My picks of the best fashion spring / summer 2012 trends for women over 40

by Sylvia

best spring / summer 2012 trends - graphical

I have already written several posts on the most fabulous trends and designer collections for this coming season and I have now grouped these all together at Spring / Summer 2012 fashion trends.

But let’s give a a quick overview of the trends and my opnion on what I think women over 40 should embrace and which trends they should forget about. Feel free to disagree of course and let me know in the comments section!

My favorite Spring / Summer 2012 trends

From all the designer collections shown at Paris, Milan and New York some clear trends have emerged. Here are some of my favorites:

Graphical prints

This is a trend I absolutely LOVE. I covered it before at colorful and graphical dresses for Spring 2012, but above are a few more wonderful examples of this trend. It adds some much needed color to your wardrobe and I love the contrast in the clothes. This way you can add color, but don’t have to wear it all over as you combine it with black and whites.

Bright sorbet colors add colour to spring

Every woman over 40 needs some color into her wardrobe and there will be lots to choose from in the shops this coming Spring. Orange is the no. 1 hot color of the season, closely followed by green, yellow and red. You don’t have to go all out with wearing color though. Often it is enough just to add a few color accents or wear just a bottom or top. Have a look on how I wore my orange pants recently. The green Jason Wu dress also highlights another trend we are seeing, where the hem in the front is shorter than in the back. Although I would have fully embraced that trend in my twenties, I think I will give that one a miss for now. It highlights my knees and they have seen prettier days…

Dropped waist spring 2012 trend

I like wearing drop waist skirts and dresses as I find them irresistibly comfortable. So I am very happy to see this trend again. It was extensively seen at Marc Jacobs which I have featured above but could also be seen at Gucci, Etro, Jill Stuart and BCBG Max Azria.

like a lady 2012 summer trend

The lady like trend of fall continues with very elegant silhuettes. Incredibly elegent, but tight fitting. This is definitely something I would like to try sometime.

All white trend

I love white. It’s such a versatile color to mix and match and all white with just a hint of something else (be it gold, silver or another color) is extremely elegant. My only concern with white is the longevity of my clothes. They are so hard to keep white here in Singapore.

midi skirts and dresses for women over 40

This is a trend all women over 40 should embrace. The skirt length just on top of the knee is very flattering for most body types, so while it’s on trend, you may want to stock up on the midis! A great trend for women over 40.

Buttoned down collars

I don’t like to show a lot of cleavage so I’m liking this trend which was seen at Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton. It’s a classy and chic look.

Black and white trend

Will I ever get enough of the black and white combination? I don’t think so. Clothes in this color combo will last a long time and there were lots of options on the runways. I’m sure there will be many options available in shops. Black is also great to combine with the bright sorbet colors trend and the graphical trend.

Spring fashion trends that I will probably give a miss

There are a few trends that I will happily pass by. Here are a few trends for Spring and Summer that I’m not going to indulge in.

printed pants spring 2012 trend

This is really not my thing at all. Certainly not the kind of big prints that were shown on the runways. I do like pants with subtle stripes though.

More is more trend with lots of prints

The collections featured lots of busy prints, embelishments, plastic, big roses, glittering brocade, and neo-colored embroidery.  This trend is definitely a no for me as I’m more a less is more kind of girl. I also think most women over 40 should stay away from this. It can too easily become theatrical and overwhelming. Much better to go for a more minimalist look if you are aiming for elegance. Although I’m sure some women could pull off this trend with high class and style!

baby pastel colors

In sharp contrast to the bright sorbet colors, there were also quite a few soft pastels, like baby blue, soft green, and baby pink. Although there were certainly some good dresses in those colors (I loved Diana von Furstenberg’s collection) I’m not going to stock up on baby blue and pink garments. I have just never been into those really soft pastels, and these are hard colors to pull off for many women over 40.

Peplum Metalics Sportstyle

Sports clothes as regular clothes are in fashion. Although I’m a great sports lover and love to dress up in great sports clothes, I’m not that keen on wearing sports attire while I’m going out. I quite like the peplum trend, but think it will be too short lived and too trendy. I’m definitely not into metalics for my clothes!

How the trends are translated in the stores

This wraps up my Spring / Summer 2012 trends overview. In the upcoming weeks, I will look at all of my favorite trends separately and show you what’s available in stores for these trends right now. If you have found some great pieces for a particular trend, let me know and I can feature them!

Which is your favorite spring / summer 2012 trend and how will you wear it? Let me know in the comments below!

Images from

1 Suzanne

You have put so much time and thought into this post. It is really helpful to see the trends all in one place. 🙂 I plan on wearing brights (orange!) but I want to find a blouse or dress in a pastel mint or aqua shade too and I have a lilac python Max Azria bag that I can not wait to use. I love the graphics of BCBG and I love the ladylike styles of ac Posen. He is one of my favorite designers. I have a dropped waist dress and I would wear a peplum suit if I found the right one. Black and white is always in fashion and I love white pants in the Summer. I hope to find a pair of high waisted ones to try. I can wear hems to the top of my knee but no longer than that or it looks like I do not have legs. LOL! I can not wear collars buttoned all the way up or it looks like I have no neck. I can wear prints if they are not too small or too large. I would like to have a pair of floral printed jeans. Those would be great. I also am crazy about the “rose” jewelry Prada features for S/S. For some reason the earrings truly appeal to me. And I want to find a pair of colorful loafers as those are a big look in shoes for this Spring.
The world of fashion is so hard to keep up with. I am just now getting ready for S/S but this week the Fall/Winter looks hit the runways and that is what everyone will be talking about for the next month. It is confusing to be building a wardrobe for one season while the next season’s trends are being featured. It is always like that though.
Thank you for this post Sylvia.

2 Sylvia

Yes, I did put a lot of effort into this post, so thanks for acknowledging that Suzanne! It sounds like you are embracing a lot of the trends this season. Thanks for writing on how you are going to wear them. It’s great to read. Have fun!

3 Nanne

Like Suzanne said, all the effort you put into making this post, which by the way is exellent! I immediately fell for the striped Oscar de la Renta dress, something similar would be a perfect versatile item for spring and summer, I think. I’d love to try orange and a little bit of metallic this spring, and maybe some graphic print. The trends I’ll pass on are the same ones as you, except from the metallics – I have my eyes on a pair of bronze leather ballet flats:)

4 Sylvia

thanks Nanne, I wanted to make an easy overview. I always really enjoy looking at these in magazines and they are so useful when you’re not following day-to-day fashion reports. I hope it will be a nice reference for women which they can use throughout the summer and Spring. I have now also grouped all my articles on Spring / summer 2012 in one category so they can easily be found:
Have fun with the trends this season!

5 Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

What a wonderful post, Sylvia! So helpful in sorting out what’s new. I for one will (keep) embracing a longer skirt, the all-white and ivory looks and the gorgeous ladylike dresses you showed. I also love a dropped waist dress, and I’m happy to see it coming back! I am not a bright color-near-the-face person, but love it for accessories.

6 Sylvia

Thanks Patti. That was exactly my intention 🙂 Hope you can spread the word… Yes, the longer skirt is great and I know how good it looks on you! I’m going to try the bright colors near the face very soon (will try get photos ready for your visible Monday!)

7 The Style Crone

So many possibilities. It seems as though most trends repeat with a twist. I remember orange as the color of the season in the early 80’s during the era of my hat shop. I love to admire and pay attention to the trends that you featured, but I tend to wear what I love or whatever captures my interest on a given day.

8 Sylvia

Yes, they all repeat don’t they. How exiting that you even owned a hat shop!

9 Christina Gregoire

I think almost all of your recommendations are spot on. However, I don’t think most women look good in dropped-waist dresses. Actually, I don’t even love those dropped-waist styles on the models. But, I totally agree with you about the printed pants. Fourteen-year-old girls probably don’t look good in printed pants…can you imagine a 40-year-old woman with a fat butt strolling around in them? (Note: A midi is a dress or skirt that goes to mid-calf. Your “midi” dresses are cute, and all Boomer Chicks can wear them, but I would call that hemline either knee length or tea length.) And, I’m happy to see peplums because they make any woman look like she has a good waist…if they fit properly and aren’t pointed or weird. The rest of your comments are absolutely appropriate for most women.

10 Sylvia

Hi Christina. Thanks for your comment. I know that dropped waist line dresses will be hard to wear for many women, but I still like them. I think that one is just a matter of preference, because I think the models look great and I just really like that silhouette. If you have the length, then I would say go for it. As for midi, I have seen that word used on many websites and online shops when they describe skirts of just over the knee length. But I think you are correct that midi is supposed to mean mid calf. I will be more careful with that word next time and will correct it in this post. You are right about peplums. They can be really nice and quite figure flattering. I also noticed that this trend will continue for the coming season as well. It was a close call for that one. I only put it in the trends to skip for this year, as I thought it would be too trendy and short lived. But it is a trend I do like so may change my mind…..

