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Nearing 60 what can I wear instead of jeans

(Geelong, Australia)

This is what I wear every day

This is what I wear every day

I am a plus size 22-24 women 5'8'' in my late 50s my hair is white -- I am allergic to hair dye so can't change the colour -- I stay at home a lot and would like some advice on colours and styles of clothing to wear.

I do wear leggings and knee length skirts sometimes with tunic tops and a lot of sweat pants and also have made some really bad fashion choices. What is suitable for a mature aged women?

I want to be able to dress comfortably but not to be frumpy. Thanks I am desperate.

Jane's answer...Thank you for your photo and great question. It's so much easier for me to answer you when you give this type of detail and supply a photo.

Your details

From your photo it looks as if:

  • Your colouring is predominantly cool -- although I can't tell (without a better photo and doing a proper analysis) whether your best colour range is one of the Winter colour categories or one of the Summer ones. You could well be a Winter flowing towards Summer or vice versa

  • Your horizontal body type is probably rectangle

  • Your vertical body type is probably balanced body

  • Your shoulders are broad and square

  • Your neck is medium-short and broad

  • Your face shape may be oblong (difficult to tell from the angle of this photo and with your fringe covering your forehead

  • Your height is medium


Start by reviewing your underwear:

  • Make sure you wear a bra that is not too old -- to make sure it still gives support. How long a bra lasts will depend on how many bras you have, the more you have the longer they
    will last

  • When was the last time you had a bra fitting? If you haven't been measured and fitted for a bra since the last time your shape changed, then this is a great place to start. Wearing the correct size bra that is properly fitted can instantly make you look

  • Make sure your under pants are also in good condition and give support. Shapewear is a great for giving a firm, smooth foundation. A tip, for greater comfort, is to buy a size larger than the manufacturer recommends. It will still create a great foundation, but will be more comfortable

Guidelines for dressing for your body shape

  • Your best clothing silhouettes are going to be semi-fitted or boxy and soft -- avoid over fittted garments and fabrics that are too stiff (these will hide your shape and make you look larger). Clothes that skim your figure will be most flattering. Your t-shirt in the photo looks as if it has seen better days, it looks as if it has lost its shape

  • Your best dress shapes will include straight and slightly shaped styles in soft, flowing materials

  • Your best skirt styles include straight, subtle and full A-line shapes

  • Your best pant styles include straight and wide styles, including boot leg

  • Your best lengths. For tops: anywhere between high hip and 2nd finger joint. For skirts and dresses: from top of knee to 1" below bottom of knee, above full calf, below full calf, or full length. This also applies for tunic lengths and capri or cargo lengths. Avoid ankle length

  • Your best necklines will include V, rounded, split, or cross over styles that elongate your neck and split up your shoulder line

  • Your best sleeves include long styles (not too wide), 3/4 tapered, cap and sleeveless. Avoid half length styles that end near your waist and make you look wider (as in your photo)

  • Creating vertical or diagonal lines with your outfits will work really well for your proportions. You can create vertical lines by layering a top, such as a jacket, coat, or an open long line cardigan, or vest. If the outer layer and your bottoms are in a similar colour value and your top is a lighter colour value you'll create a slimming effect. Or look for vertical styling details within the top or dress. Or add a fine scarf over a top or dress to create the vertical lines. Cross-over top or dress styles will create slimming diagonal lines, as will ruched styling details and diagonal patterns

> A personlized eStyles program will give you all the recommendations for your body type


Leaving your hair its natural colour is fine. You have greyed to an attract colour (some are not so fortunate and look as though their hair is nicoteen stained, even when it's not!).

However, you could benefit by having more shape in your hairstyle. I think you'll find a style that keeping most of your hair off your face will give your whole look a lift. I give guidelines for hairstyles to suit an oblong face shape here. Look at magazines, online and at people around you for inspiration for a shape, taking into account your hair type. Online I recommend this virtual hair styler program.

Dressing age appropriate

See my article on "How to dress and look great at any age" for more tips on age appropriate dressing.

Outfit ideas

Even though you say you spend a lot of time at home it's still good to wear clothes you love that suit your shape, your colouring and your personality. This can improve your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself. In the outfit ideas below I've picked mainly smart casual garments. 

What I can't tell enough about from your question or your photo is your personality. I've made some educated guesses in the example outfits below, but I may have got it wrong! Also, since I can't tell your exact colouring I've picked cool based colours in medium shades.

I suggest you add some colour to your outfits, rather than going all grey. Some grey is fine, because it links to your hair, but too much gray will be boring on you, because you'll look too grey (as in your photo).

animal print dresssplash print dressblue dressImages courtesy Debenhams (2 dresses on left) & Dorothy Perkins
(blue dress)

The blue dress above may be a little too fitted for you. However, I've included it because this type of silhouette is a good one for you to look for. You can wear this style of dress with a light grey or medium pink 3/4 or long sleeve t-shirt underneath.

blousemock layer toplonger cardiganImages courtesy Marks and Spencer

The middle image above is actually one mock-layer top!

Please wear your trousers longer than in the picture below -- this length is stereotypical of an old lady length on this width of trouser!

navy skirtnavy trousersImages courtesy Marks and Spencer

I hope this gives you some ideas. I'd love to hear your feedback.

If you'd like more specific, personalised help I suggest a personal style discovery session via Skype or phone -- we could make the style translation part of the session online shopping recommendations if you like.

Comments for Nearing 60 what can I wear instead of jeans

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Good for you!
by: Jane of Style Makeover HQ

Hi Maureen.

Thanks so much for supplying an update! Goodness, its sounds as if you've been busy updating your look! Good for you! I'm so glad I could help.

I'd love it if you'd share a photo or 2 of the new you -- simply add a new style makeover question (like you did orignally), I'll update this thread with your new photos.

All the best, Jane

from geelong regarding jeans
by: Maureen

Helen thanks for your comments I do wear jeans occasionally but don't really feel good in them. I have taken Jane's advice and completely culled my wardrobe and only have things that make me feel good and wear them everyday now.

I got rid of all the out of shape tops, sweat pants and anything that did not fit in with the criteria in the answer and when I shop now I look at your suggestions (I have a copy with me) and buy accordingly.

I am much happier in my choices and wear all my good clothes at home as well as out..I sent 5 bags to charity and even went as far as getting rid of my shoe collection as well and brought comfortable functional shoes ...I am booked in for a style cut this afternoon and would like to thank Jane for the fantastic advice and help.

Geelong Australia

Nothing wrong with jeans
by: Jane of Style Makeover HQ

Hi Helen. Thanks. Glad you like my recommendations and could relate. I hope the lady in question agrees!

I suspect the reason this lady said "what can I wear instead of jeans" is that jeans are one of the limited range of choices this lady often goes for.

I'm with you, I've spent most of my life avoiding jeans and only recently found I do like wearing them on occasion. They can be dressed up or down. And there are now many fit options available specifically for women's body shapes. I particularly love the label Not Your Daughter's Jeans -- they are the most comfortable jeans I have ever owned!

Jeans definitely should have a place in every woman's wardrobe, but they shouldn't be the ONLY choice!

why not jeans?
by: Helen

Hi, what a great review you gave the lady from Geelong. I could relate to much of what you said even tho my figure/colouring/style is quite different. I like jeans on me now after quite a time avoiding them, and I like the way you just make me think about my appearance in a more positive way. I bet the lady from Geelong will be over the moon with your wonderful advice. Cheers, Helen

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