Rule breakers: Why women in their 50s are refusing to dress their age!


Forty might be the new thirty, but when it comes to fashion, hitting fifty is when the fun really begins.

It might be tempting to play it safe, but why stick to the rules? You’ve enjoyed some style highs (and a few lows!) over the years, and you’ve come out the other side with a clear idea of what works, but also the confidence to try new things.

The term ‘middle-aged’ is meaningless and the generation gap is narrowing. In fact, you may well be closer in terms of lifestyle and wardrobe choices to your daughter than your mother.

With a new lease of life, more money in your pocket and plenty of high-profile fifty-somethings to look to for inspiration, you’re only just getting started.

Here are two women showing us how it’s done. They’re mixing things up and receiving more compliments than ever! 

‘I wear far more colour now than I did in my 20s – especially pink!’ 

Whether it’s red leather trousers, a leopard print jacket or the streak of pink in her hair, Sarah, 53, a mother of four, likes to stand out from the crowd. She says…

I still don’t feel I know exactly what suits me, but as I am quite short (5’3″) I know what doesn’t!

I wear far more colour now than I did in my twenties and especially pink, which I would have thought was very childish then. I definitely have more clothes now, and they are more casual since I don’t go to an office every day.

My most expensive purchase was a pair of red leather trousers. I now spend much more on shoes and think that if you find a style that suits you and more to the point is incredibly comfortable then you should get them in every colour!

My mother never wore jeans and although she was a relatively young mother, her style was pretty conventional.

My daughters certainly share style tips with me and are very quick to praise or pick apart what I am wearing. I think that they don’t borrow my clothes, but then something goes missing and I find it in the back of their wardrobe – a leopard skin jacket being the most notable example. Luckily our feet are not the same size!

They are very fixated on my hair, thinking that the longer it is, the younger I appear. I tend to have the opposite view, but we have compromised on shoulder length with a streak of pink and they approve of the new fringe.

I think that you certainly know who you are in your fifties, and while you are confident in your style, the changes in your body sometimes mean that I can’t wear what I would have done just a couple of years ago. But I am pretty relaxed about it all and if I have to buy some things in a larger size, so be it.

‘my daughter wants to borrow my clothes’ says Liz.

Liz, 58, works as a freelance interior stylist and owns a lifestyle and interiors shop in Acton called Otto Trading. She says…  

I don’t think my wardrobe is totally different from my twenties and thirties. 

My hemlines were definitely shorter then, but I do still wear quite fitted clothes and a short dress with black tights. I buy much more online now and have more print in my wardrobe these days.

I love a pretty floral print, and I recently bought a pink flowery shirt dress, which I would never have bought a few years ago. I also have an embarrassing amount of leopard print!

I definitely feel more confident in my own skin now and looking at my friends as well, we have settled on our style and know what suits us. The fun thing about being older is that there are a lot of vintage items in my wardrobe to rediscover.

My style totally differs from my mother. She was tweed skirts and camel coloured tights, whereas I wear jeans on a day to day basis.

I think my daughter does like my style and tells me if her friends think I look great, which I love to hear!

I actually feel rather flattered if she wants to borrow anything of mine. The things we share tend to be outerwear, jumpers and as we speak I am trying to get some sandals back from her…

(Adopted from the