skip to Main Content
10 Frumpy Wardrobe Choices To Ditch In Your 50s | CrunchyTales

10 Frumpy Wardrobe Choices To Ditch In Your 50s

5 min read

As we age, our style should evolve with us. But sometimes, the usual wardrobe choices can actually make us look older than we really are. Whether it’s an outdated silhouette or a colour that washes out our complexion, certain fashion picks can add years to our appearance.

In this article, we’ll explore 10 wardrobe choices to avoid and offer some tips on how to update your look for a more modern style. From ditching those baggy clothes to embracing bold colours, we’ll help you understand what may not work in your wardrobe anymore.

Wardrobe Choices to Leave Behind You

Our wardrobe choices have a significant impact on how others perceive us. This is because clothing sends a message about who we are, our personality, and our lifestyle. 

It’s important to note that looking modern doesn’t mean dressing like a teenager. Instead, it’s about finding a balance between classic and trendy styles that work for your body type and personal style. 

In general, the older you are, the less classic you need to be,” says Melissa Lund professional stylist, personal shopper and image coach. “What may have looked great on you in your 30s could make you look frumpy or mumsy in your 50s and beyond“.

By paying attention to the details of your wardrobe choices, you can create a style that makes you feel more confident. 

Oversized Everything

Comfort is crucial, but there’s a difference between relaxed and shapeless. One of the biggest mistakes women can make when it comes to their wardrobe is wearing clothing that is too big. Oversized items can make you look larger than you are and hide your figure. As a result, you’ll be appearing sloppy and unprofessional. Rather, invest in a well-tailored blazer, a form-fitting dress, or a pair of high-waisted jeans that show off your figure rather than hiding underneath your clothes.

Baggy clothes are no doubt the comfiest to wear, but they are extremely unflattering: they cover up your shape and send you directly into the frumpy zone and make you look years older than you actually are. If there are parts of your body where you don’t feel comfortable with a tight fit, then choose clothes that skim over that area rather than choosing voluminous fabric, which ages our appearance“, says Beth Djalali from Style at a Certain Age.

Depending on your body type, always choose structure over shapeless garments. If you’re still going to wear a baggier top, how about trying to pair it with pants that are skinny jeans, leggings, or something that gives your legs more shape? Alternatively, opt for a pair of oversized trousers and a more fitted top to highlight the waist area.

All black outfits

While black is a classic, head-to-toe black can be drab. It does wonders for trimming a figure and is appropriate for almost every occasion, but as women get older, their skin tends to become paler—and wearing black can create a harsh contrast that emphasizes wrinkles and calls attention to dark shadows under the chin and around the eyes.

Add a bright accessory like a scarf or a statement necklace—any pop of colour will lessen the washed-out effect“, says Lauren Rothman, the founder of and author of Style Bible: What to Wear to Work. She also suggests shopping for earthy neutrals—like cocoa, olive, camel or grey—which are subdued but still add contrast. Also, jewel tones are a colour group that flatters most women. 

Wearing cheap fabrics

As you get older, it’s all about buying fewer clothes, but focusing on quality over cheap and cheerful designs and fabrics.

Ideally, we should aim at clothes that hang well and don’t scrunch as soon as you touch them. If there’s no weight to the fabric, then forget it. If you love Jersey, comfortable but sometimes unflattering (clinging to every bump and bulge), then choose the double-knitted one for a more structured look or, opt for woven fabrics that drape more gracefully. 

SEE ALSO:  6 Best Hand Sanitisers For Gentlewomen On The Go

Wearing the wrong underwear

A bra that’s too loose or doesn’t provide enough lift can lead to slouching in an attempt to hold everything up. This hunched posture shortens your neck and torso, making you look older.

Also, an ill-fitting bra can cause your breasts to bulge out the sides or overflow the cups. This creates a distorted silhouette that lacks definition and can be unflattering. It’s time to book a bra-fitting service and find an expert who will guide you through the process. The same with old knickers, they may create ‘chunks’.

Head-to-Toe Mushy Pastels

While soft colours are lovely, an entire outfit in pale shades can wash you out. To avoid the wrong pastel outfit go for clashing or monochrome looks, or think about combining pastels with neutrals and solid colours.

If you’re going to wear pastels, style expert Naina Singla advises that the best way to prevent your look from being too soft and eccentric is to pair together opposite colours instead of trying to match. The result of the colour clash would look better than if you were putting together similar shades.

Don’t be afraid to add pops of colour or richer neutrals to your wardrobe. A bright scarf or statement necklace can instantly add vibrancy.

XXL Florals

Florals can be fun and feminine, but giant, busy patterns can overwhelm your figure. Extra large floral prints can be perceived as frumpy for a few reasons: they can overwhelm your figure and make you look shorter or wider. Also, when there’s a lack of contrasts and they seem blended together, they can create a shapeless look.

Look for patterns on a smaller scale or a more modern silhouette, better with a defined waist.

Headscarves as a Hairstyle Cover-Up

A strategically tied scarf can add a touch of Jackie Kennedy‘s flair, but using it solely to hide a bad hair day creates a dated look. Headscarves tied under the chin, in particular,  can be matronly. Instead, try tying them around your neck or wear a bandana style for a more modern twist. There are plenty of easy updos or braid options that look polished in minutes. If you’re in a rush, a hat is always a better option.

The Bland Cardigan

Cardigans can be cosy, but a long, boxy style can look a bit frumpy. Stay away from slouchy ones and choose a shorter style that hits at your waist, you can even consider a a belted one. If you can’t leave without it, the easiest way to wear it is over straight-leg jeans and a T-shirt or tuck it into high-waisted trousers for a slimmer silhouette. Alternatively, invest in a fine knit version and belt it over a midi skirt.

Ill-Fitting Footwear

Frumpy footwear can age you instantly. Avoid wearing shoes with velcro. Despite their practicality, particularly for people who struggle with foot pain, there are more stylish items out there which are still comfortable and easy to put on like slip-on shoes or sleek loafers.

Also, think twice when you’re going to wear cap-toe pumps. They have a long history and can be a very classic silhouette, however, if the style leans too heavily on outdated elements like a chunky heel, round toe, and neutral tones, it can veer into frumpy territory.

The key is investing in good material. Without a doubt, a good pair of high-quality soft calf or kid leather shoes will do you proud if you find yourself having to socialise or shop, after an already exhausting day on your feet.

Remember, It takes more knowledge than money to be stylish. So, get ready to ditch these dowdy choices and embrace flattering styles to create a wardrobe that reflects your unique personality and makes you feel fabulous at any age.

Like this post? Support Us or Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox!

Back To Top

Learn how to make the most of your midlife journey. Get your Free Pocket Guide on “How to Age Playfully”


Learn how to make the most of your midlife journey. Get your Free Pocket Guide on

Free Pocket Guide | CrunchyTales

"How to Age Playfully"