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Readers Respond: What Should a Grown Woman Never Wear?

Responses: 151


Even more fun

I have always liked ruffles, tiny florals, shiny and sparkly things. What I do is wear the pink velour lounge outfit-with-sparkles-on-the-butt & other assorted girlie items at home only. Ditto 'young' fragrances. I like to look polished when going out, even if it's grocery shopping. I'll gladly wear a dress & heels, but not over-the-top. I ask myself "What can I wear today that makes me feel pretty?" I don't save clothes 'for good', I try and wear 'em. I always wear pretty bras & unders, and that feels good. And I have a teenage sparkly cosmetic bag that I love and no one else sees. Treat yourself.

Have some fun!

I agree wearing harsh/too dark makeup can really age a woman. I am 57 and I've recently started wearing makeup regularly. I'm having fun with eye shadows, and because I wear glasses (new, dark ones!), I can get away with some fun colors, but applied with a light hand. I am very fair but have been wearing gel eyeliner in a lighter black. If I don't my eyes disappear into my head. I stick to tinted lip glosses as I look ghouish with much lip color; as well lipsticks now bleed on my lips. I think that older gals can certainly wear jeans with some sparkly embellishments on the pockets. I got some updated jeans to replace shapeless ones, and I think they look great. Too-long skirts are hard to wear, as well as too short skirts and tight-fitting tops. Covering upper arms is a good idea, but there's no need to be boring in a typical polyester short-sleeved blouse with no special style to it. Personally I think that shirtdresses are dreadful on older women.

Fit and Function are most important

Whatever age you are, the most important aspects of choosing your wardrobe are 1) Does it fit properly? and 2) Is it appropriate and comfortable for where you'll be wearing it? Some things are never appropriate, no matter whether you're 18 or 80, like pouring yourself into something two sizes too small or letting parts of you hang out that only should see daylight on the beach - and sometimes not even then. Have some dignity and self-respect, please! And consider your comfort and mobility when you dress - no one wants to hear you whine about your 6-inch stillettos hurting your feet at the county fair or your miniskirt riding up when you climb to the top of the bleachers at a football game (yes, I've seen both). Other than that, it's all about what you feel good wearing. If I had Cher's legs, I'd go dancing in microminis too.
—Guest Sue


anyone over 35 shuold just keep their hemlins to above the knee's never half way up their thighs, it just doesn't fit anymore regarless of how good your legs look and the bare leg only emphisiszes that.
—Guest Trishia

Older women should never wear:

Mini dresses and very high heels (dangerous). Also, they should stay away from ORANGE..not a flattering color.
—Guest Natasha from China, Me


I agree with most of those tips, but I still love pigtails on any woman. Just save them for summer at the beach or a family picnic, not work or a day with the girls. Also, plastic surgery, not pigtails? Really? I think that screams mid life crises more than anything else on your list.
—Guest Liz


Don't compare yourselves to other women your age, each woman is unique and different. Don't be ashamed if you look young for your age...embrace your genes! Leave jealousy alone, its aging...
—Guest Gracefully

What should a grown woman wear

I'm trying to figure that out. At 45 I looked 25, and had the body,too. Now, I will be turning 60 and gone from a size 9 to a size 22. I don't know how that happened. My Honey says it's age. I have not been able to do the things I once did to stay in shape. I have been pretty much in the hospital bed for 4 years. I'm having to buy new clothes to fit this fat body and I don't know what to buy. I still want to wear the same clothes I always did. I always wore conservatively but stylish. That is my question, too. Do I buy leggings to wear under tunics? Puffy sleaves? Empire waists? I never had much up top, but I made up for it at the bottom. Now, I'm a barrel. I need a lot of advice.

If it feels good, do it

I'm 63, am 5"8", very trim, and I love to look good! I have great boobs and show them off with "reasonable" low-cut tops - not overdone, but definitely sexy! I get many compliments, so my theory is "if you've got it, show it off"!
—Guest Trudy

share age appropriate tip

The grandmothers of yesteryear and rare and hard to find just as appropriate clothes in the stores. It seems the buyers are too young and don't know how to choose age appropriate clothes, so 'older' women have little choice but to wear what is availble mini dress, halter tops, clogs. However if you have the body for it - wear it!! There are many young 14 year olds that are obese and wear mini skirts, low cut tank tops - bleached red orange and purple hair - take a look at the parents and you will know where they get their ideas. The mother has no pride -the kdis think it's approrpriate!!! Stores we are an aging population...give us some age appropriate clothes...nobody wants to see wrinkled skin and bony legs!! or obese women in shorts that are too short!
—Guest guest grandma


No black stockings with white heels, or vice versa! Panty line under tight pants or skirt. Wrinkled saggy cleavage in low-cut top. Micro skirts if you don't have the legs. Baggy sweat pants or shirt - unless you're at home with the baby.
—Guest URBewdiful

I'm 47 years old

and if Willie Nelson isn't "too old" to wear his hair in two braids, so I'm darn sure not.
—Guest Raya

short dresses

I think grown women should never wear dresses above the knees, if they do, then they should wear a skinny trouser underneath it.
—Guest I am Hanna of 43 years


I am 55 and work in a retail shop . Accessories complete a look and make it possible to wear all kinds of different things together. Shoes, belts, hair ornaments, pins/brooches, earrings, necklaces and watches all contribute. My standard work attire has always started with a nice pair of simple blue jeans, preferably Levis, a simple knit top ...tank or 3/4 or long sleeves, and often a vest. (Vests, by the way, are great for the hot-and-cold moments that happen at this age. Comfortable, not restrictive, easy to take off for a moment, and also a potential accessory, or at least a point of interest.) Anyway, I have found that there are days when my age sort of strikes me over the head and I 'tone down' my accessories because I feel like I should be age-appropriate. I may minimize or neglect entirely the pin(s) and eye-catching jewelry....too flashy. My pins are often sparkly and large. Guess what happens on those days...I am in a slump all day because I look boring dumpy!

It's not "all about me"

To those who say, "to hell with what anybody else thinks, it's all about how I feel," take note. However good one may feel in her own head, the rest of the world is receiving a message by what you wear. And while the sands of fashion, modesty, and "appropriateness" (whatever that is) may shift, there IS a cultural consensus that enables those who can see it to USE fashion to give a message to the world. I'm not making this up; sociologists actually STUDY this. There is a wide spectrum of individuality in good fashion that doesn't scream, "I'm lazy, stupid, desperate for attention and forgot to take my Zoloft." The fact that people don't see themselves objectively in the cultural context says more about them than their wardrobe and makeup do.
—Guest Karen

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