En español | If your online shopping cart is filled with leather joggers, oversized turtlenecks and pleated pants, we need to talk. What on earth are you thinking? I know we're all fed up wearing the same old thing day after day and the holidays are approaching fast, but let's give those trends a 50-plus reality check. Not everything that looks great on a screen makes sense for our bodies and lifestyles. Here's how to get your trend fix — and skip the fads.
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PHOTO BY: Nordstrom; Old Navy; Mango
1. Want faux leather pants? Skip the joggers and buy the leggings.
The whole point of wearing leather at age 50-plus is for the edgy attitude (the reason we love biker jackets so much). While leather joggers may appear more forgiving and easier to wear, the second skin fit of leggings and absence of extra fabric and details make them a better choice. Leggings like the Spanx Faux Leather Leggings in very black ($98, nordstrom.com), Old Navy High-Waisted Stevie Faux-Leather Pants for Women in pleather ($40, oldnavy.gap.com) or Violeta by Mango Faux Leather Leggings in black ($60, shop.mango.com) make a versatile base for sweaters, blazers and untucked shirts and blouses. Just be sure they're long enough to cover your belly and posterior and have enough volume to balance the long trim proportions below.
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PHOTO BY: Target; Mango; Everlane
2. Want a sweater dress? Skip body-hugging styles and buy a shift shape.
Shapely knit dresses that show off curves look appealing on models, but let's be realistic: Are you ready and willing to tug on shape wear to make that work? Instead, choose a midi-length sweater dress like the Prologue Women's Balloon Long Sleeve Sweater Dress in cream or brown ($40, target.com), Violeta by Mango Knit Midi Dress in dark heather gray ($80, shop.mango.com) or a knee-length style like the Everlane The Cashmere Turtleneck Dress in oatmeal or black ($180, everlane.com). All have a relaxed fit that floats over curves. The best sweater dresses are roomy but not too loose; you still want a sense of shape.
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PHOTO BY: Bloomingdale's; Zara; Zappos
3. Want a chic black quilted bag? Skip small crossbody styles and buy a large crossbody.
Quilted bags with a chain strap are back on top, but select one with room for more than a wallet and cellphone. This is not the ‘80s or ‘90s when tiny bags (remember baguettes?) ruled. You'll only end up having to carry a tote along, too. A crossbody — like the MZ Wallace Crosby Crossbody in black/silver ($295, bloomingdales.com), Zara Quilted Maxi Crossbody Bag in black ($50, zara.com) or the Aldo Cozette in other black ($60, zappos.com) — that is large enough to haul your essentials (including extra masks, hand sanitizer and a water bottle) won't let you down.
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PHOTO BY: Madewell; LOFT; Gap
4. Want wide-leg pants? Skip pleats and buy flat-fronts.
We've been down that pleated pants road before. They didn't work then (expect maybe on Diane Keaton) and they sure aren't going to work now when our bellies and hips are more curvaceous than ever. Wide-leg pants such as the Gap High-Rise Wide Leg Pants in true black, olive green, summer spice brown ($70, gap.com), Madewell Huston Pull-On Full-Length Pants in miltmore plaid ($118, madewell.com) or Loft Button Front High Waist Wide Leg Crop Pants in midnight caper or forever navy ($80, loft.com) have the right fit — a high enough waist and flat front that flows to a loose wide-leg silhouette.
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PHOTO BY: Bloomingdale's; H&M; Eloquii
5. Want a leather skirt? Skip fitted pencils and buy a leather midi.
Some of us don't like leggings and pants, but why should we miss out on the leather trend? Faux leather pencil skirts are still a classy seasonless buy, but just say no. We're not wearing heels these days, and you'll get a lot more comfort and up-to-the-minute style with a pleated midi like the Eloquii Pleated Faux Leather Skirt in melted chocolate ($83, eloquii.com), H&M Faux Leather Skirt in khaki green ($60, hm.com) or Lucy Paris Faux Leather Pleated Skirt ($88, bloomingdales.com). Pleated leather skirts easily pivot from a hoodie and Uggs to a cashmere sweater and knee-high boots but are also light enough to wear next spring with a tee and sandals. too.
