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10 Wardrobe Swaps You Need to Make to Instantly Look Younger

Want to know what to wear to look younger over 40? Swap these clothing items that make you look older than you are for clothes that are fun and youthful and you’ll instantly look ten years younger. These outfits will show you exactly how to dress younger. Don’t believe it? Check out these photos for proof.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

It’s so easy to just get up in the morning and throw on the same thing you always wear, right? One less thing to think about. But if you’ve been wearing the same styles for years, your clothes may be aging you. Looking older than you feel can have consequences. At work, showing up looking dowdy and frumpy can cause others to judge you as dowdy and frumpy. And dressing as if you don’t care how you look when you dress casually may cause others to assume you don’t care how you’re treated.

Maybe it’s time to take a moment and evaluate your wardrobe. Are you still wearing any of these items? If you are, it’s time to retire your old faithful for a new update to instantly look younger.

I’ve taken before and after shots of my suggestions and I think you’ll be amazed at the difference these clothing swaps make in how youthful and how slim I look in each picture. There’s no Photoshop at work here other than the color corrections I applied to all the photos and I used the same poses in all pictures. (So no sticking out my tummy in the before shots, etc.)

I convinced myself how much a simple clothing swap can change our appearance when I saw these pictures. (And my sister who helped me with these photos and said, “You look like our mother!” more than once.) What do you think?

Swap Out Your Shapeless Baggy Blazer…

… For a Shorter, More Fitted Jacket

These jackets may seem like a good choice if you’re feeling sensitive about menopausal weight gain, but unfortunately the extra material in these jackets can make you seem even bigger than you are and the straight up and down shape makes your figure appear boxy and frumpy. 

 A shorter jacket (hitting somewhere about mid-hip) with a more defined waist will be more figure flattering and make you appear more youthful.

And if you really take things to the next level, ditch that classic wool blazer entirely for a modern alternative like a collarless jacket, a knit blazer, or a knit moto jacket in a bright color.

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Up-to-Date Blazer Options

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Blazer Alternatives You Might Like

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Swap Out Your Giant Flower Print Tops…

… For a More Muted, Fitted Tee or Sweater

If I could lovingly remove one category of clothing item from the over 50 woman’s wardrobe, it would be the giant flower print tops and tees. These prints are often garish and overdone and when a woman wears one of these tops, the eye is immediately drawn to the top instead of to the woman wearing the top. These shirts also seem to inevitably be big and flowy, further overwhelming the woman wearing it.

If you want to dress more youthfully, switch out your big and flowy flower print tops for a more muted tee or sweater cut closer to the body. You’ll look slimmer without the extra yards of fabric and the focus will be on you, not your outfit.

If you’d like, you can add a pop of color with your top or your jacket.

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Alternatives to the Giant Flower Print Top

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Swap Out Your Black, Pleated Pants

… For Sleek and Straight Black Pants

No, the pleats aren’t disguising your tummy. That was a lie we were all told, unfortunately.

Sleek straight pants are flattering for all body types and give you an air of youthful professionalism. The latest style are pants that end at the ankle, but if you’re not comfortable with that, a longer pair that ends at the top of your shoes looks great.

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Sleek Black Pants

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Swap Out Your Shoes Picked Just for Comfort…

… For Comfortable Shoes with Style

No, you don’t need to wear sky high stilettos to look younger, but choosing shoes with a bit of a heel tends to look more youthful. If you do go for flats, look for stylish selections, rather than the wide orthopedic look.

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Stylish, Yet Comfy, Shoe Options

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Swap Out Your Wide Cropped Pants…

… For More Fitted Capris

I know these pants seem like a practical solution for times when it’s just too hot to wear pants but you don’t feel comfortable in shorts any longer. But there are other options, my friends! The pants are shaped like a rectangle and make you look rectangularly shaped as well. Any curves you have are well-hidden beneath all the fabric and, speaking of all that fabric, these pants really aren’t that much cooler than other options!

If you want to go the cropped pants route, try traditional capris (in ankle length or shorter), which have been hugging curves and making women of all sizes look great since Mary Tyler Moore first said, “Oh, Rob,” in the 1960s. If you’re looking to stay cool, a knee-length denim skirt is your new best friend. Just please admit that these pants don’t spark joy for anyone and Marie Kondo these guys out of your house.

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Cropped Pants Alternatives

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Swap Out Your Bedazzled Print Tee…

… For a Striped Breton T-Shirt

The bedazzled print tee is another variation of the Big Flower Print Top, I’m afraid. There’s nothing really wrong with it, I suppose. It’s really more about what it isn’t: classic, elegant, timeless. Can you picture Kate Middleton in a bedazzled print tee?

