Things You Shouldn’t Wear After 50


By Michelle Poston Combs

Google ‘what not to wear after age 50’ and you will have your pick of thousands of articles telling you what looks terrible on your old ass body.

I want to point out to the writer who wrote the ‘no-no’ article, you need to remember you are writing for women over age 50, not preschoolers. I don’t think I’ve said ‘no-no’ since my youngest was a toddler.

We could spend hours studying the clothes we shouldn’t wear and the slang we shouldn’t use and the hairstyles for women over 50 plus the makeup techniques we need to retire.

Here’s me, weighing in on this topic.

You are 50plus for fuck’s sake. Wear whatever you want. If you’ve made it to 50 and still need to consult articles on how to dress appropriately then you are so missing out on one of the best things about being over 50. One of the best things about getting older is realizing that we don’t have to spend our energy worrying what other people think and we get to be comfortable in our own skin with our own freak flags.

Still, there are a few things that mature women over 50 really shouldn’t wear:

The weight of the world. When you wear the weight of the world on your shoulders, you age. If you like the feel of the world’s weight and don’t want to give it up, then try scaling back a bit. Perhaps just wear the weight of a few of the smaller continents. For instance, I am only wearing the weight of Australia and a made up country called ‘Michelloponia’. I think they have a slimming effect.

Shame and regret. So few people can carry this look off. Most of us just end up looking haunted or like we were forced to eat liver and onions. Shame and regret are especially hard to wear after fifty. Wearing shame and regret past fifty is one of those things that make your eyes all red and runny looking. The downward spiral just snowballs from there. Once the eyes get old lady looking, then you have to re-evaluate the wisdom of black eye liner. I say give up wearing shame and regret and fuck giving up on black eye liner.

Rose colored glasses. Oh, sweetheart, you know who you are. Those glasses do nothing for you. Not only do they make you look like you’ve been smoking weed for days, they also keep you from examining life and your surroundings realistically. Yes, reality sucks, but by the time we hit fifty, we need to suck it up, take those glasses off and dick punch reality into submission. Or just get some really big dark sunglasses instead. They cover all manner of sins.

Stiff upper lip. There is a time and a place for the stiff upper lip, but damn, it can’t be worn all the time. Too much stiff upper lip causes those funky vertical lines between your upper lip and your nose holes. We don’t always have to be stoic. I’m not suggesting that you wear your heart on your sleeve, but that is a  much softer look than wearing a stiff upper lip.

Too many hats. Personally, I can’t pull off wearing one hat much less many hats. I don’t have a hat head. My hair poofs out and my ears look like car doors when I wear a hat. Wearing too many hats just exacerbates these issues. When you wear too many hats, it’s easy to forget which hat you’re wearing. For instance, are you wearing the ‘no nonsense corporate’ hat when you meant to wear your ‘quirky and kicked back’ hat? We’re not getting any younger, you know. Sooner or later you’re going to accidentally wear your court jester hat to the gynecologist and then where will you be? I’ll tell you where you’ll be. You’ll be in an undignified position and wearing a stupid hat is where you’ll be.

Resting bitch face. Hahahahaha. Just kidding. Wear that one all you want. Although, it wouldn’t hurt if every once in a while, you had a welcoming and kind look on your face. At least that’s what I hear from other people.

There isn’t anything wrong with getting advice about updating your look or what to wear, but we are just inundated with that shit, aren’t we?

Who says what is appropriate? From where I sit, it seems ‘appropriate’ changes based on geography, social status, income and size. After a while, the advice becomes a confusing blur. I think I’ll just keep wearing my Keds and jeans and black tee shirts.

Oh, I do have one real tip. Stop wearing holiday theme clothes. Seriously.

About the author

Find out more about Michelle and get more funny, insightful posts over at her blog Rubber Shoes in Hell

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Michelle Combs

Michelle Poston Combs blogs at Rubber Shoes In Hell. She has been featured on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Blunt Moms, In The Powder Room, Vibrant Nation, Better After Fifty, Midlife Boulevard, Mock Moms, Sammiches and Psych Meds, and Erma Bombecks Writers' Workshop. Rubber Shoes In Hell started in March 2013. Michelle adores blogging and has explored various subjects including parental narcissism, depression, anxiety, and menopause.


  1. Shona @

    March 19, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Too funny!
    I opened this wondering “is this for real?” & was pleasantly surprised.
    Thanks for the dose of humour in my day.
    Bitch Face is back on now! ?

    • Yvette

      March 20, 2017 at 10:18 am

      I am a Millinery and will never, never give up wearing hats plus part of my culture. My aunt hats and gloves untill she was 92, thank you!

      • Zuzana Vranovska

        March 21, 2017 at 11:16 am

        Great, I wonder why we milliners should convince some people that everyone has a “hat head”. I is only about to find the right one. And it is one of the milliners job to help …

        • victoria clayton

          March 24, 2017 at 8:01 pm

          I would love to wear a hat ALL the time…but I only mange to find sunhats that suit me and only wear them..well, in the sun. I want to wear hats every day – Im always so drawn to them – but they just dont suit me!

