I often talk about adding more color to your wardrobe. In this article, I will be looking at how to wear red in many different ways with plenty of red outfit ideas.

Red, the color of love, looks fabulous year round – whether heading towards the festive season, wearing for a date, or pairing with fresh colors for a vacation (if you’re lucky enough to manage one this year!)

You’ll find plenty of my own outfit ideas and also how you can find your right shade of red.

How to wear red

The color red is especially good for women with a warm skin tone like myself, as it brightens up your complexion and makes you shine even more.

However, even if you have a cooler skin tone, you can still wear this color and look amazing. No matter what your skin tone, there’s the perfect shade of red.

Red makes an impact. When you wear red, people will notice you. Red is also a very versatile color. Easy to combine with black, white, blue, camel and so many other colors.

I’m growing ever more fond of red and have learned to embrace the color for myself.

You can can wear red in a subtle way by wearing a red accessory or you can make a bolder statement with the color. Whatever your comfort zone with the color red, there is a way to add this color to your wardrobe for everyone.

Let’s explore all the different ways on how you can wear red!

Wearing a bold color like red with just one other color is your easiest option and one of the nicest and easiest options by far is to pair it with white. It’s also one of my favorite combinations.

Red outfit ideas from the runways

Red is always on trend no matter what the season. For winter and fall 2020, there was plenty of red on the runways. You can see more color trends in this article.

Red runway outfits | 40plusstyle.com

Alexander McQueen – Rodarte – Valentino

Red clothes to choose in stores now

Take a look below at some of the most stylish red clothes to choose. Continue reading for red outfit ideas, including colors that compliment red.

The perfect red top

Wearing a red top is my most used choice for wearing red. Nothing brightens my face and makes me come more alive than wearing red close to my face. I have several red tops in several colors that I wear with both pants and skirts.

You could easily wear the red top below with your white or blue jeans.

Made By Johnny dolman top | 40plusstyle.com

Made By Johnny dolman top

Red sweater

As the weather starts to cool, a cozy sweater is one of life’s essentials. Red adds a pop of color even on the dreariest of days.

Emma wears a red sweater and booties | 40plusstyle.com

Emma (above) matches her sweater to her booties.

Check out this similar sweater, jacket, jeans, booties, handbag and sunglasses.

Halogen crewneck sweater | 40plusstyle.com

Halogen crewneck sweater

Red jacket

A red blazer is a great option for adding style and color to even the simplest of outfits. Opt for an open, single-breasted or a belted style.

Caslon belted linen blended jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Caslon belted linen blended jacket

Red coat

Have you chosen a new coat yet for winter? Rather than choosing a neutral shade, why not make a big impact with your outerwear this year?

Bernardo belted long coat | 40plusstyle.com

Bernardo belted long coat

Also, take a look at how to wear a coat.

Red pants

Often you may wear a brighter color on top and a neutral shade on the bottom. However, a pair of red pants can really elevate your style.

Petra wears burgundy pants and a pink blouse | 40plusstyle.com

Petra (above) opts for burgundy pants and pairs with pink.

Get her look with this similar blouse, pants, heels, bag, bracelet and sunglasses.

Alice + Olivia high waist zip cuff pants | 40plusstyle.com

Alice + Olivia high waist zip cuff pants

Red dress

A red dress makes a statement on its own. You could choose a red dress rather than a little black dress if you have a dinner or event to attend.

Harper Rose envelope collar crepe sheath dress | 40plusstyle.com

Harper Rose envelope collar crepe sheath dress

Red skirt

You could wear a red skirt with so many things you already have in your closet, such as your winter sweaters, t-shirts or shirts.

Jo wears an all-red outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Jo (above) wears a fabulous red asymmetrical skirt and adds lots more red to her outfit.

Check out this similar jacket, skirt, pumps, bag, scarf, belt and earrings.

Chelsea28 bias jacquard skirt | 40plusstyle.com

Chelsea28 bias jacquard skirt

Red shoes

If you’d like to include red as part of your style but want to do it in a subtle way, red accessories are the way to go.

