By the time we hit 50, most of us could benefit from a wardrobe refresh.
Our bodies, faces and lifestyles have changed over the decades; however, our style choices haven’t always kept up.
Do we need hard-core rules? Actress Ellen Barkin, 68, famously declared in O, The Oprah Magazine that women over 50 should never wear blue jeans to dinner. I (and my uber cool Mother jeans) beg to differ.
Forget those outdated rules! We just need a few easy-to-follow guidelines to great style and answers about how to get it.
Below is a master list of go-to pieces for women who want to fight the frump and look smart, energetic, modern and, yes, sure ... appropriate. Consider these investment pieces that you will wear for many years to come, because they will never really go out of style. View them as your foundation and build from there. You can wear these basics to work, out to dinner and anywhere else:
1. Dark denim, mid-rise, boot-cut jeans
The boot-cut hem leaves room for booties (also called “ankle boots”), which are the perfect footwear option for almost every occasion. (Best booties are from Stuart Weitzman, Cole Haan, Sam Edelman, Madewell and, for sheer comfort at a good price, Vionic). You can tuck boot-cut jeans into tall boots, too. This style is the perfect look for women over 50 because they balance out the silhouette — not too tight, not too loose, but just right.
Tip: Keep length about an eighth of an inch off the floor (depending on the shoe), and make sure the jeans fit well (with a little stretch) in butt and hips. Take the waist in, if necessary. Favorite options include Mother, Levi’s, Madewell, and believe it or not, Spanx has great-fitting jeans, too.
2. Dark denim, mid-rise, straight-leg jeans
Skip the tight skinny jeans (unflattering on most of us), and get these in dark blue, with no fading or whiskering and definitely not distressed. Pair with flat loafers or low block heels with squared toe (on trend) and tuck them into tall boots (even over the knee) in cooler weather. As with everything else, booties also work perfectly (see above for our favorites).
Tip: Straight-leg jeans go perfectly with longer jackets or tunic tops. Check out options from Uniqlo, 7 For All Mankind, J Brand, Levi's, Mother, Agolde or Spanx. Prices start at $75.
3. White jeans (boot-cut or straight-leg)
In warmer weather, wear with wedge sandals and tunic tops or a white tank with a crisp navy jacket or denim jacket to pull the look together. When it gets cooler, pair with brown or black booties, a sweater or jacket (a leather moto jacket, see details below) and a pretty scarf in colors that flatter your face.
Tip: Be sure to wear underwear that matches your skin color with any white pants.