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What Not to Wear After 50

You won't find these tips in a fashion magazine, but they will make you look and feel better


By Michelle Combs

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Clothes in a closet

What You Should Wear

Credit: Getty Images

(This article appeared previously on GrandMagazine.com. Read the unabridged version here.)

Google ‘what not to wear after age 50’ if you're a woman and you will have your pick of thousands of articles telling you what looks terrible on your old body.

We could spend hours studying the clothes we shouldn’t wear and the slang we shouldn’t use and the makeup techniques we need to retire.

Here’s me, weighing in on this topic:  You are over 50 for goodness' sake. Wear whatever you want. One of the best things about getting older is realizing that we don’t have to spend our energy worrying what other people think and we get to be comfortable in our own skin with our own freak flags.

Still, there are a few things that women over 50 really shouldn’t wear.

1. The Weight of the World

When you wear the weight of the world on your shoulders, you age.

If you like the feel of the world’s weight and don’t want to give it up, then try scaling back a bit. Perhaps just wear the weight of a few of the smaller continents. For instance, I am only wearing the weight of Australia and a made-up country called Michelloponia. I think they have a slimming effect.

Woman having regret

2. Shame and Regret

Credit: Thinkstock

So few people can carry this look off. Most of us just end up looking haunted or like we were forced to eat liver and onions.

Shame and regret are especially hard to wear after 50. Wearing shame and regret past 50 is one of those things that make your eyes all red and runny looking. The downward spiral just snowballs from there. Once the eyes get old-lady looking, then you have to re-evaluate the wisdom of black eyeliner. I say give up wearing shame and regret and forget giving up on black eyeliner.

Glasses

3. Rose-colored Glasses

Oh, sweetheart, you know who you are. Those glasses do nothing for you.

Not only do they make your look like you’ve been smoking weed for days, they also keep you from examining life and your surroundings realistically. Yes, reality sucks, but by the time we hit 50, we need to suck it up, take those glasses off and punch reality into submission. Or just get some really big dark sunglasses instead. They cover all manner of sins.

Depressed woman thinking

4. Stiff Upper Lip

Credit: Thinkstock

There is a time and a place for the stiff upper lip, but it can’t be worn all the time.

Too much stiff upper lip causes those funky vertical lines between your upper lip and your nose holes. We don’t always have to be stoic. I’m not suggesting that you wear your heart on your sleeve, but that is a much softer look than wearing a stiff upper lip.

5. Too Many Hats

Personally, I can’t pull off wearing one hat, much less many hats. I don’t have a hat head. My hair poofs out and my ears look like car doors when I wear a hat.

Wearing too many hats just exacerbates these issues. When you wear too many hats, it’s easy to forget which hat you’re wearing. For instance, are you wearing the “no nonsense corporate” hat when you meant to wear your “quirky and kicked back” hat? We’re not getting any younger, you know. Sooner or later you’re going to accidentally wear your court jester hat to the gynecologist and then where will you be? I’ll tell you where you’ll be. You’ll be in an undignified position and wearing a stupid hat is where you’ll be.

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By Michelle Combs
Michelle Combs is author of the blog Rubber Shoes in Hell.

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