We’ve all been guilty of not looking our best every time we walk out the door – life gets hectic! But the whole process of looking great shouldn’t be that complicated. We’re here with tips on how to get dressed easily and look effortlessly chic. Take a look at how to put together your own chic outfits.

Let’s start with your closet. Looking effortlessly chic requires organization. Clear out the clutter and get rid of anything that’s permanently stained, torn or doesn’t fit any longer. Anything that’s out of style or doesn’t fit should be donated for someone else to enjoy.

Once the unused pieces are gone it’s time to edit out any items that aren’t attractive. Make it hard to put on an oversized, old shirt when going out by not having it hanging in your closet front and center. It’s just as easy to put on a pair of fabulous pants as it is to put on old sweatpants, so get rid of unfashionable, bad temptations!

Take a look at how to organize your closet and find lots of new outfit ideas for more ideas.

Once your closet is down to stylish clothes you like to wear, analyze if they’re versatile. To look effortlessly chic requires crafty mixing and matching of your wardrobe items. Keep only the pieces that fit the bill.

Hopefully you have now ended up with some open space in your closet! Be proud of your hard work and reward yourself with a little shopping. But, before you go fill your closet up again, here are some ideas to help you look effortlessly chic.

1. Embrace the classics

Classics don’t have to be boring. Invest in timeless pieces like a good jacket, a pair of boots or some tailored blouses. Classics mix and match easily and can be dressed up or down, helping you put together countless chic outfits.

Read our guide for the classic style personality

Favorite Daughter The Favorite Blazer | 40plusstyle.com

Favorite Daughter The Favorite Blazer

2. Incorporate essentials in your chic outfits

Chic outfits - Jona in a classic outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Jona @the50plusgirl above shows off an outfit made up of absolutely timeless clothes, shoes and accessories. You can see you could wear all of these items in so many different ways.

Get her look with this similar shirt, blazer, pants, sandals, bag (another option here) and belt.

Take a look at these 33 wardrobe essentials. Once you have these in your closet, you’ll find it so much easier to put together outfits. You can start with these as the basis, and then add a few new items each season.

3. Effortlessly Chic Women are Masters at Layering

The next time you put pants and a shirt on, think about how you can layer the look. A good rule of thumb is to start with three layers: Your basic outfit + jewelry + a scarf, belt, statement shoe or handbag. As you get more confident, don’t stop at three layers. Add a cardigan, hat or belt.

A long sleeveless coat or cardigan is also fantastic for layering, and creates flattering lines. You can take a look at how to wear a long vest.

Chic outfits - sleeveless coat and jeans | 40plusstyle.com

Nordstrom Two-Button Longline VestCOS The Clean Cut T-ShirtHalogen High Waist Wide Leg TrousersJ.Crew Dylan Crisscross Block Heel SandalsAimee Kestenberg Bali Double Entry BagSterling Forever Isadora Layered Necklace

4. Don’t Be “Match-y”

Although a business suit is an essential wardrobe staple, mix it up sometimes. The same goes with jewelry or the old-fashioned rule of matching your handbag with your shoes. To look effortless means you didn’t overthink your outfit. Break sets up creatively. A great way to do this is by using the rule of three again: use three different colors or tones in your outfit and accessories.

Chick outfits - blazer and pants | 40plusstyle.com

Madewell Caldwell BlazerNordstrom V-Neck Tank TopJ.Crew Sydney Wide Leg PantsJ.Crew Dylan Crisscross Block Heel SandalsAimee Kestenberg Bali Double Entry BagSterling Forever Isadora Layered Necklace

Chic outfits - striped pants and white jacket | 40plusstyle.com

J.Crew Louisa Lady JacketNordstrom V-Neck Tank TopJ.Crew Collection Ingrid PantsCordani Genesis Peep Toe BootieTory Burch Kira Small Quilted Leather SatchelNordstrom Semiprecious Stone Molten Drop Earrings

How to look effortlessly chic: 11 steps to help you achieve it! | 40plusstyle.com

One way to look chic is thinking not about what you wear, but how you wear it. For example, wearing your blazer nonchalantly over your shoulders can give you that haven’t-tried-too-hard air of chic.

Cathy @themiddlepageblog above (read her style interview here) wears her beige blazer over her shoulders and pairs with white jeans.

Check out this similar top (another option here), blazer, jeans, sandals, bag and sunglasses.

5. Or if you do go matchy, add an unexpected element

Another way to make your look effortless is by not looking too stiff or contrived. Have your dry cleaner lighten up on starch and skip the stiff pleats some like to add to trousers and blouses.

You can also add a touch of the unexpected with the colors you choose. For instance, add a bright pop of red to you chic outfits.

Chic outfits - beige suit | 40plusstyle.com

M.M.LaFleur The Yiyan Wool Twill BlazerM.M.LaFleur Eco Soft Wave The Lagarde ShirtM.M.LaFleur Wool Twill The Smith PantsSam Edelman Meadow Ballet FlatMarc Jacobs The Leather Medium Tote BagFLORAMA Natural Jewelry Tagua Necklace

6. add a little casual

Mixing formal and casual elements is a great way to look stylish and give all of your outfits a bit of an edge. For example, you can team an otherwise formal look with a pair of sneakers.

