Getting older in style

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    I have a friend who is about 10 years my senior. During her 40th birthday party, I noticed how easily I could tell the age of the guests, ie who was around 40 and not. It wasn’t fine lines or anything like that, iirc they all had great skin and no grey hair, it was all about fashion choices. Maybe it was [a fringe]( Maybe jeans with an unusually high waist (not stylish at the time). Maybe a slightly V-lined jacket. Something that was current during their formative years.

    Well, years have passed and I’m going on 40. I still own clothes that I bought 10 or 20 years ago. Three year old pieces feel brand new. There are no longer any natural time limits that make me get rid of stuff (“I’m in university now, I’m throwing out all statement pieces from highschool”) and I’m no longer surrounded and influenced by hundreds of other girls my own age (like in college). I don’t have time to stroll around town and get a feel for current trends. The other day I grabbed [a jacket]( out of my closet and got complimented on my IPPC awareness. “That style is actually coming back, too!” I hadn’t even thought about it but I guess I did buy it over 12 years ago. During my formative years. What I think of as a timeless classic or an “old reliable” is probably just… dated. And I don’t notice. And also don’t care as much as I used to. But I want to look stylish and also youngish. Not like a 20-something, but like someone who keeps up with fashion and technology and TV. Like one of the cool mums.

    Does anyone else feel this? How can a lady with more money than time keep it up, keep it fresh and still look her age? Surely I’m not alone in this?



    There are a lot of comments here so this might get lost but honestly as a 20-something the older women whose style I admire and want to emulate is usually not “current” – I dont think you have to get into current trendy pieces. Dont think of it as dated, if you have a style you love that suits you, then thats the kind of 50 yr old I hope to be some day. Theres such stigma around getting older, especially as a woman, but its way cooler to be the best version of yourself as opposed to tryitn to look younger and trendy. Marching by the beat of your own drum and what you like is honestly aspirational, its the kind of confidence I hope to have a few decades down the line.



    I don’t really have advice here, but I’m turning 30 this year and was just thinking the same thing about my makeup style. Does it define me as my age because I’m comfortably stuck in the time it was popular? Do I want to take the time to update it? Do I care?

    I think in this case, there are small tweaks you can make that update different styles. Like accessories could push a look from dated into modern, for example.



    I’m 36, and I literally could have written this post myself… I have the exact same issue! I have a group of friends who are about ten years older than me. When I was in my mid-twenties, they occasionally asked me for fashion advice, and I remember thinking to myself, “this is so easy and dumb, why don’t they understand how to shop” but now I completely understand it! I occasionally ask my 25 year old friend for help, but she’s a butch lesbian in law enforcement and doesn’t actually wear much that’s fashionable (she’d admit that herself and takes a little pride in not giving a crap).

    It’s so easy to lose track of time when you’re establishing yourself ages 22-35, and suddenly you look up and realize you’re wearing the same suit to work you wore 13 years ago. It doesn’t help that I work in a fairly conservative industry where people really do wear the same suits for that long, and no one dresses particularly stylishly or with flair. (I’m probably considered one of the more stylish people there, and I am NOT on top of any fashion trends by a long shot).

    My personal theory is that this phenomenon is also partially about your perception of time. When you’re 22, five years ago was AN ETERNITY. But for me now, five years ago wasn’t all that long ago, and I was essentially doing the same thing career-wise and family life-wise. Things from five years ago still feel current to me, but I’m sure they don’t to college kids.

    I don’t have a solution or any advice at all… just commiserating!



    I’m with you on this. “Classic” things I bought years ago are no doubt dated, but I struggle to actually see the difference. I’m going through this with blazers right now- I have a couple, I like them okay- but I know they’re probably not the right cut/style for 2018. (actually they are cut similar to the one in your pic).

    Part of my problem is (and I am realising this, looking at the WAYWT threads) is that I really just like what I like. Clothes either wear me, or ‘feature’ me (wrong word- I mean they make me look on the outside the way I feel on the inside?), if that makes sense. The cuts and colours that I feel “right” in are not often going to be current- but a lot of what is current (according to what I see here, anyway) I just wouldn’t wear. It doesn’t feel like “me”, I’d feel like I was cosplaying as someone else.

