Carol Arnott-Robbins Shows How to Be Fashionable Over 50

Carol Arnott-Robbins’ affordable style defies age expectations. Here's how she does it.

Count on quality.

Buy well-fitting, quality pieces. If needed, make sure they are tailored to fit, especially the sleeve length. Purchase timeless pieces that you will wear again and again, which are better both for your wallet and our planet.

Shop resale.

I spend less on high-quality pieces, including my $12 Fendi dress—what a find!

Start with the basics.

Build your wardrobe with a basic color palette—black, taupe and navy, for example. Then, add color and texture with jewelry, scarves, purses and shoes. My palette almost always starts with black simply because it’s easy to add so much variety, including black-on-black layers.

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Don’t be afraid of accessories.

Have fun with accessories. I love to pile on as many as six or seven necklaces of varying styles and lengths, which I typically find at junk shops for just a few dollars. When I worked in finance, I could and sometimes did wear the same basic black dress multiple times a week with different sweaters, jackets, jewelry, shoes and vintage purses. It was a new look every day. I love vintage hats and wear them every chance I can. I’m often complimented by women who say they can’t wear hats, to which I respond, “Yes, you can. Put it on your head, adjust the angle if necessary and go.”

Do your own thing.

I don’t believe in “rules” for women over a certain age. It’s more about what feels good to you. It’s important for women of any age to feel comfortable with their sense of style and to dress for themselves, not the rest of the world.

how to wear an outfit
Photo by Joe Del Tufo

Think outside the box.

I stopped in Mark’s Barber Shop to buy gift cards for my grandson and realized my short hair was not that different from the men’s styles, so I asked Mark if he could cut mine. Haircuts are so temporary—the difference between a good cut and a bad one is usually just a couple of weeks. So, I scheduled an appointment and have been going to Mark for over a year. My hair is now natural gray; it’s so easy and much less expensive than a cut and color at a salon!

Know your body.

Be aware of skirt and dress lengths as your body ages—especially with bare legs. I like a monochrome look with black hose, tights or leggings, which can slim and elongate the body.

Stick with classic lines and avoid trendy fads, which are often cheaply made and will inevitably be dated in no time. And nobody of any age should wear ripped-up clothing that looks like a bear attacked you.

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Related: Karen Miller Talks Style Finds and Favorites in Delaware

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