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17 style suggestions for 60-year-olds who want to look better, not younger

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 25/06/2021 Lisa Armstrong, Telegraph reporters
Emma Thompson et al. standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: actress emma thompson 60 year olds style suggestions elegance better not younger © Provided by The Telegraph actress emma thompson 60 year olds style suggestions elegance better not younger

It's a common misconception that as we grow older, we want to look younger. Sure, we wouldn't mind a style revamp - but who's to say we're not happy with ageing gracefully?

Now, we're not saying that there aren't a fair few tips to take on - but they're more fashion faux pas in general, rather than style adjustments needed to be made to appear younger.

How is any age “supposed” to look? Suffice to say that there has never been a better time to be a grown-up. The caveat is that you have to put some effort in.

What's important to remember is to know yourself. You know what works for you and what doesn't - so while there's no harm in taking on some styling tips, we're past the point of wearing something just because someone tells us to. Listen to your bodies and know what you feel comfortable in - you won't feel confident otherwise.

It's human nature that we can let ourselves go sometimes and that logic applies to our fashion choices too. But with a few simple style suggestions, you can instantly improve your look - and it has nothing to do with your age. 

So here's a list of style don'ts for sixty-somethings

1. Yellowing teeth 

Get them whitened, but not too much. Think Farrow & Ball subtle, and it will knock at least 10 years off, rather than blind your assailants. If cost is an issue, ask someone to bring back a box of Crest Whitening Strips the next time they’re in the US.

Christine Baranski holding a sign: Actress Christine Baranski ageless shape flaunt skin mature style fashion - Rex Features © Provided by The Telegraph Actress Christine Baranski ageless shape flaunt skin mature style fashion - Rex Features

2. Dated shoes 

For unfathomable reasons, women often become absent-minded about shoe trends as they approach their seventh and eighth decades. Age is no excuse for undermining an otherwise stylish outfit with outmoded heels. I’m talking about those elongated toes and stumpy kitten heels. Now that flat-forms are so groovy, there’s a fashionable shoe for every foot.

3. Stray greys 

That includes the ones sprouting from your eyebrows and – Oh God! – your chin. When it comes to grey it’s all or nothing. Blitz or cultivate.

Rene Russo standing posing for the camera: Actress Rene Russo Tailored fluid simple greys stray hairs - Rex Features © Provided by The Telegraph Actress Rene Russo Tailored fluid simple greys stray hairs - Rex Features

4. Limp resolve

Nondescript waterfall cardis (in fact any kind of cardi is hard to pull off as you get older), twee frills, bland patterns… none of this will do. Bold, well-chosen statements – a flamboyant ruffle, a confident print – speak of confidence and self-knowledge.

5. Bad bags 

The closer a woman was born to the postwar austerity period, the more uncomfortable she seems to feel splurging on a decent bag. Think of a beautifully made bag as jewellery – a sartorial investment (for you and any daughters) that’s more likely to have come from a supply chain where animal welfare is taken into account. J&M Davidson is a good place to start. Aspinal is also a source of modern classics. 

Oprah Winfrey wearing a suit and tie: oprah winfrey style suggestions 60 year olds better not younger floor length dresses tailored suits © Provided by The Telegraph oprah winfrey style suggestions 60 year olds better not younger floor length dresses tailored suits

6. Overdone hair 

As hair becomes drier and less amenable, the temptation is to adopt draconian products. In this, as in most things, less is more. Focus on the best cut you can find (if you come to London it’s hard to beat Joel Concalves at Daniel Galvin, who, with the lightest of touches will give you dream hair (0207 486 9661 for the Marylebone salon).  The Stemm range of thickening shampoos and treatments for thinning hair has had rave reviews.

7. Underdone lips 

Nothing erases sleepless nights and sagging mood faster and more painlessly than a slick of a bouncingly bright lipstick. Avoid dark Goth reds and burgundies and go for brightening orange-reds, corals and pink.  The best red I’ve come across is Victoria Beckham’s Chilean Sunset from her Estee Lauder collection. Bobbi Brown’s Parisian Red is another cult favourite. 

