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8 Clothing Items That Make You Look Dated, Stylists Say

Avoid these styles so you'll always look put-together and modern.

There's no denying how iconic certain retro fashion trends are: "Mom" jeans, tie-dye prints, and boho maxi dresses are just a few such styles that look as chic today as they did in decades past. However, not every trend ages as well, and certain clothing items might be making you look dated. To avoid these fashion faux pas, we consulted stylists to get their thoughts on which pieces might be better left at the back of your wardrobe. Keep reading for their advice.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Always Look Stylish as You Get Older.

Elastic-waist jeans

Close up of elastic-waist light-wash jeans, a red scrunchie, and red lipstick against a white background
Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock

Comfort never goes out of style, but there are ways to do it that still look put together—and according to Elizabeth Kosich, certified image stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling, elastic-waist jeans are probably not one of them.

"The design is automatically associated with old age, making anyone appear older than reality," she explains. "Instead, try high-waisted jeans with power stretch fibers that work double-duty as chic daily denim and a foundation garment that contours, sculpts, lifts, and holds but without binding. You will look smoother, sleeker, and younger."

Novelty prints

A young blonde woman wearing a banana-print shirt poses with her arms crossed in front of a yellow background / Shutterstock

Any bold pattern is going to attract attention to your outfit, but you want to be sure it's the right type of attention. Yenia Hernández Fonseca, a fashion expert, stylist, and contributor to Margo Paige, says that certain novelty prints will do just the opposite.

"Patterns featuring pineapples, lightning bolts, palm trees, and such were a huge hit in the mid-2010s, but in the new roaring 20s, these light-hearted prints, while fun, look somewhat outdated," she notes. "Opt for classic prints that won't go out of style so easily, such as polka dots, tartans, and stripes."

RELATED: 5 Colors You Should Never Wear Together, Stylists Say.

Loud brand names

Woman with a Louis Vuitton Bag {Shopping Tips}
andersphoto / Shutterstock

Huge logos on clothing are another no-no, says stylist and fashion influencer Leah Wise, the founder of CrashGal Couture.

"Whether it's a belt like the big Gucci belts that were popular three or four years ago or purses covered in the logos, very loud fashion will make you look dated," she shares, pointing to the fact that "the quiet luxury trend" has now taken over.

Shoulder pads

A smiling woman with short brown hair wearing a short-sleeved brown suit smiling at the camera against a white background
phillipspears / iStock

Is there anything more emblematic of '80s and '90s fashion than shoulder pads? Kosich notes that these are actually back in style but in a much more subtle way.

"Current, on-trend shoulder pads are compact and contoured, while '80s styles were boxy and bold," she says. "If you think recycling your old shoulder-padded pieces is a good idea, think again. They'll only make you look dated."

RELATED: 6 Ways to Liven Up Your Retirement Wardrobe, Stylists Say.

Velour or terry tracksuits

Confused cute young woman wearing a burgundy velour sweatsuit against a white background
panic_attack / iStock

Were you even stylish in the early 2000s if you didn't own a Juicy Couture matching set? These velour and terry tracksuits are another throwback look that Kosich says has come back with modifications.

"Yes, the classic tracksuit is fine, but made in either velour or terry cloth materials time stamps the style to the 2000s," she explains. "Fabric technology has come a long way since then, so consider upgrading to a performance fiber like bonded crepe or polyester-cotton knit for a modern-day look. Extend the tracksuit's shelf life by avoiding extreme design details like color blocking or on-trend hues."


Close up of a frustrated young brunette woman wearing a neon green shirt against a teal background
Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock

"Always remember, neons are like time capsules of another fashion decade and will make you, too, look from a different era," asserts Kosich.

While a fun pop of neon in a bracelet or hair clip might add a welcome dose of color to an otherwise neutral outfit, the stylist cautions against overdoing it: "Neons are a very specific, very narrow trend that's usually short-lived. Moreover, neons overpower most wearers leaving only a small percentage of people who look good in them."

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Micro sunglasses

Green sunglass lenses
Dariia Chernenko/ iStock

Sunglasses protect our eyes, so, of course, function is the priority in this category. But if you want to look modern and stylish at the same time, Kosich suggests avoiding micro-shades, "the teeny-tiny, round or almond-shaped frames that had their day in the sun ages ago."

"Also avoid hexagon and exaggerated rectangular-shaped sunglasses, and any frames that are overly decorated with colors, patterns, or logos," she adds. "Instead, invest in a timeless classic like an aviator, wayfarer, or—for the fashion-forward—cat-eye frame to look chic and timeless no matter what decade."

Skinny jeans

Close up of a female leaning against a garage door wearing skinny jeans and a white t-shirt
kieferpix / iStock

Last but not least is perhaps the most polarizing piece of denim we've seen in our lifetimes—skinny jeans. Stylists agree that these pants are no longer in fashion.

"Even though I think they're really flattering, they're just out of trend and Gen Z is coming for the millennials who refuse to give them up," quips Wise.

If you simply can't part with your skinny jeans, Zoé DuFour, founder, owner, and designer at Zoé DuFour Design, suggests wearing them with "a taller boot and oversized sweater or button down" for a more modern look.

RELATED: 10 Tips for Getting Out of a Clothing Rut After 60, Stylists Say.

Remember, being yourself will never look dated.

Mid adult woman arranging clothes looking in the mirror at home

When it comes to any style advice, it's important to remember that if you feel good and confident in what you're wearing, there's a pretty good chance others will view you the same way.

Holly Chayes, personal style coach and consultant, shares that when she works with clients she tries to understand why they're worried about looking dated, which often comes down to a fear of aging. From there, she focuses more on their personal style.

"Once you have your signature style, removing a handful of pieces that no longer feel like you or [adding] a handful of new pieces, does wonders to reinvigorate a closet," she explains.

DuFour agrees and says if you truly love a piece of clothing, even if it's "dated," a stylist can always help figure out how to make it look fresh.

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Dana Schulz
Dana Schulz is the Deputy Lifestyle Editor at Best Life. She was previously the managing editor of 6sqft, where she oversaw all content related to real estate, apartment living, and the best local things to do. Read more
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