The ever ongoing discussion on what you can and cannot do after 40 has popped up agan. This time in an article at Yahoo Shine, that was based on research done among 40+ women on age appropriate dressing.  That article  attracted more than 7700 comments already! Many from women that were outraged by some of the article’s statements.

Let’s have a look at the outcomes of the research first. It was carried out by Nurture Replenish Skincare among 2000 45+ women who were asked their opinion on what’s ‘age appropriate’ or not. Here are some of the results:

  • 59 seems to be the age that these women felt you should dress more ‘age-appropriately’.
  • At that age, many felt you should ditch: high heels, red lipstick, tight clothes, false nails, baseball caps, fake tan, miniskirts, leather pants, knee high boots, heavy eyeliner, tight tops, tattoos and go for a more natural look.
  • Many felt that as early as the early 40s a lot of things need to be toned down.

Nothing too new really, but it was really the reaction of Yahoo Shine that got a lot of women really worked up, like this sentence:

“And we’ve all seen the stereotype of the too-youthful older woman, in leather pants, animal prints, a mask of heavy makeup, giant jewelry and—this is the worst violation in our opinion—wrinkled cleavage”.

It’s always a difficult and hotly argued topic, and one that I have already tried to tackle a number of times here at 40+ Style. Should we opt for “age appropriate” dressing or go wilder as we age?

What becomes increasingly clear though is that these generalised articles on what we can and cannot do don’t really work. We are all so different as women over 40. Our personalities determine in large part how we dress and how we want to express ourselves. If we would follow ‘the rules’ we would all look the same, a bit invisible really, and wouldn’t have much fun in the process. Certainly the many women featured at Advanced Style (featured above) have shown us that red lipstick over 40 looks very good indeed.

Bella says it well in this article on the same topic where she showcases many fabulous women over 40 and even features me (thank you Bella!).

I loved this comment from Deja Pseu: “I used to think there was such a thing as “age appropriate” but I outgrew it. ;-)”

However, I’m not going to say that it is all a lot of rubbish either. Many women do like some guidelines and I also offer some on this site. I have guidelines for myself and also feel that SOME women do look better when their skirts are a bit longer or the quality of the fabric is a bit better as they get older. It’s all about balance really. The guidelines are different for every woman though, depending on that person’s personality and style. What does not work for me, is still fabulous for somebody else.

I do not believe in dressing like a 15 year old when you are over 40 (if your purpose is to look stylish), but all of the ‘forbidden’ items above could look fabulous on many women over 40, although I would personally not wear them all in the same outfit! I’m definitely not going to give up the red lipstick, the large jewelry, would definitely wear leather pants in a colder climate (but balanced with more classic items) and will sport my high heels for as long as I can manage it.

And if you like to show your wrinkled cleavage, then go for that too! Nothing is more beautiful than a woman who proudly shows off her own body, wrinkles and all.

I think what is most important is to find out who you are and how you would like to present yourself to the world. It is my belief that you can all look incredibly stylish with a young and hip look for as long as you are on this planet. It’s about finding out what works for you and what makes you happy, about having fun and being confident with your own style.

In fact, finding out about style is what this site is all about!

Have a look at my experiment in testing out 6 lip colors, including red! Let me know which color you like best.

If you like to discover more about who you are in terms of style, be sure to check out my unique style course: 21 Steps to a More Stylish You!

Photos by Advanced Style