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What to Wear For Special Occasions This Spring

Spring has officially sprung and festive occasions are on the horizon for many of you. I’ve had several requests for what to wear over 50 for special occasions this season so today I’m sharing a few looks with varying levels of formality.

A big thank you to Nordstrom and ShopStyle Collective for sponsoring this post.

What to Wear Over 50 For Special Occasions – Formal

women over 50 wearing blue lace dress for special occasion
WEARING / KAREN KANE SCALLOPED LACE COCKTAIL DRESS  /  NATURALIZER SLINGBACK SANDAL  / PEARL EARRINGSBUDGET FRIENDLY OPTION

The venue and time of day will help determine how formal your outfit should be but in general, I suggest kicking everything up a notch for a wedding. It’s not fun to feel underdressed at dressy events and sometimes it’s just fun to pull out all the stops.

women wearing blue lace dress for special occasion
WEARING / KAREN KANE SCALLOPED LACE COCKTAIL DRESS  /  NATURALIZER SLINGBACK SANDAL  / PEARL EARRINGS

This Karen Kane Scalloped Lace Cocktail Dress would work for a retirement dinner, wedding, party, or any dressy occasion where you want to add a wow factor. This one would be hard to dress down, but why would you want to? I just wish I had an occasion to wear this beauty.

woman wearing blue lace dress
WEARING / KAREN KANE SCALLOPED LACE COCKTAIL DRESS  /  NATURALIZER SLINGBACK SANDAL  / PEARL EARRINGS

This dress comes in 3 colors, both regular and petite. The lace is very stretchy and it’s partially lined so nothing shows through and nude bra straps are invisible. The regular is 38″ long and the petite is 25 1/2″ long. I’m wearing the navy in a regular S. I skipped a necklace and allowed attention to go to the pretty scalloping around the neck.

WOMAN WEARING BLUE LACE COCKTAIL DRESS
WEARING / ALEX EVENINGS COCKTAIL DRESS / NATURALIZER SLINGBACK SANDAL / PEARL EARRINGS / SIMILAR PEARL NECKLACE 

This Alex Evenings cocktail dress is selling out fast in all colors, for good reason. It’s perfect for so many occasions. Mother of the bride or groom, wedding guest, retirement party, New Year’s Eve parties, and the list goes on. The bodice is stretch lace with sequins and the skirt section is floaty chiffon. It looks like a two-piece outfit but this is one dress with a hidden back zipper.

woman over 50 walking in blue lace dress to wedding
WEARING / ALEX EVENINGS COCKTAIL DRESS / NATURALIZER SLINGBACK SANDAL / PEARL EARRINGS / SIMILAR PEARL NECKLACE 

The scalloping around the neck is a nice frame for whatever jewelry you want to wear or looks beautiful unadorned. It has 3/4 sleeves, is fully lined, and is very bra-friendly. This dress comes in regular and petite, sizes 4/6-16/18. I’m wearing a regular 4/6.

more special occasion dresses

WOMAN WEARING LACE EVENING DRESS
WEARING / ALEX EVENINGS COCKTAIL DRESS / NATURALIZER SLINGBACK SANDAL / PEARL EARRINGS / SIMILAR PEARL NECKLACE 

This Naturalizer Slingback Sandal is very comfortable and a great neutral to wear with any color dress. It has a flexible, supportive footbed that’s cushioned to absorb shock. Since we don’t wear dressy shoes that often, it’s smart to buy them in a timeless style like this almond-shaped toe. These come in 3 colors, in narrow, medium, and wide sizes 4-12. I’m wearing a 9 1/2 medium and it’s plenty wide so they’re built to be comfortable. This sandal is a beautiful option if you prefer satin fabric in a great neutral.

What to Wear Over 50 For Special Occasions – Less Formal

For less formal occasions, a minimalistic dress is often a smart choice. I wore this A-Line Jersey dress for a Seder dinner last week. When you’re unsure of the dress code, this type of dress is the perfect solution.

A-LINE JERSEY DRESS / PEARL STUDS / PEARL NECKLACE SIMILAR

This simple scoop neck dress is a great canvas to dress up or down. The A-line silhouette skims your body but doesn’t cling so it’s pretty forgiving. I wore this one-piece slip underneath to keep everything smooth. It comes in navy or black in sizes XS-XL. I’m wearing navy in size 8. For more casual days I will wear this with flat sandals and a straw hat.

