30 In Women Now

10 Fashion Tips for Every Woman Over Sixty, Part Two

Fashion advice for women over 60 on BrendaKinsel.com

Pull up a chair, let’s talk fashion


Okay, my darlings, we’ve been talking about fashion tips every woman over 60 needs to know about.

I tackled a few complaints yesterday, things I’ve heard women over 60 express. I’ve challenged each complaint with another counterpoint and some visuals to inspire you. (By the way, I adore you especially when you complain!)

Let’s see, we’ve tackled:

  1. My feet hurt; I can’t wear heels anymore.
  2. No one sees me. I’m invisible.
  3. I look at magazines and I don’t fit in anywhere.
  4. I never find anything in the stores.
  5. I’m bored.

If you missed it, here’s how those complaints were covered in Part One. Now on to Part Two.

[Brenda stands at the podium on the sound stage in Century City, CA in front of a live audience and says to the stagehand, “Bring on the next five contestants with complaints!” Audience cheers wildly as five women over 60 come forward and take their places next to Brenda. The stagehand goes backstage to prepare the goody bags for all the audience members: new pairs of stylish, comfortable shoes.]


Complaint: I refuse to let fashion dictate anything to me; I just want to be comfortable.

Comfort and style go together for women over 60 on BrendaKinsel.com

Women who love comfort and style; Cindy, Elizabeth, Sandra, Brenda


I’m going to share more about these lovely ladies below but I want you to take a good look at these women who were all strangers to me until this Monday. They are stylish! They are beautiful! They’re over 60 (except for tall Elizabeth who is 56). They are comfortable! This idea that looking put together and enjoying outfits can only happen if pain or discomfort is involved is all FAKE FASHION NEWS. There is no person in this photograph who is uncomfortable. We’re all wearing shoes that don’t hurt our feet. Nothing about our outfits are compromising our thoughts about ordering dessert. Nothing’s pinching or poking.

People who listen to that fake fashion news may believe the only answer for comfort is staying in something like pajamas all day (call them yoga pants if you like). That idea won’t fly here. Fashion is on your side with comfortable stylish garments that will look great together!


Complaint: I never get compliments anymore.

Hats are great for women over 60

Want a compliment? Wear a hat!


Sandra is one of my fashion muses. If I lived near Palo Alto where she works at Phyllis Boutique, I’d drop in every day just to see what she’s wearing and how she’s wearing it. I could keep gushing but I want to point out how fabulous her hat is. Women in hats get complimented like crazy. Erin and I must have complimented her twenty times that day.

I’m someone who spent decades believing I wasn’t a hat person. Other people were hat people, but not me.

Something changed that. I’m not sure I even remember the moment. This white knuckle belief that hats were no good for me was challenged when someone put one on me and said, “Wow, you look great in hats!” Me? That seemed impossible.

I started playing with this new-to-me form of decoration and adornment. Now every time I wear a hat, I get compliments. (Compliments are free sources of energy. Complimenting others gives you energy as well. It’s a great practice.)

Today I was with a client who’d been shopping in the men’s department for her college bound twin grandsons. She spied a hat in the men’s department and bought it for herself. She wanted me to see it. It was fantastic on her! I ended up creating half a dozen outfits for her that highlighted her hat. I can hear the text coming through any day now: “Brenda, I got so many compliments on my hat!”

I have this rule for myself. I try to wear a new purchase within 24 hours. I think this would be a great rule if you’re buying hats for the first time. Buy it and wear it within 24 hours. I think I know what’s doing to happen! You’ll be showered with compliments! Text me and tell me I’m right!


Complaint: I have all this stuff already that I’m not using.


Recycling what you already own on BrendaKinsel.com

Old things are new again when you work them into outfits


Women who are 60 have stuff. Lots of stuff. Stuff they loved but neglected. They have stuff they bought but never got around to using. A client this week who has been complaining that she needs new shoes discovered three pairs in her closet that are totally perfect for the outfits I’m building for her. Sometimes I’m working in a client’s closet and I’ll say something like, “I’d love to have a blouse with some lace trim to go with this leopard print skirt.” And she’ll say, “Wait! I think I have one!” And out of the closet she comes with the perfect item that she bought ten years ago and never wore.

