The Vanishing Older Woman-Part 3

Today I’m wrapping up my series on how older women can remain visible. All too often we are overlooked and feel invisible so let’s look at some ways to combat that.

The Vanishing Older Woman- Part 3
Cheers at a birthday party for friends turning 49.

There’s no doubt, some older women feel like they’re wearing a cloak of invisibility. The reasons vary and while some women enjoy the freedom that gives them, many do not. I started discussing this topic here in part 1.  Then  here in part 2 , I discussed some ways women are ineffectively dressing to regain their visibility.

Ways to Combat Invisibility

  • Appearance and polishing your personal style is crucial… because frumpiness is the fast track to invisibility.
  • Being informed about current events and able to intelligently join conversations increases your visibility
  • Staying physically active and fit as possible will boost confidence which helps us feel and look more vibrant.

Related –Seven Ways To Look Less Frumpy

Personal Grooming

Small details make a difference. Paying attention to personal grooming is a matter of personal respect but also contributes to your visibility. Visible roots, wrinkled clothes, stained or otherwise messy garments don’t keep us visible.

Related – 6 Grooming Mistakes That Make You Look Old


I’m persnickety about how I look when I leave the house. I always apply a small amount of makeup…lipstick, mascara, and eyebrow pencil (mandatory). My clothes are clean, unwrinkled and presentable. Now if the house is on fire, all bets are off…I grab a hat, sunglasses, purse and my little dog Lucy on the way out 🙂 If it’s only smoldering in a back room, I would also grab a long raincoat, scarf and my jewelry box. Weird, but that’s me.


Personal Style

We all have a unique combination of styles, that make up our personal style. Adding drama to your style recipe makes you stand out and be more visible.

I like a mix of classic, elegant, sporty, creative, and dramatic. Each outfit I put together highlights different aspects of my personality and how I feel that day.

The Vanishing Older Woman- Part 3

The dramatic dresser projects a sophisticated and confident image. It’s strong and conveys assurance. Bold, often exaggerated in line and/or color it stands out in a crowd. It’s not for the faint of heart… because it makes people notice you. Because of its striking appearance, it empowers women. It can be edgy or severe, but it’s seldom overlooked. I love it!!

Here are some characteristics of dramatic dressing:

  • The clothes are geometric, often with sharp angles.
  • Black and white are popular neutrals, worn alone or mixed with a bold color.
  • Fabrics are usually firm and hold their shape.
  • Patterns are seldom worn.
  • Jackets and coats are structured with sharp edges and straight lines.
  • Clothes have minimal details and are sleek
  • The silhouette is semi-fitted with a slightly defined waist.
  • Hats are a favorite accessory because they add instant drama.
  • There is usually 1 striking accessory and it is over-sized.
  • Hair is sleek, sculpted and worn in a precision cut.

You needn’t use all of these to pull off a dramatic look so pick and choose what appeals to you. Mix it with other styles to produce your personal style recipe.


The Vanishing Older Woman- Part 3

Aging is a privilege, fading away is a choice. I’m choosing to remain visible, are you?



  1. Jennifer, I really love this post (all 3 parts!). Thank you for sharing and trying to help other women make some sense of this crazy thing we call life…

  2. A very necessary series, I have a similiar one which I began in January, focusing on Passion and Productivity. It is so vital that we stay engaged in our “golden,” years.
    I am seeing more and more women aging with out purpose and it saddens me.


  3. Jennifer, You’re never going to do frumpy or invisible, not from what I’ve seen on your great blog! The ‘f’ word is the bane of middle aged women’s wardrobe choices, is there such a fashion slur used for men over a certain age? I don’t and won’t do invisible or frumpy, it’s not part of my character, perhaps that part of it, having a strong sense of ones self and ones style. Confidence, good grooming and a big smile look good in anything, even a pair of elasticated waist sweatpants!

  4. Jennifer, I truly enjoyed this series! It has encouraged me to reevaluate so much especially:

    1 – The yoga pants I wear far too often while running errands (try not to cringe) = I am invisible in the sea of lululemon.

