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What Midlife Women Should Wear to Work


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“In the working world, you can turn heads, create more awareness of your contribution, and create a brand for yourself by adding a dash of spice to your look.” – Carrie Leum, Image Consultant

What Midlife Women Should Wear to Work

Like it or not, visuals matter…especially when we work in the professional world and are developing confidence with what we produce.  I have read many style books on the subject of career attire, but I do believe some of the best advice comes from image consultants.  We must admit that even we look on the outside appearance when we see our banker, financial advisors, doctors, lawyers, and many professionals with a critical eye, and our own suspicion arises if they show up a mess or not groomed.  Midlife women are sometimes facing real age discrimination in the workplace, so our wardrobe is even more important to help garner the respect we seek.

Carrie Leum recommends we begin with these thoughts in mind:

  1. Be sure you feel confident in your attire before leaving the house.
  2. Ensure that you emphasize your face.
  3. Make sure you dress in your most flattering silhouette.
  4. Walk the talk – demonstrate your talents in your clothing of choice.
  5. Be ready to accept compliments – know how to respond.

She recommends we refresh our professional attire with these ideas first:

  1. Discover non-jewelry accessories such as scarves, colorful tights or belts.
  2. Invest in statement pieces like colorful jackets, vests or cardigans. These are ways to work a wardrobe with strong neutral foundations.
  3. Occasionally wear a piece of jewelry which may be bold, colorful, or vintage. It should have talk-value, and really enhance a great fitting pair of black trousers and a white blouse.
  4. Even if your office is casual, dress it up. Wearing skirts and dresses among the casual styles will get you noticed in a good way. (It delivers strength and professionalism.)
  5. Add a new blouse to the wardrobe each season. (For Fall 2015, the secretary-bow-blouses are back in style, and can be a great professional look.)

She reminds us to dress the body we have now with confidence and style.  “The key to standing out is to be memorable,” she says.  I would add be memorable in a good way.  I watched a woman go to work in her real estate office last week. She wore (on this first week of October) a black blouse with sequined jack-o-lanterns, black leggings, orange flats, orange dangly earrings, and a long Halloween cardigan with images of ghosts and witches. (She even had a big Halloween bow on the front of her Mercedes.)   I am certain, she is memorable in her office, but just consider whether this is a look that instills confidence in a new home buyer.  The look tells me she is fun, and happy, but it is better worn for weekends or if she is the homeroom mom in charge of the school Halloween party.  I would also submit, a look such as the Halloween outfit ages us. We immediately go mentally from professional to grandma with this type of work wear.

I have taught myself to ponder awhile before the mirror and ask, “What message does this send about my work?”  I try to do this every morning alone.  It is my time and my opinion to decide how I want to be seen at work.

Next week, I will bring you some more specifics from the image consultant world.  Thanks for stopping by The Joy Boutique. Have a great week, everyone!



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 20th of October 2015

Good reminders!

I teach M - Th. I started this quarter planning the following week's outfits on Friday afternoon. It's my little treat for getting lots of grading and prep work done in the morning! :-) I try on everything (including accessories, bag, shoes, etc.) and take a good hard look in the mirror to make sure everything works the way I imagined it in my head (and it often does not work the way I imagined it...). Being dressed the best I can with what's in my closet has made such a difference, and my days go so much more smoothly when everything is planned out. It's also a great way to figure out what I need to add or replace in my closet.


Thursday 15th of October 2015

I am 45 and I bought a bow blouse, but in burgundy with 3/4 sleeves, I think this makes it more modern. Pinterest helps a lot to copy outfits

I think my trademark is funky jewelry and I am learning how to find stylish and comfy shoes. They make the outfit for me. But no skirts and no spike heels, ever, just my choice


Tuesday 13th of October 2015

Good tips. I would never wear the bow blouse either. Very dated look, and aging! No matter how sloppy the workplace gets, I am always conscious of the message I am sending and dress professionally and with respect for the position I was hired into.

Antionette Blake

Tuesday 13th of October 2015

Great post Pam, I know that I have to look good to feel good but I have to look good for myself!


Tuesday 13th of October 2015

Some great tips but you'd never catch me wearing the "secretary bow- blouse" trend. On a woman over 50, it's a dated look that will make her appear older, not modern. Adopting small bits of modern trends keep a woman looking vital and current. Just how she'd want to be perceived in the work place.


Tuesday 13th of October 2015

Agreed. For most of us a high collar with a sweet little bow right there below our saggy chins is not going to be our best look.

Go for the stylish new color in a cut that flatters instead.

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