How Not to Look Old

Does your personal style need a makeover? Here, the best tips and tricks for finding your wardrobe's foundation of youth

Images loading...

Update Your Look, Every Single Season

Getting caught in a style rut will make you look old. It’s as simple as that. Tweak your look—from the clothes you wear to the make up you use—and stay in the game.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Pay Attention to Trends

You don’t need to be a savant of style to know that things change from season to season. You also don’t have to spend big in order to stay up to date. This season it’s all about bright colors (like Milly's Spring 2012 collection), so go get yourself some.

Courtesy of

Mix It Up

Personal style comes from wearing clothes in your own way. Today, what looks current is when you enjoy a mix: A designer top with pants from The Gap, cargo pants with a sequined top, killer heels with jeans. Elizabeth Hurley works the latter.

Don't Frump the Shoes

We call them old lady shoes—long on comfort and short on style—and you must resist the temptation. Hate heels? Fine, wear a chic loafer or ballet flat (à la Reese Witherspoon) but by all means nothing orthopedic.

Define Your Waist

Cinch it a lot or a little, as long as it’s defined in some way. See: Christina Henricks.

Courtesy of Marie Claire


The trimmings of fashion are what the young gals love, and you can, too.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Change It Up, Every Day

If you’re carrying the same hand bag 24/7, day and night, work or weekends, to the grocery store or out to dinner, you need to stop it. That’s what you’ll do when you’re in your 80’s, when practicality trumps everything else.

Courtesy of People StyleWatch

Avoid Big and Boxy

Sorry, Hillary—it’s simply not the current silhouette. Today, everything is shrunken; get it in your size, but make sure the shape is spot-on.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Wear Color

A bold burst of color will brighten your face and give you a sun-kissed glow. Short of turning back the hands of time, this is a great alternative.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Flaunt Your Best Feature

Knowing what looks good on YOU is the most winning of style tricks. For Aniston, it's her toned arms. Face it, you’re old enough to know better (finally, an ADVANTAGE of being older).

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Show Some Skin

Buttoned up is for old ladies and those committed to a religious order. I’m guessing you’re neither. Open up the collar of your shirt, go without pantyhose this Spring, whatever works for you.

Courtesy of Who What Wear

Avoid Overly Complicated Clothes

They will distract you and add bulk, and today’s cool styling is sleek, sleek, sleek. Exhibit A: Ali Larter's sheath dress.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Resist the Temptation to Match

Mis-match is the new match. Try unexpected color combinations (burgundy and teal? Why not?) and have fun doing it. SJP rocks the daring red-pink pairing.

Get Your Clothes Tailored

Great fit goes a long way in flattering your body, which will, in turn, make you look younger.
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Embrace Pencil Skirts

They are universally flattering and universally sexy (Mad Men's Joan Holloway, anyone?), and that’s always youthful. Click here for simple tips on how to wear them.

Courtesy of IMDB

When in Doubt, All Black Always Works

Yes, yes, color brightens (see number 9), but black is perennially fashionable and if you add interest by wearing black pieces that have different textures, you’ll look edgy and cool.

Courtesy of IMDB

Upgrade Your Hair and Makeup

Like clothes and accessories that get out of date, the same goes for your makeup. This spring, try coral lip gloss and teal nail polish.
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Wear One, Bold Piece of Jewelry... Charlize Theron's statement necklace. It’s a modern way of doing accessories, and it will make you look youthful in an instant.

Courtesy of PR Photos

Spend Money on Your Foundation

Good undergarments can make a world of difference—slimming you, smoothing you, making your body look as youthful as possible—so get on board.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Get a Decent Weekend Look

Being able to look great while dressing casually is what the young ones really know how to do well. See our February story, Look Fab on Weekends for more great ideas.

Courtesy of Gisel Florez

Improve Your Gym Clothes

Really? You’re still wearing those ratty sweatpants and your husband’s old fraternity t-shirt? Go to LuLuLemon immediately, and get it together.
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Wear Chic Nails

Today’s look? Short, square, in a pop of color. Get on it.
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Say NO to Nude

Pantyhose, that is. Not chic, not stylish, they’re what the crypt keeper would wear (would she be wearing pantyhose at all).


Spring cleaning? Tackle your wardrobe with our list on What Not to Wear, Ever.


Want MORE great fashion articles like this? Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter!

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Share Your Thoughts!


Kora Zinger09.30.2013

I scoff at the self-appointed fashion gurus who come up with advice like "wear uncomfortable shoes or else (=heels or uncomfortable flats with no arch support)" "walk around with bare legs in winter if you want to wear a dress (=no pantyhose)" etc. Seriously, people, get on with it. After my injury and following surgery, orthopedic shoes are it. I still dress stylish, but the shoes. If David Tennant can wear red Converses with a suit, I can wear SAS Tripad shoes with my leggings or whatever else. And honestly - about matching. I like matching. If I want to match, I will match. Loosen up, folks, it is only fashion. You are supposed to have fun with it, no?

Ramona 08.01.2013

I don't mind aging at all. My problem is I don't know how to dress age appropriate. I want to be stylish but everything seems either too young or too tight or too revealing. Shorts are especially difficult to find. I don't want to look like I am trying to be 30. I will be 60 next May and would like not to dress so boring.

Rita Prangle03.27.2012

After five foot surgeries, my footwear choices are limited. But when I see women hobbling around in killer heels, I think I'm not missing so much. I agree with the woman who said high heels are the modern equivalent of foot binding. Other than updating your wardrobe, I think the author of this article is in denial about aging. It's not the worse thing that can happen!

Post new comment

Click to add a comment
Member Voices
Shoes & Accessories
Woman of Style and Substance
Swim & Lingerie