    2 – Shying away from the news = I am invisible in conversations about current events.

    Keep the excellent post coming!

    1. Thanks Cheri! I actually dislike watching the news so that’s why I prefer Skimm. It’s quick and to the point without gore and crime.

  5. Deborah Montgomery says:

    You look beautiful Jennifer! Love your t-shirt and the dramatic black and white outfit. I am hoping for a brand-new all-new wardrobe by fall. I’ve lost 20 pounds; 20 to go, and the most exciting thing is planning my new look. I’m loving your series, with M-T; it’s helping me with my plans.

    1. Congratulations!! It’s so hard to lose weight at our age. And then the fight to keep it off!!
      With that kind of weight loss you’ll feel like a new woman and a new look is just what you need. Have you decided how you want to change your look?

  6. Jennifer,

    Love the t shirt and that first photo of you!

    I will not run errands without my hair and makeup done, and even if I’m in jeans it’s still important to look pulled together. I run into my neighbors quite often at the store! Some of them that live down the block usually only see me when I’m on my morning walk with workout clothes and my hair pulled back wearing a hat. If they happen to walk by my house they might see me in my gardening clothes/hat and probably dirt on my face…not my best look. If I do run into them at the store sometimes they do a double take because they don’t initially recognize me! It’s too funny.

    I saw the most adorable woman today with her husband at Home Depot, she was probably in her 70’s. She had a petite slim build and was wearing cropped jeans, a striped t, sandals and her short gray hair styled very cute. Love it!


    1. Thanks Linda. Dirt on your face while gardening is expected, isn’t it? Sounds like you’re a hat wearer like me.
      The lady in Home Depot sounds like she looked adorable. Stylish and chic is possible at every age!

  7. Jennifer Yay! Loved this. You look amazing in that T and love the long coat and pearls. Aren’t you so right? Just as Neil Young says it’s better to burn out in my opinion than fade out!!
    xx Kim

    1. Oh also so agree about the grooming. Too many overlook the teeth and grey hair, but go get those god-awful fake nails still and think they look good. It’s all about clean and chic I think.
      I agree that pic should be your profile photo!!!! xo

  8. I absolutely LOVE that image of you rocking the t-shirt, Jen!! Hot mama! Your black coat is dramatic and bold. I’m sure you can just feel the power as you slip it on. It’s a surefire fabulous look for you. I think your images perfectly capture the different sides of our fashion ‘coin’. Black and white (or black and neutral) is my ‘go to’ for a sophisticated/power look. I’m also feeling the softer side of dressing with a renewed enjoyment of prints and florals this season. I sometimes feel my closet like a split personality-but that’s part of the fun of individual style. With either look you are “not going down with the fleece” my friend. Here’s to more bold visibility as we embrace our agelessness! Wonderful post!
    xx, Heather

  9. Good tips! I refuse to ever be frumpy…outside my house. My style is somewhere between Betsy Johnson and Diane Keaton. But, I prefer short edgy hair, for me.
    Good post! Glad I found your blog.

  10. I totally agree with all of your tips for dramatic dressing. My go to drama piece is, and will always be, a leather jacket. But I too love that black coat!


  11. Great post and the photos are awesome. Yes, many of us begin to feel invisible but we
    just have to raise our heads, smile and in some ways FIGHT BACK.

    1. Thanks Beth! I’m fighting all the way and since our appearance speaks before we even open our mouths, it’s a good place to tune things up!

  12. Love your style and tips. I have to spruce up my wardrobe for spring. I always like to wear stylish workout clothes that I can wear all day now that I work part-time from home.

    1. Thanks Judy.
      Eileen Fisher used to advertise her clothes for just that purpose! Have a look. They are comfortable, have stretch and look chic at the same time. I swear by her pants!

  13. Over do for the chin wax……..and ALL night felt I had food stuck in my teeth!!!!!
    You look GREAT in these photos>>>love the long coat.Have Banksie in my arms so hard to type.Onward and Upward to getting OLDER!!!!!!

