#40plusstyle inspiration: Wear what you like after 40!

by Sylvia

#40plusstyle inspiration: Wear what you like! | 40plusstyle.com

Every now and then you will see a ridiculous article appear on the internet that specifies what you can and cannot wear after 40. I often feel that the main reasons these websites publish these kind of articles is to get the whole 40+ community up in arms and rebel against it, which of course draws even more attention to those articles. (and you can be sure that they will write more of them because of that).

That is why I usually don’t react or link to them and just laugh at their wild suggestions.

Of course there is nothing wrong with providing guidelines, which I also do on this site. Many of you appreciate these tips, but they are very general and really hard to give as each individual’s style and comfort zone is just so different. And they certainly would not include silly things like hoop earrings, sleeveless tops and a pony tail!

The more I write and think about style and how to dress after 40, the more I believe that it is important to stay true to your individual style. (see also how to find your style and my style course). For that reason I would not personally wear many items on that list, like ripped jeans, just because they were never part of my individual style or because I personally don’t feel fabulous in them. I do know quite a few 40+ women though who look fabulous in them and wear them with great delight!

I also think it’s important that every 40+ woman makes up her own mind. I know quite a few women who don’t like to wear sleeveless tops anymore because they no longer feel fabulous in them. That is ok too and a personal choice. It is certainly NOT a style rule that you should not wear sleeveless tops after 40 and I will continue to enjoy my sleeveless tops and dresses for as long as I like!

Let’s just stick to the ‘rule’ that if you feel fabulous in something that you wear, you can still wear it, no matter how old you are. No matter what you wear, if you wear it with confidence then people will love it on you. (not all people mind you, but you will NEVER be able to please everyone with your look, so please yourself first and foremost). It’s definitely true that my style has changed since I was 20 and that I wear certain things differently but I still wear what I like.

Therefore, let’s celebrate that we can wear whatever we want at 40+!


I loved this initiative from Catherine from the fabulous blog Not Dressed as Lamb to do a ‘I will wear what I like’ challenge in August.

To participate just use the the hashtag #iwillwearwhatilike on Instagram or other social media.

If you then also tag your photos with #40plusstyle, you stand a chance to be featured on this blog. I will pick my favorites around one of the week’s themes and feature it on Saturdays here. This should be a lot of fun.

Today’s theme is oversized sunglasses, so here are some fabulous 40+ women rocking that look!

Do you still wear whatever you like at 40+ or have you set some limitations for yourself?


1 Yvonne

I soo love this post – definitely wear whatever I like and I just turned 50 this year – smile, oversized sunglasses, short shorts, you name it – if I like it i’ll wear it!!!


2 Suzanne

Wear what you want and makes you feel good. These articles that give women rules for dressing are just plain stupid !

3 denton

Oversize sunglasses look especially good on older women! Just look at Iris Apfel…

4 amy

Thank you so much for sharing this! Every word rings loud and true. I will definitely be participating in this. I’m over fifty and I can’t stand it when someone tells me what to wear based on my age. And the phrase ‘Age Appropriate’ needs to disappear…forever!

5 Patti

Great post, Sylvia! And I really enjoy Catherine’s list, although the furry boots will have to wait a few months : > I am wearing a jumpsuit today and feeling great. xo

6 Catherine @ Not Dressed As Lamb

Patti I won’t be wearing them either!! I mentioned that posting old photos from the winter or another season are more than welcome, so that’s what I’ll be doing for fur and furry boots. Leather trousers is another, unless you’re in the southern hemisphere of course. But I can’t imagine that in Florida you *ever* have the need to wear furry boots…!!

7 Samantha

I definitely wear what I like!
“Rules” should only apply to occasions, NOT individuals…especially not based on age.
Rule-makers sound dull as dishwater to me.
I would always choose to talk to the woman with a little va-va-voom and individuality, at an occasion, much more fun!
We should tell each other how beautiful and fabulous we are rather than worrying about the length of a hem or size of a pair of sunnies.
Great article!
I am going to be posting some of these ‘forbidden’ items on instagram and twitter too.

8 Carrie

Dear Sylvia,

I have recently started following your website! I am loving it and I have taken lots of advice from you. Thank you! Any chance you can write about men over 40 and what they should wear. Any helpful tips for the husbands? My husband is very slim, but I find he still wears a lot of younger looking outfits. We are trying to help him find the balance between dressing well but also dressing his age. Food for thought!

9 Sylvia

I focus on women on this site but I did write this one article on how to get your man to dress better: https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-get-your-man-to-dress-better/

10 SuzanneC

You bet I’ll wear what I like, same as always. I’m over 50 and I’ll be wearing a destroyed denim skirt today!

11 suzanne

Wear what you love, that’s my moto! Thank you for sharing this fun style challenge! I am looking forward to all the fun and great looks this month! xx

12 Karen

I agree with your belief that a lot of sites probably do this to get women up in arms and therefore draw attention to the sites.

I am one of those women who doesn’t like to wear sleeveless tops out of the house but I do make an exception when it is insanely hot / humid out but more often than not I will have a linen gauze blouse on.

I have never really adhered to style rules or suggestions from others . . . I essentially live in blacks and grays and I’ve been made fun of my entire life for it – so much so that when on the rare occasion I do wear a color it is remarked upon.

13 JulietC

I think lists might be useful as a guide sometimes, but then only as a starting point – as I thought one of the great things about getting older is that you no longer need to follow the herd and adhere strictly to a social code (who on earth would want to be a teenager again)… Then again it is not what you wear but how you wear it – clothing that fits, clothing that is clean and cared for and good basic grooming/underwear can go a long way as does an air of confidence, which comes back to wearing what you like and what suits you as all the wonderful ladies on this site prove.

14 Shawna

Well said, Sylvia! I find it very liberating to wear what I like and forget rules. I am even beginning to forget or not care about figure flattery guidelines because who says I have to look a certain size and shape? I am quite aware of what flatters my shape. I do not find it easy to acquire such things because I am also particular about fabrics and colours and I just want to feel comfortable both physically and psychologically.

15 Greetje

I wear what I like but I don’t like mini on me anymore. Very strange to think that oversized sunglasses would be becoming over 40. I would think the opposite is true.

16 Catherine @ Not Dressed As Lamb

Thanks so much for sharing this, Sylvia! The crazy thing is, the article that the list is based on was 24 things you shouldn’t wear after the age of 30, not 40…. Can you believe it?!!!!!

I honestly cannot imagine why the (20-something) girl that wrote it thinks that a 30 year old shouldn’t wear oversized sunglasses or short dresses. She’s going to get a shock when she turns 30 in what will seem like five minutes, as I’m sure most women reading this discovered as well…!

Catherine x

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: