The best spring / summer 2013 fashion trends for women over 40

by Sylvia

best spring summer 2013 fashion trends

Spring and summer clothes are hitting the stores so it’s time for your seasonal trend update!  This time for spring and summer 2013.

I highlighted 2 major trends previously already, namely the large high contrast graphical prints and the sheer trend, but today I will give you a complete overview of all the best trends for women over 40.

It’s going to be a fabulous season! So much great fashion to choose from and it was tough to narrow down the more than 550 favorites I pinned on my Spring / Summer 2013 trends board, to just a few looks. The overall trend is minimalistic, with a lot of black and white and layer play with sheer elements. Colour is still there, but there are also a lot of neutrals too.

Let’s jump right in.

high contrast black and white

What else is new, you may wonder, which is true. Black and white is always extremely popular. But this season high contrast graphics in black and white were everywhere. It’s certainly a trend I can never get enough of, and you can make it just that little bit more special but adding that pop of colour close to your face. You can apply the high contrast graphical trend with other colours too.

sheer trend

Sheer was one of the major trends this year. And often it was done in a classy and subtle way. This trend will be great fun as it will be interesting to play with layers and peekaboo details. When done in a subtle way, women over 40 can absolutely indulge in this trend.

2013 spring trend mid riff showing

Closely related to the sheer trend, it was especially the midriff that is highlighted this coming season! And if you think that this trend cannot be worn by women over 40, think again. Done in a classy way as in the above examples, I think it can be chic and sexy.

spring trend leather

There was still a strong showing of leather in the collections, tailored in very elegant ways.

world cultures trend

A lot of designers took their inspiration from world culture. Both Asian and African culture was widely represented and usually characterised by fabulous prints in beautiful colours.

power suits

I’m loving these amazing power suits. Take your pick of neutral or electric colour options!

super bright colours

Although there were a lot of neutrals to be seen on the runways, colour is not out just yet. Electric colour was especially strong with Gucci.

Spring trends 2013 Green

Emerald green is the colour of the year and variations of that colour were well represented on the runways.

spring summer 2013 trend neutrals

As a reaction to all the colours of last year, lots and lots of neutrals were shown on the runway. Often with sheer elements and cut in a minimalist but interesting way.

best shorts

Many of you will be happy to see that shorts are longer again and bit baggy. This can be a great trend, but be sure to style them well to avoid looking frumpy.

arty statement fashion spring 2013

What I personally love about arty pieces, usually draped original creations, is that they are timeless. More avantgarde arty pieces never really go out of style and can be worn for a long time. It’s a bold fashion statement and if chosen well, very body flattering. Above are some of my favorites from this year’s collections.

knee high skirts and dresses

Lots of skirts and dresses were at knee height this season, which is a great length for many women over 40!

Other trends that I will largely ignore


other spring 2013 trends

Big bold stripes, big rasters, 60s silhouettes and huge ruffles are just a few of the trends that women over 40 should be careful with. I am personally going to ignore them, since there are already so many wonderful trends to choose from.

Of course I will indulge in the high contrast graphical trend, but I will make sure to go for print and contrast that is a bit more timeless and classy, rather than the huge stripes that remind me more of a prison suit. Narrower stripes, more subtle rasters and graphical prints will definitely be on my wish list.

So that concludes my summary of the best spring / summer trends for 2013. For shoes please refer to my overview of spring 2013 flat shoe trends. Mid high shoe trends will follow shortly. Remember to choose with care and for those that took part in the style challenge, go back to your notes on style goals and missing items. Include only those trends that suit your (style) personality and lifestyle!

Which trends excite you? What will be on your wish list for the coming season?

All images by


I like the World Culture trend, and thinks this supports the additional pieces I’d like to pick up to make my wardrobe a little more fun. I’ve got neutrals in the bag. 🙂


yes, this trend is great for adding beautiful pattern!