    1. You did not have food stuck in your teeth!! You always look fabulous.
      That little Banksie is the cutest little darling. I think your son will be very lucky if you return the cutie pie:)

  14. I read your post yesterday then ran out to grocery shop. I looked around you are right. When women of a certain age, who have money, run around with stretchy pants so tight, it looks like, to quote Dolly Parton, two pigs fighting under a blanket. Sadly, she won the impromptu fashion contest over the woman with huge thighs hanging like boulders from short shorts.

    Really, it doesn’the take that much to look somewhat presentable, just a little pride.

    You look great!

    1. Thanks Lynn. It is pride and confidence.
      It doesn’t take a full face of makeup or expensive clothes to be well groomed and look as though you care.
      And since our appearance speaks so loudly, we best pay attention to it, if we don’t want to be invisible.

  15. Jennifer you are the best and of course you look great! The tips and important points for women in how we look and what we wear are so important. I have a feeling that it is not only here in the Midwest that ladies are seen in sweats and fleece out and about!!

    Love you stating the importance of fit and style. The importance of makeup and hair. I always add the aura of confidence with a head held high and a smile!!

    The Arts by Karena

    1. You’re so right Karen.Sweats are very popular here in California too. Even if they’re “designer sweats”, there’s a time and place for them, at least for me:)
      Head held high with a smile.. is the icing on the confidence cake!!

    1. I’ll have to take your word for it since I don’t watch network television. I’m a TMC and PBS watcher 🙂

  16. Not sure I am that bothered whether I am visible to strangers or not. What I do know is that I am visible to those I am close to.
    We were taught at school to wear sturdy shoes, a coat and take a hand towel if there was a fire. I still remember it to this day. I think the hand towel was to cover your face against the smoke.

    1. I can’t picture you being invisible at all!
      That’s funny about the hand towel and it makes perfect sense.

  17. Catherine says:

    This is a great series, Jennifer…and you look fabulous…I think you should make this shot your profile picture 😉
    I think looking after yourself is so important at every age but as we age becomes even more so and grooming speaks volumes doesn’t it? It shows a pride and an inner confidence…you made me laugh about what you would save in a fire or a smouldering fire…I’m with you!
    Have a lovely week gorgeous lady xx

    1. Thanks Catherine! That would make a great profile photo because it shows my personality too:))
      The older I get, the more maintenance and care I require, but it definitely affects my confidence so I’m keeping on, keeping on.
      I’m glad I’m not the only one that wouldn’t just grab the photo albums and run in a fire!

  18. Hi Jennifer,

    Great post, as usual. However, there is one thing you haven’t mentioned.
    Spectacles! Do any of you ladies out there have any idea how much they affect your look?

    For the 20 years before I retired I sold spectacle frames, both wholesale and retail and I came to understand, very quickly, the power of the right frame. I soon learnt that ladies spend hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars every year on shoes, handbags, jewellery, but continue to wear the same tired old specs, year in, year out.

    And where does everybody you speak to look when you’re talking to them???? Your eyes!
    They notice your eyes/face long before they notice your shoes, handbag, etc. – specially men.

    This accessory is where you can be a bit dramatic – chose some colour, something quirky, cheeky, bold – believe me, you won’t regret it.

    Worth remembering – specs are jewellery for the face!

    1. They make a HUGE statement on our faces Raynette! I have quiet frames and look at me frames. I’m now on the hunt for quirky:)

  19. Well, I am quite comforted in the fact I am not alone in the chin hair battle. Sometimes you do wonder if it is “just you.” I do still venture out with just sunscreen and a ball cap. I honestly believe we are all wonderfully made. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful women of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, chin hairs or not…I do try to tame the eyebrows but sometimes I just do not give a f@:k, and I think that’s okay. I do not consider it frumpiness. You, my dear, I could never picture you as invisible. Even in a track suit you would command an audience.

    1. The whole point is confidence! It’s a very individualized feeling which is why we all need to do what works for us!
      You’re gorgeous and I can’t picture you ever being invisible either. Along with your wit and personality, no one would overlook you xox
      Trust me, in a track suit I’d look like a man:)
      The chin hair is migrating and going white…I understand nose and ear hair is next on the agenda. Oh JOY!

