How to wear red – your comprehensive guide on wearing the color of love!

by Sylvia

How to wear red over 40 |

I often talk about adding more color to your wardrobe.

One really fabulous color to add is red. The color of love.

In this article I will show you how to wear red in many different ways and we will also show you 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.

There are many ways to wear 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.

Wearing a 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.

red top

red top

The pleated red top below is great at hiding the belly and can be worn on its won or with a jacket.

pleated red top | 40plusstyle.compleated red top

Wearing a printed red top

If full on red is too much for you you can consider a printed top that includes red to soften the look. This blouse comes in several prints and also in solid red.

printed red top |

printed red top

Wearing a red dress

A red dress makes a statement on its own. This versatile piece will look great with the right statement necklace. But it can also be worn over skinnies and leggings.

red dress by Eileen Fisher |

Eileen Fisher dress

Wearing red as an accessory

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 comofrtable.

red shoes

red shoes

A red bag can give an otherwise monochrome or neutral outfit a lift. This clutch bag that can also be worn over your shoulders is the perfect accessory.

red clutch bagred clutch bag

Are you looking for more creative ideas on how to wear red?

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.

Here are some great color combinations I found.

Color combinations for wearing burgundy or marsala |

Another way to get inspiration for a great color palette or the colors for your outfit is to look at an image that you love. I was struck by this image from Yoox. This image actually inspired this article!

Wearing red with peach and orange |

I just LOVE this color combination and feel that it’s the most current and hip way to wear red right now. So I took this picture into Colourlovers and created a unique color palette from this image.

a color palette for wearing red with peach |

This color palette is the main inspiration for the shopping options I will give you today as I feel this combination looks chic, modern and special. I’m very tempted by many of these items, but I actually think I have the building blocks available in my closet to create this look, so stay tuned!

how to wear red with peach and orange |

Lots more examples on how to wear red

Red with white

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

More details on this look. 

Red and white outfit looks |

A refreshing red and white look for spring and summer.

More details on this look.

You can also wear this color combination during transitional weather.

More details on this look.

Stylish women bloggers over 40 and how to style wide legged pants |

With wide leg cropped pants.

More details on this look here.

How to wear red with white - donna karen red skirt |

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

More details on this look.

White capris with a red top |

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.

More details on this look.

wide leg white trousers with a red and white striped shirt |

White and red works well in a print too.

More details on this look.

White dress with red accessories |

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

More details on this look.

how to wear a short dress over pants - red top and white pants |

More details on this look.

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

How to wear red | combine with white! |

More details on this look.

How to wear red on holiday|

More details on this look.

Red from head to toe

Wearing a red dress and jacket |

Wearing a red A-line dress |

Lady in red |

Lady in a red pant suit |

wearing a red dress with a pop of lime green |

Red with black

How to wear red | red and black printed dress |

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

More details on this look.

Red with blue

colorblocking with red |

More details on this look.

Red and blue is another versatile combination. Instead of a skirt, opt for some great blue jeans!

Red with purple

red and purple flowers |

More details on this look.

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

Red – bohemian style

Wearing a red see through dress |

Red and gold

wear kitten heels over 40 |

More details on this outfit. 

Adding a third color

Most looks are even more interesting when a third color is added. You can do so with an additonal garment, a print or an accessory.

Red with blue and white

How to wear asymmetric pieces over 40 |

A chic color twist on my favorite asymmetric pieces.

More details about this look.

marine look with red, blue and white |

More details about this look.

A very traditional and always chic combination is red with blue and white. It creates a marine look that is always in style.

Red, white and black/gray

Pattern mixing in red, cream and black |

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

More details on this look.

Red accessories|

More details on this look.

Stylish looks with the color red |

More details on this look.

winter outfit for the snow

More details on this look. 

Red, fuchsia and gray

how to combine red - wear it with fuchsia and gray |

More details on this look.

A more unusual combination for an arty look.

