Best dresses for women over 50, according to a 50 something fashion editor

12 of the best dresses for women over 50 for all occasions

best dresses for women over 50: Baukjen, The Pretty Dress Company, Seasalt Cornwall
(Image credit: Baukjen, The Pretty Dress Company, Seasalt Cornwall)

The best dresses for women over 50 are a sound investment in your wardrobe. A one-and-done ensemble, a great dress negates the need for complicated styling, making getting ready a cinch. We’ve asked our 50+ fashion expert to find the best dresses for women over 50, covering everything from casual weekend styles to tailored shapes and glamorous party pieces, to ensure you're ready for all occasions this season.

There’s no simpler way to look instantly stylish than slipping on a fabulous dress. Invaluable in an over 50s capsule wardrobe, the best dresses will deliver confidence, ensuring you look and feel great. While you might want to tap into the latest autumn/winter fashion trends with your dress choices, considering the silhouette is perhaps most important, as this will ultimately ensure your dress flatters your shape. Neutral hues will be most versatile and timeless but don't forget to inject personality with colour and print, as your clothes should reflect who you are.

Making the right choice of dress for your body type is important. Ali Hall and Julie Lavington, co-founders of womenswear brand Sosandar, say “The key is to find the correct style that suits your shape and accentuates your best features.  Whether you are over 50 or under 50, a woman’s dress choice will depend upon her body shape and whether it fits well and flatters her figure. Beyond 50, we may become slightly more conscious of certain areas, but we will most definitely have beautiful parts of our bodies we wish to show off. For example, highlighting sexy necklines or fabulous legs with a great fitting dress designed to complement the waist and hip areas.”

12 best dresses for women over 50

From the best midi dresses that hit just at the right point of the leg to stylish dresses to hide a tummy, there are heaps of great dresses for women over 50 on the market right now. We asked a 50-something fashion editor to round up 12 looks worth investing in.

tiered dress in blue

(Image credit: Boden)

1. Boden Lily Chambray Midi Shirt Dress


RRP: £130 / $190
Sizes: UK: 6-22 petite and regular fit
Fabric: 100% cotton
Care: Machine washable

With its tiered, panelled design, tie belt and midi length hem, this dress is a great choice for an hourglass body shape as the belt helps to create curves, highlighting and cinching in a waist. The vertical row of contrasting buttons delivers an illusion effect, drawing the eye inwards and lengthways elongating your silhouette and narrowing the waist. It has pockets in the side seam which are a bonus as they don’t add any additional bulk. 

One of the best dresses for women over 50, the midi length is a style staple, but you can add a modern feel by wearing with cowboy boots, one of the key autumn/winter 2023 shoe trends or team with trainers for a casual vibe. The full-length sleeves have functional cuffs that also look great rolled up for a more laidback look.

black and white floral dress

(Image credit: Sosandar)

2. Sosandar Mesh Ruched Detail Midi Dress


RRP: £75 / $105
Sizes: UK: 6-20
Fabric: 94% polyester 6% elastane
Care: Machine wash

Made from on-trend mesh fabric this dress will accentuate your curves. Ali and Julie, say “It is really important to remember when designing clothes for a woman with a curvy figure that she still wants to feel super fashionable and sexy. A fit-and-flare dress is a great shape for women with fuller hips while still showing off their neckline. She also loves a bodycon dress to highlight her beautiful curves and our ruching design around the waistline is a great way to add extra coverage to the stomach area whilst creating a stunning silhouette.” 

The sheer puffed sleeves will provide coverage while still looking seductive. Add a pair of statement earrings to take the dress from day to night.  

green floral dress

(Image credit: Aspiga)

3. Aspiga Adeline Maxi Dress


RRP: £238 / $371
Sizes: UK: XS-L
Fabric: 100% ethically made viscose
Care: Hand wash cold

Choosing a dress that is made from a sustainable fabric is a great way to shop more ethically. Aspiga also provides full transparency and visibility of its supply chain - making it one of the best sustainable clothing brands to invest in right now. This maxi design has adjustable drawstrings at the waist so you can choose a relaxed fit or opt for a more fitted look. The deep V-neckline and gathered detailing across the shoulder will flatter a fuller bust. If you are wondering what to wear over a dress, try a classic denim jacket or a sleeveless waistcoat which will show off the pretty sleeves.

petite floral print dress

(Image credit: Hobbs)

