Clothes for women over 50: What to wear to a high school reunion

September 12, 2015 at 4:37 pm in Fashion & Beauty by VN Editors


High school reunions are so stressful and so eventful, whole movies have been made about them. Once you hit the over-50 mark, dressing for an occasion that should be fun becomes very stressful instead. You want to look good – no, great – but you also have to dress your age. These two ideas seem to be constantly at odds with each other. Find different ways to make the fashion marriage work, and get that perfect high school reunion outfit.

Casual vs. Formal

Even when the invitation says casual, the style of dress probably won’t be, warns Wardrobe911. Women especially will want to look amazing at their high school reunions, and no one is going to be really casual. That means forget about track suits, sweat pants and sweat shirts – even if you’ve got expensive designer stuff.

By the same token, you don’t want to be over-dressed. Stick to a casual summer dress or a great blouse with a pair jeans if the reunion is being held during daylight hours. If you’re attending an evening affair, try a low-key, elegant cocktail dress instead or a jacket with a great pair of pants.

If the invitation says formal, elegance is still your best option. You don’t want anything too embellished or fancy, because then it looks like you’re trying too hard. Remember that elegance and class are their own best style. Something simple and flattering will always serve you best when you want to make a good impression.

Avoid Looking Old-Fashioned

In Peggy Sue Got Married, Kathleen Turner went to her high school reunion wearing a dress she would have worn as a high school teenager. That sort of stuff is cute in movies. In real life, it’s not going to make a good impression. You don’t want to wear anything old-fashioned, not even for nostalgia’s sake. At your high school reunion, you want to look like what you are: a stunning modern woman.

So you’re going to have to dress like it. BlogHer suggests wearing trendy accessories and a modern hairdo with your elegant, timeless reunion outfit. Don’t wear pantyhose. Most women aren’t wearing them these days, so bare legs are just fine. If you can’t handle going bare, just wear pants instead.

Simple sheath dresses are fantastic for a high school reunion. They’re simple, and you can find them in plenty of vibrant colors that are totally in keeping with the latest trends. Dress up your simple sheath with the right accessories. Pair a simple outfit with a dazzling statement necklace, a fashionable belt and sparkling earrings.

The best way to avoid looking old-fashioned is to wear something your teenage granddaughter or 30-something daughter would never wear. You’re a mature woman, so dress like it. Avoid baby doll dresses, skirts and dresses that sit above the knee, and knee-high boots. These are items that much younger women would wear, so you shouldn’t.

The Perfect Look

“Slightly dressier than daytime, slightly sexier than business casual,” is what Jezebel recommends for perfect high school reunion fashion. Stick to classic cuts – a thin pencil skirt, a sleek A-line dress, dark-colored pants in a tailored fit.

“There is always going to be someone doing something tasteless at events like that…I say go for class,” suggests VN member Sunblossom.

“Some sort of sundress and light jacket,” VN member granmaboat said of her own reunion outfit.

“A nice-fitting trouser with a spectacular sweater or blouse and perhaps a flamboyant shawl for the cooler evening hours,” VN member Womanspeak added her own opinion. “You can never go wrong with a little black dress,” she added.

“I went to my 40th a couple of years ago,” said VN member justannesopinion. “Most (including me) opted for something that you might pick for a not too dressy cocktail party.”

“If you’re not comfortable with your arms…try a sheer shrug elbow-length in a flattering summer color or a cool shawl,” added VN member SapphireSky. “I’m certainly not an expert but my grandmother was! She always told me, ‘no matter what you wear, confidence and a big smile are your most important accessories.’ So go have fun!”

Dressing for Your Body

As long as you’re dressing for your specific body type and shape, you’re going to look amazing. If you’re curvy, emphasize your waistline with a belt. If you’re slender, emphasize your curves by wearing well-tailored pants. Choose pants that have back pockets to make your rear end more noticeable, without pockets if you want it to look slimmed down. A fitted jacket or a shrug is a great way to emphasize your curves and break up your slender body lines. If you want to de-emphasize your hips, wear a full or flared skirt to make your waist and hips look smaller.

Dressing for your body means dressing for your age, too. Don’t show off a whole lot of cleavage. Remember that elegance is the key word for a high school reunion. If you look classy, that’s a lot more sexy than looking like a woman who’s trying to dress like she’s still 30.


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