Dresses, Plus Size Clothing

What Are the Best Dresses for Older Women? 3 Tips for Women of Every Shape and Size

A version of this post first appeared on 60 & Me.

Fashion should be – and is – for everyone. The idea that only the youngest, thinnest women deserve all the style attention is dead wrong. And thankfully, there are more options available to women of all ages, sizes, and shapes than ever before.

Even so, it can be so hard to find a great dress, especially if your tastes have matured as you’ve gotten older. You don’t want a boxy, severe dress that makes you look shapeless and masculine. But maybe you’re not thrilled about the short, low cut dresses you tend to find in local stores.

The good news: you can look stunning in a dress that fits your personal style perfectly, no matter your age, size, or shape. Here’s how.

What to Look for

One of the major concerns for women over 50 is finding the right length. If you’re all about strutting your stuff in a shorter length dress, go for it! But you may find that you feel most comfortable and confident in a slightly longer dress that’s still flattering and feminine.

If so, try a tea length dress. Since the hem falls just below the knee, that length is versatile for everything from casual to formal.

Not thrilled about wearing sleeveless dresses but still want a clean, simple look? Try cap sleeves. They cover your shoulder but still show off your arms. Another great option are 3/4 sleeve dresses. This flattering length provides coverage for your upper arm but still shows a bit off and is easy to accessorize.

What if you find the perfect sleeveless dress, but you were really looking for something with a bit more coverage? No problem! Wear that perfect dress with a casual or dressy jacket. A 3/4 sleeve jacket over a gorgeous dress is a stunning look.

Beyond the cut and design of the garment, pay attention to the fabric it is made from. Easy care, easy wear fabrics ensure you don’t have to deal with frustrating washing instructions or frequent trips to the dry cleaner.

Fabric blends that include a bit of stretch are flattering for any body shape. A little stretchiness brings a beautiful drape that accentuates your figure in a dress that keeps its shape.

Define Your Signature Style

Before you find that perfect dress, think about your signature style. What do you love to wear? Which dress styles stand out to you when you see others wearing them?

  • Prefer an understated, simple style? A solid color dress that you can accessorize as you like is a great choice.
  • Love bold looks that make a statement? Try a wrap dress with a big, floral pattern or a vivid color. A beautiful red dress deserves a place in every woman’s wardrobe.
  • Want a versatile dress that works in formal and casual settings? Get a flattering sleeveless dress that you can wear with a variety of jackets and cardigans.
  • The Little Black Dress should never be underestimated – for everyone from petite older women to plus size women over 50. Go with a slightly longer length – falling just below the knee – if you prefer. For more coverage and comfort, you could add a jacket or cardigan. An open-front kimono sleeve jacket can step a casual dress up to formal.
  • Wrap and faux wrap dresses are another great option for older women. They have a flattering, feminine drape that works with most body shapes. Make sure the neckline is comfortable and right for you. If you prefer a look with more coverage, go with a wrap dress with 3/4 sleeves.

Enjoy the Versatility of a Beautiful Dress

The right dress can work for everything from lunch with friends to professional events. Don’t be hindered by what might seem like a lack of options. Identify your signature look and compare dress styles to find what’s right for you.

If you’re struggling to find the right plus size dress, consider boutique and handmade designers who work specifically in plus sizes.

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Stephen, Your Designer

“There is an amazing feeling of artistic accomplishment when all the parts come together into one harmonious aesthetic. It's a connection with who you are and the elements you choose to express yourself visually. This is what making clothing is all about for me. It's like when a songwriter hears his first written notes from a voice or a baker who has practiced a recipe and nails it or a figure skater who exceeds her own expectations. I express my sense of art in clothing. I see things in color, shape and texture. I react to the touch of silk on my skin and my eyes are aware of how color combinations make me feel. My goal is to bring all of these intuitive notions to garments that are sized for larger women. If I can accomplish this then I have reached my goal.” – Stephen

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