Rita – I am missing you! Plus, I have a need for some Engineering Math. I have shoveled snow 8 times in the past 10 days as I would rather do that than try to walk in the stuff. But the shoveling is getting boring. So I told my hubby that you suggested I could get a new pair of “heavier” boots and that would improve my walks – maybe expend more energy over less time. And he told me to just put “rocks” in my pockets. Rocks Rita! A new pair of boots = rocks in the pockets. That does NOT compute in Girl Math! Is that an Engineering formula? Since you understand both Girl Math and Engineering Math I am anxiously awaiting your answer. It all depends on you Rita. And let me just remind you – there are new boots involved here. No pressure. But boots.


LOL! OK…let’s see what I can do. In this case, I believe Girl Math and Engineering Math are not mutually exclusive. Engineering Math would also call for new, heavier boots because rocks in your pockets would, in a nutshell, make you more top heavy and possible cause you to tip over, landing face first (or bum first) in the snow, vs. having the heavier boots down low, providing greater stability and keeping you upright. Plus, lifting your legs with more weight in the boots would provide for a better workout, since you are putting more force on your large muscle groups. Also, rocks in your pockets may induce a lateral sway (increased torque) as you walk that could put undo strain on your back. So, my back of the envelope calculations definitely = boots! 🙂

Yes, I’ve been doing shift work the last couple of weeks, which will continue through mid-March so it’s cutting into my internet fun. Such a pain when work interferes with free time!! 🙂


Holy Cats Rita – top heavy, greater stability, lateral sway, torque – it was getting a little technical there but you came up with the right answer so I am deeply grateful. 🙂 New boots win out over rocks. LOL!
The shift work does not sound fun. We miss you here and will keep you in our thoughts. 🙂 Have a great weekend!


LOL!!! THat kinda seems like a no-brainer though, doesn’t it. New boots would always win over rocks! 🙂

Thanks for the good work wishes! I’ve missed everyone here, too, and look forward to getting back to wardrobe fun!


“New boots would always win over rocks!” Don’t you know about “Husband Math” Rita? Here is an example:
$300 for a ticket to see one sporting event = a great investment!
$300 for a pair of boots I would wear over and over = a waste of money when I already own perfectly good boots! And rocks are free. LOL! Men do not understand “Shoe Math”. I’m not touching the “n0-brainer” line. 🙂


Oh I’m really loving the math and logic in there! Very solid and I’m sure it will persuade Suzanne husband 🙂




Haha Suzanne. So funny. I think Rita gave you the perfect, very solid, answer. I thought it was very convincing!


Please Suzanne let us know how you got on. But actually, I would wait. He will probably want you to buy snow boots. You won’t wear them that often (I hope) and they are not elegant. Perhaps take a raincheck and wait for a time to invest in more elegant boots?


I am a classic style when I dress up. I try to be casual classic at my very casual work place. I will try to pick up a colorful top.

I want to start sewing. I have a little fabric that I purchased before. I will look at the gaps in my clothing and try to sew things that will fill in the gaps in my capsules. I have some gray and white patterned material that I bought to make a vest. The vest might be my first project.


Good luck Laurie!


I need a little time to digest these looks and pick out the bits I like. So far the one that really jumps out at me is that gorgeous green lace Burberry Prorsum dress. It looks stunning combined with the cobalt blue shoes.


Green is definitely a great colour to add to your wardrobe this season. Also very beautiful with white..


What a great view of this years spring trends! I’d be happy to incorporate several of them into my wardrobe, with the exception of midriff exposure (don’t have the courage), leather (love it, but feels too stiff for my curvy body), power suits (again – a difficult trend for a curvy body) and electric color (too bright for me). Most of the other trends I can recreate with items already in my wardrobe, so I’m really looking forward to spring!


Yes, just pick the ones that suit you. Some are definitely easier to incorporate than others..


Thanks for the summary. I was immediately drawn to the Issy Miyake shift dress in greens and turquoise – loving those colours!
I recently read an article that also said snakeskin was in for spring (happy news for Tracey!) and graphic florals. Like Greetje said in a previous post, I am also drawn to the B&W trend (although they are not my colours). However, as part of my style aims I have bought a straight, knee length B&W graphic floral skirt which I hope to team with a bright top and also a beautiful sweater which has B&W stripes at the top and grey and purple stripes at the bottom. I will be taking Sylvia’s (previous) advice and picking out the purple with something near my face (either a scarf or a necklace if I can get the right colour). My husband is giving me funny looks but he will have to get used to it!
(Sorry Sylvia but I don’t know how to cross reference to other articles like you do).


