Do you check the reviews of shoppers before putting items in your cart? Wonder if whatever you’re buying is too boring or “young” — a fad or fabulous? Do you always look for free shipping and free returns ... just in case? Though women 50-plus have been driving retail fashion’s post-pandemic comeback, complaints about fit, sizing, trendiness and escalating prices are common. As a fashion writer, editor, stylist and personal shopper my job is to know where to find low-cost dupes of high-end items, which styles will work for mature bodies and lifestyles, and what’s really worth it. Here are 10 sure bets to buy, try and never get stuck with again.
1. A black statement bag
Ask any fashionista or influencer for her dream bag. The answer will be a black Chanel, Hermes Kelly or some other instantly recognizable but unaffordable choice for most mortals (even on consignment). However, sift through the endless barrage of more moderately priced hobos, satchels and crossbody purses, and you’ll find pure gold. Low-cost faux leather bags with the look of a big-deal designer find — as well as personalized details like quilted or embossed finishes and lavish helpings of chains and fringe — do exist. They’re the ones pros snap up two at a time. Buy it in goes-with-everything and looks-more-expensive black like the Mango Croc-Effect Bag in Black ($80, shop.mango.com), the Poppy Women’s Classic Quilted Leather Handbag in Black ($35, walmart.com) or the Area Stars Fringe Faux Leather Hobo Bag in Black ($98, nordstrom.com).
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.
2. A fresh, basic black sweater
Some women prefer a neck-lengthening V, others a cozy cowl or a hip-friendly tunic length. But regardless of style, every woman loves a new black sweater. Whether cotton or cashmere, it kicks off the season sans pills or pulls and makes you feel sophisticated day or night. You can’t have too many. Choose a relaxed crew like the Old Navy Textured-Knit Tunic Sweater for Women in Black Jack ($40, oldnavy.gap.com), a V like the Treasure & Bond Plus Drop Shoulder V-Neck Sweater in Black ($59, nordstrom.com) or the Quince Mongolian Cashmere V-Neck Sweater in Black ($50, onequince.com). Manipulate the fit yourself. Too snug? Go up a size for a contemporary look.