If you do need to switch things up for a more formal occasion, you could always wear a silk camisole under your blazer and a pair of heels.

Blazer and asymmetric skirt | 40plusstyle.com

J.Crew Long Parke BlazerCOS The Clean Cut T-ShirtVeronica Beard Shilpa Floral Asymmetric Silk Skirtadidas Gazelle Sneaker – Tory Burch Kira Small Quilted Leather SatchelMadewell Tangled Huggie Earrings

Kim wears a striped sweater and jeans | 40plusstyle.com

Kim @kimair above (read her style interview here) wears a pair of heeled sandals with her jeans and sweater.

Steal her look with this similar sweater, wide jeans, booties, handbag, sunglasses and earrings.

7. or add a little formal

As well as thinking about how you can add a casual element to your formal outfits, think about the opposite and add some formal to your casual. For example, you could add a pair of heels to your jeans.

Blazer and jeans outfit | 40plusstyle.com

J.Crew Long Parke BlazerCOS The Clean Cut T-ShirtAG Ex-Boyfriend JeansSam Edelman Franci Pointed Toe PumpMarc Jacobs The Leather Medium Tote BagMadewell Tangled Huggie EarringsTory Burch Kira Enamel Pendant Necklace

8. Choose to wear more natural fabrics that breathe and move

Not only do these look good, they also feel superb. Look out for silk, satin, linen and cashmere. All of these fabrics will add a luxurious, expensive look to your outfits. Elevate your favorite jeans by pairing with a silk shirt.

Red top and jeans | 40plusstyle.com

Vince Cowl Neck Cap Sleeve Silk Blend BlouseAG Ex-Boyfriend JeansCordani Genesis Peep Toe BootieTory Burch Kira Small Quilted Leather SatchelMadewell Tangled Huggie Earrings

9. Add luxe-looking accessories

Nora wears a shirt and scarf with her jeans | 40plusstyle.com

You can really dress up a simple outfit of jeans and a t-shirt or white shirt with the accessories you choose. Nora @juststylela above (read her style interview here) opts for a chain print scarf, stacked jewelry and pops of red. Also check our tips on how tow ear a scarf.

Get her look with this similar shirt, jeans, sandals, clutch, scarf and sunglasses.

9. Stick to interesting neutrals

Choosing an all-neutral outfit can look very classy. Look out for different shades of the same color, and different textures to keep your look interesting.

Chic outfits - all neutrals | 40plusstyle.com

M.M.LaFleur The Yiyan Wool Twill BlazerM.M.LaFleur Eco Soft Wave The Lagarde ShirtHalogen High Waist Wide Leg TrousersSam Edelman Franci Pointed Toe PumpAimee Kestenberg Bali Double Entry BagMadewell Tangled Huggie Earrings

10. Invest in quality over quantity to create chic outfits

Really think about each item you add to your closet, and how it will go with everything else. Rather than buying lots of different clothes that don’t work together, opt for quality and look after your wardrobe.

Cashmere sweater and jeans | 40plusstyle.com

Vince Raglan Sleeve Wool & Cashmere SweaterAG Ex-Boyfriend Jeansadidas Gazelle Sneaker – Tory Burch Kira Small Quilted Leather SatchelNordstrom Semiprecious Stone Molten Drop Earrings

Chic outfits - Sylvia wears a blazer and jeans | 40plusstyle.com

Sylvia @sylviacolella (read her style interview here) chooses a timeless outfit of a blazer, jeans and boots.

Recreate her outfit with this similar top, jacket, jeans, booties and handbag (another option here).

11. Go easy on hair styling and makeup

One of the best ways to soften your style and look effortlessly chic is through your beauty choices. If you’re wearing an updo, leave a few tendrils to hang. Or avoid too much hair product or makeup, especially during the day. As we age, too much make-up can make us look older rather than the opposite, so it’s best to apply with a light touch and choose products that are tailored for mature skin.

Your chic outfits together in one capsule

Below, you can see the outfits from above together in one capsule. You can see how you could change them around to create many more looks. For example, wear the blue vest over the skinny jeans, team the beige blazer with the asymmetric skirt or wear the red top with the white pants.

A capsule wardrobe to look effortlessly chic | 40plusstyle.com

shop the chic pieces above here:

Have fun being effortlessly chic. No one needs to know it took some planning to put together your chic outfits.

What are your favorite effortlessly chic looks? What chic outfits do you like best?

Continue reading:

  1. How To Dress After 40 And Look Hip?
  2. A Style Guide And Capsule Wardrobe For The GLAMOROUS Style Personality
  3. A Capsule Wardrobe For The CLASSIC Style Personality

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How to look effortlessly chic: 12 steps to help you achieve it! | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Cathy @themiddlepageblog


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. An alumni of the School of Color and Design, she is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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