How to wear jeans over 40 – guidelines and lots of ideas

by Sylvia

How to wear jeans after 40 |

Jeans look great on many women, no matter what your age is. But in order to look stylish in them over 40 you should choose your jeans with a little more thought. Here are some general guidelines to follow for wearing jeans after 40.

    1. Opt for a dark solid color. This looks dressy and has the added advantage of making you look slimmer.
    2. White jeans also look great. More tips on how to wear white pants here.
    3. Heavily stone-washed or bleached jeans are harder to wear and I personally avoid these.
    4. I’ve seen many 40+ women looking great in ripped jeans but I personally avoid these too.
    5. Crop flare jeans are really hip right now and they are my current favorite. I love my Paige cropped jeans.
    6. You can also opt for another solid color, like grey or black. Just make sure the color is solid.
    7. Make sure that the jeans don’t cut into your stomach area. Muffin tops over jeans are not flattering!
    8. Do not show your stomach. Either tuck in your tops or wear tops big enough so they cover your stomach area.
    9. You shouldn’t have this problem if you have covered up your stomach / back area properly, but just to make sure: don’t show your g-string!
    10. Flared jeans or wide legged jeans look great on many older women. It’s nice to wear high heels under them and ensure that the jeans have good length and almost touch the ground. This will really lengthen your legs. You may like to check directions for your body shape to see which jeans would be best for you.
    11. Skinny jeans or legging jeans will look great with tunics and longer tops. You can see more tips for wearing leggings over 40 here.
    12. Jeans will already make you look younger so go easy on the rest of your outfit and your accessories. Best to keep it reasonably simple and classy.
    13. Cropped jeans can look good too if you have a decent length. These usually look best when tapered and are best worn with heels. More directions on cropped pants here.
    14. As mentioned before, it’s best to dress up your look a bit while wearing jeans, so dressing in denim from head to toe is not recommended.
    15. Boyfriend jeans are great for a casual vibe and are still very popular. You can also roll up your straight leg jeans.
    16. Avoid really low rise cuts. Best to choose models with medium rise fitting. No mummy jeans please, as those look unflattering and will age you. NYDJ is very popular amongst 40+ women and so is Kut from the Cloth. This season high rise jeans are back in, so you may like to stock up on them. Another great brand that I love is Paige. You can see how I wore them here.
    17. I like comfort so I usually opt for jeans with some stretch. They usually also fit better.
    18. Avoid really baggy jeans. Boyfriend jeans, however, are popular and can look great for casual days.
    19. Ensure that the jeans fit you well, and don’t go for jeans that are too tight. You need to be able to bend in them.
    20. Don’t overdo the embellishments on jeans (or avoid them altogether).
    21. Getting the height of your jeans is very important. When you find a pair you love, buy one to wear with flats and one to wear with heels!

As always these rules are not always meant to be followed and as any stylish woman will know, you should on occasion bend and break the guidelines! Jeannie who is over 50 is still rocking her ripped jeans and is looking very stylish indeed.

Recommended brands

My personal favorite jeans at the moment are my cropped flare jeans by Paige. (these are similar) which I wear with short cropped tops and longer tunic style tops. The ‘top’ on the left is actually a silk DVF dress which I tied in an asymmetrical way.

Cropped flare jeans from Paige |

I can also vouch for the Paige denim ‘Transcend – hidden hills’ bootcut jeans  (these are similar) as I love them! They fit like a glove and feel soft on the legs. Buy them long enough to wear with heels and your legs will look a mile long.

Dark bootcut jeans from Paige |

The below are more casual jeans from Lois which you can dress up with a nice jacket (more images here and here).

Casual bootcut jeans from Lois |

More guidelines for jeans

Get inspiration for your outfits from these examples that you can shop online!

Denim pants outfits for women over 40 |

Look 1: Bagatelle blue biker jacketFrye white bootieWit & Wisdom jeans – Treasure & Bond checkred blouse

Look 2: J.Crwe blazerCatherine pussy bow blouse – Wit & Wisdom bootcut jeansNine West mule

Look 3: ASTR tunic – 1822 jeansMarc Fisher white slide – Quinn chunky bangleUrban Original straw tote

Here are more ideas from some of my favorite brands:

Ideas on how to wear jeans after 40 |

Look 1: NYDJ ankle jeans – Elliat blouse – Natasha knuckle clutchLouise black and gold pumpBP drop earrings

Look 2: Karen Kane tunic – Mara straight-leg jeans in white – Free people gold sandalGormanja blue tassle necklaceTed Baker blue bag 