Kim Cattrall et al. standing next to a person: actress kim cattrall samantha jones 60 year olds style suggestions silk separates metallics outfit © Provided by The Telegraph actress kim cattrall samantha jones 60 year olds style suggestions silk separates metallics outfit

8. Too much work... 

... makes you look strange. That said, a few sprinkles (as Robin Wright calls her Botox jabs) or some light filler can do wonders. (Dr Prager has a super-light touch). However some experts think Botox leads to muscles atrophying and ultimately sagging.  Your best investment is to look after the condition of your skin: sleep, facial massage and exercises, and effective, non-harsh cleansing and moisturising regimes. That’s a no to excessive retinol, peels and dermabrasion. Facial massage guru Alexandra Soveral offers advice on all kinds of skin issues, as well as facial massage tutorials.

9. Too much working out 

Those mothers and grandmothers who are more taut, toned (and haggard looking) than their nearest and dearest 20-year-olds? Not a good look. Sure, exercise of some kind is a must, but it needn’t be punitive. Walk as much as you can (but in supportive, springy-soled shoes) and don’t use food as a pay-off. Better to be moderate in both and if ever it’s a toss-up between sleep and exercise, no question, the former should win.

Linda Fargo posing for a picture: Linda Fargo age-appropriate fashion experimentation mature style - Rex Features © Provided by The Telegraph Linda Fargo age-appropriate fashion experimentation mature style - Rex Features

10. The wrong trousers  

No need, ever, to slump into dreary, nondescript territory when there is a style to bring out your best feature, from trim waist (high-waisted, wide legs with tie waists) to dainty ankles (cropped kick flares), long legs (flares) to curvaceous hips (palazzos and pyjama sets). A pair of velvet trousers is every sixty-something’s right – an elegant, modern update on predictable black skirts.

11. Blah spectacles and sunglasses 

Assertive frames in classy materials add definition and set off bone structure, eyebrows and sparkling eyes.  Sparkling eye deficit? Make sure you’re having regular eye check-ups. If insomnia’s an issue, work a nap into your day. Get outside at lunchtime for a walk in the park. If all else fails, try Vizulize Tired Eye Drops, £3.87, Travel Pharm.

a close up of a person: leopard print jacket toga net a porter zara embroidered white shirt © Provided by The Telegraph leopard print jacket toga net a porter zara embroidered white shirt

 Toga animal print jacket, £600, Net-a-Porter; Embroidered shirt, £29.99, Zara.

12. Gloomy greige 

It may look amazing if you’re tawny skinned and Italian. But if you’re not, I beseech you to dump it in favour of more life-enhancing shades that make it possible to detect where your clothes end and your skin starts. What suits you may change as your skin tones alter. Start with chic neutrals – grey, navy, chocolate, soft bottle greens – and don’t be afraid of monochrome. It’s harsh on some skins, but works beautifully on others and is so good with silver hair. And always have something metallic to hand – it’s the equivalent of a flashlight on your skin.

13. Defeatist trainers 

Never has there been a better time to have bunions, pronation, dropped arches, because trainers/plimsolls have never been more stunning. Go chunky, colourful, wild. 

liberty silk scarf aspinal trunk bag style fashion © Provided by The Telegraph liberty silk scarf aspinal trunk bag style fashion

Silk printed scarf, £225, Liberty; Portobello bag, £550, Aspinal

14. The Frump Jacket 

Some can be too boxy, too shapeless, too long or too dull. Hillary Clinton’s given this a lot of thought and adopted the elongating, streamlining and sleek coatigan. Learn from her.

15. Inadequate scaffolding

Always spend the bulk of your budget on tailoring – and good underwear. Three words: Rigby & Peller.  

a pant leg: matches fashion maxmara tailored trousers midi maxi skirts and other stories © Provided by The Telegraph matches fashion maxmara tailored trousers midi maxi skirts and other stories

 MaxMara Carabo trousers, £435, Matches Fashion; and pleated midi skirt, £65, & Other Stories.

16. Things you can’t do past 40, let alone 60 

Grunge, messy hair, mom jeans, irony, aubergine hair, cheap-tat jewellery, heavy, wonky eyeliner, neglected nails and (worse) toenails, spaghetti straps, sheer tights, mini skirts with bare legs (OK, at 40 it’s still fine), boho.

17. Places you should shop 

Zara (why should twenty-somethings have exclusive access?), Massimo Dutti, Jigsaw, M&S Autograph, Cos, & Other Stories, H&M, Vince (superior basics), Whistles, Joseph, CH by Carolina Herrera (princessy classics), Isa Arfen (quirky details and roomy cuts), Roksanda (womanly shapes, beautiful colours), Jacquemus (shirting so stylish, no jacket required). 

Are you in your 60s? Tell us about your style tips in the comments section below

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