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What to wear to work over 50; Style tips

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

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I was chatting to a friend who works for a large corporate about working in our 50s in general – and the conversation drifted into what we actually wear for work.   We both agreed that the dress code generally has become more relaxed. When we started our careers we were expected to wear tailored suits, or smart dresses with jackets. In some ways having a code made it easier. With more choice come more decisions!

I was at an HR industry conference recently, and a couple of the younger women attending commented on what I was wearing over the duration of the conference – especially as they saw the size of my overnight bag that I had fitted everything into!  Which was surprisingly small by my standards as I was travelling by train and tube!  They asked if I would share a video on instagram about how to put a working wardrobe together . I will definitely do that – but in the meantime here are just a few tips on what to wear at work.

Keep it simple. Smart but comfortable.  Having worn suits for so any years I still tend to wear quite tailored clothes when in work mode, but tend to split the suits – ie- wear the jacket with a different pair of trousers , and the trousers from the suit with a more relaxed top.

what to wear to work over 50

I add a little fun with patterned shirts – such as this zebra print shirt that I bought from Hush (currently on sale for £35)



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Or an animal print blouse like this one from John Lewis (in the sale at time of writing)

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If I wear less formal trousers  then I wear a more business like top. For instance, I teamed my black snakeskin trousers  (from Zara a couple of seasons ago) with a cream tie neck blouse and  black tailored jacket. It’s all about balance.

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A similar Cream tie neck  blouse can be found again at John Lewis and also in the sale

Short video on what to wear to work over 50

I am wearing some of the clothes featured in a very short video I posted on Instagram and Facebook

Dresses can be smart but less formal – today we are more likely to wear them with a smart cardigan at the office rather than a jacket.

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Think about fabric choices . If you suffer from hot flushes look not just at natural fabrics, but also at man-made fabrics which have been designed to help keep you call- and repel moisture. Originally used in sportswear they are becoming more commonplace for mainstream clothing.


Shirt dresses are always versatile –  this one is sleeveless but it can be layered with a white long sleeved tee underneath to create a different look. Available from John Lewis

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Putting together a working wardrobe should be practical but fun.  Take into account the culture of the place that you work at ( I shall be covering this in more detail in future posts). Separates are more versatile in creating different looks than dresses – especially between seasons. Most of all put together a wardrobe that makes you feel and look confident.



Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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