Recently, I had a conversation with my mom that was surprising to say the least. She’s always been a bit of a fashion maven, and even at 85, she is “put together” every day, without exception. I love to buy her clothes, because she’s creative and daring, and she loves to wear colors, although black has always been one of her big wardrobe staples. She particularly loves to wear beautiful dresses, and that’s what led to me writing this post. According to mom, and many, many of her friends, it’s hard to find age-appropriate dresses for older women. She and her girlfriends head for the mall, with hundreds of dollars in their purses, and come home, having not found a single dress to buy. According to these elderly women, “they are all way too short, too low cut, and too revealing.”
Many senior women have a decent amount of disposable income, so it’s curious as to why they are so under served from a fashion perspective. These women care a great deal about how they look, and no matter what their age, they want to look great. They’re willing, ready and often do spend money on beauty products like face creams, neck creams, eye creams and age defying devices. That’s because those products are abundant and available. But when it comes to finding pretty, fun and functional clothes, designers have totally left them off the priority list.
Mom gave me a list of the key considerations for good dresses for older women. For the most part, senior women want hemlines to fall below their knees. They’d prefer to have cap sleeves over sleeveless, but short sleeves or longer sleeves were considered best, as they’d like to keep their jiggly underarms to themselves. They want fabric that’s easy care, and easy wear. Convenience and budget are both compromised if they have to dry clean everything. And their bottom line is – they want dresses that are stylish, not frumpy.
If that same request list fits the bill for you, or if you’re shopping for a special gift for your mom or grandma, I’ve found some really beautiful dresses for older women. Most are washable and very affordable. Don’t be fooled by the fact that they’re being worn by mostly skinny young models, something that me totally frustrated me in my search. Please know, that even if these dresses don’t look quite long enough, most models are stand at least 5’10” tall. That means the hemlines are likely to fall well below the knee, on a woman of average height. This selection includes wrap dresses and sheaths, swing dresses and special occasion dresses, midis and maxi dresses. There’s sure to be one that’s just right for you or the older woman you love. Here are my picks for the Top 6 Best Dresses for Older Women.
1. Best Plus Size Dress – Kiyonna Women’s Plus Size Flirty Flounce Wrap Dress
A little pit playful and a whole lot of fun, this flirty wrap dress from Kiyonna exudes your personality with every swish of the beautiful printed fabric. prints. This plus size dress is designed with gorgeous cascading ruffles along the skirt’s front panels and bottom hem. The fully functional wrap is fantastic for adjusting to your preferred coverage, which can hide more or less of you as you please, and the cinch feature at the waist helps accentuate your fabulous curves. Wear this for a night out or a lunch date with friends. It’s a perfect dress for older women with a longer hemline and sleeves that dip just below the elbow. The poly and spandex blend is easy care and machine washable, so you’ll be pulling this one out of the closet often. If you’re looking for a flattering and more form fitting plus size dress, Kiyonna’s Rumor Ruched Dress is incredibly elegant. Their Sugar and Spice dress boasts a bold floral print along with a sheer yoke and sleeves.
2. Best Lace Dress – London Times Women’s Long Sleeve Beaded Neck Lace Sheath
The gorgeous ecru lace, long sleeve sheath simply oozes classic styling. The embellished, beaded neckline adds drama, without the need for a necklace. The delicate neckline at the back of this dress end hooks with a simple clasp, leaving a lovely keyhole. It features just a peep of sheer at the decollete in front, sleeves and shows just a bit of back. This stylish dress for older women hits on all the most important requests. It falls just below the knees, offers three quarter length sleeves, and is quintessentially elegant. Black patent pumps offer a fun and dressy contrast to this beautiful dress, but neutral pumps would elongate your leg and give you the monochromatic palette. For an evening out, wrap up in an elegant pashmina shawl, grab your cute clutch and you’re good to go. If you’re a fan of black lace, this beautiful burn out lace dress by Vince Camuto is simply sensational, as is a navy lace number by Tiana B.
3. Best Wrap Dress – Lark & Ro Women’s Classic Cap-Sleeve Wrap Dress
The feminine drape of this adorable wrap dress elevates its style factor, and will likely make it one of your wardrobe staples. A fully functional wrap dress with slightly capped sleeves, this is a great style for older women. The cap sleeves cover bare shoulders, and the easy care polyester blend fabric means easy wear and care. With five percent spandex, this dress will flow beautifully and keep its shape after hours of wear. The ability to adjust the tie at the waist makes it easy to fit your body type and accentuates curves in the just the right ways. Keep in mind, if this dress looks a bit shorter than you’d like, it actually falls 39 inches from shoulder to hem, so unless you’re a super model, it should hit you well below the knee. Lark & Ro also makes an adorable long sleeve wrap dress with the same great styling in many colors and prints. If you’re big on floral prints, they also offer a long sleeve floral print wrap dress that’s perfect for spring and summer.
4.Best Shift Dress – London Times Women’s Printed Jersey Shift Dress
There are those days when you simply want to wake up, and toss on the most comfortable dress in your closet. That’s when this pretty shift from London Times is the perfect choice. It’s a shift, so it’s not going to be tight around your waist or your bust or your bottom, yet it’s cut nicely enough to still give you shape and style. I just love the bold colored paisley print around the bottom, with the smaller black and white print at the top and sleeves. This dress could easily be belted if you want to give it a different look on another day. The three quarter length sleeves are generously cut, and have a cute patterned detail on the cuffs. While this dress falls just below mid-knee, keep in mind, models are usually at least five feet, ten inches tall, so if you’re shorter than that, it will give you plenty of coverage. The poly and spandex blend means this dress will keep its shape and color, even after many washings. For an even brighter, bolder print, a Tulip Paisley shift dress has real pizazz. If you love southwestern designs the Chevron Arrowhead Print shift dress would look especially nice with a bold turquoise necklace.
5. Best Sheath Dress – Maggy London Women’s Tile Medallion Jersey Sheath
Maggy London’s tile medallion jersey sheath has the dress features older women love. With long sleeves and longer length, it’s easy to wear and feel comfortable. The transitional, on trend silhouette sports a graphic print and pretty color combination. The fun detailing on the bodice and empire waist are extra flattering too. The machine washable poly-spandex fabric keeps its shape and has enough give not to pull or tug if you’ve got some ample areas. It has a hidden back zipper with a hook and eye closure. A small blossom print crepe sheath is another fun, longer length dress for older women. Big bold flowers bloom on Maggy London’s Artistic Bloom jersey sheath.
6.Best Red Dress – Rekucci Women’s Slimming Exposed Seam Dress
Say yes to the red dress. This gorgeous and slimming style offers delivers timeless style and incredible comfort. This Rekucci exposed seams dress features a feminine boat neckline, three quarter length sleeves and a knee length skirt. All those important details make this style perfectly versatile for day or evening. The exposed seams add a touch of fashion, as well as ensuring an easy fit that hugs your curves without being restrictive. The front ruched waist panel gives the illusion of a nipped-in waist. This easy pull-on style has no zippers or buttons, which makes it a great dress for older women. (You know how back zippers can be a bugger to get zipped up.) It is made in Rekucci’s signature knit fabric that is medium weight and great for every season. Rekucci also makes a tummy slimming fit and flare dress in shimmering red and lots of other colors. And who wouldn’t love a tummy slimming dress, right? They also offer a curvy fit plus size dress with built in tummy slimming too.