11 Style Essentials for Women Over 50

Let’s talk about style essentials today. Those quintessential pieces that anchor your wardrobe and make everything you own look better. At 25,  it’s easy to shop for clothes and almost everything looks great on you. It becomes more of a challenge as we age and what was essential then, is no longer important. Here are a few style essentials I find important over 50.

Quality Handbag

A quality handbag in proportion to your body. I’m not saying designer/logo and I’m not saying expensive…I’m saying quality. What is a quality handbag? It has even stitching and there are no hanging threads. The seams lay flat with no puckers. The zipper works well and the hardware matches. Knock off designer bags scream insecurity, so choose well.

Great haircut

A flattering haircut is a necessity over 50. Your hair texture and face shape changes as you age so your hairstyle needs to change with it. A modern hairstyle needs to have movement because helmet hair is far from stylish. Whether you choose to cover your gray or not is a personal choice and there is no wrong answer. Just be aware that if your hair and skin are the same tones, you may look washed out and need to intensify your make up.

Comfortable Shoes

Comfortable, quality flat shoes that can be worn all day. High heels are great for special occasions, but for everyday running around, nothing beats a classy pair of flats. Ballet, loafer, flat boots, brogues or driving moccasins…this is where comfort and style collide for the woman over 50. Support is important so if your shoe of choice doesn’t have built-in support, add an insert that does.

Flattering Pants

Few women wear dresses all the time so a flattering pair of pants with a modern silhouette is essential. They could be in classic black, chocolate, charcoal or navy, and are a basic building block that allows you to feel chic when you put them on. They’re tailored to fit your body perfectly, (yes women pay for alterations too) and are in a quality fabric. If you’re always in casual clothes, these pants could be in a Chino, cotton, twill or a dark jean. If your lifestyle calls for a more dressed up feel, wool or silk gabardine works well.

Great Coat

A coat you love. If you live in a mild climate as I do, it could simply be a trench coat and it needn’t be stuffy. Mine happens to be black with a zip-out lining, but I’ve also added a pale green one with gathered sides and buttons up the outside of the sleeves. If you live in a 4 season climate, a quality wool coat plus a warmer weather alternative like suede is a nice choice.

Lovely Robe and Slippers

A lovely robe and slippers. These may only be seen by you but is important for how they make you feel. A ratty robe and scuffed slippers don’t make anyone feel stylish and you deserve better. I’m not saying marabou slippers… but if that’s your thing, go for it. This is to make you feel stylish. If others happen to see you in them, all the better.

Quality Watch

If you wear a watch it should reflect your personality and style. I’ve seen $5,000 watches that are glitz over style and look trashy. I’ve also seen Timex watches that have a timeless look that speaks quality. If your taste runs to a more modern aesthetic there are watches at reasonable prices that have clean lines and work well.

Little Black Dress

A classic always appropriate dress which can also be in chocolate, charcoal, navy or any neutral. The idea is to have a reliable, well-tailored dress that you can put on with confidence, knowing it fits your body (alterations key), flatters your coloring and can be dressed up or down. Mine happens to be black, surprise! I’ve worn it to a formal affair with a silk scarf and glittery jewelry as well as the local farmers market on a Saturday morning with flip-flops and a big straw hat.

Properly Fitted Bra

We’ve all heard the statistics of how many women are wearing the wrong size bra, and it’s true. Your bra size changes as you age. You may need a little more support now so get professionally fitted regularly and always when your weight changes. The right size bra can take pounds off your silhouette and be much more comfortable.

Flattering Lipstick Shade

Dry-looking lips are aging but high-gloss and goopy will wick up the lines around your mouth. Aim for gleam in a color that flatters your complexion. Opt for brighter rather than deeper shades which make your lips appear thinner than they are. Brighter lipstick draws attention to your teeth so if they’re not your best feature, opt for paler lipstick.

Modern Eye Wear

If you wear glasses every day, it’s the first thing people notice about you. Outdated styles and unflattering shapes can add years to your look and reduce your style quotient faster than anything. Sunglasses also make a huge impact, so a modern shape that flatters your bone structure helps you feel like a million bucks the moment you put them on. Here’s how to choose a flattering pair.


What would you add to this list?

Thanks for reading and have a great day.


  1. Great ideas but why show young skinny models wearing your suggestions. We need to see these styles on mature women who have been or are going through the changes menopause brings.

    1. These photos are all of me. I’m 65

  2. Hi Jennifer,
    I totally agree with everything you have listed as essentials for women over 50. Most of them I had already tried to persuade my 63 year old sister to purchase. I had to forward your blog to her as she can now read how important it is to have a properly fitted bra. We are 61 and 62 , both wear glasses , and I tend to always buy designer frames with quality. My sister will not. I always wear a nice overcoat with Vince slacks or something of that quality. I have repeated over and over about handbags . Again, thanks for helping me get my sister to see at our age certain quality essentials are a must so please don’t get impressed with quantity but insist on quality.

    for stressing quality in

    1. Quality pays off in the long run by being more cost-effective. They also help us look and feel better.

  3. Cindy Alexander says:

    I am a school nurse and have worn scrubs for years. Recently, I was asked to be on the district’s COVID-19 team which meant working in the administration building and wear “office” clothes. I was so glad that so many of my shoes and clothes have stayed in good shape over the years (because of low use.)
    Now I see that lots of my things are hopelessly out of style! Oops! Thank you for the help!

  4. Christine Hueber says:

    A scarf and a smile, bien sur!

