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5 Best Patterns to Wear If You're Over 50, According to Stylists

Say bye to stripes and polka dots.

Wearing prints and patterns is not only a great way to add some oomph to your outfit, it can also help express your personality. After the age of 50, many people feel like they want to mix it up in the style department a bit. You may not be drawn to polka dots and stripes like you used to be, and are looking for a fashion refresh. Patterns can be tricky though, so we asked stylists to weigh in on the best ones to wear if you're over 50.

READ THIS NEXT: 8 Flattering Jeans Styles If You're Over 50.


Three Women Wearing Floral Clothing
Creative Lab/Shutterstock

Floral is a timeless print that works well from childhood way into your golden years. But as you age, Elizabeth Kosich, certified image stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling, says there may be some new things to consider when choosing color palette and size of the print.

"Avoid vivid, high-saturated colors and match scale to your own features and frame," says Kosich.

If you're petite, it's likely that bigger florals will overwhelm you rather than highlight your features. The same goes for retro or abstract floral details.

Zoé DuFour, founder, owner, and designer at Zoé DuFour Design, says to "go for something bold if you prefer a more feminine floral style." Choose a classic silhouette such as a shift dress and you can easily go from the office to a nice dinner or outing.


Zara Printed Blouse and Pants
Photo: Courtesy of Zara

As you get older, fashion becomes more about expressing your individuality rather than staying on trend. Clothes with big shapes or lines can be flattering on various body types.

"Graphic prints are bold and elegant, plus they make a great addition to any summer travel itinerary," says DuFour. She recommends trying a matching set for a grown up yet playful look.

Since your body does change as you age, it's good to keep in mind which patterns work for your size. "Bigger prints look best on larger frames while smaller prints look best on smaller frames," says Monica Diaz, host at the Stylishly Sustainable podcast. And luckily, going graphic gives you a lot of different options.

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Animal Print

Rack of Animal Print Clothing

You might think animal print wouldn't work for the over 50 crowd, but it's actually quite the versatile pattern. "Animal prints are trend-proof, ageless, and always deliver a touch of drama," says Kosich.

While other patterns are great as sets, you only need a touch of animal print, so it's probably best to pick one piece to wear at a time, DuFour tells Best Life. It's pretty neutral so you can pair it with just about anything.

"Leopard print, especially, is a great print to add to your wardrobe, and looks great with so many colors like browns, oranges, reds, or blues," says Diaz.

Kosich mentions that warm skin tones pair best with classic leopard, cheetah, or tortoiseshell patterns. "Cool undertones harmonize with snow leopard and gray python prints, especially if hair is salt and pepper, or all salt," she says.


Ombre Knits
Maria Medvedeva/Shutterstock

"The soft color gradations of ombré work wonders after a certain age," says Kosich. If you're newer to patterns and don't want something quite so daring, then starting with a subtle ombré blouse or accent piece is perfect.

"Keeping it close to the face draws the attention upward and will bring in those compliments," says DuFour. She suggests trying a fluid kimono style jacket to start.

Pick your favorite neutral or accent color and explore the different shades it has to offer, Kosich tells Best Life. "Consider a universally flattering color like coral which lightens to peach, or turquoise which darkens to teal," she says.

Ombré is a win-win because it's just as flattering as wearing a solid color, but can give your outfit a little something more.


Ikat Patterned Scarves

Ikat prints are more subtle by design—thanks to its signature dyeing technique.

"Look for exotic, low-contrast color combinations like midnight navy/sky blue, mustard/orange-red, and jade/seafoam green, says Kosich. And, it's a subdued pattern that won't drown you out.

Remember a little ikat does go a long way, so try and stick with accessories first before diving right into big statement pieces. Kosic suggests a tote bag or sandals first, then graduating to a tunic or wide leg drawstring pants once you're comfortable with the look.

Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
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