4. Hobbs Petite Camellia Dress


RRP: £159 / $335
Sizes: UK: 6-20 petite fit
Fabric: 100% viscose rayon
Care: Machine wash

If you are 5’4” or under and looking for best petite dresses you would be advised to check out a specific range that is crafted to ensure a proportionate fit on smaller frames. This dress from Hobbs Petite has a high neckline with soft gathers over the bust and at the shoulder which helps to create volume and shape. The gently flared hemline offers a delightfully feminine silhouette. If you want to further enhance your curves swap the fabric belt for a wider leather style, in a contrasting colour to really cinch in your middle, and wear with heeled ankle or knee-high boots. The floral print taps into the dress trends 2023 for a modern finish.

zebra print dress

(Image credit: Live Unlimited)

5. Live Unlimited Tie Side Jersey Shirt Dress


RRP: £89 UK only
Sizes: UK: 12-28
Fabric: 96% polyester 4% elastane
Care: Machine washable

Experts agree that wrap-fronted dress designs make for figure-loving fits and are some of the best plus-sized dresses, as the diagonal cut across the front and waist tie detail gracefully skims through the frame and highlights the waist. This silky jersey fabric is printed with an all-over monochrome zebra print that is eye-catching and on-trend. If you prefer full sleeves these long blouson options are softly gathered at the wrist which will balance out your upper arms. Need advice on how to wear a wrap dress? Try wearing over a brightly-coloured camisole if the neckline is too low for you or add a popper at the perfect point to show off the desired amount of cleavage.

printed maxi dress

(Image credit: Seasalt Cornwall)

6. Seasalt Cornwall Organic Cotton Jersey Dress


RRP: £69.95 / $115
Sizes: UK 8-26/28 petite/regular/tall fittings
Fabric: 100% organic cotton
Care: Machine wash

Relaxed and easy to wear, this cotton jersey dress is ideal for casual weekends. The boat neckline balances a pear body shape and the gently gathered skirt is a great length for wearing with dressy flats or canvas pumps. Made from breathable organic cotton that will keep you cool in the heat it’s a great choice if you are looking for casual outfit ideas for women over 50. Available in 3 lengths, you can get the perfect fit. Seasalt Cornwall is a family-run company with a strong and sustainable strategy putting the welfare of people and the planet at the heart of its designs.

maxi dress

(Image credit: Monsoon)

7. Monsoon Sarah Embellished Wrap Dress


RRP: £150 / $215
Sizes: UK 6-24
Fabric: 100% recycled polyester
Care: Dry Clean

Hand-beaded with sparkly sequins that elevate this dress into something special, this design is a perfect occasionwear outfit for women over 50. The floaty chiffon sleeves and full-length wrap design make it one of the best cocktail dresses to choose for a glamorous evening. Wear it with a fascinator for a winter wedding or christening and team with block-heeled metallic sandals to complete the red-carpet-worthy look.

printed dress short hem

(Image credit: Whistles)

8. Whistles Striking Leopard Print Dress


RRP: £119 / $239
Sizes: UK: 4-20
Fabric: 55% Cupro 45% LENZING™ ECOVERO™ Viscose
Care: Machine wash

Show off your legs in this over-the-knee tunic dress. Wear with bare legs and sandals as a summer outfit for women over 50 or opaque tights and calf-length boots as the weather gets cooler. The unstructured tunic design is perfect for floating over midriffs. The ubiquitous leopard print is a timeless classic that will never date, making this dress ideal for adding to your capsule wardrobe.

block colour black and white dress

(Image credit: Phase Eight)

9. Phase Eight Knitted Colourblock Midaxi Dress


RRP: £119 / $215
Sizes: UK: 8-18
Fabric: 58% viscose 27% polyester 15% nylon
Care: Delicate machine wash

Knitted dresses are one of the major catwalk trends for the season ahead, ideal if you want to keep up with current fashionable styles. However, like most new trends this one has a distinctly retro '70s vibe which will perfectly suit women over 50. The dramatic block pattern is flattering and creates the illusion of an elongated silhouette. For a more streamlined look, try wearing the best shapewear underneath your dress for gentle contour and sculpting.

printed dress

(Image credit: Baukjen)

10. Baukjen Kaydence Recycled Dress


RRP: £219 / $285
Sizes: UK: 6-18
Fabric: 49% LENZING™ ECOVERO™ Viscose 51% Recycled Viscose
Care: Delicate machine wash

