How to Wear Pastels Without Looking Old

Can mature women wear pastel colors, or do they make you look old and frumpy? You may struggle with that question, especially if you have always worn these softer, quieter shades. As we age, our skin and hair start to fade, and pastels can wash us out, exaggerate our age, and make us look like the Golden Girls. 

golden girls

The good news is that there are ways to keep wearing pastels; it’s more about how you wear them that counts. Here’s what to keep in mind when wearing pastels at 40, 50, 60, and beyond.

pastel dress


1. Avoid Grayed Out Pastels

Light, pale, muted pastels with gray undertones are matronly.  They will wash you out, drag you down, and make you look weak and frail. Instead try brighter, clearer more saturated pastels are more modern and will give you life. 

2. Be Careful Wearing Pastels Head to Toe

Baby pink, pale blue, mint green, pale yellow,  soft peach, and lavender are all lovely colors, but worn head to toe over a certain age can wash you out, make you look meek, or be too cutesy. (Remember, we dress babies in head-to-toe pastels)


pastel jacket with white pants

3. Wear Pastels with Neutrals 

Pastels look fabulous worn with neutral colors like white, camel, gray, beige, tan, and even black. Neutrals ground sugary pastels and create a sophisticated look. For example, a pastel lavender blouse with an inky black skirt looks chic, and a baby blue sweater with cropped white jeans is classic. 

4. Wear Pastel Colors with Brights

Another way to tone down the sweet character of pastels is to pop them with a bright accent. So, for example, you could wear a baby pink dress with a Fuschia-colored bag and Fuschia shoes. This is a form of color blocking.

lavender pastel jumpsuit


5. Choose Modern Silhouettes

The cut of your garment can make a huge difference in whether you look fabulous or frumpy in pastels at midlife and beyond. To capture the look, go for clean, sharp lines, strong shapes, and superficial cuts.

The emphasis needs to be on the piece itself, not the color. For example, a sheath dress, a classic pair of flat-front pants, a boxy handbag, a gorgeous trench coat, or a cropped jumpsuit in a pretty pastel shade all look grown-up and chic.

yellow and lavender pastel dress

6. Keep Details Minimal

It’s also essential to avoid a lot of detail and embellishment. Delicate pastels naturally convey softness and sweetness, so stay away from girly details like frills, lace, or ruffles since these things will instantly age you. After more drama, choose architectural pieces like a jacket with bold shoulders in mint green or a lemon yellow one-shoulder column maxi dress.

pastel floral top

7. Think Twice About Pastel Florals

If you prefer pastel prints, be careful of florals. Pastel floral prints (especially ones with tiny or traditional florals) are dated unless there is some modern twist.  Abstract, graphic, painterly, or bright pastel prints are uncomplicated, fashion-forward ways to rock pastels.


Color-Me-Fabulous fa40

Color is a key element in looking fabulous after 40. Color can give you energy and make you look youthful or drag you down and make you look old. Discover the colors that will make you Look Age-Amazing™ with my popular e-book Color Me Fabulous. Check it out and discover how to look wow in color!

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