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5 Tips for Going Sleeveless If You're Over 60, Stylists Say

Follow these tried-and-true tricks when baring those arms this summer.

As the temperatures rise, you'll likely want to swap those long-sleeved dresses and sweaters for lighter, cooler alternatives—like tank tops and shoulder-baring dresses. The good news? "A woman of any age can show off her arms," says Jaquelyn Wahidi, a personal stylist. However, if you're over 60, there are a few style guidelines you may want to consider when selecting and wearing sleeveless pieces to ensure they flatter your body—and in turn, make you feel confident. With that in mind, here are some of the experts' tried-and-true tips for going sleeveless over 60.

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Look for wider straps.

senior woman in pale orange top with bike
kali9 / iStock

One of Wahidi's top pieces of advice is to seek out tops and dresses with wider straps and more narrow arm openings—rather than spaghetti straps or pieces with extra-large armholes.

Why? Because this way, you can wear your favorite bra without worrying about it peeking out from underneath your clothes. Wider straps also tend to be more supportive, which is a plus if you have a full bust.

Make sure the straps fit flawlessly.

older woman wearing a sleeveless yellow top

Speaking of straps—a flawless fit is paramount when you're going sleeveless. Not only is it a nuisance to constantly pull loose straps up when they fall off your shoulders, but it also makes you look unkempt. And when your straps are so tight that they're digging into your shoulders, that's obviously uncomfortable and unflattering as well.

There are two ways to avoid these potential issues. Melony Huber, a stylist/buyer, fashion expert, and co-founder of La Peony, suggests looking for sleeveless pieces that have adjustable straps. Or, you can also take your sleeveless clothing to a local tailor and get the straps taken up or let down as needed.

READ THIS NEXT: 7 Ways to Dress Trendy Over 60, Stylists Say.

Opt for sturdy fabrics.

Happy senior woman on the beach in a tank top and hat
Wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

When going sleeveless over 60, style experts agree that it's a good idea to select pieces that are made with quality fabrics.

"You want something that holds its shape and form, and will stand the test of time," says Huber.

For example, you can never go wrong with timeless, sturdy materials like cotton, denim, linen, and hemp. Not only will you get more use out of clothing made with these fabrics, but they also offer a more sophisticated and polished look.

Give those arms a glow.

Tan woman in tank top applying lotion cream onto her arm
Andre Popov / Shutterstock

"If you keep up with a strength training routine in your senior years, your arms will have a nice sculpted look," says Wahidi. "But not everyone is able to do that. So, if you can't tone it, tan it!"

Of course, sunbathing comes with a risk of skin cancer—so instead, Wahidi recommends mixing a few tanning drops in with your favorite body lotion for a subtle, natural-looking glow.

"This also works for faking toned legs when you want to wear shorts and skirts," she adds.

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Use accessories strategically.

older woman selecting jewelry
Ilona Shorokhova / iStock

One of Wahidi's other favorite style strategies is to accessorize in a way that pulls the focus off your arms.

For example, an eye-catching statement necklace, a stack of beautiful bracelets, or a fun patterned neck scarf can help not only add some personality to your outfit but also draw attention elsewhere.

To be clear, that's not to say you shouldn't feel proud to flaunt your arms—but accessorizing in this way creates a more balanced overall look.

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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