Eighty percent of what I do with clients is shop in their closets. I’m not making that number up. My bookkeeper keeps track of these things. Most of my time is spent in closets repurposing, recyling, and rediscovering treasures they already own.

The two brooches up there on the right, top and bottom, were from a client’s stash and are ages old. Now they are front and center in outfits she’s going to wear this summer. The pictures on the left top and bottom are treasures from my own stash that are delighting me after a decade or more of not pulling them out.

Could it be that you have everything you need right now to be fabulously dressed? I’m thinking you might! Bring out the good stuff; bring out the fun costume jewelry; revisit those novelty coats hanging in another closet. Let your light shine. If not now, when? Pull your stuff out, look at it with your loving eyes, and use it!


Complaint: I don’t have anyone to talk to about this getting older thing.


Style inspiration from women over 60 on BrendaKinsel.com

There are exciting, vibrant women everywhere just waiting to inspire you


On Monday I met four wonderful women for the first time and already I’m feeling like they’re my new best friends. I was invited to lunch by Sandra Sallin, an artist who lives in Hollywood and writes beautifully about her life in her blog, Apart from My Art: Obsessions of an Artist Obsessed. We met online through Instagram. She invited me to join her and three other bloggers for lunch in the Rotunda in Neiman Marcus.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote on my “What I Want” list to meet other bloggers. My dream came true! Let me tell you who they are so they can become your friends, too.

Elizabeth Kirkpatrick on the left, the tallest of us all, turns 57 next month. Her blog is The Vintage Contessa and her Instagram feed is @antiquegoddess. Next to her is Cindy Hattersly, a designer. Her blog is Rough Luxe Lifestyle and her Instagram handle is @cindyhattersley. She’s 62. Next comes me and you know all about me. Then there’s Sandra. Her Instagram handle is @sandrasallin. She says, “I’m 76 but I think I’m a kid. That’s why I jump, leap, fall, run and break bones.” And then we have Mary Ann Pickett, another designer, who is 60. (I refuse to believe her.) She told me her maturity level is around 40 but her confidence level is at 70. Her blog is Classic Casual Home and her Instagram handle is @classiccasualhome.

I can’t wait to spend the weekend catching up on their blogs and Instagram feeds and learning more about these people I already love.

Let me tell you something you may already know: Women our age are SO COOL! We are vibrant, excited, excitable, bouncy, witty, wise, and we have each other’s back. Relationships with women over 60 is all about sharing and supporting.

Last month I organized A Conversation on Aging with a client of mine. We brought 22 people together and many of us were complete strangers. That was my plan. I wanted to hear what women were thinking about aging. We spent about three hours together and no one wanted to go home! You can read about that conversation here.


Meet new people

Meeting new friends at the Conversation on Aging Luncheon


We ended up talking to each other about things like aging, self-care, and sharing our favorite resources. It’s an intimate conversation, this conversation on aging. We need to be having it. We need to be forging strong friendships and creating strong images about what we want to be doing and experiencing in this chapter.

Women are eager to be together. I encourage you to gather a few people you know or don’t know and plan an afternoon having a little chat. Add wine and cheese if you like (and something for the lactose intolerant folks or those who are gluten-free). Women want to support each other and know each other! Create the opportunity and they will come!


Complaint: I’m old and grumpy and not taken seriously!

Advice for women over 60 on BrendaKinsel.com

Wearing something delightful solves many mental conflicts


The answers to life’s problems always show up on Instagram. My daughter Erin forwarded this post to me and if I could add another 225,777 likes to it, I would! This is a moment where I’d have the urge to emphasize the point with a few more sentences but really, this post says all that’s needed to be said: I’m so much nicer when I like my outfit. 

I say put on an outfit you like and get out in the world and you’ll be taken seriously.

Let’s be sure we’re all heard and seen for who we are. Start with the loving act of wearing what pleases you.