  20. I love that dramatic coat. Very theatrical.

    I often think of that phrase, “Fake it till you make it.” Even if you’re not feeling 100% still putting an effort into your appearance can pull yourself up by the bootstraps mentally.

    Now I must visit your Pinterest board. I know for sure I’m not a dramatic dresser. I’m too much into colour and pattern. I must be a creative dresser.


    1. It absolutely does have the ability to improve our mood and confidence! You have a lot of the creative dresser in your style. I love it Suzanne!

    1. Thanks Penelope!
      Now why am I not surprised you have this T-shirt? It’s so fun.

  21. You look fabulous!
    I don’t own any sweat pants nor do I opt for frumpy but I also do not go in for Bold pieces…I think it is because I am too short to carry it off and I want to dress authentically…
    Black and white do feel like me…and choosing a figure flattering shape wins more often than not.
    Love those pearls…..

    1. We have many things in common! I don’t own sweats either.
      Since I am short too, bold to me would be smaller in size than for a taller woman. It’s all about proportion, and of course what we are comfortable wearing.
      Thanks…we do share a love of pearls!

  22. First of all Jennifer, that picture of you in your black cloak is amazing. You look stunning! You have said so much here that I agree with….frumpiness is the fast track to invisibility…amen! And it is easy to slip into it if we are not purposeful to fix up each matter what the day holds. Frumpiness is also the fast tract to depression and can rob all joy with the snap of our fingers. The more confident I am, the more likely I am to block out negative, critical, depressing thoughts. Now I am off to look at your Pinterest board. Enjoyed the post!

    1. I like what Pam says about attitude. I love to dress well and I do take time with clothes, shoes and a smidge of makeup—but I think what makes me visible is that I feel good in my skin. I don’t give a -bleep- about what people think I should look like, or what a 60 year old is supposed to wear. I dress for me.

    2. Exactly right Pam!! Frumpy is a fast track to depression for me! I feel so much more confident and happier when I pay attention to details! Even if I never leave the house…you would never catch me in sloppy sweats. I don’t own them.

  23. Love this and you look smashing as usual. I’m not willing to fade out either – life is too much fun and there are some things I lack, but bravery isn’t one! Having been going through all my clothing this week in anticipation of changing season. Am starting to see a pattern….hmmm..

    1. Keep me posted Wendy! I love to see you develop your style recipe. Always keep some creative in your mix!

  24. Oh, that awful frump factor!! It looms over us as we age waiting to devour us. We must fight it w/every fiber of our being.

    You, Jennifer, are a one-(wo)man army fighting the good fight. Your style is exactly what the style doctor ordered — classic and elegant w/an edge. That edge is the best defense we have against the frump. Never give in and never give up.

    Even as we insist on being taken seriously by others as we age, we should never look too, too serious in the way we dress. A touch of whimsy, which you pulI off so beautifully here, shows the world you don’t take yourself too seriously, which is a very appealing quality.

    We’ll chat soon, my beautiful friend.

    xo, M-T

    1. Life is too short to be serious all the time:)) I loved your post on this!! Such great points and you’re such a great writer!!

  25. Paula Hartley says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I love your hoop ear rings! Someone told me not long ago that a women over 60 should not wear them. I was so surprised, then thought, ‘well I’ll continue to wear them no matter what my age.’ Love your blog and here’s to visibility

    1. Thanks!
      No hoop earrings?! BUNK! Unless they hurt your earlobes…go for it Paula!

  26. Well, A – you’re adorable.
    B – where CAN one get that t-shirt? Too Cute.
    C – I so agree with you – if we frump around in sweats, unkempt and curmudgeonly interact with others – then it’s a blessing to them that we remain invisible.

    Being well groomed, clean and pleasant is a matter of good manners.

    1. A- I’m crazy about you Barbara…but you know that!
      B- There’s a live link at the bottom of the post to buy the T-shirt…thye’ll make great gifts and they’re a limited edition!
      C- You’re is a blessing to other’s if we remain invisible in our frump attire.

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