Look 3: Converse gold sneakers – Halogen kick flare jeans – Statesmen striped top – Etienne Aigner mule – Michael Kors white tote bag – Madewell pendant

Here are more jeans from Paige, Kut from the Kloth and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans:

How dress with jeans after 40 |

Look 1: Mural black blazer – KUT White shirt – Topshop gray jeans – Frye red bag – Nine west red flats – Coach bracelet watch – Karen Mabon scarf 

Look 2: AG red jeans – BP striped shirt – Nine west muleUrban Originals beige toteGas Bijoux tassle necklace

Look 3 : Veronica Beard mariner top – Vince Camuto white crop jeansKate Spade crossbody bag in gray – Caslon wedge – Vince Camuto scarf

Some more great options from flattering brands!:

How do you like to wear your jeans? 

Like this article? Save it on Pinterest!

How to wear jeans after 40 | 40plusstyle.comTop image photographed by Denton Taylor


{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paula

I do have more guidlines with my jeans than I used to. I care about fit now more than I had to then.
Thanks for these tips; they are great!


2 Sylvia

Glad you liked them Paula!


3 martine

I no longer wear any lower rise jeans at all. I mean anything with a front rise of under ten inches is out completely. High rise is so much more flattering, and makes legs look much better. I don’t avoid mom jeans either.


4 Martine

I still prefer Levi’s to any other brand. They are just far more classy. I’m certainly not going to wear any “not your daughter’s jeans”.


5 The Style Confessions

I was totally disinterested in jeans during the Big Jeans Trend of the 2000’s, but now I’ve become re-excited by them. I’m especially into skinny jeans and colored jeans, which is weird because when skinny jeans first came out I thought they were the least flattering things I’d ever seen. (It’s not a cut for everyone and I can only hope they look as good on me as I think they do.) As a general rule I agree with your suggestions however!


6 Sylvia

I look forward to seeing you outfits with skinny jeans. As a slight pear, it’s not my favorite model, but I do love skinny jeans with a long top or tunic as I showed in my Zadig & Voltaire post. Would certainly have that in my closet if I lived in a colder country…


7 Suzanne

I love jeans! If I had to pick just one item to wear for the rest of my life it would be jeans. I have them in every shape from leggings (perfect with over the knee boots) to flares (perfect with platforms) and in many colors – even a pair of yellow ones to wear to my son’s college football games. I have them at every price point but like them all equally. I do follow most of your guidelines – no light washes (though I do wear white jeans for 3 months of the year), no muffin top or bare tummy. I don’t do crops but will roll up the legs on straight jeans to show off a pretty shoe. I am not one of those people who wear jeans everywhere – I do not wear them to parties and our country club has a complete ban on them, but I am confortable and happy in my jeans.


8 Sylvia

I’m not a huge jeans wearer although I always take them with me when I visit colder countries. It’s mainly due to the weather. Jeans are just too hot here…


9 Nanne

Like Suzanne I love jeans, too! I have skinnies, straight, bootcut and flares, but so far I stick with blues and blacks. I’ve been thinking of a pair of red jeans though:) I’ve never been a fan of ripped and embellished jeans or very low rises (super uncomfortable), so I’ve kind of always stayed away from them, altough I remember some acid washed ones that I loved when I was in my teens;)


10 Sylvia

Red jeans are very much on trend right now. I just bought myself some wonderful wide red pants (not jeans) and I’m already thinking up some lovely outfits with them. Stay tuned…


11 GreetjeKamminga

A late comment from me who has 9 pairs of jeans wearing them very often. For me the jeans of “7 for all mankind” are really good as they provide me with a bum. They used to be flared and, unfortunately, low rise, so problems with love handles. I used to wear wider, longer tops until I discovered shape wear. No love handles and…. the jeans feel much more comfortable round my stomach. And also jeans of the brand ” Not Your Daughters Jeans” (NYDJ) are great.
I have to confess that I do wear cropped jeans. Very tempting when you have good legs and you want to show them off. I will take a good long look at myself one more time to see whether it is wise.


12 Sylvia

Cropped pants and jeans are still very much in style and you will be able to pull those off. But it is a challenging style and on many women I prefer the ‘illusion’ and silhouette of a longer leg which can only be achieved by longer styles..


13 Phyllis Edson

Great tips. Thanks. I’m short and not skinny. I tend to find jeans that fit and look good and then buy 5 pairs. . . all the same. Maybe I should branch out? I’d really like to try jeans which are more tapered at the ankle (and wear boots) but I always feel like those emphasize and enlarge my hips. Thoughts?