My friends, I adore you! Let me hear your voices!

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  • Reply
    June 16, 2017 at 3:11 am

    I feel inspired, happy and excited! You go Brenda! I felt like this in school when we did a mini protest…sit in! We can take over the world wearing lovely comfortable clothing that expresses who we are! Perhaps we should consider doing that as you said every single day…loving well starts with loving self. What better way to express that than wearing the right outfit?? You are absolutely fab!

    • Reply
      June 16, 2017 at 9:06 am

      Thanks, Kathy!! You just put an image in my imagination: a stadium filled with well dressed women somewhere between 50 and 100. I mean a STADIUM! Wouldn’t that be amazing people watching? And to honor our greatness, some fabulous entertainers would be performing for our listening pleasure. Who would you like to see there? Thanks for your share!

      • Reply
        Donna Bodiford
        May 9, 2019 at 6:54 am

        Where have you been all my life!!! Thanks for your uplifting and encouraging views on fashion, aging and life.

        • Reply
          May 9, 2019 at 4:56 pm

          So glad you found me! I’m sticking around so we’ll have fun times ahead.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2017 at 5:55 am

    Oh Brenda, because of you, and your terrific inspiration, I just recently bought two jackets that are not plain. One is a cream black and brown and the other is a beautiful blend of pinks grey and coral, both 3/4 sleeves. I would never have bought these without you on my shoulder. I LOVE wearing them and mixing new ideas. Clothes can truely make you smile when you get dressed, then you take that smile out into the world to smile at other people. I am 62 and really feel like 40 something most of the time. Thanks for all you do for us.

    • Reply
      June 16, 2017 at 9:03 am

      I LOVE when people tell me I’ve been on their shoulder that day or in their ear. One client said to me that when she’s traveling and shopping she stops and thinks, What would Brenda say?
      I’m glad you are enjoying your not plain jackets. They sound divine! And yes, it’s true, a woman in an outfit she loves radiates goodness and grace. YOU NAILED IT! Thanks!

  • Reply
    June 16, 2017 at 6:42 am

    OH, YOU made me LAUGH OUT LOUD with FAKE FASHION NEWS!Yes, comfort is KEY………My Mother always said, “If your feet hurt so will the rest of you!”
    I have something to share with you regarding COMPLIMENTS……………this is a topic I have TAPPED before but I want to take it one step further and YOU may be THE ONE TO DO SO!
    I do get STOPPED frequently which makes me feel good and if I give back to another it makes me FEEL GOOD!When something catches your eye and makes you think WOWZA………let that woman know!!!IT is a WIN WIN situation for both parties……………..
    THANK YOU once again for THE MENTION!

    • Reply
      June 16, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Well, you’ve made my week too! It’s just so true what you say about compliments. I’ve complimented people before who seemed to me like they must get compliments all the time. But they’ll look at me with eyes that become like a child’s eyes: wonderment and surprise and delight. We can never assume a thing! Thanks for being you!!!

  • Reply
    June 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I love what the contessa said in her comment. My Mother told me years ago to give people their flowers while they are alive and she does just that, if she see a lady that she thinks looks lovely she tells her. I use to get embarrassed when I was younger, but now I realize how important it is to support other women, who knows what that might do to their day. Interesting point about compliments. I use to get them frequently, NOW, not so much so what is it about me or is it a societal thing that people don’t notice anymore? I think that is where the thinking we become invisible comes from. Maybe I am not being my BEST self anymore. Interesting, must think about this one for awhile. Love you blog, keep doing what you are doing and I am going to keep reading!!!

    • Reply
      June 16, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks, Kathysue! Today I wore a crown headband that my client gave me. I saw two clients and the last one was at Nordstrom. I must have gotten 20 compliments. People were charmed by it and probably that it was hilarious that I actually did that. So I’m also thinking that someone “more” whatever that is, is good to consider right now. I’m always styling my clients and saying, “I want to add more oomph.” That could mean more interest, more texture in the outfit, more colors, an extra accessory–it’s more of something. See how that sits with you. Thanks for being a reader!

