6 Style Hacks for The Prime Woman

You don't have to reinvent the wheel to have great fashion, and you don't have to spend a ton either. Here are 6 style hacks to help you look your best!
Style hacks for mature women

In the 1980s, I wouldn’t leave the house without my cobalt blue eyeliner, Zinc Pink lipstick, and my permed hair teased to the heavens. By the 90s, that look had (thankfully) given way to a “Rachel” cut and “Ally McBeal” style power suits for my first “real” job. In the decades that followed, I embraced a variety of trends and styles in an effort to find my “look.” Fast forward to the 2020s, and I’ve finally grasped what works for me and, more importantly, what doesn’t.

My life is so much easier now, as is evidenced by the fact that I can travel with only a carry-on filled with interchangeable pieces that move from day to night with a change of accessory. This evolution took time and was not easy. I looked to women I admired for their innate sense of style and the way they could appear as put together at the grocery store as they did at a black-tie event. I learned from my observations that being over 50 doesn’t mean sensible shoes and support hose. You can still have fun with fashion, and you should! The key is making it work for YOU. That means embracing your unique beauty regardless of age or body type.

Staying fashionable as we age has nothing to do with trends. It involves understanding and appreciating who you are, both inside and out. It’s a willingness to step into the world unapologetically, beautifully, and authentically. Oh, and a good pair of Spanx never hurts, either! Still searching for ways to define your style? Here are a few fool-proof hacks for looking perfectly put together regardless of age, size, or occasion.

Start With A Solid Foundation

Dolly Parton famously said in “Steel Magnolias,” “I haven’t left the house without lycra on these thighs since I was 14.” To which Olympia Dukakas declared, “You were brought up right.” Not since Lululemon made the fanny pack fashionable again has a product had a better glow-up than the girdle, thanks mainly to Spanx. Please understand that shapewear is not necessarily about making you look thinner. It is about smoothing out lines under your clothing and providing lift where you need it to create a seamless silhouette, whether you are a size two or a size 22.

Along with a shapewear garment, every woman’s lingerie drawer should hold a properly fitting bra that offers the correct lift and support. Not sure where to start? Here are a few of our top picks for the best bras for mature women and some DIY measuring tips.

Spanx Higher Power Panties

Spanx Higher Power Panties, $38

Wacoal Basic Beauty Spacer Underwire T-Shirt Bra

Wacoal Basic Beauty Spacer Underwire T-Shirt Bra, $45.50+

Have A Strong Jean Pool

Every woman should own at least one pair of jeans that make her feel like a million bucks and accentuate all her (ahem) assets. Ideally, however, she will have a strong jean pool consisting of a few pairs in different cuts and washes. Boot cut, straight leg, dark denim, and white for spring and summer are good places to start, and don’t be afraid to embrace a trendy style, too, like strategically placed rips or frayed hems. Dress them up with a crisp button-down blazer and flats or down with a well-fitting tee and sneakers. The options are endless.

For inspiration, check out some of our favorite styles here. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to get them altered, which brings us to our next (and possibly most important) hack.

Frame Le Mini Boot Jeans

Frame Le Mini Boot Jeans, $124

7 For All Mankind Ali High Waist Flare Jeans

7 For All Mankind Ali High Waist Flare Jeans, $199

Have A Swift Tailor

Alterations tailor measuring trousers on a customer

At this point in life, if you don’t have a good tailor, you need one. Any off-the-rack item gets instantly elevated when nipped and tucked to your precise measurements. Even the slightest alteration can make a big difference when polishing your look. You want a tailor who understands fit and body type, is precise and detail-oriented, and can turn things around reasonably quickly. Going through your closet at the beginning of each season is always a good idea to see which items might need some work rather than waiting until the last minute. 

Have A Go-To LBD

The MVP of every woman’s wardrobe is an LBD. The perfect little black dress is timeless, elegant, chic, and sophisticated. It is a simple classic that can be worn with a blazer and heels for work, a cardigan and flats for a luncheon, or strappy sandals and statement jewels for the evening. The simple, sleeveless shift in a just-below-the-knee-length is a classic, versatile style, but if that doesn’t suit your body type, there are plenty of LBDs to choose from. Try a dress with a looser, flowy skirt if you want to camouflage your midsection.

Do you have great legs? Shorten the hem! Don’t want to exercise your right to bare arms? Find a 3/4 or bracelet-length sleeve. Most importantly, don’t skimp on cost. This dress will earn its keep, so buy the best quality fabric and design detail you can afford.

Tuckernuck Black Double Knit Lennox Dress

Tuckernuck Black Double Knit Lennox Dress, $168

Eliza J Pleated Long Sleeve Dress

Eliza J Pleated Long Sleeve Dress, $138

Get Back to Basics

Trends are fun, but the bulk of your wardrobe should be filled with quality, standard basics. Then, you can fill in with some timely trends to keep it all current. For example, besides the jeans and LBD mentioned above, a stylish woman should own a well-made blazer, a crisp white shirt, a cashmere sweater, and a tailored pair of trousers. These serve as the essential building blocks of your closet and provide an ideal backdrop for bringing in the trend du jour in the form of bags, scarves, shoes, jewelry, or even eyewear.

Ralph Lauren Button-Down Shirt

Ralph Lauren Straight-Fit Shirt, $89.50

Quince Cashmere Crewneck Sweater

Quince Cashmere Crewneck Sweater, $50

Nuuds Everyday T-Shirt

Nuuds Everyday T-Shirt, $58

Don’t Forget the Details

My grandmother always said that even a potato sack looked fancy when paired with the right shoes and bag. In other words, every woman should own one investment bag and a pair of shoes. No, they don’t have to be covered in logos or have red bottoms. But they should be well-made, timeless, and classic enough that you can reach for them daily to elevate any outfit. Before you balk at the cost, they are called “investments” for a reason. A designer bag or pair of shoes will stand the test of time and hold its resale value nicely when correctly cared for. Here are a few luxury bags we think are worth a second look.

Saint Laurent Cassandre Matelasse Leather Purse

Saint Laurent Cassandre Matelasse Leather Purse, $1,790

Christain Louboutin Kate Pointed Toe Paten Leather Pump

Christain Louboutin Kate Pointed Toe Paten Leather Pump, $795

Have FUN!

Some of the most stylish women in the world are the ones who know what works for them but also aren’t afraid to have a little fun. Look at Anna Wintour’s classic, iconic bob, for example, or Iris Apfel’s huge, round, black glasses. Find a signature lip or nail color. Experiment with bold eyewear or statement jewelry. Remember, in the words of Yves Saint Laurent, “Fashion fades, style is eternal.”

Read Next:

Fashion Finds: Top 10 Sweater Dresses for Winter

Our Favorite Booties for Women Over 50

Holiday Blazers: Fashion Over 50 Style


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