      • shylass

        March 21, 2017 at 2:46 pm

        I think the hats are metaphors

        • Joy

          April 13, 2017 at 9:52 pm

          I think it requires stating again. People !! The hats are metaphors !!! ……… dear me.

      • Jane

        March 22, 2017 at 1:40 am

        Hats are adorable. I think the kind of ‘hats’ meant here, is trying to be everything for everyone.

      • Joanne Wood

        March 24, 2017 at 9:50 am

        It means juggling too many things in your life.
        Metaphor for wearing different hats for different people and situations. It is in keeping with the rest of the article about not caring what people think when you are over 50!
        Wear as many hats as you want.
        PS I wear holiday clothes all the time because I live by the beach and my life is a lovely holiday all the time!

        • Jude

          March 29, 2017 at 8:55 am

          I think she meant clothes such as Christmas or Easter themed T-shirts, rather than beach wear. Living in Queensland I wear beach wear on weekends even though I’m miles from the nearest beach 🙂

  2. Nicola

    March 19, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Gee that was close! I opened this thinking – on Deborah’s page? really? And then! Funny. Thank you.

  3. Unclehollywood

    March 19, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Keep it real, I love it!

  4. Lynne

    March 20, 2017 at 11:02 am

    What a lift. I decided to have a quick looking thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me! Seriously, can’t they leave me alone, even when I am are after 50! Can’t I just wear what I like with out some comment on social media!”

    And then this. So clever and funny.

    And written so well.

  5. Donna

    March 20, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    This was quite refreshing to read! I only tapped on it thinking, now who thinks they know what’s best for me, blah blah! To my surprise I’m actually already doing all the above lol ?, including” no holiday themed clothing “” Thankyou ?

  6. Di

    March 20, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Love your sense of humour mixed with a healthy dose of reality

  7. Nick Giannini

    March 21, 2017 at 2:29 am

    Your article was succinct , articulate and most importantly accurate. Please continue giving women the tools they need to unshackle themselves from the perceived judgement that crushes so many

  8. Bridget

    March 21, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Loved your post. I’m 51 but since turning 50, I feel as though I’ve been jettisoned into a parallel universe. It’s as though I’m supposed to have forgotten all the knowledge accumulated thoughout my half century of Life! How come when I was 49, I was a sexy, mature woman who knew my mind, yet a day later after turning 50, I’m suddenly in need of advice on how to dress myself! I’m still trying to figure that one out.

  9. Jessica Stewart

    March 21, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Love it. I’d seen it before but wanted to commend you for tracking down and crediting the author. As a writer and editor, this happens too rarely in today’s digital world. Hats off.

    • Vicki Sowry

      March 22, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      I see what you did there!

  10. Tracey Foxcroft

    March 21, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    As a true believer in keds, jeans and black t-shirts, I applaud the author. 50 is not dead – 50 is being alive and blessed and very much taking ownership of your body. Screw what others think you should wear. Be the shiniest Unicorn you can be and never apologise for it.

    • m b

      March 22, 2017 at 12:39 am

      Thank you for saying that! Since we probably “come into our own” as a person at the age of 50 and beyond, we should express ourselves! If we still have the creative joy within us to radiate , to glow and to feel wonder, do it! Be the shiniest unicorn! They say a beautiful young woman is an accident of nature and that a beautiful older woman is a work of art!

  11. Pamela Smyth

    March 21, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I don’t usual.t read things like this as I know I don’t dress for my age ( whatever the hell that means) I dress in what I feel like wearing, hopefully something a little bit sexy in my 60th year!!!
    I did enjoy your read, and yes that pretty much sums me and my attitude up…..good on you ❤️

  12. Linda

    March 22, 2017 at 4:06 am

    Loved the hats one and I didn’t take it as meaning to literally wear a hat but – as a metaphor for the many guises we think we should present to the world in a given social situation.

    • Elaine

      June 15, 2017 at 6:05 pm

      Both I think … otherwise why mention ears? I never thought i had a ‘hat head’ but I had to wear them when I had no hairahair and now I love them … just a matter of finding the right one … the advice in general is great though… spot on (another expression for old ladies!)

  13. Yvette

    March 22, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Thanks for the laugh. ??? I really needed this today.


  14. karen leslie

    March 22, 2017 at 10:14 am

    I am 61 and now disabled and il wear whatever I am comfortable in and bugger if anyone is going to tell me what that is.

  15. val southcombe

    March 23, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Well ladies, I’m a couple of decades after 50 and wear whatever I feel good in…..I try not to do anything too bizarre and don’t think I’ve ruined anyone’s day so far!! Sad that we get put into boxes and told what to wear and what not to wear….loved this article…. thanks 🙂

  16. Susan mccord

    March 23, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Love this!!! ❤️ Wear what you want when you want! 50 is the new 19 anyway!

