You're never too old for anything ... just too smart for fashion trends with a déjà vu aura. My fashion-editor brain insists I try on jeweled combat boots and boho midi dresses, but the urge to splurge is gone. Here's the problem: Runway trends and their fast-fashion spawn have little to do with age 50-plus bodies and real, everyday lives. All you need is that one new thing. But what? Here are seven affordable, useful and wearable choices to love or laugh about.
1. A woman-power jacket. OK, Hillary didn't win — but her pantsuits did. And they fired up a lust for tailoring. Ignore the classic notch-collar blazers (how many can you buy in a lifetime?) and the faddish, oversize boyfriend styles, and skip to couture-ish cropped lady jackets in black or white, with dressy details, such as Banana Republic's Cropped Tie-Sleeve ($128), Zara's Jacket With Pearl Buttons ($149) or Ann Taylor's Tweed Open Jacket ($129). Toss over a crisp white shirt, slogan tee or your favorite dress or jeans, and you're in business.
2. A not-for-the gym sweatshirt. Fancy sweatshirts are the new sweaters. Glammed with bows or wrap waists — such as the Banana Republic Bow-Neck Couture Sweatshirt ($58), Gap's Short-Sleeve Wrap Sweatshirt ($45) or Target's Alison Andrews French Terry Tie Sleeve Sweatshirt ($35) — they're a new run-around-town, weekend or casual workday option.
3. Wider cropped pants. Ease into full-cut ankle trousers or kick flares — and breathe. Resist the visual appeal of paper-bag waists and bow-tie sashes (seriously ... tummies, anyone?) or long wide styles (we've learned the high heels and dirty hems lesson!). Instead of plain versions, try button-front nautical styles like the Cropped Sailor Pants by Who What Wear at Target ($35) or Banana Republic's Logan-Fit Sailor Crop ($98). Or try the edgy comfort of fake leather, like the Faux Leather Cropped Flares by Who What Wear at Target ($33) or Blank Denim's Vegan Leather Crop Kick Flares ($98) at Shopbop. All can be paired with flats, booties, sneakers or heels.
4. A sophisticated ruffled top. Ruffles are everywhere, but beware high-neck Victorian blouses or Little House on the Prairie-like flounces that slip into girly-granny territory — and not in a good way. Keep the shape sophisticated and the ruffle discreet, like with the Gap's Ruffle Hem Crewneck Sweater ($60) or Banana Republic's Long-Sleeve Cascade Ruffle Top ($88).
5. More leopard, please. Quietly purring its way onto racks and sites, despite a lack of media attention, our favorite "print" is baaaack in fresh, multitasking 24/7 basics like a Seamed Ponte A-Line Skirt in Honey Beige Leopard by Land's End ($70), Banana Republic's Italian Superloft Ruffle Cuff Crew ($88), and H&M's Leopard Jacquard Weave Coat ($70) and Leopard Faux Fur Jacket ($119).
6. Wine ... as in burgundy, merlot, and bordeaux. Red was supposedly the color of the season, but it's darker, moodier hues of burgundy, bordeaux and merlot have taken over. Looking for a trend-up work dress? Try New York & Company's 7th Avenue Colorblock Sheath ($70), Talbots' Moss Crepe Shift With Scalloped Neck in wine ($97) or DressBarn's Roz & Ali Zip Belted Textured Zip-Front Dress ($49) to pair with your black or nude shoes and bags.
7. A brown lipstick. Mauve or dark nude for the timid. No, I am not kidding — '90s flashback lips are hot. Choose a stain, like Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in Blackberry or Telluride ($29), or a nondrying, nonsmearing sponge-tip liquid Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick ($20) in Spice Girl or Venus shades, and drag out your MAC Spice Lip Liner.
For more beauty and style tips for women age 50+, check out The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life and Love After 50 by Lois Joy Johnson and AARP's Beauty & Style issue.