14 Sylvia

Although it’s a good idea to buy multiples of jeans that are perfect, 5 seems like a lot to me. I would try other pant styles or other colours as well. You are right that more tapered jeans put more emphasis on the hips. If that is not an area you like to highlight, you may want to stay away from them. On the other hand you may just need to get used to the silhouette. You could always try a (cheap) pants and see how they make you feel? Another way to wear skinnies and tapered jeans effectively is to wear them with tunics, which is a favorite look of mine. In general though, straight or bootcut jeans tend to be more flattering on most people.


15 sophie Willow

Show of your generous bust….and wear boots with heels


16 Nicolene Richards

The best invention South of Europe is that Levi Strauss introduced the “curve” jeans when the realized that the population down here have more buxom and more rounded hips than anywhere else in the world. The joy about the “curve” jeans is that they come in variable shapes of curve, accommodating the pear shapes and making allowances for the wider hips! I personally prefer the bootlegs as they elongate the legs, allowing high(er) heels, and giving instant height (not that I need it at 1.78m) but it does have a slimming effect.


17 shima

Thanks very much.
I’m from Iran and in Iran women are not free for choosing clothing.
Your set is very good.
Some of the models wearing the clothes you have an excellent and I can wear those in iran.


18 Odysseia

Some of the tips are useful while some do not apply. It also depends upon looks. There are 40+ year olds who look older than they are and have to pay attention to some details such as baggy jeans etc. Actually, baggy jeans are not bad at all as long as they are worn smart according to the fit and to the wearer….Sharon Stone looks great in baggy jeans and she is 54 years old. Teri Hatcher is 47 years old and looks awesome in ripped jeans. But then again, not all middle aged women are in good shape. Bottomline though is that, a FIT woman can look good in anything as long as it is worn with some minor but important changes. For example, for a woman over 45 ripped jeans might look good as long as they are not too ripped and as long as she is fit and in good shape. Over weight and out of shape women, women who look frumpy and unkept in general, they have to be a lot more careful in their wardrobe choices.


19 Sylvia

You are very right Odysseia. All my advice is quite general and everyone should just make their own judgement about what applies to them. Quite a few women like guidelines which is why I provide them, but I also encourage everyone to do their own thing and break any ‘rules’ or guidelines whenever they please.


20 Terri

Wow! Why bash women who are the heavier side of things? There are a lot of reasons that women gain weight as they age. To assume that an over weight woman is frumpy and unkept is a rather rude thing for a mature woman, don’t you think?


21 Robin

Hi Sylvia,
Liked your article 🙂 Just wanted to let you know that your links do not work for the jeans.


22 Sylvia

Thanks for letting me know Robin. I have now corrected this and updated the page with lots more jeans you can buy right now.


23 Sheghaf


Is it appropriate to wear yellow pants for 40 years old? It is a bit bright? Not mustard


24 Sylvia

I feel you can wear any color after 40. I personally would keep the rest of your outfit quite neutral though. Don’t make it all over bright. A white top would look fabulous!


25 Barbara

Very interesting. The best online store for women clothes for me is I have bought most of my clothes from there. Greetings!


26 Fiona Charles

I simply love jeans, Its very comfortable and we can carry it in any occasions like formal, casual & so on. The skinny jeans are my favorite, I believe that they give a perfect look to me and carrying them is fun if you pair it with the appropriate tops, shirts or T’s.


27 Cecilia

Dear Sylvia,

….because of your website and the lovely women who continuously share wonderful fashion ideas, I am now back on my feet and aching to be beautiful again. Thank you so much. I am so inspired. It’s been 12 years of “hermit fashion”, so happy to find you and get out of my cave.


28 Sylvia

Oh how lovely to hear that Cecilia! You may like to join my upcoming style challenge on Feb 2 to ignite your style even more. Details coming soon!


29 Reba

I have a question….
Should you dress for your age, how old you feel or how old you look? I am 45 but look much younger and I feel young.


30 Sylvia

Tough question Reba. I would say, dress on how you feel and trust your own instinct. In any case no matter what you wear, if you wear it with confidence, you will pull it off and look good!


31 Carie

Just bought my first pair of rip/repaired jeans and waiting for them otherwise do not wear ripped jeans. I am 41 and in good shape but they still worry me! The rip/repair is fairly minimal and Reid Cone brand from J. Crew, hopefully they work! Otherwise I like my slim boyfriend jeans.


32 Sylvia

I’m sure they look great on you Carie. My guidelines are just general and I have seen many 40+ women rocking those ripped jeans!


