Ageless Style vs Fashion Only Midlife Women Wear

Happy Wednesday, ladies. I often talk about classic, timeless fashions. The simple cardigan, white shirt, ballet flats, loafers, trench coat, and straight-cut pants all stand the test of time. They look as current today as they did 20 years ago. Boho fashion has its timeless essentials, as do preppy and traditional styles. Today I want to talk about some fashion only midlife women wear.

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This topic has been on my mind for months. My goal is not to convince you to give up wearing something you love but to become aware of the messages they’re sending.

Fashion that puts women in an identifiable age bracket is not ageless, timeless, or modern. The best example I can think of for a garment that does this is capri pants. I’m not talking about cropped pants, but capris that stop at the widest part of your calf.

Unfortunately, they only seem to proliferate at retailers that cater to midlife women. You never see them on young women or children…unlike the puff sleeves and ruffles, all females are being inundated with this season.

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One could argue that silk scarves and brooches are dating us because all women have not adopted those accessories. And you would have a point. Except they’ve been worn by some of the chicest women in history. Carpi pants have not.

Ageless dressing means choosing clothes that accentuate our best parts and subtly camouflage the ones we don’t want to draw attention to. By our age, we’ve got plenty of body parts we’d prefer to cover, but I’d like to see us doing it with styles that people can’t pigeonhole into an age bracket.

I have no problem looking my age, I just want to look like the best version of myself and dress in a way that keeps me visible and modern.

I admit that I find capri pants one of the most unflattering garments a woman can wear, so I have a clear bias.

And yes, by this age, we’ve earned the right to wear whatever we please. So if you love capris, by all means, wear them with pride. Just be aware that they are “age-appropriate” and visually slot you into a distinct age category.

Let’s talk about this. What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading, and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.

 

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133 Comments

  1. suzanstew says:

    We just returned from a European river cruise with many younger well-dressed women mixed in (not that young, 40-50ish). I took some good looks at what they wore on excursions. No capris or jeans. Lots of bermudas and skorts and knee length skirts. Some lightweight jogger or yoga pants. No jeans. A widely variable collection of leg coverings, I must say. Is making me rethink skorts, which are the most comfortable, but I thought limited to golf.

  2. This is such a ‘touchy’ subject. My personal opinion is wear what you feel comfortable in. However I agree some capris are not flattering. I have a couple of pairs that are for hiking and I wear them, though I would be the first to admit, worn with hiking shoes and socks they are not at all flattering. How ever the mosquitos, bears, and wildlife here in B.C. Canada seem not to care what I look like! After reading a similar post from you earlier this year, I did review my other ‘dressier’ capris and did ditch them. To be fair I have gained weight since retirement and they had become too tight in all the wrong places! I now wear dresses most of the summer, as I find were we live now too hot for any pant or shorts. I agree with many of the comments, it is difficult to find nice casual dresses, or skirts that are not either skimpy or ruffles, not a look I can pull off. I have bought a few skirts, which I find are comfortable, and nice to wear when around the grandkids as you can run around with them and keep decent. Love your posts Jennifer.

    1. It is a touchy subject and I knew it would ruffle some feathers. I encourage women to wear what makes them feel confident but also be aware of the message it’s sending.

  3. I understand what you’re saying about Capri pants. I don’t wear them anymore except for work out capris. I think they are appropriate for women of all ages. Everyone wears them here in the NW anyway. For golf I usually wear golf pants or shorts.

  4. Grandma judy says:

    Since I am 76 and have white hair, I think I am already sloted into the older category. Lol! We spend our summers at our cottage on the lake. Since I don’t wear shorts anymore I wear capris and cropped pants. I love them and try to look very nice with my tops and the rest of my outfit. I appreciate your thoughts and feelings about capris but I am going to enjoy life and my capris .

    1. Grandma Judy says:

      Ps: I believe we all have our likes and dislikes. This would be a very boring world if we all liked the same things. Just think, we wouldn’t be having this lively discussion this morning. Have a wonderful day !

