Sunday, June 8, 2014

Looking for the Right Dress After 50? Don't Fret

Dresses for Women over 50

Editor's Note: This post is about defining age appropriate and how I used my definition of age appropriate to choose a new dress (above). For women over 50 looking for dresses with sleeves, my post entitled Top 10 Dress Styles for Women Over 50 includes dress ideas with a variety of sleeve lengths.

Since starting this blog, I’ve received many, many comments and emails from over 50 women who, like me, are trying to figure out fashion after age 50—what’s age appropriate. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m not one to tell other women what they should and shouldn’t wear. I won't play that game. I've seen too many instances where over 50 women look fabulous in things the fashion pundits say they should never wear. Now that I’ve had some time to experiment with dressing after 50, I've decided it may not be that complicated. My current attitude about age appropriateness: Age is not the important thing. Appropriate fashions for the woman over 50 are clothing and accessories that make her look and feel her best. Period.

Case in point: I recently went dress hunting for a wedding later this month. Since the church service is scheduled for late morning, followed by an early afternoon reception, I knew I wasn't going to feel comfortable in a slinky cocktail dress. I also knew that since it was a late June wedding, it would probably be hot, so I wanted a dress with short or no sleeves. Other than that, however, I had no clear picture of what the dress should look like.

Just before I started dress hunting, I read an article that suggested women over 50 should nix dresses with a full skirt in favor sheaths. I understood the author's point of view. A sheath is a sophisticated look. I see women over 50 with different body shapes—hourglass, apple, pencil frames— and different body weights who look smashing in sheaths.  However, yours truly is pear-shaped and most form-fitting sheaths make me look bottom heavy. Consequently, after trying on a zillion (or so it seemed) dresses, including many lovely sheaths, I chose a Tahari fit and flare dress (above). Why? When compared with all the others, this dress looked best for my frame (and for dancing!), the navy print was flattering (my skin tone likes navy), and the design was comfortable and seemed perfect for a midday wedding.  In short, I chose it because it made me look and feel good--not because of someone's else notion of what's age appropriate. 

Tahari is the moderately-priced line of clothing by the designer Elie Tahari. In addition to being well priced, Tahari clothing is nicely made and designed. And the dresses are a reasonable length (even though they look like mini dresses on these very tall models). Here are few more examples, all priced at $128...

Tahari Drape Side Tie Crepe Sheath Dress (Regular & Petite) Sunshine 12P (Available in Petite and Regular sizes). Dress length = 38".

Tahari Pleated Belted Crepe Fit & Flare Dress. Dress length = 40"

The Tahari brand also has dress styles with sleeves and fun sheaths like this Tahari Belt Detail Polka Dot Stretch Cotton Sheath Dress (Petite) ($128) for petite shoppers. Petite length is 35".

Would you like some more dress ideas? If so, take a peek at an earlier post entitled Top 10 Dress Styles for Women over 50