Regardless of what year you came into this world, we can all learn a thing or two about style from our wiser fashion counterparts. These are the women who have lived to see generations worth of trends come and go and have spent the better half of a lifetime honing in on what they can now claim as a strong sense of personal style. Since this group of women offers a wealth of knowledge, I was curious to know what kind of style lessons they can teach the rest of us.
I spoke with a handful of the many chic older women I've taken to following on Instagram for style inspiration. Grece Ghanem is a 54-year-old from Montréal with a penchant for print-mixing and "old Céline." Lyn Slater, otherwise known as Accidental Icon, is a 65-year-old from New York whose career took off when she started blogging several years ago. Finally, Renata Jazdzyk is a 50-something from the UK you've seen wearing all the buzzy street style looks. They each shared the fashion "mistakes" from their past, what they learned from them, and how they choose to dress instead now.
To be clear, I say the word mistakes lightly. We all make them, and I'm not here to shame anyone's sartorial choices but rather to celebrate and share the wisdom that only comes after taking the time to reflect on how you'd like to evolve your style. This kind of self-reflection doesn't necessarily require having decades of outfits to look back on (people of any age can vow to make better fashion habits at any point), but the years each of them has under their belt certainly gives more weight to the following advice.
Keep reading to discover eight fashion mistakes from women over 50 and the style lessons they've learned from each.
Mistake: Only Wearing One Bold Color or Print at a Time
"Color-blocking and mixed prints can elevate a basic outfit, make you look stylish and street style ready. I learned to start small and build up my look to boldly styling red and fuchsia or striped and leopard looks." — Grece Ghanem
Mistake: Misinterpreting the Expression "Killer Heels"
"I am a shoe-a-holic in all senses! However, I’ve learned to pass on pretty shoes if the stilettos were too high or the shoe too uncomfortable, preventing me from walking with confidence. Remember: Sneakers are not only for the gym. They add the perfect twist to those feminine dresses. At the end of the day, you are wearing the piece and not the piece is wearing you. To give that magnificent shoe justice, you need to be able to walk that walk." — Ghanem
Mistake: Only Shopping in the Women's Section
"Dare to take a step into the menswear section for those oversize sweaters and button-downs for a relaxed and slouchy look. I learned to never assume my size, to size up for an oversize look but to never downsize. Wearing clothing that is too tight or small is definitely a fashion mistake in my book." — Ghanem
Mistake: Wearing Heavy Pierced Earrings All the Tme
"Wearing very heavy pierced earrings all of the time. I always loved statement earrings and wore them every day. Unfortunately, over time, it stretches your earlobe and ultimately you can't wear any pierced earrings unless you have your ear surgically fixed. I dealt with it by wearing clip-ons, and since I love vintage jewelry, it opened up a whole new world of fabulous and very dramatic earrings for me." — Lyn Slater
Mistake: Wearing Something That Doesn't Feel 100% Like Me
"It happens rarely, but sometimes I will try something that deep down I know is not right for me, but I love the way the garment looks on the hanger, so I wear it anyway. I always end up looking uncomfortable. It impacts my mood and makes me feel anxious. So bottom line, if I do not feel 100% myself in it as much as I stare at it lovingly, I don't wear it. That includes telling creative directors I work with, 'That's not happening,' if they want me to wear something (like a black leather miniskirt) that is not me." — Slater
Mistake: Matching Every Accessory Perfectly
"Another mistake of mine was making sure that all my accessories were perfectly in the same color, and I often wore too many of them at the same time. Scarf, belt, bag, shoes—they all had to match and be in the same color, followed by my jewelry. Now I believe that less is better. Everything does not have to be perfectly matched at all times. Sometimes mixing colors and patterns can result in creating something unique and one-of-a-kind. Thanks to the various colors, our outfits become more interesting, more energetic and help us to look younger." — Renata Jazdzyk
Mistake: Wearing Clothes That Don't Fit Properly
"I used to wear wrinkled skirts (at the waist). As a result, optically they often made me look shorter, and they were not very flattering! I’m really pleased that these types of skirts are not in fashion anymore. Now I choose pencil skirts that go really well with oversize tops, knits, or blazers or asymmetric skirts that are fun and can't harm your silhouette." — Jazdzyk
Mistake: Wearing Mostly Black and Gray
"In the past, my wardrobe has been overwhelmingly full of clothes in only two colors: black and gray. I ruled out any other colors from my wardrobe. As a result of this, no matter what I wore and how interesting my shirt, skirt, or trousers were, I always looked the same. Over the years, I've learned to break my black-and-gray habit, and I have started to add colors to my outfits. I’m not scared of colors anymore. On the contrary, I think they reflect my personality better." — Jazdzyk