May 1st, 2012
05:26 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Wear mumus? Not so fast. Try hats, colors, bold threads

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

CNN profiled several women who refuse to retire to mumus and drab outfits, instead choosing clothing that would make a bold sartorial statement at any age. The styles these older women are adopting, highlighted in blogs like Advanced Style and Idiosyncratic fashionistas, typify a desire to tailor fashion toward personal interests versus trends. Readers talked about their own fashion ideals.

Aging stylishly, online and in the streets

This reader wishes she could wear hats at work.

dragonwife: "I have to go with the old saying: I may grow older, but I'll never grow up! Wear what you like, as long as it's appropriate for the situation (for example, a suit and heels probably would be a bit much for doing yard work), and if they don't like it, too bad. If they allowed me to wear hats at work, I'd be wearing one frequently; as it is, I like to wear them when my husband and I go out. And wear what looks good on you and makes you happy, not what some designer or magazine says is the latest trend. A wonderful quote from Edna Woolman Chase - 'Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.' I'll stick with style - my own (says the 57-year-old who takes martial arts classes and sings karaoke)!"

Do horses care what you wear?

Epona4CP: "How exhausting and so-not-me to think of all this shopping and dressing. I am 62 and ride and teach with horses for sport and for my equine-assisted learning second career. When I started 10 years ago, I bought enough fringey, bead-y, fetish-y Cowboys & Indians Chic attire to last a lifetime. And about twice a year I cruise the secondhand stores in the Haight-Ashbury for vintage Western wear. But on an everyday basis, it's skinny jeans from Macy's Juniors, some gorgeous custom half chaps, and t shirts or tank tops. As long as I have pockets for cookies, my horses don't care what I wear, and my hubby loves his little cowgirl."

Some say they hope to be so bold in a few years. But what if you aren't?

equinoxal: "I'm young and appreciate what these people are doing. I've often been very annoyed with the attitude that people older than 40 need to just quietly fade. I want to live and wear what makes me happy. I'm pretty used to standing out in what I wear, so I may not be too different from these ladies in the future. You can think they are strange for what they wear, but I prefer that they are not fading, are actually wearing something at all, and wearing something interesting. F* you, world, I'm not going to be settling for 'sensible' old people clothes. Fashion brings color to life."

NEmodrtsLeft: "Your point is very authentically grounded. However, I hope given the mentality that fashion is what brings to your life and you have an F-you accept it mentality; I hope you have a commensurate appreciation for the fact that people find joy and individuality in other aspects of their lives that may not include fashion. People who are not 'fashionistas' may not have the same passion, enthusiasm, income or time, to express themselves through appearance but have equally or, in some cases, more interesting lives. Choosing to advertise their lives or not is an individual's choice. Keep on enjoying what makes you feel free and fulfilled - that's the joy of living in this country. -Fellow young person."

Not everyone was a fan.

Deephaven: "I'm glad that these women are enjoying themselves, but wow, the clothing in those pictures is downright bizarre. It's garish, not stylish."

Don't give up, says this man.

Walter Thompson III: "I, too, am a baby boomer. I turned 55 this month. Some baby boomers have given up and many are no longer here as a result. And many of my generation are also entering this period of life confused and burned out trying to understand who they are, as well as being fearful of no longer being relevant or connected to the world as they once imagined they were. But there are some of us who took the time while we were young to do the work inside ourselves in attempt to move past the trappings of the hype of materialism characterized by our time in effort to achieve a sense of self based in some spiritual discovery. I think the basis of this article is good because it is talking about folks defining and redefining who they are as they continue their life journey. Whether folks are discovering their fashion sense or learning to repair and ride motorcycles is not the issue. The issue is to continue to invest in life by investing in personal exploration that benefits the person and perhaps also the society in which they live."

Has anyone told you it's what's inside that counts?

KootieBird: "Clothes don't make the person. Who we are inside makes the person. I've always gone for the natural look. I never emphasized my physical appearance because I was always busy looking inside your heart to get to know the real you, and I wanted you to know the real me. Appearances are deceiving and can also be distracting. But I guess if women want to "paint a picture of themselves" to present to the world it's their thing to do. So go for it!"

Nothing new, says this reader.

AndreaMilnes: "This is new? Perhaps I've spent too much time around the artsy San Franciscan crowd, but my aunt and a cadre of family friends have been dressing like that ever since I was a kid. I'm psyched as hell about the clothes I'll someday inherit. Of course, if my style gets weirder as I age, I'm going to end up dying in a kilt and poncho since I'm already a thrifting grand master, competent designer, and possessed of an unusual sense of style. Hopefully I stay at about the same level of artsyness."

