I don’t know about you, but styling ruffles for older women could be one of those things you question. In fact, Lesley titled her outfit “Ruffles are not only for little girls”.
For some reason, that’s the perspective. Ruffles and young girls.
Why? Maybe because when we were growing up, the ruffle was associated with girly innocence. But did you know they started out as unisex details and were often seen on soldiers’ sleeves?
Quote of the day: “Don’t try to lessen yourself for the world; let the world catch up to you.” Beyonce Knowles
Let’s start with some ideas of why ruffles may not be our favorite.
I know when I was a kid, my mom loved ruffles, and I thought they were too girly. Can anyone else relate?
Even now, we might think that, but I’ve questioned myself on why is “girly” bad. I know growing up, I wanted to be taken seriously, so I thought I needed to look more professional with a masculine vibe.
Other women might not like the detail because the ruffles add volume to a clothing item.
Thought for the day: Adding volume or a girly vibe is only one element of a look. You can easily add another kind of vibe with other elements. My opinion is that it’s nice to have a variety of styles in your closet, so you don’t always look the same.
In fact, don’t forget that the color of a clothing item is the first thing that your brain recognizes. So if you want to dip your toe into styling ruffles then consider doing it in your favorite color.
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Styling Ruffles for Older Women: Tops
My mom admitted to me that she likes ruffles and always has. In fact, she rattles off at least 3 or 4 ruffled tops that she has in her closet.
Yet she said that she doesn’t think she has any ruffles for the bottom half of her body. That she’s more conservative and would rather keep the attention at the top of her body.
Pants: Liz Claiborne (they were Nancy’s) ~~ Top: Mud Pie~~ Shoes: Christan Siriano-thrifted ~~ Earrings: Audra Style c/o ~~ Purse: DSW
If you tend to shy away from styling ruffles for older women because they might add bulk, then having the detail on your sleeves might be the answer.
Especially if you are like Charlotte, who prefers a 3/4 length sleeve even for the summertime.
Insider tip: Just think, if you are handy with the sewing machine, you could add a ruffle to an existing top like in this Upstyle tutorial.
Not only is the ruffle detail a modern twist on a plain tee, but I love how my mom also tucked in the top on the side of her pants.
Nothing too fancy, and nothing too hard to replicate. Just push one side of the hem of the top into the pocket or waistband loosely. Of course, you have to redo this after going to the bathroom, but it’s easy and makes a world of difference in having the look seem more intentional instead of sloppy.
Color Combinations with Light Blue and White
I love that Charlotte picked a bright pink to pair with this light blue and white striped top. Sure, you might think you needed to combine lighter colors with light blue, yet I think this is a perfect example of how you can use contrasting shades to make a wonderful statement.
If you feel more comfortable wearing neutrals with a top like this, then white, grey, or denim would be very easy.
I’d also like to point out how the ankle-length pants are very contemporary. My mom still struggles with this length of pants and feels the need to lengthen the hem. Yet because this is a length that is seen on the younger girls, it creates a more modern vibe instead of looking frumpy.
Print Mixing with Accessories
The other factor that makes my mom’s outfit look fresh and fun is the different prints in her accessories and footwear. I know many women cringe at the thought of including more than one print in an outfit, but it can be done in a way that isn’t overpowering.
Let’s start with the shoes. It’s easy to incorporate print shoes with a print top because they are separated by your pants (or skirt).
And for this example, Charlotte went with a pastel print shoe that mirrors the pastel shade of the top.
Related post: Print mixing with your shoes
My mom also wore some fabulous colorful earrings and chose a floral purse. It all works together so nicely.
Ruffled Skirt for Mature Women
Lesley found this ruffled skirt while thrifting recently and confessed that it was so HER in many ways. She loved the fact that it’s black and white polka dots, yet different sized polka dots on each tier.
What I really love is that she shared her thoughts about the skirt saying it is fun and flirty. And there is nothing bad about that.
Skirt: Apt. 9-thrifted~~ Top: Chicos-preloved~~ Shoes: Abelia -online ~~Scarf: Vintage Piano scarf-estate sale~~ Purse: no label
This type of skirt would fall into the tiered skirt category that I recently styled with 4 different types of tops.
For those of you who think it’s only for one body shape, I would like to point out that Lesley considers herself a zucchini body shape. AND is even wearing a belt.
