Fabulous fashion for the over-50s

Once the domain of comfy cardies and elasticated waistbands, fashion for the over-50s is a far more glamorous affair these days.

fashion for the over-50s

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The likes of Helen Mirren, Jerry Hall and the inevitably stylish Anna Wintour are all proof that mature ladies can still look sexy and fabulous without resorting to short skirts and plunging necklines.

Comfort = confidence
We're not talking about slippers and jogging bottoms obviously but feeling comfortable in your clothes, i.e. not constantly pulling down skirts, pulling up tops or worrying about unsightly bulges, will give you the confidence to carry off the most daring of outfits.

Unless you are blessed with a fabulous figure, too-tight T-shirts and skinny jeans are obviously to be avoided. Clothes that skim your body make for a flattering silhouette while draped tops and dresses will also allow you to feel comfortable but look stylish.

Be bold
While it's tempting to splash out on slimming black gear, if you're not careful you'll end up with a dull and uninspiring wardrobe. Don't be afraid to try new colours - if you're not ready for bright colours, try swapping black and dark brown or blue for deep purples or reds which remain flattering but add a new dimension to your look.

Of course, you may always rely on a fabulous pair of black trousers or shift dress and classy, elegant wardrobe staples are a must, but don't be afraid to try something new, whether it's a new range of colours, bold prints or layering of fabrics and textures (though be careful not to add bulk when layering). Remember, fashion should be fun.

What's hot, what's not
Many of us find we're carrying a few extra pounds as we reach our 50s and there are some do's and don'ts when it comes to flattering a larger frame. Big, baggy clothes may hide the lumps and bumps but will leave you looking shapeless and frumpy. Accentuate your waist with a brightly coloured belt and experiment with light layering for a casual yet elegant look. If you are bigger on the bottom, wear bright colours and patterns on top to draw attention to your top half.

Tailored garments can work wonders but get it wrong and they can make you appear boxy. Wear a jacket that comes to just below the waist to avoid the boxy look, while shirts, blouses and tops that fit to the shoulder also tend to suit the more mature lady better than dropped shouldered. Three-quarter length sleeves are also wonderful for feminine look that will hide those bingo wings.

And when it comes to accessories, less is often more, so make a statement with one or two key pieces.

Best buys
Lynda Bellingham is the new face of isme and the website is packed full of fabulous buys for the mature woman - wide-legged trousers, elegant printed dresses, embellished tops and tunics, and fitted jackets allow you to shop for any occasion.

M&S also offers a wide range of styles for all ages and their Per Una collection is a great place to start if you are looking to add new colour and style to your wardrobe.

A number of websites cater specifically for the over-50s - www.fiftyplus.co.uk sells everything from jeans to evening dress but with the emphasis on flattering the mature lady.

And of course, department stores such as John Lewis, Selfridges and Debenhams always stock classic, stylish items that are sure to become firm favourites.