How To Wear Ruffles After 40

Do you think ruffles are only for little girls? This season, feminine flounce has taken on a grown-up look. Here’s how to wear ruffles at 40, 50 and more.
green ruffled top

1. Choose a Modern Color

If you think of ruffles as precious and girly,  counteract that with a ruffled top in a deep, or bold color. An unexpected or trendy shade like army green, or bright orange can make all the difference when it comes to ruffles looking frumpy or fabulous.

2. Wear the Right Ruffle for Your Body Type

A ruffled top is an easy way to look on-trend this season, but make sure to choose the right ruffle to flatter your figure. Ruffles are bulky and add volume, so be conscious of this when you’re out shopping.

Example: Large busted gals should stay away from tops with large, horizontal ruffles that make you look extra busty and add weight. Instead, something like this sleeveless ruffle top with its open neckline and smaller vertical ruffle. You’ll look longer, leaner and your bust will be more in proportion.

orange ruffled dress

3. Balance Ruffles

A flirty, super feminine way to do ruffles is on a dress. One reason this Spanish-inspired sheath with double frill hemline looks so fab is because of the cut. The slim-fitting shape of the dress balances out the bold ruffles at the hemline, making the dress look modern and youthful. Whenever you have a lot of flounce at the bottom of your outfit,  you should keep the top of your outfit streamlined,  and visa verse.

One other note: the simple nude shoe also balances the ruffles by downplaying your feet and keeping all eyes on your hot hemline and lovely legs.

blue ruffled top

4. Choose Tops with Ruffles Made out of Soft, Flowing Fabrics

A dainty ruffled top with 3/4 length sleeves is pretty and practical for women who like tops that cover the arms. It looks most modern when it is made from a soft, flowy fabric. Hard, stiff ruffles can be aging. A relaxed, pretty top like this adds a fun twist to a pair of basic white summer pants.

5. Don’t Let Accessories Overpower

Ruffles make a strong statement on their own, so don’t overcomplicate things by piling on too many, or too wild of accessories. Stick to minimal, elegant jewelry and a streamlined bag and shoes. The ruffles should always be given the spotlight.
black ruffled top

6. Go Dramatic with an Off the Shoulder Ruffle Top

One way to look chic and not childish in ruffles is with an off the shoulder ruffle top. Forget wimpy and go bold with large dramatic ruffles. The wide ruffle on this gorgeous black top is bold and deliberate, and will make you look mature and fashion forward.

7. Own the Look

If you’re only wearing ruffles because they happen to be the trend, but you secretly feel they’re too fussy for you, you’ll never look right. On the flip side, if you like to dress with a romantic, feminine touch, but you are worried about looking age-appropriate in ruffles, relax! Follow these guidelines and ruffles can work at any age. Be confident and have fun with ruffles. Own the look!

What do you think? Will you be wearing ruffles this summer?

Join the Conversation

7 thoughts on “How To Wear Ruffles After 40

  1. Thank you. My 18-year-old daughter loves a ruffled Banana Republic sleeveless dress I was given as a gift and wants me to wear it to her graduation. It’s light-weight but ruffled vertically down both sides of the front kind of shift dress. I am in my early 50’s and wasn’t sure if I could pull it off but am going to own it as you say and wear nude sandals or low-heeled nude pumps with little or no accessories and go ahead…what the heck!

  2. Hi ladies,

    As I was looking at the dress with ruffles that looked dated it reminded me of Talbots. I need to find a new store that has quality things in it that don’t look as dated as most of the things at Talbots. (I can nearly guarantee you they will be out of business within three years, how many people over 75 are there?)

    Anyway, that dress looks just like the crap at Talbots. The price point would be $88. It’s hard enough being middle aged and loving how some of the things at JCrew look if they were less revealing. Talbots is too old looking. Eddie Bauer has gone back to their out doors look. So unless I want to cruise the big stores like Nordstroms & Macy’s I’m out of luck. It takes too much time to shop at big department stores. I like running into a small place and picking out things I like quickly.

    Have any ideas?

    1. Try Christopher & Banks or Dress Barn. They are current styles with class and age appropriate.

    2. I totally disagree with you on the dress. I think it could be really cute for work, or a wedding, with some statement jewelry. I do agree with your frustration about where to shop, though. I’ve been having some luck (not tons) at White House Black Market.

    3. Try Soft Surroundings online. Romantic, classic looks – not dated ones. Chicos is another sure bet along with White House/Black Market. Shop on line with both. Try Target for seasonal staples like t-shirts for summer. They currently have a nice boatneck t-shirt in a 3/4 sleeve in solids or stripes straw totes, and reasonably priced bathing suits in tanks and seperates. Good luck.

    4. Hi Gretchen –
      I may find myself out here alone on this one, I am stunned by the the opinion you shared about Talbots – I am 54, and have been shopping at Talbots for nearly 25 years…I would say that 70% of my wardrobe comes from Talbots…as a matter of fact, this week I wore to work a long black Tencel , sleeveless V neck maxi dress that I bought from Talbots nearly 10 years ago that is right on trend today. It came with a matching “short sleeved shirt Jacket’ thing that does make it seem dated – Pulled away the shirt jacket, paired it with brown Ralph Lauren sandals, jean jacket, & accessories and I had 4 compliments on my outfit that day… a dress that is very plain Jane may have seemed old or dated on the surface..but what was done with it as a back drop worked really well for me. Its all in the eye of the beholder I guess. I have been looking at their catalogs coming in and I have several pieces I will be picking up for the remainder of the summer…Anyway – I like Talbots, I get a lot of great pieces from them that I can wear for many seasons and years with out looking dated. I don’t want to seem boastful, but often I am complimented on my outifts, and when they ask where did I get it and when I say Talbots, they are genuinely surprised. But I’m not – – I think they have the same mindset as you – and I give them reason to pause and rethink – I hope you will too…I wish I could go shopping with you…I would love the challenge of changing your mind !!- Good luck out there…

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