  5. I think a good pair of leather gloves is a must. I have work-horse gloves for warmth & daily use, but a nice pair of bracelet-length leather gloves give polish to a dress coat & can elevate a puffer coat & snow boots when winter weather overrides the occasion.

    1. I agree Jan. I have a terrific navy pair that I pull out every year

  6. I agree with your entire article. You don’t need a lot of great pieces, just a few great stylish and quality ones.
    But here’s the thing… if you’re discussing what women over 50 should wear, why not use models over 50? You’re right, young twenty somethings do look great in everything- just as we once did.
    Why not be the outlier; walk the talk, talk the walk. We would all be appreciative.

    Keep well… We’re all in this together.🤞

    1. Hi Jennifer, I’m not sure what you mean. If you’re referring the models in the shopping widgets, I have no control over that. Brands are starting to come around but there is a long way to go.

  7. I would add a great white shirt as an essential, a cotton sweater, a cardigan in a flattering color, and a two jackets. One jacket should be casual, like a denim jacket or an anorak, and one dressy jacket to wear to a multitude of events.

  8. Debra Morales says:

    Thanks for the tips I’m 65 5 feet tall I needed to see tips on ankle boots I’ve been wearing them all wrong!
    I will follow this site very useful tips! Thanks

  9. I would suggest ladies do NOT buy black swimwear or any solid color!!! It shows all you imperfections, go for small print. Try and see what I see

  10. lisa mickey says:

    where do I find a quality robe that doesn’t have the huge floppy cuffs.. ?
    I need to knit in the evening or make a family breakfast in the morning.. & the shelves are just always in the way.
    guess I will need to sew my own :-0

    1. I fold mine up. I guess I could hem them, but find it just as easy to fold the cuffs up twice so they stay put.

    2. I have a tunic-length, front-zip French terry hoodie with large side-seam pockets that I call my robe. The wrap-style robes require constant readjustment. This is effortless.

  11. Great column, great comments. Thanks to all.
    My two twenty-something daughters asked to me cut their hair. The first look in the mirror was disappointment followed by a little smile to make mom feel better. Now they seem to like the haircuts. In a few days, when I really can’t stand how my hair looks, I will let either girl cut it.

  12. Decent posture’!!! Push your shoulders back and stand tall! It really helps w my attitude!

  13. Can you recommend some LBD we live in a southern state and I am short?

    1. I like cotton ones. J Jill often has ones in petite which might be a good option for you. Macy’s often has some too.

  14. Great list! I’d add a couple of colourful v-neck sweaters to wear over t-shirts. I love Eric Bompard fine knit, but only when they are on sale! Xx

    1. I need to try those! You speak so highly of them. Stay well Jen XX

  15. A cute pair of rain boots and an umbrella. Into everyones life, some rain must fall and you will have an appointment that day. I have a pair of leopard ones right now that just brighten rainy days. I intend to get yellow ones one day.

    1. You’re right. I bought pink rain boots last summer and we’ve had such a dry winter I haven’t had a chance to wear them 🙁

  16. Hair! One person I miss desperately is my hairdresser.

  17. You have recommended a Soma bra, I think Embraceable. It had some good shape filling on the top where loss of volume happens. Yikes – I went to order on line again and I think they stopped making it. What am I going to do?

  18. Earrings Jennifer! They are a must. If you have pearl studs, and silver and gold hoops, they will go with any accessory or outfit. Don’t leave home without them.

  19. Always a pleasure reading your must do tips especially during our extended home time. My best thing I do during our new NOW….is a put alittle makeup on everyday. Makes me feel good❤

  20. Sharon Stultz-Karim says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I have been enjoying your blog for about a year now. I especially enjoy your Monday musings.

    As for today’s blog and a great haircut. do you have any suggestions these days when the hair salons are closed for hair home maintenance and keeping up my hair color?

    Thank you for your enjoyable bits of fashion advice for us 50+ers.

    1. If it were me, I would order some product to use at home. Women have bern coloring their hair at home for years with great results. If you don’t like it you can always try another color. Stay well:)

  21. Dianne🇨🇦 says:

    Good morning!
    Your post is such a good read as usual.
    So glad I got a haircut just before all the salons were made to close.
    I just bought a lovely simple LBD……navy blue!
    Can’t wait to wear it, with some accessories.
    Staying home!

    1. You were one of the lucky ones to get your hair done. Lots of us weren’t so lucky. Have a great day.

  22. Ohh, I would love to see all the stylings of this LBD you mentioned!!

  23. Love all your posts … thank you ! 💕

  24. Good morning! I would add use color to provide interest and fun to your wardrobe. I try to consider color first when getting dressed in the morning because whenever I have gotten compliments, it has involved color. And wearing pretty colors make me feel younger!

    1. Good morning. I totally agree Bea. I’m embracing more and more color these days too.

  25. In addition to all these great tips, I’m spending extra time getting my feet ready for sandal weather. I like to wear an open toe sandal and I plan to use a new coral polish. I don’t use polish on my fingernails but I do keep them filed and neat. I have an awesome foot bath that helps to soften my heels and really works.
    Sometimes just taking a little extra time on my personal health and beauty routine makes an enormous difference in my attitude.
    Have a great day!

    1. Great idea! I polished mine pink last week. It feels pretty and fun

  26. annie vanderven says:

    Mascara gives a lift to the eyes,

  27. Donna Nance says:

    This post offers very sound advice, including the comment.

  28. Have your teeth whitened. A fabulous haircut, makeup and clothing are certainly important, but yellow teeth are ageing.

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