    2. Bravo Judy. That’s the goal. Dressing with joy and confidence.

  5. Totally agree with you. I’m 70 and live in SW Florida. I wear 7 inch shorts and tanks/tees during the day (or tennis skirts/workout clothes, depending on the days activity). For going out at night, it’s a sundress or ankle length pants.

  6. Hi Jennifer~ I am with you, I don’t like capri pants at all. I prefer an ankle length. I am 5’1.5 inches and they cut me off terribly. I love your blog, you are humble, honest and your posts so relate to me. So many blogs are “all about them”! I am not a grandparent and will never be, so tired of seeing grandchildren on the blogs. Occasionally okay but it just makes me sad.
    Okay thanks for listening. Thank you, you are the first I read every morning.

    1. Thanks Mary Ann. I’m pretty opinionated too 🙂 Have a great day.

  7. I agree with other comments that it is more difficult to find appropriate clothes at our age (I’m 68 next month) than when we were younger. Up till a few years ago, I could walk into a store, spot something I liked and know it suited me and would buy it immediately. Now, I second guess almost everything I buy, even when it’s something I really like as I’m questioning whether it’s “age appropriate” or fits into my lifestyle. Since my hair is now white, I feel I’m more easily identified as a “senior” and am very careful to keep my hair and make-up stylish and current. I have a vision of what I want my style to be (classic, elegant with a touch dramatic) but since my lifestyle is so casual now, I sometimes find it difficult to translate that look.

    1. It gets harder for me every year. I’m struggling too! That’s why I want us to discuss options and help each other out. Elegant, classic and a touch of dramatic sounds fabulous!

    2. Same here, at 62 and still working.
      I used to go shopping and buy whatever I liked. But I am also second guessing almost every purchase.
      Is it to young looking? Does it make me look old…ugh!

  8. SuzanneGabrielle says:

    This topic keeps cropping (pun intended) all the time on 50+ fashion posts. And I’m sure I’ve commented on this topic many times and even here. I live in SW Florida. It’s hot and humid more than half the year. I spend 2 months in Australia during their incredibly hot summers visiting my daughter and grandchildren. I’ve had knee replacement surgery with a big old scar on my knee. I only wear shorts on my 6 am walk or doing things around the house. I do, however, wear capris. I found some are lightweight cotton that hit just below my knee. I’m 5’8″ with a medium build and I think they look fine on me for casual wear. When I’m going out for lunch, dinner, church or something “nice” I do wear ankle or cropped pants or one of the many dresses I own. And plenty of glamorous women have worn capris (named after the island of Capri) like Audrey, Liz, Grace and Jackie. I think a lot has to do with one’s height, weight and how capris are styled. I cringe, however, just as much you do about capris when I see women my age wearing too much sparkles, glitter, loud prints, or just plain sloppy tee shirts and shorts (very common in SW Florida).

    1. Sparkles are another issue, and so many ladies love them, so brands keep sprinkling them on 🙂

      1. Pat Corrigan says:

        I dislike sparkles on eyelids, nails and most sparkly shoes. Sorry to offend anyone!

    2. Cathryn Gray says:

      I will just second everything Suzanne says except I’ve never been to Australia. But I would love to go there.

    3. I am taller like you, and capris usually hit right below my knee and not mid-calf like many people. I think just below the knee is a flattering length for me, but I rarely wear capris. Height and weight definitely should be considered.

    4. hi when next in Australia, try a shop called Blue Illusion they are a chain of shops and in most capital cities and at 64 years I always find something nice on the sale rack. LOL

    5. Hello SuzanneGabrielle! What lightweight cotton capris have you found? I’m also about 5’8” and that length may work for me too. I do understand Jennifer’s input about where the pant hits and it may not look good for many. My issue is I’m in the heat of Texas; a capri that hits just above my ankle is too warm.