She has tucked in her top, yet it’s more of an unstructured tuck instead of being tight and constricting. Of course, the overall fit of the top is a huge factor for this type of look, which is why I think it’s good to have some looser fitting items in our closets.
Insider tip: While the right “fit” is important, it’s also very helpful to have a variety of shapes. Tighter tops are great for layering over, while looser tops can be beneficial for examples like this.
Black & White for Summer
Black and white is always a classic neutral combination yet there are ways to make it seem more summery. Lesley did this by adding pink to the mix.
But don’t think that’s the only option. I think any pastel would be fabulous as well as bright colors too.
A long time ago on this blog, we shared outfits pairing black and white with pastels and with pops of color.
If you struggle with adding in a totally different color to black and white items, then one secret is to repeat that color a couple of times.
For example, Lesley also used pink for her footwear and tied a pink scarf around her purse. Seeing the color pink three times this way makes it feel more intentional.
Finishing the Look with Extras
The pink shoes and scarf are those other pink extras that lighten up this look. Many times we forget to wear our scarves in the summer because of the heat, but wrapping them on your purse is such an easy way to add that chic vibe.
Insider tip: Usually you would want to grab a smaller scarf for this idea. But you can always use a longer one to wrap around the handle of your purse as I did in this short video here.
Did you notice that Lesley actually has 2 scarves with her? The pink one tied to her purse is meant for decoration. But then she is also carrying a black pashmina (she calls it a piano scarf) for the time she needs it in our air-conditioned places.
One of her favorite ways to style pashminas is to just throw them over a shoulder. It’s big enough that if you need more coverage, you can wrap it around both shoulders, or if you are warm, then just carry it around in your hand.
Insider tip: I have found that pashminas are truly one of my tools of the trade. They can be found inexpensively on Amazon, or you can invest in a high-quality one like Ovcios Scarves. These bigger scarves are what I call essential for travel since they can be styled in so many different ways.
Ruffle Dress Style
What I love about styling ruffles for older women, is that not all ruffles are the same. Just like any detail, there can be a wide range of ways to incorporate them.
For example, ruffles don’t have to be overpowering or go horizontally around your body.
In my example with my ruffle dress, the ruffles are cascading down the vertical wrap portion of the skirt and also at the bottom hemline. Because the dress is a print, you don’t notice the ruffles as much as if it were a light-colored solid dress.
Dress: Banana Republic-Horizon thrift~~Shoes: Steve Madden-Macys~~ Scarf as wrap: Ovcio-held together with Maggies Snaps (on Amazon)~~Scarf on Purse: Gibbys -code Jodie20 for 20% off~~ Earrings: Lil Shop of Ours~~ Purse: from Goodwill~~Strapless Bra: Gatherall
Adding a Bright Scarf for the Summer
In the summer, we need a layer for the air-conditioning. Or as we always say, “it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.” Thus for this outfit, I brought my Ovcio scarf. Just like Lesley brought her pashmina (and no, we didn’t plan this together), I chose my Ovcio scarf because it’s much thinner than my other pashminas.
Since it’s a large rectangle, I folded it a couple of times and then just draped it over my shoulders. In order to keep it together, I used one of my Maggie snaps magnets. In fact, I left it like this when I took it off and then was able to put it back on the same way.
The advantage of this Ovcio scarf and a purse that is a little bigger is it’s easy to throw the scarf inside the purse when I’m not using it.
Accessories for a Ruffle Dress
The obvious accessories are my large flower earrings. These are handpainted by two sisters who live in Florida. They will custom-make earrings to your color preferences and they are lightweight. Not all of their earrings are this large if you don’t like statement earrings. So I hope you’ll check them out.
My necklace is a black pearl necklace which in hindsight could be too dark for the outfit. It might have been better on a lighter color cord.
I also tied a Gibby’s scarf to the plain side of my purse. I liked how the brighter blue of the scarf pulled together the brighter blue of the earrings.
And did you notice that my shoes are another print?? The polka dot shoes can seem grey from far away, yet I thought they were a fun option.
BTW, I am wearing the Gatherall strapless bra that I wrote about in detail. There are other ways to address these spaghetti straps which I listed in a previous post.
Finding Other Inspiration for Styling Ruffles for Older Women
While we have never showcased styling ruffles for older women on the blog per se in the past, there are many times they have snuck into our looks. Sometimes they are more obvious than others.
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