Best Fall / Winter 2012 trends for women over 40

by Sylvia

Fall winter 2012 trends report

Fall is fast approaching so it’s time to do an update on my trends report for Fall and Winter 2012. Back in March I already gave you my trends predictions, but now I will add on to that and give you a full report of all the trends for this fall and which ones I think are best suited for women over 40. My favorites start from the top!

Tone on Tone pant suits (see above )

This is a trend I absolutely love. Just featuring the tone on tone pant suits of Miu Miu would suffice here, as almost the entire Miu Miu collection consisted of pant suits in many gorgeous colours and prints. However, plenty of other designers like Giorgio Armani, Kenzo and Diane von Furstenberg featured them as well. Always a fan of tailored sharp dressing inspired by menwear, I believe that many women over 40 would look amazing in this.

fall trends 2012 black and blue

I adore this trend. Although I don’t like to wear solid black on most occasions (and don’t advise it to most women over 40) the combination with royal or cobalt blue is chic and hip at the same time. A perfect trend for many women!

This is a excellent trend for women over 40. Choose a great dress or tunic and wear over skinny pants or leggings! Choose one of many gorgeous colours of the season or subtle print. Very modern is the long tunic worn over cropped pants.

Another favorite look of mine is the nautical and military trend. Great for adding a sporty edge to your outfit or to wear classics like the striped breton t-shirt and a tailored navy suit.

There is lots and lots of leather this season and I already saw many glorious outfits featuring leather in shops. Although you can wear it from head to toe, I believe most women over 40 would look better if they use it more subtly. Feature pieces of leather in your dress or wear a classy jacket!

Most of you will love that the accent is firmly on the waist again. If this is your smallest part, it is always great to accentuate it and look very elegant indeed.

Fall is going to be full of wonderful prints and colours. I think dresses like the one of Christian Dior can look great on women over 40, but I would be more careful with print on print suits. As always some of you will be able to pull if off, but many older women will look better if the prints are more moderate.

glamour and luxury

Lots of clothes will feature embellishments like crystals, gem encrusted silks, glossy brocades, pailletes and beads and baroque embroidery. Fabrics are luxureous like velvet and soft leather which is sometimes embroidered. Not my favorite trend as I tend to take a more minimalist approach, but many women will love this new-found luxury and will look amazing. My tip to look great is to not overdo the opulence! Rich broidery and brocade can quickly look very old-lady…

Pants are here in all kinds of edgy shapes, in all kinds of colours and prints and they are mostly cropped. The good thing is that they are slim and cropped, which make them much easier to wear. But as described in my article on how to wear cropped pants and capris, wear with caution. Not everyone looks good in them and make sure you get the proportions right and wear them with the right shoes.

oversized structured tops

Oversized tops is my least favorite trend of the season. I have seen quite a lot of these super-slim models, looking huge in some of these tops. Imagine what the average woman would look like! Most of you will look far better in fitted clothes, that accentuate your strengths.

It looks like it’s going to be a fun fall and winter! Which are your favorite trends?

Image credit:

Kathleen Lisson

And equestrian!?


That trend has not been on my radar much. I may write about it in a feature article, and feature some of the fabulous new equestrian boots!


Thanks Sylvia that is a great wrap-up!
I’m glad you stated your dislike of over sized tops. I’ve been trying to avoid them, as I just don’t find them flattering. But there are so many in the shops!


Yes, that is a problem sometimes with trends. Sometimes what’s in trend is just not good for us, so it will take more searching to find flattering tops this season.


This is a great list! I am very excited for Fall! I have been shopping since July as that is when Nordstrom had their big sale for new A/W12 merchandise.
1)Tone on Tone – this is always a good look for me because it makes me appear taller. I like that I can use different shades – not just black or navy.
2)Black & Blue – one of my favorite combinations. I have 3 new blue dresses and plan on wearing them with black jackets, tights, pumps, or tall boots.
3)Dresses and Skirts Over Pants – I am too short for this look. I can not make it work – but Prada did this and it was my favorite runway.
4)Nautical – the Military look is always high on my list – especially in jackets and coats.
5)Leather – I wanted a leather dress but it was overwhelming so I have ordered a leather peplum top that I can wear with jeans or pencil skirts. I have a great brown leather jacket and there is another one I have asked for for my birthday with “snake” trim and lots of zippers.
6)Waists – I remember last spring you gave me the idea to wear a belt over a coat. I have a black patent corset belt with 2 gold buckles that I have been waiting to try over a gray tweed coat since that day!
7)Colors & Prints – I have to be careful with prints but I did buy a dress with burgundy, teal, and a touch of orange that I adore. I can wear different colors with it (an orange cardigan, a burgundy jacket) and change it up.
8)Embellishments – again, I have to be careful with this. I did buy a cropped black jacket with black beads on the shoulders and down the front (it kind of has a Military vibe) and I bought a pair of gold suede tall boots with copper beading.
9)Cropped Pants – I have a cobalt blue pair and wore them today for the first time. They are tight and come to the ankle but it is a tricky look. I wore them with wedges as I have to have some height with them. I got some nice compliments but don’t feel comfortable in them. They may go to a friend.
10)Oversized Tops – I might try a cropped sweatshirt type over skinny jeans and boots but I would have to get the proportions perfect to make it work.
Two other “looks” that are big here is any shade of deep red (I bought a burgundy riding jacket) and Equestrian boots. I bought a pair of those in burgundy leather too. I have not been this excited about a new season in a long time!


It’s great that you are picking the trends that work for you Suzanne. Your purchases sounds fabulous. Yes, I pondered about including the reds and may still do that to make the list complete and possibly add equestrian too. As you know I love every shade of red, so that is a great trend for me!