Your skirt sounds great. It will be so easy to combine with lots of colours and will create a hip modern look.
If you want to link in previous articles in comments, just select the url (web address) in the browser and copy it. Then paste in the comment.


It’s so good to have you sort out what’s good and what’s not for women over 40 Sylvia and I’m sure everyone appreciates you as much as me! I like the Issy Miyake shift dress and noticed that’s one you chose too Lorraine. I also like the idea of ‘arty’ clothes, but need to be careful with too much fabric around my hips. I do love asymmetric jackets which are easy for me to wear. Choosing the right proportions for the lower area is the hard bit but is the key to any style choices.
I love the way you style asymmetric dresses and jackets so beautifully Sylvia, and I’d like to try more styles like this myself. I’ll be inspired by your previous posts where you’ve shown us how to do it.
There is something for everyone in the spring styles and great to plan ahead and get ideas for when the weather warms up. I’m looking forward to it.


thanks Aileen. I will have to plan my wish list for the coming season too, to make sure I will make the right choices. Will try and write about that too.

Życzenia Walenntynkowe

vibrant colors, original designs, interesting cuts. The upcoming season looks like exceptionally. I can not wait to appear in stores in August first collections.

Marie S

Great post Sylvia. So much more informative and easier to read than a magazine. I have stopped buying them since I discovered your blog. Thank you!


Thanks Marie. I will do my best to keep you completely in the loop in terms of fashion and style!


I love the Issey Miyake green dress, and the Nicole Farhi neutral one – they are gorgeous ! Since I like green, neutrals and black and white, I hope to find some nice new things for spring. I will be on the lookout for nicely fitting white pants, as previously discussed, and am looking forward to your post on mid-heels
Thanks for all the tips, Sylvia, I really appreciate your blog and I no longer feel lost about what to buy !


Great to hear that Heather. Good luck on finding those perfect white pants!


Oh, and the Elie Saab suit – wonderful jacket !
Sorry forgot to mention it


The high contrast seems to follow the color blocking trend. I am all for combining black with a bright color like yellow, cobalt blue, or white.

Am happy that green is making the list. Love it, be it yellow tinted or gray tinted.

a bit of sheer is nice. i am amassing a dozen chiffon tops for this year. they go with knits, vest, cardigans, blazers; pretty multi-functional.

thank you for the analysis and collage. 🙂


Yes, contrast, green, sheer are definitely some of my favorite trends this season!

Greetje Kamminga

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was waiting for this overview. I am starting to depend a whole lot on you. LOL
My favourites : Haider Ackerman (I could wear so much of this designer, but cannot afford it… Too bad), all the greens (this time the right colour green for me with more yellow in it than blue) especially the Escada jumper (WANT that one). I will have a look at your Pinterest board as well.


Oh the responsibility, haha.. I think there will be plenty to choose from for you this season…


Thanks for this post and for showing us such eclectic and colorful collections!
The great thing about these looks is that we can find less expensive alternatives at many retails shops or vintage shops.


Yes, that is exactly the point of this post. You will be able to recognise those affordable pieces that are right on trend!


It has been a long and difficult week but looking at all of these beautiful clothes is very inspiring. Fashion truly can bring us joy. 🙂
I have a bright yellow trench on my wish list and I have pre-ordered a Mary Katrantzou dress (her prints are amazing!) and a simple leather dress. I like my leather peplum top so much I can see the dress being a favorite. I am also going to try a pair of open toed booties in pewter but they may be too high.
I read an article that said if the bold stripes (like Marc Jacobs) are overwhelming to you – try them in accessories. I saw shoes and purses and even a black and white Ralph Lauren scarf and Kate Spade watch that are really cute and would let you be a part of the trend in a “safe” way. I think the scarf with a yellow trench could be awesome. 🙂


I totally agree with that advice Suzanne. I bought a very bold black a white stripe belt a while ago and it has been used on many occasions already. Your purchases sound amazing!


