Dresses for Women Over 50: Obsolete or Wearable

Do you wear dresses? I remember my Granny wearing dresses all the time. She always wore a housedress when she was home, then changed to something nicer when she went out to run her errands. I never saw my Granny in pants. My Mom wore dresses when I was little but the older she got the more she relied on pants. I seldom wore dresses when I was a young woman but the older I get, the more dresses I wear. I appreciate their comfort and how easy it is to look polished with just one garment.

Hit Your Style Sweet Spot

Welcome to Hit Your Style Sweet Spot. Pam Lutrell and I began this series to help inspire women who are struggling with their appearance. Each week we choose a scenario to show how we dress to reach our style sweet spot. Your style sweet spot is when you feel confident about your appearance and know you’re sending the message you want people to see. Last week we shared how we dressed for a new stage of life.  This week we’re dressing… in dresses.

Wearing dresses means there's no need to coordinate your top and bottom, bypasses that trouble spot, your middle, and adds instant polish.
A reader asked how I incorporate my hand knits into my wardrobe. This is how…I knit this sweater from a slub cotton.

Dresses are all over the stores but I see so few women wearing them. I admit that pants seem more comfortable, but there’s something about a dress that is so simple and easy. You don’t need to coordinate a top with bottom and they usually bypass that trouble spot, our waistline.

During the winter I like to wear black tights or fishnets with them. In the summer I don’t like to wear any hose. Having flourescent white legs is a bit of a problem that I solve with a little self tanner.

Wearing dresses means there's no need to coordinate your top and bottom, bypasses that trouble spot, your middle, and adds instant polish.
I polished my toes blue to get in the Spring spirit…so it immediately turned chilly and rained 🙂

I have spider veins and a few varicose veins so self tanner helps camouflage them. The skin on my legs has also become crepey…like on the rest of my body. Having a touch of color on them helps.

Wearing dresses means there's no need to coordinate your top and bottom, bypasses that trouble spot, your middle, and adds instant polish.

I’d like to say the days of orangey self tanners are over…but they’re not. I’ve tested many but always come back to this one. I like this

Jergen’s Natural Glow in Fair to Medium. I use it on my legs every other day to keep a little color going all Spring and Summer. On the alternate days I use my regular moisturizer.

A few tips for using. If you have dry skin, use a scrub first. Concentrate most of it on your shins and thin it out toward your knees and ankles.

Now lets pop over to see how Pam at Over 50 Feeling 40 wears a dress.

Have a fabulous week!

xo Jennifer

This post contains affilate links which may generate comission for AWSL. My complete disclosure statement is here.


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  1. Love your dress! I love dresses, but have always felt self-conscious about my legs since my spider veins have gotten worse–and I’m allergic to some ingredient in self-tanners. Will have to try the Sally Hansen product–thanks to your commenter for the tip!

    1. My commenters are the very best!! I always learn so much.

  2. I love that dress! It is vibrant and fun and colorful and looks just great. Amazing you, that you knitted the sweater! I like a dress length over the knee to hide as much of my legs as possible and makes it easier for me to sit. Thank goodness that length seems to be back in style.

  3. You don’t have anything to worry about, Jennifer. You’ve got great legs. Show them off!

  4. I have always been a dress person! Back in the 90’s in was almost impossible to find one and I am so glad they are back in. So easy to wear and accessorize! Re. the legs: I have tried many self tanners but they will darken any spots on your legs which is a problem. My derm. said to wipe them off with a Q-tip and acetone! But even better, I use Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs . It’s a spray and is fabulous! Absolutely does the trick. I can’t get the link to fit here, so you must Google…

    1. I will google it! Thanks for the tip about using a Qtip on spots!!

  5. I love to wear dresses! Just slip them on and go! Far more comfortable than pants most of the time! I probably wear a dress to work 1-2 times a week.
    I like that print dress you are wearing.

    1. I seldom wear prints but this one spoke to me:)

  6. I really WANT to wear dresses, but alas my legs look terrible. I do use the Jergen’s self tanner and love it. Guess I will try and suck it up and just do it. Thanks for the encouragement.

    1. They’re so much more comfy. Just use the self tanner and step out with a smile!

  7. Ahhh…you’re a knitter too? How fabulous! I love this cardigan—perfect for a “jacket” over your dress!!
    We finally got my grandma into pants when she was 94—before that she vowed never to wear pants.
    But I’m one of those that long for some of the aspects of yesteryear—-a little dressing up never hurt anyone—many days, I believe we’ve gotten way too casual!
    Thus, I’m a fan of dresses—they are my go-to when we’re going out (for dinner, a play, to meet friends). And I absolutely love this one you’re wearing since it’s so colorful!
    I have that issue with the white legs, but since my skin cancer bouts, I’m waging a war on the sun and embracing my whiteness! I’ve used the tanners in the past, but I’m trying to love what I have without too much trouble (of course, I still wear makeup on my face, so I’m not that strict!)

    1. You’re so funny Jodie! I embrace my paleness everywhere but my legs. Especially since hose is so hot in the summer.

  8. I love wearing dresses-especially in the summer. They are so much cooler than shorts, especially when they are made of cotton. I feel ‘dressed’ and comfy at the same time.
    Ps-love your sweater! Nice job!

  9. The overall look is very cute and vivacious. But I have to admit that I am very impressed by the long sweater you knit. It hangs very nicely. Also, thanks for the discussion of self-tanners. A few people have gently (and not so gently) suggested I try self-tanning my legs, but I just haven’t done that yet. It’s nice to read about someone I can relate to who has used a self-tanner. Thanks for the post.

