6 Ways to Liven Up Your Retirement Wardrobe, Stylists Say
Reinvent your clothing choices as you enter a new chapter of your life.
Our lives change significantly when we retire. This major milestone can bring about new life experiences, activities, and more. But you should also take this time to reinvent your fashion—especially because you no longer need a closet full of professional clothes. To help you get started, we talked to stylists to get their best tips on reinvigorating your attire for the next phase. Read on to find out how you can easily liven up your retirement wardrobe.
Play with your footwear.
If you're not ready to change out your clothes just yet, start smaller and "swap out your regular footwear for something fun and unique," Vivienne Desurmont, styling expert and founder of Maison Vivienne Paris, advises.
Wearing shoes that are stylish but still comfortable as you enter retirement can liven up your wardrobe much more than you realize, according to Desurmont.
"Choose shoes in vibrant colors, interesting textures, or with embellishments like sequins or metallic details," she says. "Sneakers with a pop of color or unconventional patterns can also add a youthful edge to your outfits."
Get rid of anything that doesn't make you happy.
Retirement is a chance to reinvent yourself. So if you have clothes sitting in your closet that you kept only because they fit the professional vibe you needed to adhere to, now is the the time to toss them.
"Dressing in retirement doesn't mean you need to wear bland clothing," Julie Durocher, stylist and chief designer of Jovani, notes. "I like to tell my clients to always wear what makes you happy because it makes you feel comfortable and confident."
Make sure you're mixing and matching.
You don't need to throw out all the clothes you were wearing to work. Instead, Desurmont recommends pairing your old professional pieces with newer, more trendy ones to "create fresh looks" that are both exciting and unique.
"Try pairing a classic blouse with a more modern skirt or wearing a casual top with dressier bottoms," she suggests. "Mixing and matching not only keeps your wardrobe versatile but also encourages creativity."
Elevate your staples through layering.
Another way to upgrade your more muted, professional-based basics is to lean into layering, according to Roger LaGrone, fashion expert and founder of Alexander Noel.
"These basics are a great starting point for elevating your style," he shares.
LaGrone suggests experimenting with bold-colored or patterned blazers to wear over the many neutral-colored button-downs and blouses you likely already own.
"Sharp-angled buttonless blazers are a flattering style that is excellent for layering over collared and un-collared shirts," he says.
You can also get short, fine-knit cardigans to layer over your basic t-shirts, according to LaGrone.
"The shorter length and fine knit helps to ensure your outfit is flattering and avoids drowning out your silhouette," he notes.
For more style advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Incorporate more color.
Many people gravitate toward neutrals as they get older in order not to draw attention to themselves, Dianne Harper Boyer, fashion blogger and co-founder of The Harper Girls, tells Best Life. But a lack of color in your clothes can quickly make things feel less lively, she warns.
"As we age, our skin gets naturally more pale. So if you stick to neutrals and pastels after retirement, you will feel more washed out and might not even understand why," Harper explains.
Desurmont recommends incorporating vibrant colors and playful prints into your retirement wardrobe to avoid this.
"Experiment with shades that you might not have worn before, such as bright blues, energetic reds, or lively yellows," she says. "Bold prints like florals, geometric patterns, and abstract designs can instantly infuse a sense of excitement and youthful energy into your outfits."
Customize your clothing.
Many of us grab pieces off of the rack and wear them just as they are. But once you've reached retirement age, LaGrone says you should use some of the money you've saved up to customize your clothing in order to liven up your wardrobe.
"When you find an item you love, take it to the tailors to have it adjusted to your silhouette," he advises. "A perfectly-fitted outfit can feel as though it was custom-made for you."