Of course you can dress any which way you like, but if you don’t want to look like you are sixteen, like you are trying too hard to stay young or appear older than you are, you may like some guidelines as to how to dress after 40. Here are just some of the things women over 40 need to be aware of.
Please note that these are just GENERAL guidelines. They certainly don’t apply to everyone.
I focus a lot more on personal expression and style on this site and I offer my best advice for dressing and style in my 21 steps to a More Stylish You course. More info at the bottom of this article.
Still, I also believe in dressing to your strenghts and taking your body into account so if you like to have some guidelines on how to dress after 40, then you can find them below
What are some of the things you should avoid?
1. Don’t buy clothes that do not flatter you, even if it’s the trends this season. For this it’s important to know your body type, which I will discuss in upcoming posts.
2. Try not to be too matchy-matchy or too polished. It’s nice to mix things up and be a bit more playful. A 2 piece suit will quickly look old. Better to mix that jacket with another skirt or pants and look effortlessly chic.
3. Avoid buying fabrics that are too cheap as they are usually not flattering or will not last. You can see some characteristics of fabrics here. Best to buy only the clothes that you love and that have a chance of lasting.
4. Don’t mix a tight skirt or pants with a tight top. Aim to have either a tight skirt with a loser top or vice versa. See also my tips on how to wear leggings over 40.
5. Clothes to avoid:
- really short shorts
- mini dresses (but you can wear those over trousers)
- mom jeans
- ripped jeans
- baggy jeans (see also how to wear jeans over 40)
- unfitted blazers
- baggy sweats
- too long skirts (although when balanced well, these can still look good)
What are some of the things you should do more of?
1. Know your style! Nothing is more important than dressing in a way that pleases and represents you. If you know your style and understand your body you can break any of the rules or add items from the ‘don’t list’ as you please. My style course will help with that.
2. Determine the wardrobe essentials that are unique to your style.
3. Have more lasting high quality items in your wardrobe. These vary for each style personality but some important classics are:
- A white button down shirt.
- A long coat (could be a trench coat).
- A beautiful dress that fits you perfectly. Don’t automatically go for a little black dress. Many women over 40 will actually look better (and slimmer) in a colorful dress.
- Well fitted long pants.
- A well fitted blazer.
- A good pair of dark denim jeans that fit you well. Boot cut or straight leg is usually the most flattering. See some of my guidelines on jeans and recommendations here.
4. Mix and match designer items with non-designer ones.
5. Take a good critical look at yourself before you go out and see if you look too overdone. The aim is to look effortlessly chic so just evalueate and if necessary you may have to add on something a bit more casual.
6. keep current with the fashion trends and make sure you have a few current items in your wardrobe. Only pick those trends that work for you! If you want to know about the latest trends you can subscribe to my newsletter and receive a free style guide!
7. Wear skirts that are just above or on top of the knee which is the best skirt length for women over 40. Try not to go too far over the knee as this is not flattering for your calves and your overall look will be older. You will look the sexiest and chicest if the skirt is not too wide and not too long. Petite women may want to go a bit shorter with their skirt lengths. For more info see my article on the perfect skirt length for women over 40.
8. Play with accessories like belts, jewelry and hats. They can make a real difference to your outfit.
9. If you want to hide some of the bulges, then shapewear definitely helps. If you don’t like shapewear, then learning how to skilfully hide with the right clothes will be preferable, like these tips in the article how to hide your belly.
10. Make sure you wear a good bra and invisible undergarments. More info in my article on how to find the perfect bra.
11. Wear hip and current shoes. These add an instant young and hip vibe to your outfits. Make sure to choose shoes that you are able to walk in. Mid high heels can look fabulous. If you need more support I have a great list of arch support shoes.
I want to emphasise again that these tips are not set in stone and it’s up to you to decide what works best for you. But if you want to look young and hip, then these ‘rules’ can certainly help. The more you understand your body and your style, the more you can break these rules as you please.
For even more tips, see also this related article: How to dress over 40 – my top ten tips
If you like to improve and discover your own unique style, I highly recommend my 21 Steps to a More Stylish You course. In 21 days you will understand so much more about your own body, personality and style and will know what you need to do to take it to the next level. Find out more and get instant access!
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If you have any further tips then I would love to hear them!