Red add a bit of polish to your look and red shoes can each outfit a lift. These shoes are stylish and comfortable.

Tory Burch square toe ballet flat | 40plusstyle.com

Tory Burch square toe ballet flat

Red accessories

Kim wears a burgundy dress and teams with a red bag | 40plusstyle.com

A red bag can give an otherwise monochrome or neutral outfit a lift. Or you could opt for a red scarf, necklace or earrings.

Kim (above) teams her burgundy dress and boots with a red box bag.

Check out this dress that you can wear with this similar pair of booties, handbag and sunglasses.

Kate Spade New York leather crossbody bag | 40plusstyle.com

Kate Spade New York leather crossbody bag

Halogen diagonal rib cashmere scarf | 40plusstyle.com

Halogen diagonal rib cashmere scarf

Knotty crystal statement collar necklace | 40plusstyle.com

Knotty crystal statement collar necklace

Tory Burch circle stud earrings | 40plusstyle.com

Tory Burch circle stud earrings

Colors that go with red

Now that you’re thinking about how to add red to your outfit, what colors should you wear with it?

Alison wearing a red and pink outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Alison (above) chooses red and pink.

Recreate her outfit with this similar top, pants, sandals and necklace.

If I like to get more ideas on how to combine a certain color and create really interesting combinations, I go to colourlovers. This tool allows you to see many color palettes immediately and will give you lots of ideas. Just search for red in the colour palettes search box and you will instantly get lots of different options.

Below are some great color combinations I found.

Color combinations for wearing burgundy or marsala | 40plusstyle.com
a color palette for wearing red with peach | 40plusstyle.com

These color palettes have inspired me to create the looks below:

Red and white

How to wear red - your comprehensive guide to wearing the color of love! | 40plusstyle.com

Red and white looks chic and understated. If you don’t want too much red close to your face, combine it with a white top.

Renata (above) creates a flattering, elongating effect by wearing white and then adding a long, red cardigan over the top.

Check out this similar blouse, pants, cardigan, loafers, belt and sunglasses.

How to wear red and white | 40plusstyle.com

Outfit 1: Eliza J high/low fit & flare dressClub Monaco moto jacketBella Vita cage sandalKate Spade New York leather crossbody bagJenny Bird hoop earringsMadewell jacquard dot scarf

Outfit 2: Madewell pocket teeNordstrom Signature blazerAlice + Olivia high waist zip cuff pantsNaturalizer pointed toe pump Nordstrom hobo bagSet & Stones station necklace

Outfit 3: GIBSONLOOK blouson sleeve blouseLyssé asymmetrical crop denim leggingsNaturalizer ankle strap sandalKate Spade New York leather crossbody bagBaubleBar chain collar necklace

Red and black

Nadine wears a red and black outfit | 40plusstyle.com

Many of you prefer black to white and that is a great easy option too.

Nadine (above) wears her red dress with black boots and accessories.

Check out this similar dress, boots, handbag, wrap, beanie and sunglasses.

Red and black outfit ideas | 40plusstyle.com

Outfit 1: Fraiche by J wrap dressSPANX faux leather leggingsBørn bootieKate Spade New York leather crossbody bagBaubleBar chain collar necklace

Outfit 2: BLANKNYC fringe trim suede moto jacketBB Dakota belted jersey midi dressBørn knee high bootNordstrom leather minaudièreJenny Bird hoop earrings

Outfit 3: Julia Jordan puff sleeve jumpsuitCoconuts by Matisse slide sandalNordstrom leather minaudièreTory Burch hoop earrings

Red and gray

Erika wears a red blouse and gray skirt | 40plusstyle.com

Gray is a softer option to black and you may find it more flattering. It’s the perfect neutral to wear with red.

Erika (above) wears a red blouse with her gray skirt.

Steal her look with this similar blouse, skirt, pumps, bag, belt and sunglasses.

