How to wear black over 40

by Sylvia

How to wear black over 40 |

As the temperatures begin to decrease and the days become shorter, more and more woman begin to resort to wearing all black and black-dominated looks. While your natural inclination might be to take this route, it’s not always the best option for women as they age.

As our complexion changes and often becomes paler, black (especially too close to the face) can be jarring, harsh, and wash out your complexion. In other words, the most comfortable option for winter might not be the most flattering.

In today’s post, I highlight 8 ways women over 40 can wear black for a chic look in a way that is as flattering and stylish as you. From all black looks (make it work with texture) to colorblocking (for modern and effortless styles), you can turn this neutral shade into a coveted pop of style.

Wear it in classic cuts and styles

To keep an all black look or piece from appearing too frumpy, select classic cuts and styles that are perfectly tailored. The perfectly tailored aspect of the piece is key, as anything that is ill fitting will become eve more pronounced if you select a black piece. A common misconception is that black is always sliming. This is not always the case and any piece that is ill fitting can actually become more pronounced in black.

How to wear black over 40: classic tailored black wardrobe |

Don’t wear it too near to your face…

If you have a piece with very little texture or embellishments, wearing black too close to your face can actually make you look washed out and do very little to brighten your tone. A way to get past this challenge is by wearing a piece that has a contrasting color close to your face (such as the dress below), or selecting a piece such as a bright scarf or necklace to warm the look closer to your face.

How to wear black over 40 and style tips: add pops of color to your black outfit |

Go with print and patterns

Another way to wear black without giving in to an all black look is by selecting piece with a black hue dominated pattern. You still get the edge of a black tone, however, the monotonous black is broken up with a visually engaging print or pattern. You can go with a subtle pinstripe look (like the vest below), or select a piece such as the blouse below that features bright colors and prints against a black backdrop.

How to wear black over 40: prints and patterns |

Don’t get too heavy

Play with texture

Texture is another way to add more definition to black pieces. Whether you opt for an all black look or select a one piece, texture is known for adding a color like dimension to your look. Pleats are an easy way to achieve this look, as is jacquard. Feathers are also another great option that is very in line with fall and winter 2016/2017 trends.

How to wear black over 40: black outfit pieces with textures |

Pair it with denim

One of the most timeless pairings for a very effortless and chic look is the pairing of black and denim. While many tend to shy away from too much of a black and blue pairing, the composition of black or blue denim with black or blue pieces creates very clean and almost minimalist looks.

How to wear black over 40: pair it with denim clothes |

Embellish it

Much like texture, selecting an embellished black piece gives you the permission to go with all black pieces if your heart desires. Whether you opt for colorful embellishments (like the sleeveless top or sequined jumpsuit below) or aim for metallic additions (like the buckled skirt below), embellishments break apart the monotony of a black piece or look.

How to wear black over 40: embelished and sequined black outfits |

Go Sheer

When you add a sheer element to a black piece, it transforms even the most basic pieces into a highly valued wardrobe piece. The key to wearing this look is to follow the philosophy of keeping it simple and not adding too many other embellishments to your look. You can also add pops of color to come through the sheer fabric for a multi-dimensional look that can also warm the complexion.

How to wear black over 40: Chic sheer and lace black outfit ideas |


The quickest way to achieve a chic look with very minimal effort is to colorblock with black. It gives the look an editorial like tone without looking to over designed. For a long and elongating look you, can play with a column of color. We used tan as the base here, combined with a pin striped vest, but even more slimming results you can also use black as the base.

How to wear black over 40 style tip: colorblock your outfits|

Shop the looks featured above here below:

What is your biggest style challenge when it comes to black? How do you wear black for the most flattering look?


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jill

I love love love love black! Yes, I said it four times! Wearing black always makes me feel dressed up and classy. It goes with everything and I usually wear it year round. But then again, I wear white year round. Living in Florida helps, but I generally wear what I want when I want and how I want. Thanks to wonderful blogs like yours! Great sharing on your blog about wearing black. You gave me even more new ideas!


2 Elaine

My biggest challenge is a fair complexion and lighter hair. Black near my face is very aging so I wear black pants and skirts mostly. I own 1 black dress where the body con style is flattering so I sometimes wear it with a black and white plaid wool moto style jacket and wine colored shoes. I have a very nice classic black blazer that I wear with colored prints or lighter shade tops and sometimes with boldly colored pants like red or cobalt blue. The blazer works that way because 2/3 of the outfit has more flattering colors.


3 Shari

I think it’s true that black can wash out an older complexion, but it’s not universally true. I have fair skin, neutral skin tone, green eyes and salt and pepper hair (the key thing, I think). Luckily I can still wear black very well, especially with a red lip.

I don’t know that my skintone has gotten cooler as I’ve aged so much as going from being a dark brunette to salt and pepper has once again made the “winter” jewel tones, black, navy and gray look best on me, like when I was young. For awhile I could wear a broader range of colors such as coral, red orange, cool browns and olive green. No longer.

I also think ladies with darker complexions don’t have the same issue . . .


4 Sylvia

Yes that’s true. The ‘winter type’ women can wear black very well!


5 Greetje

I think I have nailed this. Loved the black MSGM top with the colourful flowers. Sold out in my size. Better so I suppose.


6 Sherry Edwards

I must confess that I wear too much black and too often. It is our national colour (everyone wears black it seems). For myself it is a thoughtless easy process when deciding what to wear due to the climate. However, I prefer to spruce it up with accessories or embellishments. I am slowyly converting to less black more colour but it’s a work in process, ha! ha!


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