  • Reply
    cindy hattersley
    June 16, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Hi Brenda!

    Thank you so much for the mention. I could spend hours reading all of your old posts, they are so informative. I love your comment about women our age have stuff…so true…You have such great style and are so generous with sharing your knowledge. So glad Sandra introduced you to all of us!

    • Reply
      June 16, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      The feeling is mutual! And now I can’t wait to sit down after a busy week and read YOUR posts!!! I love the pictures, now I’m after the words. It’s been a fun week, hasn’t it?

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin
    June 16, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Well, what a delightful surprise to be included in your blog. I am so on your wave lenght. I always thought I looked terrible in hats! TERRIBLE! This weekend we were going to our grandaughter’s graduation. I needed to be in the shade because of the recent cancer surgery on my face. A hat was needed. So popped into H & M, bought a hat and surprise, surprise it looks good on me! You are a delight. So glad we have connected. Yes, you’re right I do need a brighter lipstick!

    • Reply
      June 18, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      A bright lipstick for a bright face and bright energy! You could SO be a hat person. Next time you’re in SF we have to make more time to get into trouble, okay? Xo

  • Reply
    June 17, 2017 at 8:27 am

    You are so right about women our age being COOL! And I love the tip about wearing the hat right away! I just started wearing cute fedora type hats like the one in your first photo (you look GREAT)…and I do get compliments (and a little sun protection). Thanks for including me in your very uplifting and fun post!
    Mary Ann

  • Reply
    June 18, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I’ve solved the magazine problem for myself by no longer reading them. My fashion fix now comes from blogs. I follow a variety of fashion bloggers. It took a couple of years but I recently realized it’s had a big impact on how I see my own body and that of other women in a much more positive way. I follow a variety of fashion blogs. Some are outfit of the day formats and others are written by stylists or fashion enthusiasts. I follow a couple of petite bloggers as well as the blogs of women in specific age categories. The most important factor here though is none of these women are models. There is a real variety of body shapes from fine boned petites to plus sizes matched up with a love of fashion and the fun it can bring to our lives. I had written a post on this very topic just last week which is going up on my knitting blog tomorrow.

    • Reply
      June 18, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Robin, you make such a great observation. We do need different resources for the women we are. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Nancy Karpen
    June 18, 2017 at 9:01 am

    We went to a fundraiser yesterday for a local land conservancy and there were mostly people over 50 there. The youngest people were running for local office. It was casual but there was such a variation of ‘casual’. I felt quite fabulous in my outfit and got compliments. I am 67. I like to look good and wearing clothing and accessories you love really helps. I have a great hair stylist which also helps! Some of the women looked fabulous others had devolved from casual to just plain sloppy with clothes that didn’t fit well. I dress for myself, but it’s nice that my husband of 45 years notices and complements me. My daughter tells friends that I am more stylish than she is. It’s kind of funny. Some years ago I was at High Holiday services sitting in front of a true grand dames. She must have been in her 80’s by then but she was so elegantly attired in a beautiful Chanel style suit. A woman to inspire.

    • Reply
      June 18, 2017 at 6:03 pm

      I loved reading this, Nancy. I think casual life is here to stay but having a good attitude about what that means is important. I was nodding my head when I read about your husband of 45 years and how he compliments you. That’s so great! I have one of those too. Thanks so much for sharing!
      My key takeaways here are:
      1. Dress in what you love.
      2. Have a great hair stylist.
      3. Dress to feel fabulous.
      I think you’ve got the formula right there for all of us!

      • Reply
        Connie Dees
        August 30, 2017 at 11:39 am

        I love this to dress to feel fabulous! My only problem is the people I live around make fun of you ! Like they say why are you so dressed up and why don’t you cut you hair! I used to hear I don’t know why you don’t color that gray hair because it makes you look old !! But you know I have gotten to the point where I just do want makes me feel better about myself. For years I have let people rule my life . So now I have decided to be ME what ever I like ! If I want to dress up to go grocery shopping I do it ! Thank you for your story’s they have help me so much.

