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Are You Dressing Too Young for Your Age?

If you haven’t put in a request for a Mother’s Day gift, then make sure you read this article.

Are you dressing too young for your age?

And perhaps looking older because of it? It might be time for a gift card to your favorite retailer and a wardrobe do-over. The advice in chapters 12-19 of Charla Krupp’s book, How Not to Look Old (affiliate link), is the very reason to buy the book.  I am going to hit highlights, but she has multiple guidelines and lists to assist us in dressing ten years younger and age appropriate all at the same time, and it is a fine line we walk, ladies!

I know several women of a certain age who are proud they can wear mini-skirts, Daisy Duke-denim shorts, and tube tops.  While it is awesome they have the body types and the courage, the question still remains – SHOULD they wear these type of clothes?

dressing too young for your age

Clinton Kelly, formerly of What Not to Wear (affiliate link), often remarked if we compete with 25-year-old women, they will always win!  I have seen many women 40+ wearing the current trend of ripped jeans.  It looks great on the teenagers I teach every day, but not necessarily on my friends.

Krupp warns that it is fine to shop at stores like Forever 21 for jewelry, but not for clothing.  “There is a reason the prices are cheaper in the teen department. The fabrics are cheap! And cheap fabrics are never flattering, especially on women over 17,” she writes.

Here are a few of the things we should kiss goodbye:

  1. Go-go boots
  2. Newsboy hats
  3. Tee shirts with funny sayings
  4. Anything tie-dyed
  5. Micro-mini dresses and skirts
  6. Flip Flops with career or special event wardrobes
  7. Overalls
  8. Toe Rings
  9. Mittens

On the flip side of this, we need to be careful about dressing too old!  Here are some of the selections which would age us considerably:

  1. Matchy-matchy outfits
  2. Three piece suits with vests
  3. Elastic waist pants
  4. Holiday sweaters or sweatshirts with appliques
  5. Baggy sweats
  6. Shoulder pads (when I thrift items, first thing I do is cut out the shoulder pads!)
  7. Acid Wash jeans
  8. Muumuus
  9. Oversized Blazers
  10. Baggy Pants

Next week, we will discuss what should be in our closets!  But, please tell me, when you see a woman over 40 baring her midriff or rocking a mini, do you say YOU GO GIRL?  Are we perhaps part of the problem when we encourage other women who may be dressing too young for her age?  Let’s talk about it!

Thanks for joining me in the Joy Boutique!  Have a fabulous week and Mother’s Day!

midlife boulevard, columnist, midlife women, middle-age, midlife crisis

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Tuesday 21st of April 2015

I don't think there's an age limit on particular articles of clothing. It's not that a forty year old (or older woman) can't rock a miniskirt, it's that she shouldn't wear it in the same fashion as a 25 year old. That said, there is certainly a style or manner in which younger generation dresses, a uniform, that most older people I know avoid.

I want to add that I'm 51 and right now am wearing rolled up straight leg dark rinse jeans with pointy leopard print flats, a black "boyfriend" blazer and a white scoop neck t-shirt underneath. I have on silver disk earrings a sliver by pass bangle and a huge, and lovely lois hill ring. I feel this is a completely appropriate, albeit youthful outfit. In fact, it's pretty much my uniform and has been for the past 30 year. Blazer of the moment, jeans of the moment, funky accessories.

Kay Lynn

Sunday 18th of May 2014

I usually don't notice clothes unless it seems wrong like dressing like you're a kid when you're 50! One of my former co-workers used to do that and one day her outfit was so crazy I almost laughed in her face when I ran into her in the hall.

Another thing that drives me crazy is someone who never changes their hair style --- for 30 years!

Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll)

Friday 9th of May 2014

I'm going to disagree on tie-dyed -- that's too fun to leave to the young. But it's for casual events only.

And, I'd add that going sleeveless can be as aging as mini skirts on many older women. Arms don't always hold their youthful tone.

I have a question, what about those maxi casual dresses? I see lots of younger women looking great in them but haven't seen many midlife women wearing them.

b+ (Retire in Style Blog)

Thursday 8th of May 2014

I really don't care what other people wear...I always hope they are comfortable inside their own skin. But personally, I think that we need to be careful where we look for and at styles. Choosing the right store and even the right magazine to flip through will form an image of what a woman of a certain age can look like.

I have noticed that mothers of teen girls often begin dressing like them. It might be because they just spend way too much time in Forever 21. It rubs off on them after a while.

But let me say again...I am not in a position to judge other women. And I am glad that Pam is giving the advice. I would be terrible at that job. :)


Wednesday 7th of May 2014

I heartily agree with a good portion of both your lists but can we also add these to the kiss goodbye list: too much make-up, belly shirts, more than one trend at a time, colored hair dye of the blue, green or other non-human hair color variety? Overalls, the fashionable variety are in this season and when worn well, they aren't too young. Also, not giving up my mittens. Mittens with strings, I would agree can go, but my chic fur mittens get lots of compliments and are classic not age dependent. You called it on the Forever 21, not a store for the way past 21 set!

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