The 13 style rules that every midlife woman MUST follow (and yes, beige really is banned!)

Shoes are your secret weapon, forever

There’s nothing you can’t wear on your feet forever (although your ideal heel height might go down and personally I’d give Mary Janes a way out). In fact, you can and should get maximum Wow points from your shoes, whether that’s a leopard print kitten heel or a wooden-soled sandal.

Since Prada launched velvet platform sandals a few years ago, platforms and wedges have left their glamorous rock image behind and become acceptable all year round at any age – quirky, leg-lengthening and great for those occasions when you spend hours on the floor. are leg. Just keep them more on the Prada scale than Slade’s Noddy.

50+ means: Find the shoe that makes you look like a fashion candidate.

It may be time to bow out

I’d like to say that you can still get away with a giant organza bow at the neck or a big bow on the back of a dress or a chunky bow on a pair of flat pumps or lots of glittering crystal bows running down the front of a dress walking (wait a minute…that may not be off limits, if we’re talking about a Saloni dress) but ninety-nine percent of bows fall into the Baby Jane category.

Instead of ties at the throat, get serious with scarves: silk squares tied the French way at the neck of your shirt, or wrapped around large cotton or wool scarves. They add texture and color and cover up imperfections from neck to upper arms.

50+ means: Less bows, more scarves.

That girl with the pearl earring was on to something

Pearls flatter the skin and do something mysteriously lightening the complexion. We’ve shied away from it for decades, but now we’re in a pearl moment with everything.

Interlocking flower earrings, £295,

Pearl earrings and necklaces can be found everywhere, from Accessorize to Gucci.

50+ means: Increase the impact of jewelry and wear it more often.

Sort your specifications

It’s strange that we can spend weeks looking for the right dress for the wedding and then show up on the day wearing six-year-old glasses that dull the glamor by about sixty percent. Look at the photos of the King’s coronation, Oscar Night, Victoria Beckham’s 50th birthday, what do they all have in common?

Gillian Anderson in New York last month, who put her glasses together to match her outfit

Gillian Anderson in New York last month, who put her glasses together to match her outfit

Few women wear glasses, and if they do, they are put together to work with their outfit. Some of us have yet to explore contact lenses, but it’s a mistake. Take your eyes out from behind your dirty glasses, at least for special occasions, and you will look ten years younger.

50+ means: Work on your specs or leave them out. (See Gillian Anderson)

Take your underwear seriously

The condition of your bra now makes all the difference: bra sagging and bra sagging (when a bra has given up its supportive function) are two absolutely unnecessary consequences of not wearing the right fit. Everything related to underwear becomes 100 percent more important when you turn fifty.

In general, deliberately visible underwear – under something transparent or something that sticks out – is no longer a good idea. The exception to this is in the summer, when you can wear the bikini tops you no longer wear on the beach under linen shirts. A good plain black swimsuit can also serve as a bodysuit on holiday. (See Nancy Shevell)

50+ means: Well-fitting underwear.

You should never rest on your laurels with jeans

There’s the classic Levi 501s, which never officially dated but aren’t that easy to wear in real life. Otherwise, you should be ready to switch denim regardless of whether or not you’ve found your perfect forever shape.

Fashion never sleeps and if you ignore the rise of jeans you will fall behind (witness the predicted swing from baggy boyfriend styles to skinny jeans). If you only do one thing, keep a close eye on the current jeans shape and adjust accordingly.

50+ means: Keeping up with the denim times. (See Kristin Scott Thomas or Julia Roberts)

Bye bye black leather biker

You have to hand in your black leather biker jacket, no matter how much fun you had with it. There’s no ‘what if’ here (you can wait a little longer if it’s olive green or brown, but there are better answers). The cool looks we used to strive for are now just hard and old-fashioned and the whole rock-chick vibe is very risky, since the basis of the rock ‘n’ roll style is a certain unkemptness that is incompatible with adult clothing. We’ve all seen it, some of us in the mirror. One day you’re channeling late-period Blondie, the next day you look like you just got out of bed after a chilling flu. It’s okay to look casual, but now we need to look smart too. It’s all over for nasty.

50+ means: Much more care and exchanging motorcycle leather for soft brown sheepskin.

It’s worth finding that one surprising thing that really suits you… despite your age

Maybe it’s a jumpsuit, or white denim flares if you’re 63 (see Julianne Moore at the Cannes Film Festival last year). There’s a whole category of clothes (much bigger than the clothes you need to put away after 50) called Score extra points if you look good in this post 50.

Maybe you wear tank tops with bare arms? Maybe you have the legs for city shorts or you look great with a plunging neckline.

50+ means: Finding your unexpected good look and working hard on it.

Bring on the black and white

Julianne Moore during a photocall for her film May December in Cannes in 2023

Julianne Moore during a photocall for her film May December in Cannes in 2023

Some people can stay black forever, depending on their color (washed blondes less so), but everyone can now benefit from a black lifter – whether it’s a leopard bag strap, a statement brooch or chain or a cuff (see Jamie Lee Curtis on Oscar -evening). Black needs a bling-up after 50.

As for white, it looks best as a foil for black or a block color – a white collar or a white top with a leopard print skirt, but a plain white dress not so much (unless it’s on holiday with a dark pink tie-dye shawl and red espadrilles). White and black now look better than separately.

50+ means: Glowing black.

Just say no to pedal pushers

For some reason, middle-aged women are attracted to pedal pushers. We looked good in the early eighties and they are incredibly flattering, we think, but no. Pedal pushers are on the list of clothing items that have a half-life and are best avoided after age 50.

Also on this list are off-the-shoulder Bardot necklines, peasant tops, tiered dresses, miniskirts, and high-collared dresses. It’s okay to expose some back or cleavage or whatever you feel like, it’s the girly styles that suit you and too much coverage can be just as bad as too little.

50+ means: Pants are cropped above the ankle and not below the knee.

Turbocharge your colors

This is an interesting one because of course everyone is different, but the older you get, the bolder the color becomes for you and the less well served you are by shades of brown and olive, beige and gray. Pastels don’t do the over-50s any favors – swap your baby blue for butterfly turquoise, your primrose yellow for canary – and muted minimalism is wasted on us. Swap the barely visible gold earring for a sparkler.

Buy your subtly striped shirt in white on forget-me-not blue. Give away your pale pink floral print dress and wear an emerald green zinger and red shoes, or vice versa. You get zero points for subtlety in these years.

50+ means: Trying out new colours.

Ruffles and other tricks

A dress with ruffles down the torso is one of those tricks that will allow you to wear bodycon clothing into your sixties and beyond. Likewise, armband and elbow sleeves keep your arms covered while exposing just enough skin to keep the look light and summery. (Long-sleeved dresses can look strange in the summer.) Turn up the cuffs of a shirt and push them up to instantly look fresher.

50+ means: Wrists and feet outside in the summer.

Beware the aging hat

Could Meghan have left the royal family because she looked bad in a hat? It’s just a theory, but the wrong hat has the ability to age you faster than a surgical boot. For instructions on how to wear a hat (not least because it comes from the brilliant milliner Philip Treacy) it pays to look to the Queen. It also pays to avoid wide-brimmed hats and go for the small saucer on the side instead, or get a higher grade than a fascinator. Remember the Prime Minister’s wife, Akshata Murty, at the King’s coronation.

50+ means: Nice hats.