When I wanted to buy a new outfit for New Year’s eve, I walked through my local Macy’s, Kohl’s, Stein Mart, Belk, and a few higher-end stores that I really can’t afford, and lamented that my post-menopausal body made many of the styles I saw unwearable. I thought that I had a pretty good shot at finding something at these stores, mistakenly thinking that they don’t only cater to those under 30 and 125 pounds. Boy, was I wrong!
Even in the women’s department, most of the clothes I saw fell into a few faddish categories. I’m not going to wear sweaters with the shoulders cut out (what is up with that?), or leggings (I refuse to walk around wearing “thick tights” like they were pants unless I’m on my way to a yoga class!), or think for one minute that my now apple-shaped body would look like anything other than a sack of potatoes in a jumpsuit? Why are jumpsuits EVERYWHERE in the stores? I never, ever see anyone wearing them. I think it’s because they only flatter one body type – Olive Oyl thin and basketball player tall.
I ended up selecting an outfit from my closet, opting for all black with sparkly jewelry to spice it up. It looked nice, and I was comfortable, but I still found myself a bit peeved that the stores don’t really take the older woman into consideration. I should say the designers don’t. My choices were either old lady trying to look young (the worst), or middle-aged woman who dresses like she's 110 (the second worst).
Since I don’t really sew and I wouldn’t have the first clue on how to design clothing to begin with, I fired up Google and searched for someone who did. Not only did I find retailers that keep the older woman in mind, but also quite a few that make clothing specifically for us "flashy" women.
*Note: I am not an affiliate with any of these sites, and earn no commissions. I just really like them!
Most of what I found skews more towards sleep and loungewear, and let’s face it, that is what we want to be wearing 90% of the time!
Cucumber Clothing uses super soft, breathable fabrics made with volcanic minerals to keep your body at the ideal core temperature of 99.5, which helps cool you down after a hot flash, and serves as a natural deodorizer. Plus, they are anti-crease and quick dry, making them perfect for travel. This is a U.K. site, so it may take a bit longer to ship to you, but I think it’ll be worth it! Their clothes look comfortable and versatile enough for every body type and every age. I’ve already ordered this outfit ...
Fifty One Apparel’s motto is “cool clothes for hot women,” which instantly makes me love them! Their clothing line is made with soft, comfortable fabrics designed to be easily mixed and matched to provide a perfect capsule wardrobe. Developed by NASA, their technology claims to control the production of moisture before it starts, unlike others that try to wick away the sweat. This is another U.K. site, so you’ll have to do some math to figure out the prices, but the average costs seem to be between $50 and $100.
For special occasion or work clothes, I did find a few sites for us. Try:
Draper’s and Damon’s has been around since 1927 and focuses on premium fabrics, chic details, and flattering silhouettes for women, not girls! They have comfy pull-on and elastic waist pants; cocktail wear designed to hide a tummy; and tops that are stylish and sophisticated and don’t scream “granny!” And I love that they use age-appropriate models! These are a few items I’m thinking about ordering ...
Soft Surroundings starts with fabrics designed with softness and comfort in mind but takes it to the next level with flattering silhouettes and archival prints. I love just about everything on this site and would wear all of it, but there are certainly some styles that would work better for my body type than others. Still, there are lots to choose from, and they are all chic and “youthful” without being “young” if you know what I mean. Some of my favs ...
These sites are not exactly budget-friendly, but you can get some great ideas for cuts and designs that might work for you, and then shop your favorite brick-and-mortar or online store for similar styles. I’ll likely buy a few of these as foundation pieces and then bargain shop for complementary pieces. I’ll tell you this, the “Spare Moments Lounger” (pictured above right) and the blue velvet boyfriend shirt (pictured above left) are definitely going into my closet!