33 Catherine

Hi, what are “mummy” jeans? Thanks


34 Sylvia

They are very high waisted super comfortable jeans. The fit tends to be a bit baggy. They usually look very unflattering. However, a newer generation of high-rise jeans is now quite popular and when the fit is right can be a good option for 40+ women too.


35 Catherine

Good to know. I don’t think any of my jeans are mummy ones – well not in a bad way anyway!


36 Annette

So I’ve read all kinds of iinformation on line and now I am confused. Do you have to belt jeans?


37 Sylvia

It’s really up to you. It’s a personal preference. Both belted and unbelted can look great.


38 Terri

I had bought a Hue floral legging and a red pair…I’m finding most of my tops just aren’t long enough. I’m 5’6″ and have long legs…I’m thinking of taking them back..I’m also thinking about a pair of boyfriend jeans but I have thin legs. I think I’m getting in a rut with jeans and leggings, what other pants do you recommend?


39 Sylvia

It all depends on your body type and figure priorities. (please check the how to dress after 40 section). I think wider long pants may be a good option for your or 7/8 cigarette pants.


40 Lena

It really bothers me that when you hit your 40’s that there are comments about the inability of wearing stone washed or light washed jeans. I don’t understand what is wrong with that. I no longer wear really distressed, but stone washed, why? I think if your thin and in good shape there shouldn’t be anything wrong with it.


41 Lorena

I hear you Lena and I agree with you. I like to listen to other peoples’ opinions and take them in consideration but I always make my decisions based on what I want, so same thing with stone washed jeans. They might not be recommended to wear after a certain age or whatever, but I still like them therefore I still wear them. Meaning if I like it I’ll wear it regardless, but always taking in consideration how well I can wear something and if I will be able to pull it off.


42 Sylvia

Hi Lena, these are just general guidelines. I wear washed jeans as you can see in the images I shared above. And there’s certainly no ‘rule’ that says you can’t wear stonewashed or torn jeans. It really is all about attitude, the confidence in which you wear certain things. If you have those, you can wear anything.


43 Greetje

Nice update. I am very much a jeans “girl”. Love your examples. You wear them very well.
I don’t wear “our” Paige flared jeans much as I have to wear them with heels and I don’t always want that. Just bought two pairs of wide trousers by Joline Jolink. I am very pleased with them. One is blue and rather sophisticated and the other one is kakhi and makes me look like “Kruimeltje” which is fine by me in my leasure time.


44 Sylvia

Yes I know what you mean. I still love them though when I really want to appear super slim and tall!


45 Martina

Hi my dear,
your contribution is worth gold. Wonderful as you have presented the different looks. Thanks for the great blog post!
4 weeks ago I have launched my own jeans collection called LADY DELUXE. It’s a jeans for women with kurves, women in life and women who like to wear jeans. My Collection has a blue and a black Jeans – so for Business it is a wonderful possibility to wear a Lady like Jeans. Look at my blog. I hope you like my jeans collection as much as many other ladies over 40.
XO Martina from Germany – Munich –


46 Sylvia

Congrats on launching your line. Wishing you lots of success with it!


47 Erin

This is probably a completely ridiculous question but I need answers! Belts? I own two pairs of jeans and one pair of black pants but they all need belts or they fall down and get SO droopy. Is this a fit problem? Maybe it’s time for better jeans? I have one pair on NYDJ and one pair from the Gap. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I also need a cute belt – that will hold up my pants! Or I could just give up and get old man suspenders – haha.


48 Sylvia

Not ridiculous at all Erin 🙂 It can sometimes be hard to fit jeans especially as we all have unique bodies. You can either take your jeans to a tailor or as you do, wear a belt. We’ve written a comprehensive article on how to wear belts at I also encourage to try on all kinds of brands. They all fit differently and one brand may fit your body well. I personally like Paige (linked to above in the article).


49 Arielle

Yeah, I’ve completely given up on low- and even mid-rise jeans. I have an hourglass shape and find that high-rise are SO much better for me. My favorite new brand is Good American–I ADORE these jeans!


50 Catherine Huntley

Hi Sylvia, I love your blog! The fashion tips are awesome but I was wondering if you could do an article on how to dress on a budget. While I love the clothes you show I simply cannot afford them. Thanks


51 Sylvia

Hi Catherine, Great to read you enjoy the site!

The best way to create a great wardrobe on a budget is to use the concept of capsule wardrobes. You can learn more about that here.

This style interview will give you some ideas and tips as well.

You may also find this article useful on how to stick to a budget.

Hope that helps!


52 Amelia

Beautiful match.
I can’t wait to try wearing like.
And gain all my confidence back.


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