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 worse, appear older than you are, you will need 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 fo everyone. I offer my best advice for dressing and style in my 10 Steps to a More Stylish You course. More info at the bottom of this article.
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. 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
- coloured cowboy boots
- mini dresses (but do 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
What are some of the things you should do more of?
1. Have more lasting high quality items in your wardrobe. 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.
Focus on creating the nicest silhouette for your body type. I often refer to creating a golden ratio or a 1/3 – 2/3 balance in dressing which is discussed in more detail in my style ebook.
2. Mix and match designer items with non-designer ones. I personally love Zara for many of my fashion items and basics as they carry items in pure cotton or pure wool.
3. 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
4. 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!
5. Develop your own style. Really discover what works best for your body and stick to that. If you can this well, you will have very little need for the real fashion items.
6. Wear skirts that are just above or on top of the knee which is the best 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. For more info see my article on the perfect skirt length for women over 40.
7. Try to achieve the hourglass figure as your final outcome. Depending on your shape you will either have to add volume to the top or the bottom. Don’t do both.
9. Make sure you wear a good bra.
10. Wear shoes with heals that you are able to walk in. Mid high heels can look fabulous.
I want to exphasise that these tips are not set in stone and it’s up to you to decide what works best for you. But if you don’t want to look young and hip, then these ‘rules’ can certainly help. Stay tuned as I will go more into detail about dressing for your body shape which is so important into looking just right!
For more tips, see also this related article: How to dress over 40 – my top ten tips
If you like to know more about your body type and which garments would be good for you, I recommend trying My Private Stylist. Get your own personal recommendations!
If you like to improve your style, I highly recommend my own 10 Steps to a More Stylish You course. In 10 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!
If you have any further tips then I would love to hear them!