.
    Shoes need to be comfortable because I like to walk a lot and just adopted a rescue dog. Favorite styles: Nike Cortez and slip-on Vans.

    • Heidi says:

      You are my hero for going back to school at 63. I’m 49 and wondering if maybe that ship has sailed. Thank you!

  80. 56 says:

    It’s about body shape and skin tone for me. I love color, but colors and patterns are different (softer, less harsh, less contrast) from what I used to wear. My weight and shape have shifted through the years, with pregnancy, etc. I stick mostly with separates, but not my mother’s separates. Softer lines work. Draping works. Gone are bulky sweaters. Lightweight layers work. Bootcut jeans in dark colors work. Wedge sandals and ballet flats work for me. Boho is a difficult look, but flowing lines are great. Low rise pants do not work and don’t feel good. I’ll pass on the muffin top, thanks. I just don’t want to feel uncomfortable, so I pass on unworthy trends. It’s timeless dressing for me now, as time seems to pass too quickly. Everything is simpler now.

  81. Stella says:

    Verrrrry interesting conversation! I have no hard and fast rules and still wear whatever moves me – that being said, following a skiing accident and almost a year in a wheel chair – stiletto’s are OUT!

    Luckily genetics are on my side – have virtually the same body I had in my “youth” and not giving up my black kilt miniskirts, tights and boots anytime soon. If not now – when?? I’m a designer and staying on top of my fashion game is important to me. My 21 year old daughter is my best and harshest (of course) critic. If I don’t get the eye roll I know it’s all good.

  82. Lorna says:

    Hi, A great subject and such interesting comments. I am in my late 60’s and really started paying attention to this idea in my 50s. Like to call it AA. Clothes too girly or sexy started to look a little off. The great idea…dress for the age of your face started to make sense. I wear lots of slim pants, long tops, vests and kitten heels (the invention of the shoe gods). Also a little attention seeking Max Mara coats, exciting necklaces from Toronto designers and Shibori scarves from Seattle And the fabulous Maria Cornejo asymmetric dresses. I love Club Monaco, John Fluevog, Lilliput hats ( I am Canadian!), little cardigans over tanks or lingerie tops.
    And recommend my favourite fashion book…Linda Grant’s ” The Thoughtful Dresser”