WEARING / FLUTTER SLEEVE DRESS MAXI  / NATURALIZER POINTED TOE PUMPS  /  PEARL EARRINGS / SMALL CABLE BRACELET /  SIMILAR PEARL NECKLACE

This Flutter Sleeve Faux Wrap Maxi Dress is perfect for a more casual event. A baby or wedding shower, graduation, even a mother’s day dinner. The flutter sleeves are a nice feminine touch and long enough that you wouldn’t need a wrap on a spring day. It comes in 4 colors, I am wearing navy in a medium which is loose on me so a small would have been a better fit. It’s a forgiving faux wrap style with snap closure in the front to ensure your modesty.

WEARING / FLUTTER SLEEVE DRESS MAXI  / NATURALIZER POINTED TOE PUMPS  /  PEARL EARRINGS / SMALL CABLE BRACELET /  SIMILAR PEARL NECKLACE

These Naturalizer Pointed Toe Pumps have a 2″ stable block heel and pointed toe that is sleek and comfortable. They come in black or this warm silver in narrow, medium, or wide, sizes 4-11. I’m wearing a 9 M which is plenty wide so they are roomy.

MORE NATURALIZER SHOES FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS

Nordstrom is my favorite department store for so many reasons, not the least of which is their incredible customer service with free shipping and returns, always. I recommend joining the Nordy club here (free to join) which allows you to earn points towards notes you can use to shop plus you get free basic alterations. They also offer BOPUS, ROTUS (reserve online, try on in-store), and curbside pickup.

Do you have any special occasions coming up this spring or summer?

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

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51 Comments

  1. Rose-Marie says:

    Always so nice to see these on someone who isn’t a 6 foot tall 20 year old! You look lovely, I especially like the first one.

  2. Jennifer, you look lovely in all these dresses! Very pretty choices. That first one really is a stunner.

  3. Very lovely dresses on you!
    Having a very different body type than you have, none of them would work for me!
    This category of special occasion dresses is always a dilemma. In fact, I need a dress for a New Year’s Eve wedding. I’m always looking for something that has sleeves for warmth, that’s not cut too low, comes in petite, is not black and no lace! A tall order, believe me. I’m looking for a plain shift kind of dress, that isn’t black or lace, and either has long sleeves or comes with a jacket. Any suggestions?
    I do love the second dress you showed, even though the top is lace. The colors are beautiful, but where the lace top falls it would emphasize a full stomach too much.
    Maybe you can do this again late summer when the fall/winter lines come in? That would be great!

  4. All are fabulous on you. The shades of blue are my favorites!

  5. beth byrd says:

    Oh my goodness … you look amazing in all of these dresses! And, you are really ‘rocking it’ (as the saying goes) in that first dress.

    I love the variety of styles here and I think all of them suit you. Depending the specific occasion each one is perfect.

    Wouldn’t change a thing! Hope you kept all four!

    1. Thanks Jennifer
      I was one of the ladies needing mother of the groom ideas! I looked today in our small Canadian town and nothing to buy! I too need more of a pant look .
      Think online is my best option. My wedding is in Amsterdam and wonder what summer chique looks like there. I am walking my son down the aisle to add more pressure. One thing is I have time as the wedding is not until August. Any help appreciated!!
      You looked amazing and thanks … look forward to your other posts!

  6. You look very “mother-of-the-bride” in the first two. Not my style. I had a terrible time finding dresses for my daughters’ weddings. I finally just said I’ll go as myself–not a mother. I had some fabulous boho -esque chiffon dresses and I felt good in them. The pictures turned out great, too.

    1. That’s the very best way to dress, Kay…as you!! There’s no point in forcing a look on ourselves if it isn’t authentic.

  7. You look beautiful and comfortable in all these dresses! I do have to say, you look more better in the Karen Kane dress than the model on the website. 🤗 I’ve looked at that dress before and wasn’t the least bit tempted. But seeing it on you changed my mind.

  8. I love you in the second outfit best, flattering in every area. Would you tan your legs and varnish your toe nails? I would…… Just a little extra polish.

    1. My legs were self-tanned and I do have pale toe polish on. I intentionally chose pale toe polish so the eye isn’t drawn to my feet. Red toes would have been a beacon to draw the eye.,

  9. Thank you for this blog. It really is fun to see some “dress up” clothes. I loved every dress except for the last one. I just did not like the wrap around look or the long length, or the sleeves. All the others and the accessories were right on and you looked fabulous!