Woven from 50% recycled viscose, the fabric has a satin-like feel that will drape beautifully over curves. This dress has a luxury look, making it perfect for smart daytime events or special occasions. The modern floral print feels fresh and youthful and the colour combination will complement all skin tones. The A-line shape has an under-bust seam making it a flattering choice for smaller busted women and the sleeves finish just above the elbow, ideal for those looking specifically for upper arm coverage. Keep the look delicate and feminine by wearing it with kitten heeled slingbacks. 

floral print dress

(Image credit: Cotton Trader)

11. Cotton Traders Twist Waist Midi Shirt Dress


RRP: £49 / US shipping available
Sizes: UK: 8-22
Fabric: 100% viscose
Care: Machine washable

Great value for money, this dress is a bargain buy at under £50. The classic shirtdress design has been updated with twist detailing at the front which adds interest and draws the attention upwards away from your hips and thighs. It’s a comfortable dress to wear, with an elasticated back for ease of movement. The style is also available in a powder blue striped design if you prefer a lighter colourway. Wear under a blazer and add to your workwear capsule wardrobe stat.

pink bodycon dress

(Image credit: Pretty Dress COmpany)

12. The Pretty Dress Company Piper Pencil Dress


RRP: £139 / $148.04
Sizes: UK: 8-18
Fabric: 93% polyester 7% elastane
Care: Dry clean only

Sometimes you need a dress that is going to fill you with confidence and make a positive style statement – this is the dress! It’s a design and colour that is guaranteed to get you noticed, which is why the brand is well-loved by television presenters and businesswomen alike. It’s available in 7 other colours, including black and navy if you prefer something more classic. Made from luxe crepe fabric, it’s fully lined with a stretch control fabric that will contour your curves. The fitted pencil skirt and cinched-in waist helps to create an hourglass silhouette.

What type of dresses should a 50 year old woman wear?

We asked experts Ali Hall and Julie Lavington, co-founders of womenswear brand Sosandar, for their advice on the best dresses for women over 50. 

“Feeling fashionable and on-trend is very important to our customers and as trends change popularity of dress styles varies. It is important to us that our dresses make all women feel confident, sexy and stylish. Knowing this woman’s styling concerns, we always make sure we have a very high percentage of our dresses designed to be worn with a bra with straps and which also cover the upper arms.” 

While dress trends come and go, Ali and Julie suggest these styles to look out for, to help streamline your search.

  • "Shift dresses: Perfect for the woman who loves her legs in a comfortable silhouette. We offer 3 lengths (Short, Regular, Long). Our regular length would be just above the knee on a 5ft 5 woman or she could choose the short length if she’s looking for a sexier look. 
  • Shirt dresses: This style of dress flatters all body shapes and is very popular and we design in fabrics from viscose for perfect everyday wear to luxe satins for more special occasions.
  • Fit and flare dresses: Perfect for flattering tummy areas, especially with a v-neck or square neckline to create the hourglass silhouette. It’s a universal shape and we offer a range in a wide variety of lengths and fabrications for all occasions.
  • Bodycon dresses: A great silhouette to hold you in at all the right places and to show off your curves. The key is in the fabrication and our bandage/sculpting dresses are a perfect example of a flattering fit." 

 How do you dress at 50 without looking frumpy?

No woman, whatever her age, shape or size wants to feel frumpy. The key is to find a look that makes you feel positive, happy and full of confidence. This might come by adding vibrant bright colours to your wardrobe or you may prefer to keep things chic and understated in timeless neutral shades, for the perfect minimalist wardrobe. The best dresses for women over 50 are ideal for crafting a directional look that always feels on-trend. While you can reference the latest runway styles, or the new fashion colour trends of 2023, fit is actually the most important aspect of avoiding feeling frumpy. Work out exactly where hemlines should hit, ensure you invest in the best bra and underwear to help support your silhouette and select dresses or clothing that fits your frame, avoiding anything too big or restricting. Looking comfortable and like you're wearing the clothes (and not the other way around will help you avoid feeling frumpy. 

Julie Player

Julie has over 30 years experience in the fashion industry and is a regular contributor to Woman & Home, Woman’s Weekly and Chat magazines, creating engaging fashion and lifestyle content for women of all ages. She also works in the wardrobe department at ITV, dressing the presenters for Good Morning Britain. In her late fifties, Julie loves seeking out the most figure-flattering fashion for every occasion. She’s a qualified sustainable fashion expert with a wealth of knowledge of planet-friendly fashion brands and ways to shop more ethically.