How to wear red and gray | 40plusstyle.com

Outfit 1: Eileen Fisher midi shirtdressKork-Ease slingback sandalTed Baker London shopperDESIMTION layered tassel earrings

Outfit 2: Madewell pocket teeRomwe waterfall cardiganWit & Wisdom crop skinny pantsNaturalizer sneakerLongchamp top handle bagJenny Bird hoop earrings

Outfit 3: Topshop crop funnel neck sweaterChelsea28 bias jacquard skirtMunro bootieNordstrom leather crossbody bagJenny Bird hoop earrings

Red and shocking pink: Red dress outfit

Once considered a fashion faux pas, wearing red and pink together is now a modern pairing.

Shanna wears a red and pink dress | 40plusstyle.com

Shanna (above) wears a red and pink print dress with red heeled sandals (and red nail varnish).

Check out this red and pink dress that you can wear with this similar pair of sandals and hoop earrings.

Red and shocking pink outfits | 40plusstyle.com

Outfit 1: Harlyn floral dressZella high waist leggingsSanctuary sandalThacker crossbody bagDESIMTION layered tassel earrings

Outfit 2: VERO MODA wrap topAlice + Olivia high waist zip cuff pantsTory Burch square toe ballet flatKate Spade New York leather crossbody bagTory Burch hoop earrings

Outfit 3: BLANKNYC fringe trim suede moto jacketHalogen crewneck sweaterBoden pleated skirtSanctuary sandalKate Spade New York leather crossbody bagJenny Bird hoop earrings

What color compliments red: Red and burgundy

Psyche wearing a burgundy outfit | 40plusstyle.com

If you prefer your red to be more muted you can also opt for a darker red like burgundy or marsala (which is actually the color of the year!). Here are some color palettes for wearing burgundy. Team with a brighter shade for an on-trend look.

Psyche (above) wears her burgundy with tan shoes and gold accessories.

Get her look with this similar sweater, moto jacket, trousers, mules and scarf.

How to wear red and burgundy | 40plusstyle.com

Outfit 1: Bernardo belted long coatCaslon dolman sweaterZella high waist leggingsKate Spade New York leather crossbody bagTory Burch muleJenny Bird hoop earrings

Outfit 2: Halogen crewneck sweaterHalogen sweater skirtSanctuary sandalLongchamp top handle bagTory Burch hoop earrings

Outfit 3: Treasure & Bond tie high/low shirtZella high waist leggingsBCBGeneration knee high bootKate Spade New York leather crossbody bagTory Burch hoop earrings

Red outfits for women: A capsule wardrobe for you

Below, you can see the red outfits together in one capsule wardrobe, which you can easily adapt to the weather where you are.

Red capsule wardrobe | 40plusstyle.com

Red outfits for women: More examples on how to wear red

Below you will find even more inspiration on how to wear red with lots of my own outfits, including suggestions on the colors that go best with red:

Colors that compliment red: Red and white

Sylvia wearing a red and white outfit | 40plusstyle.com

A loose cropped red top from Stella Carakasi (similar here) which you can layer with tops underneath.

Red and white outfit looks | 40plusstyle.com

A refreshing red and white look for spring and summer.

Sylvia wearing a red jacket and white outfit | 40plusstyle.com

You can also wear this color combination during transitional weather.

Stylish women bloggers over 40 and how to style wide legged pants | 40plusstyle.com
How to wear red with white - donna karen red skirt | 40plusstyle.com

This is one of my favorite skirts and it combines with a lot of my tops like this white top from CK Calvin Klein.

White capris with a red top | 40plusstyle.com

You can do the reverse if you do like to have red close to your face as I do as it brightens up my complexion. Same sophistication, just slightly different.

wide leg white trousers with a red and white striped shirt | 40plusstyle.com

White and red works well in a print too.

White dress with red accessories | 40plusstyle.com

Red is the perfect color to make a white dress more interesting and vibrant.

How to wear red on holiday| 40plusstyle.com

Colors that match with red: Red and gold

For more glamour add a bit of gold into the mix!