Funny…after seeing a number of disheveled looking women in crop pants recently, I decided the look is akin to “mom-jeans” and I’ve decided to give them up. I have a pair of tapered ankle pants (supposed to be “crop” or “capri” but I’m short) and they still look OK, but I don’t think anything that hits higher than the ankle bone is very flattering on anyone. I’m not a big fan of pant suits either…have just seen too many sloppy ones worn with bad shoes. I’d rather wear a skirt if I have to wear a suit. I do love all the colors and prints!


Yes, cropped pants can be very tricky. You need to do quite a few things right to make them look good. And you certainly don’t need them, so go for nice long pants or skirts instead. Just pick a trend that works for you!

Heather Fonseca

I love the leather trend. I have quite a bit of it already, and I’m just itching to get them front and center in my closet! I like your take on black with cobalt. I have a cobalt jacket that I just can’t figure out how to wear. With black seems to be a good direction! The one trend you didn’t mention is the oxblood color. I’m think I’ll be looking for some accessories in the color.
Great round up! I like your advice for each trend as well.


Sounds like a great idea Heather. Another good option is white. Yes, it’s clear from the feedback that I should have included the reds….


Thanks for this fascinating look at the upcoming trends. Gives me food for thought 🙂


You’re welcome Saretta!


I have always been a fan of Dries van Noten. Very wearable and a good neighbour.


His fall collection was certainly very wearable!


Like this article a lot. I will follow Suzannes approach and comments on each trend.
1)Tone on Tone – I like it, but am no good at it. I never seem to see it. The suits however… I have a very good double breasted black pant suit (I showed the jacket on the Forum, in combination with my orange trousers and pearls). But it is a bit boring. I need Anja to style and lift it. And I have a great D&G black skirt suit. Has to go to the tailor though as I lost the buckle and my broche does not do the trick.
2)Black & Blue – Blue is not my colour, so I have to pass on this trend.
3)Dresses and Skirts Over Pants – Not my cup of tea if the top is as long as shown. Sylvia, you often talk about proportions (1/3 and 2/3). Don’t you think the length of the dresses shown are too long?
4)Nautical – the Military look. That trend seems to always come back. Like safari. I have little of it and doubt whether I will buy it. Again.
5)Leather – It is a great look for women over 40, but it is getting riskier for women near 60. Black leather near my face is out of the question. But my long black leather skirt will finally see the outside world again. I ordered a red peplum top with my tailor and perhaps that will go with it. Or a big sweater. I really need to take the skirt along when I am going shopping for the top. The peplum top is tomato red as I really wanted to use Prada material. Such a nice feel. And that did not come in burgundy or deep red, which would have been my preference.
6)Waists – so glad I have a waist again after the surgery. Otherwise I would have hated this trend. Over 40 O.K, but if you get near 60… most women loose their waist (unlike Judith).
7)Colors & Prints – I like prints but found out that you get easily bored with a pant suit with prints. Although the red Miu Miu one is tempting. I disagree with your comment on the Dior dress. That would make me look like a very old woman. Perhaps it is the age difference.
8)Embellishments – I am lucky. I got two great skirts with embroidery from Anja.
9)Cropped Pants – I think they look great on me as I am tall (1m75). But perhaps I am overdoing it with my cropped jeans which are a lot higher than my ankle bones.
10)Oversized Tops – Again I think it suits me being tall, but I am not going to exaggerate.
Thanks for this elaborate report Sylvia.


3. Yes, they are quite long, but I still like the look. Especially the Prada dresses. They are empire wasted which still gives it a nice silhouette. Probably looks better with skinny long pants though, rather than capris. 5. I think a peplum top could look very nice on your leather skirt. 6. You can always still create the ilustion of a waist with clothes 🙂 8. Yes, I think you may be right about the Dior dress. The necklace makes it more modern, but a dress can certainly age some women…


Thank you so much for all the good work you did and for sharing it with us, Sylvia.
You did better than a magazine.
These are some really nice trends. I guess the oversized tops is the one I like less. I love the cropped pants, but it’s sooooo tricky. I also love waists, I’m a belt’s lover and I think a belt is good to achive it. Dresses and skirts over pants I never wore them, but from the pictures I prefer them not too long.
I just missed the reds because I love red and I would like to confirm it.
When in doubt I can always come here and check it out.


Great you like the trends update. That’s another vote for adding the reds trend. I must add it to the list soon!


I really enjoyed your breakdown and the photos you posted. I wonder if LV realizes how distracting from the designs those hats seem. Ahhh trends. Love them and hate them. Love the tunics/dresses over leggings and I am attracted to embellishments (carefully). As we are all adults, it is great to see that we are not slaves to fashion, instead we pick and choose those that suit our shapes and coloring. Isn’t it great that we have Sylvia to sort it out for us.


Thanks Sally, Yes, that is exactly what we need to do. Only incorporate a new trend that suits your style and your body type!


Thanks, that was great Sylvia. I’m in Australia so we are now at the end of our winter. Perhaps these styles will come through more next year. LOVE that the cropped pants are still going to be in style. The last photos showcasing structured tops looked like they were hiding hideous shoulder pads in the jackets – ewww!!! Actually, it looks like anything goes because all the styles were so diverse, and that is absolutely brilliant because it is easier to find one’s own style and comfort. Thanks again.


Thanks Petra. Yes, I think that’s right. Just pick what works for you!

Lisa Moloney

Hi Sylvia,
I discovered your site a few weeks ago, and I think it is the best over 40s site I have seen. I’m always on the search for style advice, and I find your photos inspiring, you never look overdone, or that you try too hard, unlike other sites. Well done to you, I shall check in on you regularly.


Thank you Lisa for leaving your very kind feedback. This is great to hear and will encourage me to keep bringing you great style inspiration!

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