11 Christina Gregoire

Hi there,

I wasn’t really trying to make a big deal about the term “midi.” I just didn’t think you were old enough to have seen the origins of the midi trend. The term midi was first used around 1970. But, the only reason I mentioned it was that I look good in (mid-calf) midis and I look like nutbunnies (fake swear word) in knee-length or just-below-the-knee-length skirts and dresses. So, I am somewhat of a stickler with that one term…although I love to mangle the English language in other instances. I’m an internet writer and I make up words whenever I feel like it, so normally I wouldn’t have said anything.

It was fun to read your article. I’m sure that I’ll have a chance to link to something you’ve written at some point because we cover the same topics. And, most clothing looks like dicksplash on boomer-aged women.

Keep up the good work.

Christina Gregoire

12 Sylvia

Thanks Christina

13 thefashionistachic

I love how you love high fashion! It is totally refreshing.

14 Chocotis4ever

I appreciate your time and views on fashion, but as a 57 yr old woman who has seen fashion come and go, I love to create my own style. I don’t find it complimentary when others categorize how one should dress for their age. Fashion to me is being able to create and play with your true self. Of course, I would not step out in a mini skirt or tu-tu, but I reserve the right to spend my money how I choose. I am comfortable with my body at 5’9″ and 160 lbs and I still wear 4-5 in heels. I’ve always felt if someone was daring enough to wear what others may for whatever reasons find outrageous, they have already discounted those opinions. I must say that I do love most of your picks and I can’t wait to wear my my 10 Crosby Derek Lam graphic print pants. I got my life and my style…

15 Sylvia

thanks for your feedback! I think it’s great that you have your own style and know exactly how to dress. What I’m providing here are just a few guidelines for those who need or like them, that noone has to follow! I still like to incorporate yearly trends, because I like the new and fun aspects of it, but I also truly appreciate those women who can totally create their own style. It’s certainly not necessary to keep up with trends to look great. Looking great is all about confidence and feeling great with what you wear. I would love to see some of your looks so feel free to share them in our style forum!

16 Chocotis4ever

Hi Sylvia

Thanks for your reply and I agree with you that looking great is all about confidence. I would love to share some of my looks on your style forum and thanks for the invitation to do so!

17 thefashionistachic

I totally love your point of view. Fashion for me is self expression and I appreciate your recognizing the point of self expression. You sound like a free spirit who lives life to the fullest. For those who find your choices outrages, I thinks speaks more about them and less about you. I built a business on women freely expressing themselves through apparel. It is freeing, liberating and often therapeutic.

18 Chocotis4ever


Thanks for your response and I totally agree with you that fashion is a form of self expression. And yes, people are always quick to speak against those who dare to be different because they themselves often fear change. I love being different and though I can’t always afford designer clothing, I am attracted to them because the designers have dared to be different. Your business sounds very interesting and I am sure I would love it!

19 Diane

I’m 56 and love my cream and brown DVF floral print skinny jeans. Certainly they are not for everyone, even I was skeptical and only tried them on to please a friend who insisted. I was shocked that I loved them. Pulled me right out of my box. I am thinking of ways to transition them to fall so I can continue to wear them.

20 Sylvia

I warmed up to that trend as well and have been tempted on occasion to buy them as well. I think the right cut can look great on many women, so am happy to hear that it was a good buy for you!

21 Lisa from New York

I just love your site! I was checking out several sites for fashion over 4o for women and was saddened by how so many of them would boldly advertise ‘how to look younger’. I could care less about looking ‘younger’. I am more interested in looking fashion forward for my age. This site gave such a fantastic range of color and styles that didn’t try to force a teenage perspective to the mature woman. Thank you! I love the color bursts you showcased for Spring. Thanks again for such a thoughtfully researched article.

22 Sylvia

Hi Lisa, Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s great to hear from my readers and I’m so glad you enjoy the site. I look forward to connecting more with you. You may also want to check out the style forum where we discuss fashion and each others looks!

23 Sridhar

My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on most of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome website!

24 Sylvia

Thanks for the compliment. Unfortunately, I do not accept guest posts. You can check out advertising options at:

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