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

how to dress over 40 | Melinda mixes casual with formal

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.

Check out this similar blouse, blazer, skirt, sneakers, clutch and sunglasses.

3.  AVOID BUYING FABRICS THAT LOOK CHEAP (OR ARE CHEAP AND POORLY MADE) AS THEY ARE USUALLY NOT FLATTERING OR WILL NOT LAST 

how to dress over 40 | Sarah opts for a classic outfit

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.

You can see some characteristics of fabrics here. We also have a list of recommended shops here. Best to buy only the clothes that you love and that have a chance to last.

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.

Get her look with this similar cashmere sweater, coat, jeans, booties, necklace and tote.

Vince shaped collar silk blouse | 40plusstyle.com

Vince shaped collar silk blouse

4. WEARING TIGHT AND TIGHT TOGETHER

how to dress over 40 | Jacqueline wears a tunic top with leggings

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.

Steal her look with this similar tunic shirt, leggings, booties and scarf.

Zella high waist leggings | 40plusstyle.com

Zella high waist 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:

DRESSING OVER 40: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU SHOULD DO MORE OF?

1. KNOW YOUR STYLE!

how to dress after 40 - Kim wears a white outfit and long boots | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Check out this metallic top and skirt that you can wear with this similar pair of leather boots, sling bag and hoop earrings.

2. DETERMINE THE WARDROBE ESSENTIALS THAT ARE UNIQUE TO YOUR STYLE.

how to dress over 40 - Sylvia wears a print dress | 40plusstyle.com

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.

how to dress over 40 | Kylie wears a white blazer | 40plusstyle.com

These vary for each style personality but some important classics are:

Kylie (above) chooses a classic, white blazer that will go with everything in her closet.

Recreate her outfit with this similar camisole, blazer, skirt and flats.

Club Monaco tuxedo blazer | 40plusstyle.com

Club Monaco tuxedo blazer

4. Fashion over 40: MIX AND MATCH DESIGNER ITEMS WITH NON-DESIGNER ONES.

how to dress after 40 - Petra wears a black suit and white shoes | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Complete her look with this similar blouse, blazer, pants, pumps, earrings and stockings.

Tory Burch leather convertible crossbody bag | 40plusstyle.com

Tory Burch leather convertible crossbody bag

5. LOOK EFFORTLESSLY CHIC

how to dress over 40 - Sally wears an all-neutral outfit | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Get her look with this similar blazer dress, sandals, purse and earrings.

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:

Barefoot Dreams circle cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

Barefoot Dreams circle cardigan

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

How to dress after 40 and look hip | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Petite women may want to go a bit shorter with their skirt lengths to get the 1/3 – 2/3 silhoutte. Find out more about this rule of thirds in our article on how to wear capris.

Monika (above) shows how flattering a skirt that is just below the knee can be.

Steal her look with this similar dress, coat, pumps, and match it with a bag from Gucci.

Ming Wang asymmetrical  hem sheath dress | 40plusstyle.com

Ming Wang asymmetrical hem sheath dress

For more inspiration, see this article on the perfect skirt length for women over 40.

8. PLAY WITH ACCESSORIES

How to dress over 40 - Patricia wears a sequin skirt | 40plusstyle.com

Wear accessories like belts, jewelries and scarves. They can make a real difference to your outfit.

Patricia shows how accessories can add extra impact.

Check out this similar sweater, skirt, pumps, clutch, belt, sunglasses, earrings and headband.

Karine Sultan gold plate collar necklace | 40plusstyle.com

Karine Sultan gold plate collar necklace

Read our article on how to wear accessories.

9. WEAR HIP AND CURRENT SHOES

how to dress over 40 - Suzie wears a red dress and cut-out shoes | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Recreate her outfit with this similar dress, handbag, earrings, tights and heels.

Franco Sarto flat | 40plusstyle.com

Franco Sarto flat

10. Invest in a great pair of flattering jeans

how to dress over 40 - Dahlia wears bootcut jeans | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Check out this similar top, moto jacket, bootcut jeans and booties.

Paige bootcut jeans | 40plusstyle.com

PAIGE bootcut jeans

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.

Wacoal shaping shorts | 40plusstyle.com

Wacoal shaping shorts

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!

Wacoal underwire bra | 40plusstyle.com

Wacoal underwire bra

More info in my article on how to find the perfect bra.

14. WEAR WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL AMAZING

How to dress after 40: wear what makes you feel amazing | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Check out this similar dress, sandals, necklace and sunglasses to recreate my look.

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. 

The more you understand your body and your style, the more you can break these rules as you please.

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.

Continue reading:

  1. How To Dress Over 40 – My Top 10 Tips
  2. How To Determine Your Body Shape
  3. How To Build Self Confidence And Believe In Yourself – The One Thing That Actually Works

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How to dress after 40 and still look hip? | 40plusstyle.com

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