Red with camel and brown

mom on the go outfit

More details about this outfit.

A more sophisticated and chic combination, especially if you add some animal print into the mix.

Red with camel and white

how to wear red - lots of ideas and inspiration |

Similar to above but now with white added into the mix for a slightly fresher look.


More details on this outfit.

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. |

A chic floral jacket with jeans.

More details about this look.

Red with yellow / mustard and brown and animal print

40 ways to wear red: |

The animal print shoes make this outfit more special.

More details on this look.


One of my favorite looks. Camel with red look super chic and the yellow makes it more funky. The animal print belt makes this outfit hip and modern.

More details about this look.

Red, camel, white and animal print

white skirt animal print belt

Great for casual lunch!

More details on this look.

Red with white, green and yellow

creatingwardrobecapsule (1 of 2)

If you like a bit more of a color splash, you can play with the primary and secondary colors. This look is playful, fun and fresh.

More details about this look.

Red with blue

Red and blue outfits for women|

More details on this look.

Mored details on this look.

Make a statement with head to toe red

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

red calvin klein silk dress

More details on this look.


More red looks here.

Wear a beautiful print with the color red

Red is not just for solids, it looks great in many prints too.

40 ways to wear red - wearing red as a print |

More details on this look.

Wearing a darker red – burgundy or oxblood red

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.

how to wear burgundy red |

Here is how you could appy the Curtain Closed palette.

how to wear oxblood red

Burgundy with orange

A beautiful color combination with the colors of fall.

Layers of burgundy and a beautiful print - how to wear red |

this woman combines layers of red with beautiful prints (photo by Denton Taylor).

This is how I recently wore it.

The comprehensive guide on how to wear red | leather jacket |

More details on this look.

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 |

Comfortable and chic.

More details about this look.

Add a red hat or some red lipstick

pattern mixing and playing with red and black hats in white, black and red |

More details about this outfit.

Add a red bag as a color accent

Soft green with red.

More details about this look.

pantsstyle (1 of 1)

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

More details about this outfit.

Grey dress with red accessories |

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.

More details on this look.

Add a necklace with a red color accent

Wearing a pendant featuring red |

Sometimes all you need is a red necklace or pendant.

Making a printed dress more interesting with a red necklace |

Add a red scarf

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

More details on this look.

Add some red shoes

Wearing red with camel and cream |

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.

How to find your right shade of red

Want more? We have a lot more training on color and choosing the right colors for you in the style club. Get access here.

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 over 40 |

Photos from Denton Taylor

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sabina @Oceanblue Style

The headline totally caught my attention Sylvia because I love red. Your choices here are so fabulous and I seriously love them all. Whether its white, camel oder green. I got a black and red vintage dress, red patentleather slingbacks, wedges like you and my most cherished find: Adidas sneakers in nude and red. 🙂 Have a great day! Sabina | Oceanblue Style


2 Sylvia

Enjoy your reds Sabine!


3 ramani wittatchy

I like to wear red with other colours like gray, blue, black. So good advice for me. I/m very grateful….thanking you..Miss Sylvia…


4 Lynda

I love all your articles, but this is my favorite to date, probably because I love red so much and feel it is a color that works well for me. Your combinations have opened a new vista for me. I have trouble thinking outside the box with color combinations and I’m excited by your choices. Love it, love it, love it! Thank you Sylvia!


5 Sylvia

Lovely to hear from you Lynda and great to hear that this article has inspired you to try out new combinations. Mission accomplished!


6 Dee

In US you have to be careful not to wear red white and blue, because you will look too much like our flag. No one wants to look like a flag.


7 martine

I wear red +white +navy all the time in summer. Never bothered anyone.


8 Greetje

The Dutch flag is red, white and blue… Great colour combination. I wear it a lot. Nobody thinks I look like a flag. Really, don’t worry about it. It is not an issue.


9 Suzanne

Wow! You do have a whole lotta red in your wardrobe.