  10. Francesca B. says:

    Wow Jennifer you look amazing !! Stunning looks on you 🙂 l hope you had a celebratory event after the shoot, time for champagne. And thanks for the slip idea too. These are fantastic options; my gorgeous son is getting married this year and l am trying to plan ahead so brilliant. Happy weekend.

  11. You look lovely in the chiffon dress. Thanks for the tips.

  12. Lynne A Johnson says:

    Such great choices! The first lace dress is so beautiful and sexy too. It would be perfect for a cruise. All of these look wonderful on you.

  13. All of the dress are lovely on you. My favs are the two shorter blue dresses worn with the gold slingback heels.

  14. I love the Karen Kane dress, very slimming. That brand always fits me well. The petites are sized right.

  15. These are some really nice dress choices, but I’m in the camp with the ladies with foot issues. I think it will be dressy pants for me, since I need flats, or the tiniest of heels and no pointy toes.

  16. Paulette Levy says:

    I really love the way you look in the two shorter dresses! I especially feel the a -line skirt is very much You! Very pretty!
    Thank you for sharing advice!

  17. Jennifer you look lovely in each of these! Glad to see some really pretty semi formal looks!

  18. Thank you! I found a dress for my high school reunion, but wasn’t sure about my shoes. Because of foot surgery I shop for comfort first and found a very plain nude pair. My heart yearned for a glamorous sequined pair. After seeing your first few photos I realized my new shoes aren’t just nude, but nearly invisible! I don’t feel over 50, but this will be our 50th reunion.

  19. Love the V-Neck Lace number on you! Stunning.

  20. I am going to join the camp of ladies who love the navy dress! I also agree with Kim, that due to issues with my feet and balance, it’s difficult to wear this style of dress. The shoe becomes a most important detail of the total look.
    Regardless, this was a wonderful post that shows us all a gorgeous display of dresses that so many of us would love to wear. For me, it’s still so much fun to dress up! You inspire me to do so!

    1. I love to dress up too. I’ll be doing more showing flat shoe options

  21. As one who has been looking for occassion dresses for awhile, I appreciate your inspiration. I do believe this fashion creates a challenge for older women, not wanting to look restricted to a mother of the bride image. Your choices are wonderful!

    1. I’m so glad you liked them

  22. Great post on some lovely dress choices! Jennifer, the first navy blue dress is absolutely stunning on you! The style of it is perfect with your figure. My problem with dressing up for an occasion is the footwear. I can only wear about a one inch heel at most because of feet issues, and I can’t picture in my mind how a 1″ heel could possibly look right with a dress similar to the 1st or 2nd one in the post.

    1. I’m going to do another post showing options with flatter shoes because you are not alone wanting flat shoe options.

  23. I look forward to your daily posts. You are point on for my lifestyle and age. Classy, not too trendy from head to toe! You have given me many ideas. Looking forward to many more.

  24. Thanks so much for styling dresses! It’s so hard to find some that are age appropriate and suitable for religious services.

  25. You look beautiful in all these picks. I’ve been looking for a post like this, but with pants as I don’t wear dresses or jumpsuits. I have black dress pants but could use ideas for tops that would fit a semi-formal event. Any ideas?

    1. I will see what I can put together for you, Kate because you’re not alone in wanting to wear pants.

      1. Thank you!

  26. Julie Greene says:

    You looked fabulous in those two dressy dresses! Beautiful choices for how to look elegant!

    Julie

  27. You look lovely, Jennifer, and you must have put in some time to find them. It often seems the Special Occasion dresses fall into two categories: 1) super bare for very young ladies or 2) what I call Golden Girls outfits with heavy beaded jackets.
    Well done for an elegant, stylish look.

    1. You look lovely in all the dresses. But I see many/most mother of the bride and grooms and wedding guests wearing the same or similar dark blue lace dresses. I wish there were more to choose from. Look at the over fifty members in any wedding album and most are wearing a similar dress.

      1. That seems to be what designers have in mind for us.

    2. LOL, that does seem to be the two categories I see most often too. I will do this again with some more options

  28. Very helpful post for dresses and shoes. Wish there were more options like this Alex evenings with a length of 44”
    Thanks so much!

  29. WOW!!! is an understatement of how gorgeous you look in all of the styles. And navy blue looks so pretty on you. Great post.

  30. You look stunning in those dresses Jennifer!

    1. I second Jennifer’s comment! Absolutely stunning!