Who says you can’t be 50 plus and fashionable?

If I had a dollar for every 50 plus woman who complains that fashion doesn’t cater to them, I’d be retired in the Caribbean by now.

Women over 50 tend to fall in to two main categories when it comes to fashion: they are either the proverbial ‘mutton dressed up as lamb’ or women who dress much older than their years.

The irony is that there is some great fashion out there for women over 50, it’s all about being brave and knowing where to look.

58-year-old Sydneysider and empty-nester, Maria Manissian, laments that she cannot seem to find the right style (or size) of clothes to make her feel sexy and confident any more.

“I have always really loved fashion, but I am constantly disappointed by the style of clothes and the stores marketed to women my age,” she says.

Suzy Black, an Australian Personal Shopper and Stylist who gives wardrobe make-overs recently appeared in an article in The Sydney Morning Herald addressing the issue.

Suzy believes the common mistake mature women make is dressing frumpily and not accentuating the right areas.

"Women my age are used to being second best. For years they've put their family first so they fade away and let themselves become invisible when this is the time to re-invent yourself. I'm here to help them get their mojo back," she told SMH.

Suzy advocates shopping in chain stores such as Supre, Country Road and Zara and even sharing your wardrobe with your daughters. You not only look better, but it won’t hurt the hip pocket.

Below are some handy tips you should keep in mind if you decide to overhaul that wardrobe:

  • If you really lack confidence in choosing the right clothes, invest in a personal stylist, it could be worth every penny! (Even chain stores like Myer and DJs offer this service affordably.)
  • Make sure you are wearing the right undergarments: bras need to be properly fitted to uplift and support (avoid sagging breasts) and underwear needs to be seamless; Shapewear like Spanx might be something you also need to invest in to avoid the visible panty line
  • Go to the large chain stores before leaping in and spending a fortune in a boutique specifically marketed to 50-somethings.
  • Avoid the two main pitfalls: dressing either too young or too old for your age. For example, either wearing very short skirts and dresses, overly tight tops and stiletto heels, or wearing loose baggy pants and oversized t-shirts or frumpy long shapeless dresses.
  • Sometimes style needs to win out over comfort.  For example, opt for nice tailored pants rather than elasticised waisted pants.
  • Black can be slimming, very stylish and chic, especially when accessorized with a splash of colour.
  • Use accessories to your full advantage.  For example, a chunky colourful necklace or scarf can do wonders for a plain outfit.
  • Invest in attractive, good quality, yet comfortable shoes. Go for a mid-height heel, black or tan knee-length fashionable boots in winter or cute ballet flats if you can’t wear heels.
  • Dress up, rather than down for a special occasion – too many 50-plus women feel it’s ‘all too much of a bother’. Make the effort and you will feel better about yourself.
  • Jeans are a 50-plus woman’s best friend. Update them regularly, they can be extremely flattering at any age. (Tip: darker jeans are more dressy and slimming)
  • Track pants and Ugg boots in public are never acceptable.