The 9 best boyfriend shirts if you’re over 50

Here we are back in the eighties and nineties again with the big silhouette.

And the simplest way to get the look is to buy one new top.  The boyfriend shirt is what you need in 2022 to bring you right up to date.

Here’s what to look for in today’s boyfriend shirt

  • Button-down
  • Neat, structured collar
  • A collar with enough body – or stiffening agent – to be worn turned up or down
  • Long sleeves
  • Cuffs that can be turned up or down
  • A yoke at the back
  • A pleat or fullness at the back
  • One bold color or stripes
  • Hangs well below the waist
  • Shoulder seam at the top of the arm or much further down
  • Retro business shirt sleeves with fullness

What style of shirt works well for an older woman?

This year retailers are crazy about shirts.  And they come in three distinct looks: the very slim fitted shirt; the satin, fluid shirt and the boyfriend shirt.

Unless you still have a waist and a good upper body shape then the slim fit will not look good on you.  In fact you may not even be able to get the buttons to do up.  This year fitted really means fitted!

The fluid shirt is a little better but, honestly, satin highlights every contour so again, if like most of us well over 50, you have even the beginnings of love handles – rolls of flab at the waist made worse by tight waistbands – then best to pop those silky, slippy little shirts back on the rack.

But here’s the good news ladies!

The boyfriend shirt is your new best friend.  You’ll notice words in its description such as generous cut, oversize, extra length, billowy back, plus girlfriend and ex-boyfriend. 

The look is much, much bigger and puffier than we’ve been used to over the last few years. 

Not sure what suits you these days?

I designed the Mature Style Course for you! It takes you step by step from a lifetime’s cluttered closet to a stylish, wearable wardrobe that works for your shape, personality and budget.

The right shirt if you are petite or short

Let’s be honest, fabulous as the oversized shirt looks on a tall model, if, like me you are short, this style could drown you.

My advice – and what I did – is to choose a shirt which is just slightly fitted. 

So you are looking for a shirt that looks good worn outside pants or jeans with all the styling suggested above – collar, button-down, cuffs, cotton, longer length, wider shoulders – but in the back you have two darts just slightly pulling in the fullness created by the wide shoulders and broad yoke.

Without all those other features your semi-fitted shirt will just be a regular button-down.  Classic is good.  But to up the style I’m hoping you’ll opt for one of the bigger blousier shirts here – with small tucks in the back if necessary.

What’s the ideal fabric for a boyfriend shirt?

To get the shirt to stand away from your body the fabric needs to have some stiffness and body.  So cotton is perfect.  It will look great the first time on, but you’ll probably need to get out the spray starch and the iron each time you wash it.

Some cotton blends work well too.  Man-made fabrics these days can mimic any natural fabric and often enhance its properties, so don’t dismiss a shirt that is not 100% pure cotton.

What colors are trending for the oversize shirt in 2022?

Depending on your personal style you can go for a block color or a stripe.  The most on-trend colors are bold greens and oranges.  But if a strong single colour would overwhelm your look then choose a pretty pink. Pink is super fashionable this Spring.

Personally, I chose to go for a striped shirt.  I love the freshness of blue and white stripes.  Every retailer this year has at least one blue and white striped shirt so you’ll have lots to choose from.

My pick of boyfriend shirts you can buy online

I’ve selected reasonably-priced shirts from Target, Mango, M&S, Boden and River Island. I’ve linked to the US sites as I know most of my readers are based there. But all these retailers are online and sell in many countries including Canada and the UK.

Scroll over these photos below to see prices, or click on one to see more details, sizes and reviews on the retailer’s site. These are affiliate links which may pay me commission, at no cost to you, if you buy. Thanks for your support!

Looking for more on shirts?

Read this article on buying and styling a long silk shirt.

This post shows me trying on a patterned silk shirt that is shorter and more fitted.

And here’s an earlier post on choosing a white shirt for summer.

4 thoughts on “The 9 best boyfriend shirts if you’re over 50

    1. Hi Cynthia. An oversized shirt worn long can go over almost any style of pants depending on the look you want to create. A narrow pant or legging will look sporty, jaunty, young. Straight-cut jeans will look relaxed for the weekend. Wider pants will look very up-to-date. Just be aware that wide top and wide bottom can drown a short person. Joni x

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