    This must be the whole formative years thing that you mentioned – but thinking back to when I was a teenager and 20 something in the 80s and 90s, I was still doing this, making my own probably unfashionable ensembles out of whatever bits and pieces I felt like felt like “me”. I just don’t know how to be 50 honestly!



    I’m 44 and I wear whatever the heck I want.



    You should take a look at the blogs of cool mums! There are quite a few out there. I only know some UK ones but I’ll post their instagram pages here anyway: (I think she always looks cool!) and (ok not a mum!) are two I look at a lot. And I’m in my 30s, I hope I look as god as they do when I’m in my 40s.



    I’m 39 and I cordially invite you to r/fashionwomens35, a sub I made a couple weeks ago especially for women 35 and older! 🙂

    Some of the issues I personally have found as I went through my 30s:

    Same weight, dramatic body type shifts, gaining weight, body type different especially in bust, tum, and butt!

    Typical “go to” items felt “off”, too youthful, and weird after a certain age

    Lifestyle changes (professional job, shifting social gears, increase in disposable income, increased travel)

    Changed style and fashion goals—no longer felt that I needed or wanted to fully express my *entire* self though clothing

    Circling back to certain faves from high school (Doc Martens, high waisted ultra flare jeans, boyfriend blazers, etc) in the last year or so

    Becoming a much more conscious consumer (and having the luxury and privilege to do so!)

    Moving around, gaining and losing almost entire wardrobes due to dramatic climate changes (from tropics to SouthWest High Desert, from Upstate NY to tropics, etc)


    Shops in the mall and boutiques just do NOT cater to this mid-range. It’s either gracious artsy older woman or funky just out of her teens trendy girl. Where, I repeat WHERE are the shops that have comfortable, functional, easy wear but fun, on trend, and appropriate clothes (like, cough cough those regular size dresses are NOT long enough for work Ann Taylor cough cough!!!)

    Not seeing women “our” age in blogs, on Pinterest, in fashion magazines. Either much older silver haired queens like Lauren Hutton or 15 year olds!


    There’s some very fun books out there:

    Advanced Style

    Lazy Perfection

    How not to look old (terrible title, but very valuable advice)

    French women don’t get old

    Check out my list of bloggers on r/fashionwomens35



    I used to live in Paris, and you could see the current trends everywhere. Now that I’m back in the U.S., I follow Paris fashion “It” girls on Instagram whose Instagrams matched the best trends when I was there. That’s sort of how I keep up even though there is about 0 Parisian style in Utah.

    Also, have a younger, stylish friend go through your entire wardrobe with you. I’m 21 and my mother is, well, not in her 20s or 30s, and we dedicated an entire day to going through her closet. When you go “fashion blind” to your own clothes, it helps to have fresh eyes take a look. We ended up throwing away five garbage bags of clothes and shoes and donating another eight. She’s much happier with her wardrobe now.

    That’s my two cents.



    I just wanted to say I love this post and I’m following. 🙂


    Almost in the exact same boat as you, I used to be a stay-at-home-wife with little disposable income, so I mostly made do with cheap mom jeans, t-shirts and sweats.

    Now that I’m back in the work force, I feel insecure and I’m slowly building up my wardrobe again. But I don’t have a clue! I’m loving the time-capsule blogs and the 10-outfit for two week challenge, as it forces me to just buy basics and forces me to be creative.

    I’m loving Loft, Old Navy, Chico’s and …. Target (!) wow, has Target changed over the years. But I admit people look at me strange when I shop at Old Navy. I’m trying to find my 10 go-to outfits (no more, no less) then just buying accessories to mix it up. I hope I’m doing it right and looking my age. I’ll post pics here when I have the chance.



    I have been thinking about this all week, because I feel *exactly* the same way.

    I’m nearing 30 but still feel inclined to dress virtually the same way I did in high school and college: mid-rise skinny pants/jeans (full length, not ankle), blouses in black, white, navy or jewel tones, one-button blazers, and v-neck cardigans. The only prints I wear are geometric, and I like fitted to moderately fitted clothes; the current blousy, boxy silhouettes just don’t look as good on me! Basically, a lot of the current trends (ankle pants, florals, ruffles, voluminous, boxy tops, high-rise pants, etc.) make me feel unattractive, so I decided to stick with what makes me personally feel good while trying to push my horizons a little.