        • Reply
          August 31, 2017 at 8:42 pm

          Those people need to be educated about how much fun shopping is and how beauty can be so healing. I hope you’ll be the leader!

  • Reply
    June 19, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Through other blogs, I have become aware of several small American labels that have had a huge impact on the joy I find in getting dressed. These are makers who are thoughtfully producing hand crafted garments from locally sourced materials. Each one produces garments with a variety of silouettes to suit figures of all shapes and sizes. Like anything else, you need to sift through them to find the gems you will treasure for seasons to come. The Florence Pant and Georgia tee from Elizabeth Suzann were new to me silouettes with the wide legged pant and cropped boxy tee, but are now go to items that pair beautifully with other pieces already in my closet. I selected a herringbone pattern handwoven cotton top from Two Fold. So much more chic than a sweatshirt. Jamie + the Jones have collaborated with another local artisan to produce hand marbled silk fabrics, which they have produced into a stunning flowy top that pairs well with my fitted skirt from Alabama Chanin. Everything made with Alabama Chanin’s cotton jersey is incredibly comfortable. I especially love their patterned scarves. All of the clothing from these labels are machine washable, even the silks. There are so many beautiful options available outside department stores, it just takes a little work ferreting them out. The quality and craftsmanship of these garments far exceeds the majority of what is available at the mall.

    • Reply
      June 19, 2017 at 11:19 am

      Becky, you have provided us all with many new resources! I can’t wait to go online and look at all of them. You bring up such a good point about finding things outside of the department store. Wow, just thrilled about these. Thanks so much for taking the time to share them with us!!!

  • Reply
    My Galazure
    September 26, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Great post. I really like all the tips mentioned in the post.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Hats. Hmm. I always like the idea of hats but find myself believing the saying from “you’ve got mail” — “buying a hat that will turn out to be a mistake, as almost all hats are.” I think the younger set can carry hats better. Most middle-aged women look character-y. My opinion.

    • Reply
      October 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      I think it’s a thing where you have to try them and see if one calls your name. I am always stopped by a seeing a woman in a great hat. I’m motivated to keep trying!

  • Reply
    Melody Gardner
    May 27, 2018 at 6:46 am

    HI! I read your blog all the time and love it. BTW, I am NOT 60, but a wonderful 72!! When people ask me how I am, I always respond — FABULOUS OR ELSE!!! because there is always an or else. We have adopted six children, the last three are special needs, with mental illness. See! There is always an “OR ELSE”!!!
    I so agree with you about relationships with other women. I sew garment, and belong to a garment group of very creative women called the Pinheads — we don’t bowl! We talk fashion, and style, and have a blast. Those relationships are very healthy to nurture and develop. These women are my therapy, besides fun lunches.
    I also love Chicos, and their attitude about dressing. I have bought some really cute things there.
    One last thought. I haven’t had any practice being old, and I don’t plan to start any time soon. I am just not good at it. Finding my style is an on going adventure. Wish I was on the West coast, and could slide right into your group. Thanks for a great blog.

  • Reply
    Rose Lear
    November 24, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    I am thrilled to have found you on pinterest! I have always loved fashion and now after reading what you’ve written I feel revitalized!!!

    Thank you do very much,
    Rose Lear

    • Reply
      November 27, 2018 at 10:00 am

      Fantastic, Rose!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    My search for comfortable, stylish clothes for petite ladies of a certain age (close to 70) has been never-ending. I’m new to your site, but am impressed with your content. I am 4’11”, weigh 95 lbs and have an inverted triangle/apple shape. SO going to the stores is a real strike out for me as so many have dropped petite sections! I have been ordering bottoms (pants/skirts) online only to have to return them by repackaging and taking to the USPS or UPS, often at my own expense and that’s getting old and tedious. I also like to dress introvertedly (is that a word?) and to draw attention by someone genuinely saying how nice I look. BTW I don’t live on either coast but in the most beautiful setting in between – Colorado! Those of us who need extended fashionable styles with limited access to the actual physical merchandise are grateful for your information.

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