Fashion Tips for a Stylish Retirement Wardrobe

Updated December 31, 2019
Senior woman and companion shopping for a blouse

Retiring is a huge milestone that can significantly shift your life. Discovering new activities and enjoying your free time can be an incredible experience, but oftentimes it requires a wardrobe change that better suits your new needs.

Making the Right Fashion Choices for Your Needs

Just because you are retired doesn't mean you are no longer interested in looking your best. If your focus has shifted from working in a professional setting to staying at home and enjoying new hobbies, you may not have a huge need for your working attire. When finding new clothing options consider:

Senior couple shopping shawls
  • If you have any physiological concerns that should be prioritized when finding appropriate adaptive clothing
  • If you have any difficulty with certain types of closures or buttons
  • If you enjoy a roomier fit or a more tailored look
  • If your clothing or shoes need to provide any added support
  • If you're opting to take on a new activity and need different clothing
  • If you tend to get cold or overheated easily
  • If you have any fabric allergies
  • If you prefer clothes that need to be dry cleaned or want some machine washable options
  • If you want a more timeless look, or if you prefer trendier styles

Build Your Wardrobe

There are several fashion tips that you can consider as you venture to find your perfect wardrobe. Being retired offers you the opportunity to redefine your style and open yourself up to experimenting with new looks. You may hear advice about what to do and what not to do, but at the end of the day you should dress for yourself and what brings you joy. So, select pieces that make you feel good.

Great Outfits for Going Out

Now that you have more free time, it may be a good idea to find a few outfits to wear if you plan on going out for meals or dates. You may be able to mix and match some of your work attire with some new pieces that feel more fun to you. Great going out options include:

Senior couple on a date
  • Well-tailored slacks and a top with closures that you feel comfortable with.
  • Shoes that provide support and feel comfortable to wear. High-top shoes provide extra ankle support, and you can always consider adding a comfy shoe insert to any new shoe you try. Opt for choices that are really flexible and bend easily. Shoes that are stiffer can interfere with your ability to walk comfortably.
  • Dresses or skirts with a blouse, cotton top, or sweater. To create a balanced look choose a structured skirt with a looser top, or a more structured top with an A-line or flared skirt.
  • Jeans that fit you really well can be an incredible option that can be dressed up or down depending on the wash. Darker washes with more structure, regardless of the leg style tend to look more formal, while lighter washes tend to look more informal. You can also opt for jeggings if you want a super comfortable jean option without the hassle of buttons or zippers.
  • Lightweight coats or wraps that are easy to carry. A well-tailored coat can completely transform an outfit. If you're looking for a good investment piece, a neutral, high quality coat or sweater are great options that can elevate any outfit and be worn for years.

Work Out Clothing Options

Whether you plan on hiking, biking, doing yoga, hitting the slopes, running, kayaking, or heading to the gym, there are plenty of work out clothing options to choose from. Newer workout clothes are typically made with moisture wicking fabrics that aim to keep you at an optimum temperature depending on what activity you're doing. There are even workout clothing options made from recycled plastic bottles if you want a more eco-friendly option. Some workout clothing ideas include:

Senior couple in workout attire
  • Sneakers that are comfortable and provide the appropriate support for the given activity. Be sure to try on a few pairs and pick one that is made specifically for the activity you plan to do the most.
  • Pants or shorts that move with your body and don't feel tight or uncomfortable in any way. If you plan on wearing these at night, make sure they have reflecting technology.
  • Breathable tops and jackets that are lightweight and easy to move in.
  • Socks that wick away moisture and keep your feet dry.
  • Supportive undergarments that fit well and don't bunch up which can cause discomfort.
  • Hats and sunglasses that stay put during the given activity if you're going to be in the sun.

Leisure Attire

There are so many great leisure options available with athleisure becoming a new clothing option that combines comfort and style. Athleisure options can be worn out to pretty much anything you can think of and can be dressed up or down depending on the circumstance. Some outfit choices include:

Senior couple relaxing
  • Sweatpants that fit properly. Sweatpants come in a variety of cuts and colors and can look modern with the right styling. Cropped, straight leg, skinny leg, and slim joggers tend to look the most updated, especially when paired with a cute top or sweater. They are also super easy to put on and pull off making them a great choice for anyone with arthritis.
  • Sweatshirts and jackets that keep you warm and cozy. Sweatshirts are a great option if you don't enjoy buttons or zippers. Have some fun with your sweatshirt or jacket and choose one in a bold color or interesting pattern.
  • Some form fitting pants can provide a little extra support to your core helping you maintain good posture and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. These tend to have added paneling along the waistband so opt for a higher rise pant if you like having more support. If you want to go bold, pick a bright colored pant, or a fun pattern and pair it with a more neutral top.

Family Event Clothing Options

For family events, you'll want to dress for the occasion. Birthdays and casual get togethers don't require super fancy clothing choices. You can opt for athleisure attire, a simple jeans and top outfit, or a dress or skirt with a sweater or cotton shirt. For more formal events, you can pull choices that work well for going out. This includes slacks, more dressed up jeans, or a skirt or dress with a nice sweater or top. If there are going to be little ones around, you may want to go with a machine washable option for easy cleaning.

Older couple wearing blue jeans

Clothes That Travel

Many people increase their travel when retired. Maybe you have decided to visit some places you never had a chance to get to when you were working. If this is the case, it is important to have some clothing items on hand that travel well and do not require much maintenance. Some travel friendly options include:

Senior couple laughing while packing suitcases
  • Wrinkle-resistant tops, sweaters, and coats.
  • Neutral pants that can be worn with different tops.
  • A warm sweater is a must. A comfortable cardigan can be worn on a plane and tucked into a bag and brought to a restaurant in case you get chilled.
  • Shoes that are super comfortable for walking in case you end up exploring a bit. A neutral colored pair will match with everything you bring along.

How to Develop Your Style

Prior to retiring you may have dressed for work, opted for clothing choices that were kid friendly, or stayed safe with your fashion choices. Now is your time to really experiment with your style without any constraints. You can:

  • Try wearing bold patterns or colors and see how you feel in different ones.
  • Wear luxurious fabrics that were intimidating to try in the past.
  • Dress for the activities you want to do now and let your clothes inspire you to go for them.
  • If you've traveled, let your trips inspire your fashion decisions.
  • Try out some new accessories like a watch, earrings, or bracelet if you want to give your tried-and-true wardrobe a breath of fresh air.
  • Play dress up by ordering different styles online and try them out to see which ones feel most like you.
  • Mix and match your current clothing options with new ones that you've always wanted to try out; that way you'll be able to mix your current wardrobe with some newer pieces.

Finding Great Clothing Options

Wear what best reflects your individuality and don't overthink fashion rules. The most important thing to keep in mind is how you feel when you wear an article of clothing. If you aren't sure where to start, find a celebrity or friend whose stye you love and look for similar pieces that will work best for your lifestyle. Creating your wardrobe can be incredibly fun, so take your time and enjoy finding options that work for you.

Fashion Tips for a Stylish Retirement Wardrobe