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PHOTO BY: Mango; Bloomingdale's; Gap
6. Want a pop-of-color sweater? Skip oversized styles and buy a cropped cardigan.
Tunic sweaters are swell in neutral colors where they elongate the body and provide extra coverage, but when you want to add a jolt of color keep it short and sweet. Make no mistake, “cropped” does not mean midriff short. Cardigans with a boxy silhouette — like the Mango Cable-Knit Cardigan in red ($60, shop.mango.com), Gap Textured Cardigan in sunshine yellow ($70, gap.com) or Aqua Leopard Cardigan Sweater in blue ($78, bloomingdales.com) — are chunky, loose and hovering at the hip. Worn closed or open they make ideal partners for higher-waist pants and jeans, which as a “fashion"-forward woman I know you're wearing by now (see tips No. 4 and 9).
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PHOTO BY: Zara; Mango; H&M
7. Want a cuddly coat? Skip cropped puffers and buy a long fake fur.
While short puffers in candy colors catch the eye, the jacket style means your derriere will be freezing. Keep it covered with a posh, sophisticated faux fur coat with shearling-like pile (as opposed to shaggy fur) like the Zara Faux Fur Wrap Coat in taupe brown ($169, zara.com), H&M Wool-Blend Faux Shearling Coat in beige ($129, hm.com) or Mango Reversible Faux Shearling-Lined Coat in beige ($170, shop.mango.com). The neutral colors and tailored roomy cuts layer easily over your midis, leggings or athleisure togs — and work day or night.
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PHOTO BY: H&M; Target; Zara
8. Want a statement blouse? Skip the leather and buy leopard.
You might think a leather top is the successor to last year's bare shoulder sweaters, but no way. Trust me, leather tops look great for the first five minutes, and then they feel clammy and uncomfortable. On the other hand, a leopard blouse — such as the Zara Long Animal Print Shirt ($36, zara.com), H&M Wide-Cut Blouse in light beige/leopard print ($18, hm.com) or Who What Wear Women's Long Sleeve Soft Bow Blouse in brown ($30, target.com) — is the trend that just keeps on giving. Pair it with anything. You just can't lose.
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PHOTO BY: Gap; Ann Taylor; Nordstrom
9. Want non-skinny jeans? Skip mom jeans and get high-waist flares or wide legs.
Like pleated pants, those trendy barrel-shaped “mom” jeans are not going to do your grownup body any favors. The boyfriend jeans sitting in your closet are a much cooler choice if you want ease. Flared or wide-leg jeans with a high (but not extra high) waist — like the Gap High Rise Vintage Flare Jeans in dark indigo ($80, gap.com), NYDJ Teresa Fray Hem Wide Leg Jeans in lazaro ($119-$129, nordstrom.com) or Ann Taylor Sculpting Pocket High Rise Wide Leg Jeans in jet black wash ($98, anntaylor.com) — are a perfect switch from the constant lower-leg compression of skinnies. Choose a degree of width that makes you happy, and know that any ankle boot or bootie will easily fit beneath the hem.
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PHOTO BY: Nordstrom (2); Macy's
10. Want head-turning sneakers? Skip futuristic sports styles and buy a slip-on fashion sneaker.
Chunky bubble sole sneakers in a mashup of colors are irresistible, and everyone from Balenciaga to Nike makes them. But unless you actually are a runner, why wear bulky complicated kicks that resemble sports cars more than shoes? Let's not forget shoes — even if they are sneakers — should flatter your legs and look stylish in a good way. A hybrid slip-on sneaker-shoe — like Vans X MoMA Vasily Kandinsky Classic Slip-On Sneaker ($80, nordstrom.com), Lucky Brand Takato Platform Slip-On Sneaker in lace/latte calf hair ($99, nordstrom.com) or Bzees Golden Fur Trim Washable Slip On Sneakers in black leopard ($79, macys.com) — in artsy and animal prints will make you and everyone you meet smile. Isn't that the height of fashion?