Red skirt outfit

How to wear red | combine with white! | 40plusstyle.com
wear kitten heels over 40 | 40plusstyle.com

All red outfits

Sometimes you just want to stand out and nothing shows more confidence to the world than an all-red outfit.

Wearing a red dress and jacket | 40plusstyle.com
Wearing a red A-line dress | 40plusstyle.com
Lady in red | 40plusstyle.com
Lady in a red pant suit | 40plusstyle.com
wearing a red dress with a pop of lime green | 40plusstyle.com
red calvin klein silk dress | 40plusstyle.com

Red and brown

red and brown

I love red with brown and (animal) print.

Red and blue

Red and blue is another versatile combination. Instead of a skirt, opt for some great blue jeans! A very traditional and always chic combination is red with blue and white. It creates a marine look that is always in style.

Wearing red with blue accessories | 40plusstyle.com

Red blouse outfit

colorblocking with red | 40plusstyle.com
Red and blue outfits for women| 40plusstyle.com

A chic color twist on my favorite asymmetric pieces.

How to wear asymmetric pieces over 40 | 40plusstyle.com
marine look with red, blue and white | 40plusstyle.com

Red and purple

More unusual is red with purple, but it is actually a really good combination as this look shows.

red and purple flowers | 40plusstyle.com

Red, white and black/gray

Black and white always works well with red and creates a more graphical look.

Red accessories| 40plusstyle.com
Stylish looks with the color red | 40plusstyle.com

Red, fuchsia and gray

A more unusual combination for an arty look.

how to combine red - wear it with fuchsia and gray | 40plusstyle.com

Burgundy with orange

A beautiful color combination with the colors of fall.

Wearing burgundy with orange | 40plusstyle.com
Layers of burgundy and a beautiful print - how to wear red | 40plusstyle.com
The comprehensive guide on how to wear red | leather jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Add a print into the mix!

Adding a third color will often make your outfit more interesting and dynamic. This will be further enhance if you add some print as well. You can do that within your clothing or with an accessory or shoe.

Outfit idea: A chic floral jacket with jeans. | 40plusstyle.com

A chic floral jacket with jeans.

Do you find it hard to wear red? Try accessories!

If red is normally not your color or you are afraid to stand out, then opt for a red accessory. It often really brightens up your outfit and adds extra interest.

Wear red sunglasses

Adding red through accessories like sunglasses | 40plusstyle.com
Wearing a print shirt with neutral pants | 40plusstyle.com

Comfortable and chic.

Add a red hat or some red lipstick

pattern mixing and playing with red and black hats in white, black and red | 40plusstyle.com

Add a red bag as a color accent

gray and red outfit ideas | 40plusstyle.com

Soft green with red.

Wearing red, white and green | 40plusstyle.com

Look how much more fun and interesting this outfit is with the addition of a red bag!

Grey dress with red accessories | 40plusstyle.com

Adding red accessories is also a great tactic when you want to wear clothes that are not necessarily the best color for you. Wearing the gray without the red would be too bland for me.

Add a necklace with a red color accent

Wearing a pendant featuring red | 40plusstyle.com

Sometimes all you need is a red necklace or pendant.

Making a printed dress more interesting with a red necklace | 40plusstyle.com

Add a red scarf

Adding red with a scarf - 40 ways to wear red! | 40plusstyle.com

Add some red shoes

Wearing red with camel and cream | 40plusstyle.com

I wear my red shoes a LOT. It’s so easy to make a neutral outfit more interesting by adding some red shoes!

I hope this guide on how to wear red has given you some inspiration to wear this color! Perhaps you like to give it a go if you don’t normally wear it. Or you may try to wear it in a different combination from what you normally do.

Below is a really helpful video from 40+Style stylist Ruth on how to find the best shade of red for you.

More interested in another color, I also have guides on

Do you like to wear red? What is your preferred way of wearing it?

Like this article on how to wear red? Save it on Pinterest!

How to wear red - your comprehensive guide to wearing the color of love! | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Nikki

Photos from Denton Taylor


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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