    Because I just started a new job last week teaching high school I felt like I really needed to update my wardrobe to something less dated. I also gained some weight recently, so I would have had to replaced everything anyways, so I figured it was the perfect time to try to update somewhat!

    So, what I tried to do was to take my core style and push it a bit. I kept my pants and most of my sweaters well-fitted, but bought slightly boxier blouses and t-shirts. I don’t care for most feminine touches, but I decided that I did like [lace]( and [bow/tie necklines](, so I bought several blouses with each. I also bought lots of shirts with more visually interesting sleeve styles (puff sleeve, tie cuffs, tulip shape, etc.) in order to compensate for all the neutral, solid colors and otherwise plain-ish styling.

    I also gave up on finding true geometric prints and settled with floral-ish prints but in [geometric layouts](! And I compromised on the sweaters, buying two v-necks, one crew neck, and two long, open cardigans.

    My wardrobe is now still basically my favorite silhouette, but with minor slightly more current details and compromises. I’m lucky that, as a teacher, I’m not expected to be trendy and my general preferences match up with what both students and admin expect educators to wear! I feel much more comfortable and happy at 50% “current” than I think I would if I tried to make myself dress 100% on-trend.

    EDIT: Sorry for all the LOFT links. That’s where I buy most of my sweaters and tops so it was just easier to find examples off the top of my head on their site!

    As for how to keep up, I feel like just regular browsing through retail sites is what helps me the most. None of my friends are the least bit into fashion and I don’t want to dress like my students, so that’s the best way I’ve found to get fashion exposure. Fast fashion sites tend to adopt trends the fastest, so H&M and Zara can be fun to look through, even if very little of it is things I would wear. I find it most useful, though, to regularly check the sites of brands I like like Ann Taylor, Loft, GAP, etc.

    If you’re inclined, women’s magazines or fashion websites would probably also be a good way to keep up a bit!



    I’ve thought this also ( 48). But after I met with a stylist I realized if you are wearing what’s right for you style , cut and color wise it looks great regardless.



    Oh man I just posted something along the same lines as this on the daily fashion questions thread. Basically, I was asking how I can wear things from the 90’s that are coming back into style without looking like I’m just trying to live the glory days of my teens circa 1995.

    I’ll soon be turning 39 and I also struggle with how to look “current” without feeling like I’m trying to look too “young.” I’m totally ok with looking like a 40 year old woman, I’m proud of my age and how far I’ve come since I was 20, but I also want to look like a ***cool*** 40 year old woman. To be honest, I don’t really have any good advice for you, since I’m just winging it too!

    BTW – I *love* that jacket you posted! I’m a huge fan of Blazer style jackets and just bought one in camel colored leather. My hope is for it to look retro and not dated, but I’m not 100% sure I’ve achieved that 😂



    I just avoid trends in general until it’s clear that they are more than a flash in the pan. I think even older people can look dated if they wear trends without a regard for what looks good on them.

    I have avoided cold shoulders, ruffles, mint and coral, bubble necklaces. I love slip dresses but they are not for my body.

    I didn’t hop on the skinny leg jeans until there were enough options to have one with a higher waist and not super skinny and stretchy.

    I love the menswear trend and would wear it even if it isn’t on trend.

    I think what makes someone look aged is wearing clothes that don’t really fit their body (I too know best what I looked in in my body of ten years ago).

    Right now everyone and their mom are wearing leggings with cutouts and and mesh inserts. They will look SO dated in a year or two, because of how unique and popular they are now. So I am going to avoid them because I know I wear my clothes longer than a year or two. I have to stick with trends that have more lasting power.



    If time is an issue look into a company like Stitch Fix. I know someone who is older than you who’s used it and completely refreshed her wardrobe a few pieces at a time. She just turned 60 and dresses appropriately for her age yet trendy. A stylist puts a box together for you monthly and you keep what you like and return what you don’t. You provide feedback to your stylist to help them make better choices for you. Best of luck!!

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