6 Style Myths for Older Women

Do you get cross like me when you see fashion articles headed ‘The Style Rules for Older Women’, or much worse something along the lines of ‘Mutton Dressed as Lamb - Be Careful as You Age!’. The point of these pronouncements is to infer that with age comes jeopardy when choosing what to wear. I refute that utterly, as I am sure that most of you do, however, being in my 70s means that I know my body really well, I know what suits my pear shape, plump knees and chunky ankles and I have a fairly clear idea of how I want to be seen in terms of style.

There are things that I avoid now, like sleeveless tops and knee length skirts or dresses, but I have also learnt to challenge some of the pervasive style myths aimed at us older women

Style Myth 1: Buy Less, Buy Better 

Style Myth 1: Buy Less, Buy Better 


I’m certainly not against buying fewer clothes, although I do get really bored of wearing the same things day after day. There’s nothing quite so thrilling as pulling on a new garment and discovering that it has transformative qualities on the body, although that happens relatively rarely these days. I’m also not against the odd ‘investment piece’ that lifts your heart. In lockdown last May I bought a blue silk ‘Pazuki’ top which cost £295, way more than I’d normally pay, but I was in that slightly hysterical mood which the first lockdown induced and threw my normal caution to the winds. But this year, when I could get out and visit an actual shop I headed straight to Zara and bought three  things, a pair of white summer trousers for £30 which I’ve barely taken off, a fuchsia pink jacket for about £60 which makes me feel fabulous and a purple linen shirt from Massimo Dutti which has been cool and fun to wear on holiday. My point is that sometimes you’re allowed to ‘Buy More, Buy Cheap’ if it gives you pleasure.

Pictured: This purple linen shirt is from Massimo Dutti, and the white summer trousers were £30 from Zara.

Style Myth 2: Wear Looser Clothes 

Style Myth 2: Wear Looser Clothes


Unless you are still blessed with a really slim, neat figure, there’s a temptation as we get older to wear much looser clothing. I’m all for ‘figure skimming’ instead of ‘figure hugging’ if every lump and bump is exposed but I think the biggest myth is that looser, baggier clothes are more flattering on an older body. I have wide hips and chunky legs, so you may think that floaty ‘’harem’ style pants would be perfect on me. In fact they make me look enormous all over, whilst my very snug slightly stretchy Zara trousers teamed with a very bright top to draw the eye upwards is a much more flattering silhouette. This year I went into Sahara in Guildford, mainly to see what new styles of earrings and necklaces they had, and for the very first time I tried a few things on. Sahara specialise in the sort of unstructured clothes that suit the more statuesque older woman but I really love this linen ‘coat dress’ which I bought. It’s in the smallest size they do and I prefer it with trousers underneath. I have worn it several times both for warm daytime and evening occasions and feel it works well on me - a good combo of loose and structured.

Pictured: Wearing my new Sahara dress. The trousers underneath are Zara and the shoes are from Sole Bliss.

Style Myth 3: Dresses and Skirts Must Be Worn with Heels

Style Myth 3: Dresses & Skirts Must Be Worn With Heels

Since my terrible feet became impossibly painful in heels I have veered away from dresses and skirts. I was brought up to believe that the height of a heel was needed to elongate the leg and balance the look of a hemline hitting at a point either just below the knee or at mid-calf. Happily there are lots of maxi skirts and dresses out there at the moment and all the young ones (my daughters) are wearing them with white sports shoes and they look absolutely brilliant. There are also quite a few ‘buffet’ dresses around which are perfect if you are an apple shape. These are often tiered, and have no waistline, so as long as the fit is good round the bust and arm area then they can be very flattering - and again - they look most up to date worn with a structured trainer or similar flat shoe.

Style Myth 4: Keep Accessories Neat 

Style Myth 4: Keep Accessories Neat 


I think most of you know my feelings about earrings! I LOVE them and have a huge array in a wide range of different styles. I’ve long seen them as the perfect accessory as I have got older because they are so easy to wear and lift every outfit. I also like big, bold chunky necklaces as I think they can make all the difference to a simple top. I know that lots of women my age are very wedded to their pearls - small neat earrings and necklaces but I’d encourage you to be a bit bolder and experiment with more exciting colour and shapes. I’m also thinking of becoming ‘a hat person’. My friend Frugal Fashion Shopper, Penny Kocher loves a hat and wears them with great panache. This summer I’ve been wearing this white straw fedora and I think I might try to find something similar to wear to keep my head warm this winter.

Pictured: Accessorising with a hat from Brissi, sunglasses from Dolce & Gabbana and earrings from Toolally. My blouse is from NRBY at John LewisMy lipstick is our own Lustrous Colour Lipstick in shade Fuchsia.

Style Myth 5: Stick to a More Muted Colour Palette

Style Myth 5: Stick to a More Muted Colour Palette 


There was a time when older age was a drab affair, especially if you were widowed. I have been surprised and delighted that the Queen has not embraced mourning black since she lost her husband and has been seen in her usual array of fantastically bright colours. She is a great example to us all of someone who has become bolder and more confident with colour with every passing year. And she looks amazing, despite being really tiny and no longer slim and shapely. As long as you know whether you are cool or warm toned so that you choose the right shades then I’d say ‘Go Bright and Bold’. See our Colour Quiz to help you to decide.

Pictured: Here I'm wearing the Pazuki top I indulged in during lockdown, M&S trousers, and shoes from Hobbs. 

Style Myth 6: Stick to the Rules 

Style Myth 6: Stick to the Rules 

I think we are lucky to be ageing now. Do you remember the 1950s when young girls dressed like children until they were old enough to dress like their mothers? There were so many rules about what was suitable and at what age you could and should wear something. We were fortunate to live through the style revolution of the 1960s and the invention of a distinctive teenage look. How I loved my Mary Quant minis and sharp Vidal Sassoon haircut! The main criterion was that our mothers wouldn’t be seen dead looking like us! Fashion and style is now much less rule bound and fluid between generations and even genders and we have hugely benefited from this. When I shop for clothes my only guidelines are ‘Does it suit my body?’, ‘Is it comfortable to wear?’ and ‘Does it make me feel good?’ If those criteria are met then I’m happy, because I know that I’ll enjoy wearing it regardless of whether it’s appropriate for a woman of my age.

The last eighteen months have been strange when it comes to clothes, makeup, style and fashion. Long periods with nowhere to go and no-one to see have combined for some to create a ‘why bother?’ mentality. My way through it all and to keep my morale up has been to continue to engage with how I look. I have found that keeping to my daily routines of skincare, makeup, hair and then choosing something nice to wear have all helped me to feel better. It’s made me realise that I do all that self-care stuff for me as much as for other people. And now the world is starting to open up, I feel quite excited again by the prospect of having a good mooch round my favourite shops to see what they have in store to catch my eye and lift my spirit as the seasons change.

Tricia x

Upcoming Event Information:


Makeup Magic Monday - We're back!

Makeup Magic with Tricia Cusden and Sally Deung: we are going to be hosting a LIVE Zoom session in which Sally and I will talk all things makeup and beauty.

Day: Monday 6th September

Time: 11am

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81070053378?pwd=c3NlU1haYVdTQXRGcnhXbVdrM0Rzdz09 

Meeting ID (if needed): 810 7005 3378

Password (if needed): LOOKFAB