  17. Karen Russell

    March 23, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Thank you so much for your article! I opened it expecting to be annoyed with an idiotic, stick up her bum twit saying I was too old to be wearing sundresses or capris. I was completely surprised and delighted with what I read and really hope you don’t mind my sharing it with my friends.
    Thanks again and I look forward to reading more from you.

  18. Alla

    March 23, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Phew I had my black eye liner tattooed so I’m safe! Luv this! Thanks for a laugh.

  19. chris

    March 23, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    There are all kinds of reasons to wear hats. Climate has a great deal to do with it.When it is cold, there is nothing elegant about chattering teeth, a red runny,nose, the accompanying freezing toes and jumping up and down in hypothermic desperation. The more tuques and flapper inspired hats one can pull out of a tote bag the merrier in winter! How to have fun, add a sculptural element to your silhouette and keep warm.
    In summer, there is nothing beautiful about wrinkled skin caused by sun damage either. A broad rimmed hat is the best prevention. It can complete an outfit and keep one from squinting in the sun and cover wet hair from swimming. Best to find one that can lie flatly for packing in a suitcase or beach bag.
    In terms of fashion, it is true that it can take some work to find the right hat for the right person. Long necked people with round faces have the easiest time, but there are ways around that difficulty, too.
    And what do you think of cancer sufferers? Are they supposed to go bareheaded or wear the same dreary scarf day after day?
    Shame on you for being so narrow minded, impractical. Dare I mention, what happened to taste, personality and flair?

    • martha

      March 23, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      The “hats” are a metaphor, lighten up

    • Annette

      March 24, 2017 at 4:26 am

      Chris you obviously have no clue what this article is about. In fact is seems written for someone like you who takes life and yourself a little too seriously. Lighten up, try a day with no “hat”.

    • Ann MacMichael

      March 25, 2017 at 3:07 am

      Dare I mention that you have completely missed the point?

    • Ann

      March 25, 2017 at 3:10 am

      Dare I mention that you have completely missed the point?

  20. Diane Ficorelli

    March 24, 2017 at 3:44 am

    Funny, I opened this with a gulp, afraid of how many fashion don’ts I had committed in the last ….er 11 or so years…. This made me smile on a day when I needed an excuse to smile. Thank you.

  21. Lee

    March 24, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Loved this article. As a 67 year old who has the luck of good genes, I would like to add that it took me far too long to get past the ‘how I looked, being judged” thing. But, finally, I have gotten to a place where I feel that I’m relatively comfortable in my physically aging body, while working to just keep letting my ‘self’ shine through and wearing what makes me feel good. Crazy, but it works! Furthermore, most of the time I don’t have time to give a shit how I look, because there are simply too few hours in each day to accomplish what I want to do, and suddenly, time is short, and my list is long. This has been very freeing, and a major benefit of this aging business!

  22. Debra

    March 25, 2017 at 3:06 am

    Yes, ears like car doors….Tough to find a decent hat…I just want one for the beach and gardening…but I still want to it look good.
    I am getting more outrageous in my dress than ever before…quietly outrageous. AND I don’t follow the latest trends particularly.

  23. Wendy

    March 25, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I wear tight jeans…of course on my skinny legs they look just right not skin tight at all…saves me a small fortune at the alterations place and I am 63 and my sons, 30 and 27 say “Mum you have great legs and lool fantastic in jeans!!

  24. Jeannie Grung

    March 25, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you! I thoroughly enjoyed your article. Put a big smile on my face and had quite a few chuckles

  25. Carolyn

    March 26, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for sharing this link Cindy. It did my heart good as sometimes I have been too concerned about my attire. As I am 3 decades past 50, and have always been concerned that I wouldn’t be an embarrassment to my family. As for hats, I love to wear them but don’t often enough. Thank you for your article.

  26. Deborah Hutton

    March 27, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Wow! So glad we posted this and that it’s given you all so much joy. Love reading your comments.
    We’ll try to find more little gems like this to lift your day!
    Deb xx

  27. Suzanne Jager

    March 28, 2017 at 4:25 am

    I love the handbag she’s carrying!! I LOVE handbags!!! Can never have too many!

  28. Carolyn Champagne

    March 28, 2017 at 9:41 am

    A breath of fresh air to me and my retired pocketbook. Love your writing and sense of humor.

  29. Genevieve

    April 1, 2017 at 4:11 am

    I love you.

  30. Susie

    July 1, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Cracked me up just the tonic for a Saturday morning 😂😂😂

  31. Pingback: Turning 50: What does being over 50 really mean?

  32. Lynda

    July 25, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    So spot on Michelle…..thank you for being so real. At 65 I am very comfortable in my wardrobe and my skin. This is my “reward” for making it this far. Plan to check out your blog. Cheers

  33. Muriel

    August 9, 2017 at 5:01 am

    Question: Should I dye my HAIR grey, I am now 81 never dyed my hair should I dye grey now it hs gone from a red head to a dark brown now naturally

    • Megan Houston

      Megan Houston

      August 9, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Wow Muriel congratulations on having dark brown hair at 81! I’m assuming this is a rhetorical question given you’re writing a comment on this post? Die it what ever colour you like!!!

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