Sorry to hear you have had such a rough week. Wish I could do something about it, but I cannot. Any chance of you, Anja and Sylvia in my garden end of June? I am sure Anja will be.
That bright yellow trench would be a favourite of mine as well. Any particular brand you have in mind?
I missed that you have a leather peplum top. You know I have a red (material) peplum top and my seamstress suggested nice soft leather for a second peplum top. Have not been able to go to the store yet. But I will.
I NEED a new black bag as mine is really at its end. Worn to bits. But I am so fussy with bags. I want rather stiff ones.


I will only be in Holland from 1 July. Big chance that I will celebrate by birthday again in Amsterdam or Haarlem. It was great fun last year so I’m hoping for something similar this year. How wonderful it would be if Suzanne would be there as well!


Wow! Nothing would make me happier than to celebrate your birthday in Holland Sylvia! Can you imagine how much fun we will have?! I can not make it this year but maybe in 2014. Will there be cake? I love cake!


Of course there will be! The Dutch are not the best cooks in the world but I can honestly say that we make the best cakes, especially apple pie. Oh and all the ‘vlaais’. So uniquely dutch and I have not seen it anywhere else in the world, so do not know a translation. And cookies…. I always go a bit mad when I’m in Holland on all the cookies I miss out on year round…. (perhaps that’s a good thing)


I Googled “Vlaais” and Dutch cookies and I can not wait to taste all of them! I love cookies! The name cookie comes from the Dutch “Koekie” – who knew?! Nougat studded, Burges lace, Butter Biscuits – yummy, yummy, yummy! I will have to pack a caftan to wear on the plane ride home as I am sure none of my clothes will fit me after so many treats! And Greetje promised me strawberry pastry too! Champagne and sweets – this will be a dream vacation. 🙂


I am going to search for the strawberry pastry until I find one which is just as perfect as the one from the (retired) bakery around the corner. I have a whole year to look for it. If I find it quickly Sylvia can do a try-out for her birthday.


Vlaais is the plural of the world vlaai and it’s probably not even correct (probably should be vlaaien; my Dutch is getting rusty), but I assume that you saw the wikipedia page: which explains it pretty nicely. My favorite is abricot 🙂 Packing a large caftan seems like a good idea….


Hi Greetje! No brand yet on the trench – I will just be happy to find a yellow one in my size. 🙂 The peplum top was one I ordered last July but it did not arrive until October! By then I wasn’t even excited about it anymore. I almost sent it back – except that it was a perfect fit and really added something to several outfits. Mine is black and is sleeveless so I can wear it alone or over something else. That made it more versatile for me. But mine is not as nice as your red one that has been tailored just for you.
I recently bought a black crossbody bag from Ralph Lauren. It has some leopard on it too. A girl just can never have too many bags! LOL! That is “Girl Math”! I love Girl Math.


I found a great trench from McGregor. Not even that expensive. It is just a little bit too short. And I have seen yellow trench coats before, but cannot remember the brand. Also found out the there is an Escada shop in Amsterdam which will probably sell that green top. It is silk by the way.

Heidi/The Closet Coach

In or out of trendiness, I adore black and white together, especially in patterns–which explains the large amount of it in my closet 🙂

I think I’m going to pass on the midriff trend, though!


Yes, I know that is a tricky trend for us 40+ ladies. But I thought that it can work if you apply it in a very subtle way…… I may have been a bit too optimistic on that one.


I just found your site, and it is amazing! I have two small children and barely have time to think about this stuff. I know my look is becoming dated, but shopping, assuming I can manage it, always seems so daunting since I feel like I barely have any idea what will actually update me. I love that this site is not targeted to uber-trendy young women, as it feels most magazines are. And your summation of the trends is just fantastic. Thank you!


Welcome Jessica. Great to have you here! Sometimes all you need is a few pieces to update your wardrobe. I aim to provide constant inspiration so be sure to subscribe to the newsletter to receive weekly updates! Lovely of you to leave your feedback.

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