Of course you can dress any which way you like. But i know that some of you worry that you look too young, or you feel that you may be trying too hard to stay young. I’ve also been getting questions on how to avoid appearing older than you are. So here are some of my guidelines on how to dress after 40.
Please note that these are just GENERAL guidelines and some of my own personal preferences. They certainly don’t apply to everyone.
However, I do believe in dressing to your strengths and taking your body shape and style personality into account. So, if you would like to have some guidelines on how to dress after 40, then you can find them below.
HOW TO DRESS AFTER 40 – WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU SHOULD AVOID?
Below are a few general guidelines on what to avoid doing in terms of style after 40, style over 50 or any age above.
1. DON’T BUY CLOTHES THAT DO NOT FLATTER YOU, EVEN IF THEY ARE ON TREND THIS SEASON.
You may be tempted by a new trend but, when thinking about how to dress after 40, it’s wise to be picky. Only choose those that suit your personality and your your body type. You can find guides on dressing all the different body types in these articles:
2. TRY NOT TO BE TOO MATCHY-MATCHY OR TOO POLISHED
It’s nice to mix things up and be a bit more playful. A 2-piece suit will quickly look old. Better to mix that jacket with another skirt or pants and look effortlessly chic.
Melinda (above) chooses to pair an on-trend oversized blazer with her black pencil skirt, and mixing formal and casual by wearing with sneakers.
3. AVOID BUYING FABRICS THAT LOOK CHEAP (OR ARE CHEAP AND POORLY MADE) AS THEY ARE USUALLY NOT FLATTERING OR WILL NOT LAST
As a young woman, you may have looked cute in a flimsy, poorly made t-shirt but as a woman over 40, you need something with a bit more substance.
Look for beautiful natural fabrics like silk, cotton, linen and cashmere and you will enjoy them for years to come. Think about your purchase in terms of cost per wear rather than initial price.
Avoid fabrics that don’t drape well or cling.
Sarah (above) wears a classic wool coat that will be on trend year after year.
4. WEARING TIGHT AND TIGHT TOGETHER
Of course there are many exceptions but in general tighter items like leggings look better when they are combined with wide pieces like a tunic or wider shirt.
That also applies to skirts. Aim to have either a tight skirt with a loser top or vice versa.
Jacqueline (above) opts for a tunic-style top with her leggings.
For more style inspiration on how to wear your pair of loafers, see our article on the best loafers for women over 40.
5. CHECK OUR GUIDELINES FOR THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
- Shorts: choose the ones that are right for you – Find out how to wear shorts
- Leggings: find out how to wear leggings the right way
- Mini dresses – I prefer these as tops for women over 40. Have a look at how to wear short dress with pants.
- Jeans – check out my recommendations how to wear jeans over 40
- Wide pants – these can look fabulous when you keep the right proportions in mind – check our guidelines on how to wear wide pants
- Blazers – check our guidelines on how to fit a blazer
- Skirts: you will like our guidelines on the best skirt for your body type
DRESSING OVER 40: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU SHOULD DO MORE OF?
1. KNOW YOUR STYLE!
Nothing is more important than dressing in a way that pleases and represents you. There’s no such thing as one style of “fashion for older women” that suits everyone.
If you know your style and understand your body you can break any of the rules or add items from the ‘don’t list’ as you please. My style guide will help with that.
Doing our style personality quiz will also give you a better idea of your style.
Kim (above) is arguably breaking some of the “rules” of dressing. For example, she wears a loose top over a loose skirt. However, she still looks absolutely incredible, particularly with the addition of a pair of edgy boots – proof that you should stick to your style and not be afraid to experiment.
2. DETERMINE THE WARDROBE ESSENTIALS THAT ARE UNIQUE TO YOUR STYLE.
Not everyone will have the same wardrobe essentials. This will depend on your lifestyle and your style personality.
But having a collection of wardrobe essentials in your closet will make dressing every day so much easier – and more stylish.
Personally, I love to have plenty of asymmetrical items in my closet.
3. HAVE MORE LASTING HIGH QUALITY ITEMS IN YOUR WARDROBE.
These vary for each style personality but some important classics are:
- A white button down shirt. Check our tips on how to wear a white shirt
- A long coat (could be a trench coat). Check out tips on how to choose a coat.
- A beautiful dress that fits you perfectly. Don’t automatically go for a little black dress. Many women over 40 will actually look better (and slimmer) in a colorful dress. – you may like to get a dress with sleeves
- Well fitted long pants. Check out what shoes to wear with different styles of pants
- A well fitted blazer.