    1. This Jergens is so light it’s easy to use. Just start slow and don’t apply too heavily. Thanks for the sweater comment. It took me a long time but I love the results 🙂

  10. I did not know that you knit, but your sweater is absolutely gorgeous. I’m kind of bowled over!
    And you know, I wore a dress out the other night, and felt so self conscious about my white legs. I have no idea why it hadn’t crossed my mind to try a little self-tanning lotion. I’ll give it another go this summer, although I don’t always have the best of luck with it. As you mentioned…that “orange” thing. Jergens Natural Glow is what I have used in the past as well.

  11. You look stunning in that dress!!!
    Almost 50-year-old would wear that same thing in a millisecond 🙂
    I’ve been thinking so much about you, what we chatted about in Las Vegas, and exploring my options for retreat time as well ????

    1. I loved meeting you too! Retreat time is critical for my sanity… What passes for my sanity:)

  12. Love the cute dress and sweater! I love dresses too. I normally wear the ankle length, with a short sleeved shrug. They are so cool and feminine. A couple weeks ago I bought a cute little striped, above the knee dress. It’s casual, and I paired it with a shrug. My problem are too white legs too. I have used Jergens self tanners, and this spring I found Jergens Instant Sun, Light Bronze Sunless Tanning Mousse! It is now my favorite for sunless tanning. No streaks, no orange legs, etc. just wanted to pass this along!

    1. I need to try this one. I bet the Mousse works well. Thanks for sharing your tips..I really love my readers:)

  13. Jennifer, the dress is cute but I LOVE your handknit long cardi! I spend most of the summer in dresses and cute sandals- so much cooler when the heat and humidity are high.

  14. I LOVE dresses. Yes, my Mum and Gran seemed to wear them frequently.

    I always think wearing a dress changes your outlook (most of the time)

    Good post

  15. I’ve used Jergen’s Natural Glow too and I’m a fan. Thx for encouraging us to look a little beyond the Little Black Dress.

  16. I use self tanner a lot. Tried a new one this weekend and my daughter said ‘ your face is looking brown. In fact it’s an entirely different color.’ I had popped self tan drops into my face sunscreen so was going tan (orange ) during the day.
    I also love dresses in the summer and came to them later in life.

  17. I wear dresses quite often as I attend church every Sunday. I’d say from March until October I will wear a dress every week. I find them much easier to wear than trying to coordinate a top and a bottom. Although I do have two skirts a black and a navy that I have fun styling in various ways depending on the season. Ann Taylor has very feminine blouses that I love! I do wear VERY sheer hose if I’m wearing a closed toed pump, I too have varicose veins and lets face it, most leg skin over the age of 40 is not great. I follow the lead of Kate Middleton who wears hose and looks fabulous and not in the least bit old fashioned. In fact her style in my guide, feminine, classic, elegant, those are the adjectives I keep in mind when looking for a dress and how to accessorize it.

    1. Feminine, classic and elegant is never old fashioned to me! I love Kate’s style too! I love Ann Taylor blouses, they are very pretty.

  18. Canuck on says:

    Here’s an insider tip on self tanners. There’s no need to pay for scrubs. Just use a dry loofah on your dry legs, then shower. Some exfoliating gloves designed for the shower do the same, but use them dry. You’re good to go once you towel off. Apply self-tanners at night and let them dry before you go to bed. This reduces the likelihood of them staining clothes and bedding.

    Jergens is my fave for fair skin! No streaks.

    One more tip. I wear Secret toeless pantyhose with sandals in the summer. Your toes are bare, so the pedi shows. Those skin imperfections are concealed. I find this brand the most comfortable.

    1. Great tips!! Thanks for sharing. I love how smart my readers are. I haven’t heard of Secret brand..I’ll have to look for them.

  19. Ha ha, so no more toe mail polishing for you then! But over to your dress, what a beautiful colors! A really lovely dress, you know it’s funny, when I wear a skirt I don’t like it when it’s above my knees. And when I am wearing a dress that’s above my knees, I don’t mind. Strange isn’t it?

  20. My grandmother never wore pants either. She had a brown/orange dress that I remember so well as she always wore it to special occasions. I have a very similar dress, and I always think of her when I wear it…

    I love your dress! Fabulous colors that look great on you!

    Happy Mother’s Day, Jennifer!

  21. Jennifer, I wanted to give you a big THANK-YOU! for helping me with my over 50 wardrobe! I recently donated many dresses and outfits which were outdated and made me look very old. I’m now changing my dressing to reflect my life style and new color choices. Thank-you so much for your tips! Sincerely, Sally

    1. You are most welcome Sally! I’m so happy to know I’ve helped you. Don’t hesitate to email me if you have anythjing you’d like me to cover. Thanks so much for reading!

  22. I’ve been a dress fan for years for the reasons you’ve mentioned. What a cute color blocked dress you’re sportin’ here – love it! And such a nice sweater – even moreso because you knitted it. Fantastic! Happy Mother’s Day!

  23. Thats a gorgeous dress! Yes, I do wear dresses!

  24. Beverly Norris says:

    The older I get the more dresses I wear. Especially in the hot, humid summers we have. It makes getting dressed a breeze.

  25. I love dresses but find it almost impossible to find one long enough. I am 5’9″ and they are all too short – plus they are all sleeveless! I get way too hot at this stage of life to wear a sweater or jacket in the summer here in the south.

    1. Cotton or linen sweaters with short sleeves might be good option for your arms. I like full length cotton skirts when it’s very hot…maybe they would work for you too.

  26. I love the sweater you are wearing! Do you happen to have the pattern for it? Would love to make it.

  27. Great dress! I like the colors and it’s a great style. I have more dresses than pants and wear them a lot. Like you mention, so easy to style.

  28. Such a cute dress, Jennifer. The design in the front is very flattering. I would love to find a print like this! I am so glad that self tanners are better quality now…we no longer have to be orange. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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