You've earned it.

PAH13: "Granted, not my style, and I doubt it will ever be my style. But, if they're happy, more power to them. Wouldn't it throw the fashion industry into a tizzy if everyone dressed how they enjoyed and not following someone else's fashion dictates? They probably focused on women because, sadly, men's fashion is sorely lacking in variety. Besides, when you enter your sunset years, why the heck should you care? You've earned the right to dress dapper or clownish or whatever you want to do. The key is, it is what you WANT."

So, are we sure there isn't some conspiracy going on here?

Redstick99: "Article should be titled: Corporate Fashion Industry is targeting older women because they know women in their 20's are saddled with massive student loan debt and poor employment prospects in this economy so they are going where the money is: OLD PEOPLE!"

Just smile, that's the secret.

Lynn Anderson Kimmel: "These women are wonderful, love that they enjoy having such fun with fashion and have found their own style, not what society tries to dictate for them."

Cat Nippy: "Yea for that comment! That's what one needs to do–wear what feels good to you. Hopefully that is not Army boots and nothing but sweats, but I have to say if that makes you happy, go for it! When I see the expressions on models faces, I always think, if they wore what they loved instead of what someone else told them to wear, maybe they would smile occasionally."

What do you think about fashion for older women? How do you make a personal statement about yourself, and what constitutes your "look"? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. banasy ©

    A smile is fashion's best accesory...
    That, and a great att itude.

    I love bracelets; I have many climbing up me left arm.
    That's my signature, if I even have one.
    I have been doing this since the late 80's.
    I may not always have the latest fashion, but I'd like to think I'll never run out of •style•!

    May 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr. Hesfarabaer

      If women went around wearing nothing but a smile, I think I would smile too. :)

      May 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Lol....that did come out a bit...ahem...wrong, didn't it?
      A smile and my bracelets...
      Thanks for the laugh!

      May 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Old Farmer w/no TV

    Moo moos, rather. Seent that show a hunert 'n futty times I have.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Old Farmer w/no TV

    *hunnert 'n fitty times, rather. 'course 'n the schoolmarm woullda let THAT one go.

    May 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. dazzle ©

    In my way of thinking, dressing or acting act appropriate is arcane.I used to think that more makeup was best and looking at old photos of myself I know that that notion is gone. I wear what I want when I can. A bold jewelry statement piece, pastel handbags, hair ornaments or a freshly picked flower to place in my hair which I have let grow. In winter, I wear pastel skull caps and funky boots.Now my daughter (the real one) likes to "borrow" clothes and acessories. I would never have even considered borrowing anything from my mother. An everyday must is a lipgloss with shimmer and earrings.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Portland tony

    These women are pretty
    cool. If you enjoy life, by god, do what turns you on. You only pass this way once...so make the most of it...I don't think you can make such a fashion statement from the great beyond!

    May 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Old Farmer w/no TV

    I saw a pig wearing earrings once. Looked like a pig wearing a nice pair of earrings. Green Acres...one of Arnold's g/fs. Mr. Ziffel bought-em from Mr. Haney who had traded Mrs. Douglas Mr. Douglaa's tickets to the see Eb at the special olympics. Ring toss.

    May 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Old Farmer w/no TV

    Oh! The old 'eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow we die'. I wonder if that has anything to do with our public debt going to our childrens future instead of ours.

    May 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Old Farmer w/no TV

    Shooting peoples kids for breaking in and stealing my TV turns on the Make my Day law, if'n I ever had a TV. Never did cotton to the death penalty for pilfering maself.

    May 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Old Farmer w/no TV

    @Ptony 8:09pm were both a them posts.

    May 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. DogMa

    What the hell is a mumu? Since 1923, according to Merriam-Webster, the word has been spelled "muumuu."

    May 2, 2012 at 3:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. ron

    Well, I'm gonna draw the line at wearin these thingsl lol banasy, a smile and bracelets- I like thatl

    May 2, 2012 at 5:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy ©

      @ron:
      Lol...when I leace the house, I put on my trenchcoat.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. ron

    Lol@ banasy- me too! more for everyone else's benefit!

    May 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. aaa car insurance company

    I�m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later on. All the best

    November 10, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse | Reply

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