I do think red looks great on blonds, which you’ve proven here.

I like it, but it needs to be the right shade for me with my hair. I prefer it in smaller doses.



10 Sylvia

There are a lot of repeat items though, just worn different ways…..


11 Patti

I’m crazy for the red with pink, and red with mustard! xo


12 Sylvia

I’m going to try the red and pink soon! Hopefully I can add a bit of orange as well…


13 Helga van Leipsig

What you do with your grey dress to spicy it up is wonderful.
Also a playful necklace, that suits you well 🙂


14 Jodie filogomo

Red has been touted as such a power color—and I think, you prove it well! You really hit all the points fabulously! jodie
ps…one of my faves that you just posted is the red necklace/bracelet with the black/white dress—easy & stunning!!


15 Sylvia

Thanks for reminding me. I may as well include those recent looks too!


16 Natalia Lialina

Truly inspiring! You look great in red, in all these variations, Sylvia! I don’t have many red items, but I want to add red shoes and red dress(es). Like Suzanne, I select certain shades of red for myself, usually on the warmer side. So many great ideas here, I certainly will be back for inspiration.


17 Ana from Mrs. American Made

All fantastic looks, Sylvia!


18 Elisa

Love this post Sylvia. You have amazing taste, and lots of styling creativity!


19 Lisa M

Just this morning, I was thinking about red. My fall/winter wardrobe is much better than it used to be, but my summer wardrobe needs some serious help. I thought maybe I should just limit myself to black, white, and red as a way of simplifying for the summer. That would allow me to get some good summer outfits together without spending a whole lot of money. I haven’t done it yet — I do like my colors — but it is under consideration.

My favorite thing about red is that a little can go a long way in transforming an outfit!


20 Pam@over50feeling40

You are such a great model for the color red. I saw several of your styles which have inspired me and of course had to pin a couple. Excellent post!


21 Greetje

My goodness, this is an elaborate post. Thank you, very inspiring. I am deeply ashamed for using my red accessories so little. I have them, but I don’t use them. While I love red and red loves me.
I am going to make a point of it to incorporate more red in my outfits.


22 Shelia

I love all the looks but I really love the red with white, green and yellow.


23 Robert

Great article! Red is also one of my favorite colors. I love wearing bright colors during the summer there are so many combination to choose.


24 Rita Palazzi

I love red, but I think that it’s not an easy color to combine. But it can be fabulous if worn as a dress. If you like to see my choice search the post The woman in red Capannolo’s dress.
Have a great day, Rita


25 Gaby Mayr

What a great post, I love also red, but only as accessories.


26 Silvia DiPierdomenico

What a great post! So helpful to see the many options with red.
After not wearing it for years, I just rediscovered my love of red with the purchase of a vintage red bib necklace and a black and red silk YSL blouse from the 80s.
My favorite look here is the red top with the blue skirt – blue and red and black and red are the combinations I feel most comfortable wearing.


27 Sherry Edwards

Yes, I do love to wear red. I don’t wear it much for work only some on Friday when we wear red until all our soldiers are home. I do prefer red for sporty type of activities. Also, red is my choice of colour on the weekend for going out or to parties. Not to church though. I don’t like red for my church clothes. I keep red for athletic, dressy, vacation or evening clothes.



IS a bright red long top, over a black top, ok for my sons wedding, a 2pm wedding. the brides mum is wearing bright yellow, im 56 years old with a warm skin tone.


29 Sylvia

Yes a warm red can be a beautiful color for a wedding and will be good for your warm skin tone.


30 nancy

I absolutely love your pink red outfit! I don t wear redcthat often. But I can see that red accesoires are a great addition!


31 betty boop

I’m 64 and wear red tops all the time, all different shades of red including bright red, why are some of you ladies so scared to be seen in red. I have dark hair and light olive skin, red is very flattering on me, I don’t care if your 80-if you like it wear it. We have earned the right to wear what we like.


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