  9. I can identify with this post and agree that capri pants are marketed for women of a certain age. I also like your statement about staying visible and modern. If we age naturally we’re the first to see the signs but that doesn’t mean we have to give up on fashion and being relevant. Love your blog. Keep up the great posts!

  10. I used to wear capris, because as a middle aged woman, my legs started to not look good in shorts, especially my thighs and knees. In Texas, Louisiana, Florida it has always been too hot to wear long pants in summer.
    A few years ago I noticed crops , and I liked the way I looked in them. They make me look taller and slimmer. I still find it hot in these pants though. I think dresses are the answer for keeping cool, but there just aren’t enough casual dresses to choose from for my age. I find sleeveless and spaghetti strap sundresses not flattering for aging arms.
    So yes, I choose crops over ankle pants over capris. Capris do not flatter my figure.

    1. Crops are so much more flattering and not age specific.

  11. Elizabeth S. says:

    Jennifer, I agree with your bias against capri pants. After following you for a bit, I tried on all my pants between shorts and full length. And you are right about them cutting the leg off at the most unflattering point. However, living in a rural area and not having all the stores you mention, I am limited as to what is available to me. Ordering online isn’t an option for me because getting deliveries and returning is difficult. So, short of hemming up my capris, which isn’t feasible due to the decorations at the bottom, I am stuck wearing capris. I have to wear what the stores decide I will wear. But I’m not happy about it.

    1. You make a great point.

  12. I also agree 100%. Although I have several pair of crop pants with the slimmer legs, I struggle to find comfortable shoes to wear with them that do not make them look frumpy. I think they look best with sleek, minimal shoes or sandals. Athletic shoes with mine just make me look and feel terrible. My collection of crops mostly go unworn, but what’s a women to do when the weather gets hot???

    1. I hear you! Footwear is a struggle for so many of us.

  13. Agree about capri pants but most of my friends wear them – yesterday it was 107 degrees in Tulsa – so ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I have a bias about shorts that stop right above one’s knees. I think our eyes go right there and most knees are not our loveliest asset. It is more and more difficult to find age appropriate clothing – especially casual dresses – styled for “mature” women but still current looking. I also think that sleeveless styles on most women my age are not our best look – even in 107 degree heat🤠.

  14. Totally agree about capris. Thanks for fashion advice.
    Have started wearing regular length shorts that are just above knees, from Talbots, bought last year. With a belt and tucked in tshirt or blouse, looks look classic. I also started to wear a not too short skort. I’ve seen them look good on older women. The chinos I bought thinking I’d wear them this summer aren’t getting a lot of use, too hot.

    1. Skorts are a great idea but they won’t cover knees or varicose veins if that’s what a lady wants to do. I need more skorts because I’m not a shorts wearer.

  15. I was just discussing this with my husband a couple of weeks ago. To me, the thing that really is aging about capris is the footwear choices I often see women wearing with them. I have a few pairs, and I will never wear anything with them except a very flat neutral sandal.

    1. SuzanneGabrielle says:

      Yes, it’s the styling that often makes them look awful.

    2. Agree with you 100%. Capris are a risk, but frumpy footwear definitely puts the cap on the whole sad dowdy look.

  16. Are capris the only item you feel ages women? For me, being matchy-matchy is a clear sign of middle age (or older). I think of the “sets” that some mature women’s shops sell: An unbuttoned shirt over a t-shirt and matching pants, with matching necklace, is usually a dead giveaway. These sets usually come in colours and prints that younger women would never wear.

    1. The look you describe is aging. I love matching things but it’s easy to go overboard.

  17. I don’t wear capri pants but five words… Audrey Hepburn, Mary Tyler Moore.

    1. Yes, but in very different proportions. MTM and Audrey both wore pedal pushers which stop below the knee. Semantics perhaps but they sure looked better than what brands are serving us.