What can you picture Kate Middleton wearing? A Breton t-shirt! This classic style looks good on everyone and flatters all ages. It’s also great for adding a youthful flair to both casual and work outfits.

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Breton Tees You’ll Love

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Swap Out Your Running Shoes…

… For White Sneakers

I have some exciting news for you. YOU DO NOT EVER NEED TO WEAR RUNNING SHOES UNLESS YOU ARE RUNNING. (Then you really must.) If you want easy, casual and comfortable shoes that support lots of walking, you have so many options these days. 

The most popular, and the most youthful option, is the white sneaker, and please be sure to keep it as white as possible. But, even if you need a shoe with more support, there are plenty of attractive options.

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White Sneakers

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Swap Out Your Mom Jeans …

… for Some Age Appropriate Figure Flattering Jeans

I know I can’t be the only parent who’s said “I think this is the actual pair of jeans I owned in 1998,” to their proud “Mom Jean” wearing daughter. And yet, even though these jeans are fashionable again, when women our age wear them, we don’t look like we’re following the trends. We look like we stayed with one trend so long it came back again.

It’s also time to ditch the “Mom Jeans” we all evolved into during the 2000s and 2010s. Not low-cut and not high-waisted, these jeans end somewhere around the middle of our bellies – the most unflattering place to visually cut our bodies in half. They aren’t skinny jeans, but they aren’t boot cut, either. They seem to just gently taper a bit in a way that either emphasizes our hips or our thighs.

It’s time to take advantage of the many brands that are making flattering and stylish jeans for women over 40! Some of my favorite are Kut from the Kloth and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, but there are so many.

These jeans gently hug your curves and hold you in in all the right places. A slightly higher waist won’t cut you in the middle of your stomach and will hold in a saggy belly.

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Flattering, Stylish Jeans

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Swap Out Your Plain Boxy Top …

… for a Fun, Trendy and Flattering Top

A square boxy top makes you look shapeless and does you no favors. The one in the photo ends right in the middle of the stomach, making the largest part of your body look even larger.

Swap out that unflattering boring top for a slightly longer, more tapered sweater. This sweater has a trendy and fun message to bring a spot of youth to your wardrobe.

I love this sweater, in particular, because I’m going to tell you a secret about it: it’s from Wal-Mart! I found this collection of really cute sweaters and they’re each under $16.00. I thought I owned them all, but I’m obviously going to need to get the Corgi sweater to complete my collection.

Wal-Mart Sweater Collection

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Fun Graphic Tees and Sweaters

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Swap Out Your Dollar Store Reading Glasses…

… For a Professional Pair of Quality Readers

I’m not sure why the manufacturers of reading glasses seem to think that all their women consumers want to show off their quirky personality with electric blue or flamingo print glasses. Those glasses may be fun to look at, but they make it clear you’ve entered the Red Hat Society phase of your life.

If you do find a pair of dollar store glasses with a benign tortoiseshell or black frame, the glasses tend to be too small for your face and have that traditional square shape that scream, “Hold on, I need to put on my readers.”

OBVIOUSLY, you’ll still want to keep a collection of dollar store readers in every room of the house for those times when you need a pair of glasses NOW. But, at work, or other times when you want to look pulled together, consider purchasing a pair of flattering and professional reading glasses. These glasses look better and you’ll see better too. The first time I put on the pair of prescription reading glasses I bought, I knew I could never go back.

I ordered my glasses from EyeBuyDirect and couldn’t be happier. They have a range of styles to flatter most faces and frequently have amazing sales.

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Flattering Reading Glasses

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Wait!

Do you disagree with everything I’ve said? Great! Check out this post.

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Katy Kozee | Midlife Rambler
Katy Kozee | Midlife Rambler
Hi! I'm Katy and I started Midlife Rambler when my youngest child was a senior in high school. I was staring at the coming empty nest and wondering what was next for me. Does that sound like you? Then you'll love our community of fun, feisty women. We're looking forward to the next phase of our lives and talking about all the exciting (and sometimes a little scary!)Keep the conversation going! Hook up with me at my other hangouts.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Katy! I love this post! I’m 71 and launching my blog in October this year (2020). I’ve lost 50 pounds! I’m considered stylish; however, the clothes that made me look great 50 pounds ago don’t now, so I’ve donated them. Everything in your post is so relevant! Thanks so much!

  2. While I agree on nearly every style point you have here, do you think you could make a similar post for those who truly cannot afford more than the drug store readers?

    Maybe a way to update a look in a miniscule budget.

    • This is a great idea! You can easily implement these ideas on a budget. For example, I actually got the jeans I’m wearing with the Blue Striped T-Shirt at Goodwill. I will do a post like this soon.

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