Discover your own unique style after 40 and wear what you like (and don’t care what anyone else says)

by Sylvia

Discovering your own unique style after 40 and wearing what you like |

Whenever I or others bring up dressing after 40, and what we are supposed and not supposed to do, it can lead to lively debate. Either on this blog or elsewhere on the net.

The thing is, we all feel different about what a woman after 40 should look like.

The overall advice in style books always seems to be for more elegance, more cover-up, more subdued clothing. Although I feel that advice is changing somewhat.

I also offer my own advice for those who LIKE to have some GENERAL guidance on this subject in my article on how to dress after 40.

But on the whole, I feel that the most important aspect about style after 40 is to do what suits YOUR personal style and personality.

  • Why would you change your style after 40, if you always dressed in bold prints and exuberant colors?
  • Why would you lengthen your skirts when you are most proud of your legs and want to show them off to the world?
  • Why would you cover up your arms, if you are happy with the way they look and just like to be cool?
  • On the other hand why would anyone have the right to protest if you DO want to cover up those arms if you would rather highlight another body part?
  • Or if you like to dress more conservatively as you get older?

How we dress all comes down to our personal preferences that suit OUR style personality. How we dress is our own personal choice.

What matters most is that we personally are happy with that choice.

Therefore it is really important that you understand your own personal style!

When you understand your style and what makes you happy, your overall appearance will improve.

  • Your style will reflect who you are.
  • The way you dress will make YOU happy.
  • When you have discovered your own unique personal style and have learned how to dress your body well, you will feel confident and beautiful.

You may please a lot of people with your style and the way you dress or you may please a smaller number of people.

In the end it does not matter. Because the most important person that you need to please with your style is yourself. You have to dress in a way that makes YOU feel happy.

Then, when you understand your personal style, learn how to improve it!

When you have discovered your style personality and your unique personal style, you can start to refine it.

  • Apply some general principles of silhouette and discover the ones that suit you best.
  • Play with color and textures, accessories and shoes to make your style more refined and interesting.
  • Pay attention to hair & makeup which can both make a huge difference in overall appearance.

Want to go on a journey to discover your style?

Discover something new about yourself.

Find out how you can make your outfits or overall appearance even more interesting.

And most of all: discover how to have fun with fashion!

Finding your own unique style and advancing it to the next level is an exciting journey of discovery. It’s fun! As style and fashion should be.

I created a fun 5 day challenge that you can join for free. All you have to do is sign up here and your start right away with the first day of the challenge.

Are you confident with your own style? Can you handle any criticism and don’t you care what anyone else thinks?


 Illustration by Anja aka Curly Traveller

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 popcosmo

I love reading your articles and absolutely agree with your statement that, “… on the whole, I feel that the most important aspect about style after 40 is to do what suits YOUR personal style and personality.” I feel so sad for women who either try to dress younger or feel that they have to change how they dress when they reach a certain age. This is the best advice for anyone! Thanks for the reminder and I bet the course is fantastic.
xo ~kim


2 Sylvia

Thanks Kim. Great to know you enjoyed the article.


3 Lisa M

I’m going to disagree a little here. Style is important to me, yes. But my vocation is even more important to me. If I were to decide short skirts and cleavage were my style, I’d never work again. And even more important than my vocation, I believe, is a desire to make the world a better place for my having been in it. And that last piece dictates what I wear as well. It makes me care about my appearance because I think the world is better when it is a beautiful place, but it also means that as I try to bring kindness and care to broken and hurting people, I do dress in a style that I hope is gracious — not untouchably elegant, not in your face edgy. To say that I would ever dress only to please myself would make me inauthentic and out of sync with the rest of my life.


4 Sylvia

Yes Lisa. You make a very good point. I guess my point with this article is that we need to stay true to ourselves as much as possible and not care too much about the opinions of others. It’s impossible to please everyone with your style.

But I can also understand that you want to dress for the occasion and for your work and be respectful to others. Clothes can definitely say something about you and / or show the world how professional you are. That is actually something I have wanted to write about as well, but haven’t got round to yet….

Also, wanting to be gracious and showing care with your clothes seems to be part of your (style) personality. So it seems to me that by dressing in such a way, you also stay true to yourself.


5 Greetje

I agree Sylvia. The way you want to be perceived by people who matter to you, is part of who you are. Makes it complicated though.


6 Greetje

I will give you a great example of the importance of being sure about your style etc.
Recently I wore a string of faux hair as a tie. Oh… I can see you all thinking now haha. It is true.
A stylist in a shop had thought of this and displayed it on a mannequin with a darling blouse and this hair/tie. I thought it was brilliant and managed to obtain it even though it was decoration material. I wore it to the office (we can wear nearly anything) and one of my colleagues was talking to me as he spotted the tie. He nearly cried with laughter. Joked the rest of the afternoon: are you trying to grow a beard? Do you shave? Things like that. Now… (I am coming to the point now)… this tie was sóó me, I could not care less what jokes were made. I just joked along and laughed my head off. I had a great afternoon (the colleague as well). It was my style. I was confident about it.
Had I been insecure about it, that afternoon would have been hell. Also my confidence over this tie made other people accept it. Whereas any insecurity would have made them ridicule it. So important to know yourself.


7 Sylvia

What a great story Greetje. Great example and so funny!


8 Suzanne

I need to see that tie!



9 Greetje

I have uploaded blouse and tie to the Forum. So you know what I am talking about.
My colleague also said: “In the old days… you used to have hair on your teeth… ”
But I don’t know whether that is a Dutch expression or understood worldwide.


10 Suzanne

I just had a look at the tie. This is just like an art exhibit I went to a couple of years ago. It was so cool! The woman had made all kinds of stuff out of hair. Like a door…it was just super super long black hair hanging in front of a doorway.

She made rope out of it and a teacup too.

I have a bit of a phobia about hair so it all seemed creepy to me. Too much like the scary girl from the movie The Ring.

I couldn’t wear this but I applaud you for doing so.



11 Greetje

It is not real hair. Completely synthetic. Does that help?


12 Trina

Greetje, I love this look. I always love your confidence and humor, but you already know that.


13 Suzanne

This is definately a personal choice and all judgement of others needs to be left out of the conversation.

If you want to dress a certain way because of your job, brilliant.

If you want to dress for yourself, excellent.

Style, taste, beauty, elegance, these are all subjective terms and differ just as each person in the world differs.



14 Sylvia

Well said Suzanne.


15 denton

To me it seems pretty obvious that no matter what the age there are different styles of dressing for different occasions. One can (or often must) dress modestly for work yet can dress less modestly for a night out. In my day job I go into offices in NYC (home of fashion, investment banking, and everything in between) and certainly women in fashion have more latitude than women in law when it comes to dress at work.

My wife is also very concerned about the work issue, she is always asking me if her pants are too tight for work (I never say yes lol).

But in the evening she dresses more according to her sense of style, which, while still never totally about short skirts and cleavage, leaves more room for personal expression and interpretation.


16 Trina

Couldn’t have said it any better, Sylvia, when we feel confident about who we are and know our style, then you should be just fine wearing whatever you choose to wear. I don’t think we, as women, should be here to judge how other’s see themselves or express themselves. I’ve said this before but for me I use the saying “could ya, would ya, should ya”. There’s plenty of items I could most definitely wear due to my size and frame but then I ask myself would I (as me, my personality, so on) really wear this, and then I ask myself (keeping my daughter who is 25 years younger than myself) should ya? Those three questions have fit the bill for my style for a long time. Than being said, I never judge how other women answer those questions, I simply smile, and embrace their unique style.


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