  18. Beth Crawford says:

    I like shorter pants in the hot summer but I like them just above my ankle. I also try to find light weight fabric that is not real close fitting. I really have a hard time finding exactly hat I want I wish manufacturers would make more flattering clothing for our age group. I’m not interested in crop pants or worn torn pants. I agree with you that they just are not flattering. Thank you for all you do to help us get dressed appropriately.

  19. I could not agree more! I am 5‘0“ and shorter pants, any style, do not do me any favors. I do love the ankle length pants because they often are full length on me and don’t require hemming. What a treat! So for me, capris are off my list of essentials.

  20. I agree with you, Jennifer. I finally got rid of my last pair of capris by cutting them off for “working in the yard” shorts.

  21. Some years ago, I might have disagreed with you as younger women sported capris during the summer months. But these days, I just don’t see women under 50 wearing them. And very young women wear short shorts and midriffs on hot days– a look that most older women cannot pull off even if they wanted to. I’ve noticed that the options for older women are still limited–especially for fashion for very warm days.

  22. I agree that capris are tricky to wear. I think that fit and styling details can also make or break a capri look. The rise and pocket details change from year to year. Color can also be important—with capris, fashion forward colors are better than playing it safe in a neutral or chambray.

    1. I so agree with Yvonne. In my younger, and poorer days, how I wished for the money to buy all the pretty clothes and shoes. Now I am 70, can afford to buy anything if I want it….but can’t find it! I would love to walk thru some racks of clothing, and pick out items which fit and look nice on me….but no such luck. Truly I feel the retailers have written us off….we who have the most spendable income. Thank you for the discussion.

      1. It is so frustrating, I could not agree more, Lee.

  23. I totally agree. Capris when in fashion, on very thin women are at best acceptable. Never the best look. But when not in style, like now, they make everyone seem dumpy, short-legged and wide. I know some older women like to show off their thinner legs, but any type of short pant ( or skinny pant) just makes hips and tummies look bigger!
    Side by side photos really work. Women should take selfies in a full length mirror and compare!

  24. So very true. I am one who prefers my pants and jeans to be at the ankle or even longer, with a slight break on the instep. It is so true that the capri style is only in certain stores and when I look at my collection of sister-in-laws, that seems to be the style for the spring, summer and fall for them. It just makes their legs look shorter. I would much rather have a skirt for the hot weather. However I can understand that some ladies do not like skirts and the capris are the cooler option.

  25. Well, I sometimes wear crop pants, but having an inseam of 26 inches, crops usually look like full length on me. I love capris because again, they can be long on my legs, and living in hot steamy Florida means that full length pants are just too hot! I only wear full length leggings or pants in January or February! I honestly don’t care how capris look. I just want to be cool. I also wear shorts 10 months of the year!!! At my age, I still have nice legs!!!

    1. If the inseam makes them ankle length on you, it doesn’t matter what the brand calls them. They’re ankle pants.

  26. Amen, sister. I purged my closet of Capri pants several years ago. They are OK to wear in your home, but, not in public. Ankle length, light weight, pants are always a better choice. Or throw on a summer casual dress.

  27. Very good perspective on today’s blog, Jennifer. (I happen to agree with your bias concerning capris!) I like your blog because you always try on, sometimes move on and look for something new on the scene. It’s easy to get too settled in our appearance. You encourage us to be confident. Thanks for your efforts!

    1. Agree about capris. I still like the look of a scarf, but rarely wear one, partly due to the fact that I live in Texas and it’s too hot to add the extra fabric.

  28. Fashion is such a personal thing. Capris, cold shoulders, ripped jeans, Crocs, Uggs, double denim…the list goes on. If you feel comfortable in something, own it, wear it, rock it!!

  29. Debbie Lee says:

    Spot on! Am 67, petite with silver hair. Love wearing pins/brooches especially in unusual places on shirts/dresses, coats and handbags. Always receive positive comments. Keep up the good work; start my morning every day with you!

  30. I agree with your comment 100%!