What to Wear in Your 50s

Playful patterns combined with stylish shapes adds polish to your every day

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Graphic pattern in your 50s

Structured shapes, minimal jewelry, unexpected details.

CH Carolina Herrera floral dress, $610; 310-276-8900.

Jens Mortensen

Dare to be bold

The delicate prints, the washed-out colors—give them a rest and re-energize with the season’s print trend. This dress  will transport you to your happy place in an instant, leaving all those little black dresses cowering in a corner.

Trina Turk polyester dress, $288; trina​turk.com.

Jens Mortensen

Rethink your shoes

Proof that you don't have to sacrifice style for comfort, these wedges are lower than they look. They're open toed, which means you'll want to leave your hose in the drawer.

Coye Nokes ankle-strap wedges, $250; coyenokes.com.

Jens Mortensen

Step out of the box

The playful pattern of these pants will beg you to kick up your heels (or flats, your choice).

Chico's polyester ankle pants, $89; chicos.com.

Jens Mortensen

Add the unexpected

Our fashion team fell hard and fast for this floral cross-body bag and especially liked it against all the graphic black and white.

Tory Burch leather messenger bag, $435; toryburch.com.

Jens Mortensen

Mix in some small scale

Any time you reach for one of the dozen basic-black crewnecks stacked in your closet, consider this instead; the small-scale geometrics give it a little more oomph, but you can wear it with just as much. Feeling particularly daring? Pair it with a black-and-white floral skirt.

J. Jill rayon blend top, $69; jjill.com.

Jens Mortensen

Go all the way

Nothing beats a frock for the ease of one-and-done dressing. What we love here: serenity up top, a party down below.

Talbots cotton sateen sheath, $189; and leather belt, $40; talbots.com.

Jens Mortensen

Invest in a showstopper

Turn up the style volume on anything and everything in your wardrobe with this light-weight coat. The perforated fabric lets in the light—and also a breeze or two. Yes, it's expensive, but (a) it looks it, and (b) you'll wear it for years to come.

Clover Canyon grid neoprene coat, $660; clover​canyon.com.

Jens Mortensen

Retire your LBD

The artful print, phenomenal fit and ideal length (to the knee) make this a winner.

Angelys Balek satin crepe dress, $440; effiesinc.com.

Jens Mortensen

Hit the snooze button on studs

All eyes on you: These attention-getting earrings are so versatile, you can wear them every day.

Dinosaur Designs resin earrings, $205; dinosaurdesigns.com.

Jens Mortensen

Update your classics

Once you try a coated canvas tote, you'll never look back. Our advice? Keep calm and carry a fabulous bag.

Peter Pilotto cotton tote with PVC coating, $40; target.com.

Jens Mortensen

Don't play it safe

Bold is beautiful! The tunic's longer length is ideal for today's untucked look, whether you pair it with a skirt or skinnies.

Coldwater Creek polyester blend top, $80; coldwater​​creek.com.

Jens Mortensen

Pump up the volume

Sexy, stylish and in a scheme that's surprisingly neutral.

Banana Republic floral pumps, $128; bananarepublic​.com.

Jens Mortensen

Hike your hemline

The black-and-white blocking visually slims your lower half, while the kicky zipper leaves a little—or a lot—to the imagination.

Worthington zipper-front skirt, $36; jcpenney.com.

Jens Mortensen

Collaboration to watch

London-based label Peter Pilotto is known for wowza prints that stylish women swoon over, high prices be damned. Check out a limited number of pieces at net-a-porter.com.

Peter Pilotto For Target moto jacket, $60; target.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Target

Eyewear alert

'Tis the decade of reading glasses, ladies, so stop squinting to read the menus and get yourself a snazzy pair. (Psst: Round shapes look new this season and flatter most faces.) Want a big selection? Go to icueyewear​.com

ICU Eyewear reading glasses, $24; icueyewear.com.

Courtesy of ICU

This is the right age to try...

A brightening primer.

Chanel Le Blanc de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base, $45; chanel.com.

Avery Powell

Alternative to try: metallic

Shine a light on...you! Whether you prefer a shade of gold (yellow, rose) or the cool factor of silver or gunmetal, bursts of shine are wonderfully wearable and look sexy when used sparingly (lamé head to toe? Not so much). Consider the glow that reflects on your skin a bonus.


Style Icon: Angela Bassett

Remember the three rules to follow:

1. Invest in accessories

2. mix structure with fluidity

3. Get clothes tailored


And one rule to break:

Match your bag to your shoes

Next: New Fashion Dos and Don'ts

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Gabriel Olson/Getty Images

First published in the March 2014 issue

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