09/18/2013 11:18 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Fashion Crisis: I'm Ready For a Uniform

Aging out on fashion is a dialogue many of we post-50s have with ourselves. I mean, who is going to tell us if we are wearing something that has an expiration date and lives between out-of-style and vintage?  Shopping out of our closets can be risky.

I have dresses in my closet that have events attached to them and I am thinking maybe they are ready for primetime again. (Dangerous thought, perhaps.) I recently slipped on the royal blue Nicole Miller suit I wore to my youngest son's bar-mitzvah (11 years ago). Good news, it still fits. But, what's of concern is that as I stand alone in my dressing room, I actually am considering wearing it again. I mean, I just went shopping for a stylish suit for a "professional" talk I have to give, and the price range for new suits is somewhere between $500 and $1,000. Hey, I had only worn that suit once, and I'm not sure I'd wear the new one more than that. What to do?

How many years have to pass before clothing is considered vintage? According to, 20 years is "classic" and 25 years is "vintage." "While an item must be 100 years old to be considered an antique, there is no clear-cut amount of years which defines vintage. Vintage should exhibit positive qualities of the time in which it was made."

So, when dressing from the back end of our closets, I think it's safest to bring in an outside opinion, and preferably a fearlessly-honest friend or someone a decade younger. We all need an "opinionator" who is vigilantly  making sure we skip the shoulder pads of the '70s and '80s, the parachute pants and that very mini, mini leather number.

The other day I dressed quickly, grabbing from "the top" of the pile and this is what my ensemble looked like. It dawned on me that I may need a new strategy. Let's take a look at what I pulled together on the fly. (Ouch!)

First of all, I was clearly confronted with a seasonal fashion challenge: White shorts in mid-September? (But hey, they were on top of the pile!)

Free socks (orange and yellow). Perhaps best to not wear just because I got them for free. (Oh dear -- I have three pairs of them.)

Belt or no belt?  Maybe a belt would help.)

It dawned on me that a uniform would be a great idea for my daily dressing. How amazing would it be to confidently pull out "the go-to outfit" -- dress and be done? Imagine the hours saved and the negative self-talk eliminated. No longer would I be hanging out with my old friends: Vintage, Classic and Outdated.  It's time for a no-fuss, feel good go-to look.  It's too much work otherwise. Getting dressed should be as easy as putting on yoga pants, sports bra and workout shirt. But, what outfit do we put on AFTER we get out of the yoga pants?

So, my goal this fall is to create the uniform that doesn't require a lot of self-talk and personal negotiation i.e., is this too young, too old, too tight? This fall, it's going to be easy. I'm going with my favorite dark denim straight leg jeans and black jeans, and I'm buying fresh, crisp white blouses (lots of them). There's plenty of websites to shop from -- (I love Nordstrom, Anne Taylor and Saks.) believe this "look" is classic, professional and hip. And to jazz up the "look," I'm going to add a scarf for color and a great leather motorcycle jacket when it gets cold out.  I'm going to wear short boots or tall boots with small heels because heels hurt my toes (they don't bend so well anymore).

Well, wondering if I'm the only one out there who is thinking a "uniform" is in order.  Have you come up with anything we all may want to consider -- please share -- we need all the help we can get.


Read more on Better After 50:
50 Things Women Over 50 Hate About Fashion
Clueless When It Comes To Your Style?
Top Ten Things To Avoid So You Don't Look Old
Can I Have Another Makeover Please?