- A good pair of dark denim jeans that fit you well. Boot cut or straight leg is usually the most flattering style. Check all our tips on wearings jeans.
Kylie (above) chooses a classic, white blazer that will go with everything in her closet.
4. Fashion over 40: MIX AND MATCH DESIGNER ITEMS WITH NON-DESIGNER ONES.
Petra (above) looks classic and classy, teaming her black suit with a Hermès bag and Prada heels. Note, she adds a little edge to her look with her fishnets.
5. LOOK EFFORTLESSLY CHIC
Take a good critical look at yourself before you go out and see if you look too overdone. When thinking about fashion at 50, over 40 or any age above, the aim is to look effortlessly chic so just evaluate and if necessary you may have to add on something a bit more casual.
Sally (above) wears an understated, but stylish outfit. She sticks to a palette of neutrals, but adds interest with her see-through block heels and on-trend ruched bag.
6. Don’t neglect your casual wardrobe
It’s easy to be attracted to evening wear on the store rails or online. However, it’s likely that you will actually wear your casual outfits much more.
So, don’t neglect your day-to-day wardrobe. You could choose a drapey cardigan to add style and warmth to a simple jeans and t-shirt outfit. Or add a blazer to casual wear to elevate your look.
Check out some recent articles on casual style:
7. MIX YOUR OWN STYLE WITH A TREND YOU LIKE
Keep updated with the fashion trends and make sure you have a few current items in your wardrobe. For the best style over 40, only pick those trends that work for you!
If you want to know about the latest trends check our article on the latest trends.
8. CHOOSE A SKIRT OR DRESS LENGTH THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
For many women dresses and skirts that are just above or on top of the knee are a great length for women over 40. Right now longer dresses are very much on trend as well and can be a great style for older women to choose.
Monika (above) shows how flattering a skirt that is just below the knee can be.
For more inspiration, see this article on the perfect skirt length for women over 40.
8. PLAY WITH ACCESSORIES
Wear accessories like belts, jewelries and scarves. They can make a real difference to your outfit.
Patricia shows how accessories can add extra impact.
Read our article on how to wear accessories.
9. WEAR HIP AND CURRENT SHOES
These add an instant young and hip vibe to your outfits.
Make sure to choose shoes that you are able to walk in. Mid high heels can look fabulous.
If you need more support I have a great list of arch support shoes.
Suzie (above) wears shoes with an edgy cutout. You could get the same look with a pair of pointed toe loafers if you don’t want to wear a heel.
10. Invest in a great pair of flattering jeans
Your jeans can be the mainstay of your closet as they go with so many other things, and can be dressed up or down.
Opt for a style which flatters your figure rather than the latest on-trend jeans shape.
Dahlia (above) wears a pair of bootcut jeans, which are back on-trend for this season, and can have a leg-lengthening effect, particularly when worn with heel.
Also, take a look at the most flattering jeans for every body type.
12. OPTIONAL: USE SHAPEWEAR
If you want to hide some of the bulges, then shapewear definitely helps. I personally only wear it on special occasions.
If you don’t like shapewear, then learning how to skilfully hide with the right clothes will be preferable, like these tips in my article on how to hide your belly.
13. WEAR A GOOD BRA
Make sure you wear a good bra and invisible undergarments. A great bra will make sure that there is clear distance between your chest and your tummy!
More info in my article on how to find the perfect bra.
14. WEAR WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL AMAZING
The most important style “rule” of all is to wear what makes you feel confident. That way, you’ll have a spring in your step and you’ll be ready for whatever the day brings.
WEAR WHAT FEELS RIGHT TO YOU!
I want to emphasize again that these tips are not set in stone and it’s up to you to decide what works best for you. But if you want to look young and hip, then these guidelines can certainly help.
For all my best tips and a complete style course that will get you looking stylish in no time, I highly recommend my style course.
If you have any further tips then I would love to hear them. Enjoy!
What are your tips on how to dress after 40? Share them below.
- How To Dress Over 40 – My Top 10 Tips
- How To Determine Your Body Shape
- How To Build Self Confidence And Believe In Yourself – The One Thing That Actually Works
LIKE THIS POST on how to dress after 40? SHARE IT ON PINTEREST!
Want to get more articles from 40+style in your inbox, subscribe here.
Support 40+style by using the links in our articles to shop. As an associate for Amazon and many other brands, we receive a small commission (at no cost to you) on qualifying purchases which enables us to keep creating amazing free content for you. Thanks!