Understanding the different styles

by Sylvia

Classic style examples

In my previous articles in the finding your style series, I tried to define style and gave some tips on how you find your own style. In an upcoming article, I want to take that one step further and see how you could then describe and name your own unique style.

However, before doing that exercise and sharing some ideas on how to describe your style, I thought it would be interesting to look at some current names women use to describe their style.

Classic style

Classic is, as the name suggests, one of the more classic and enduring styles. It’s timeless and popular with women over 40 and most of us will have at least a few classic pieces in our wardrobe. These are the pieces that will usually last the longest in your cupboard, so you may want to invest in a few high-quality garments that will always make you look good.

Classic style - Understanding the different styles | 40plusstyle.com

Classic trench – Felicity pencil dressBoden silk shirtHalogen beige turtleneck

 - Understanding the different styles | 40plusstyle.com

Brixton beretVince Camuto pencil skirt – Majorica pearlsVaneli ballet flats – Cole Haan navy pumps

Some great examples of classic garments include:

  • The trench coat
  • A white button down shirt
  • A pencil skirt
  • A tailored jacket or blazer
  • A cashmere sweater
  • The turtleneck sweater
  • Tailored trousers
  • A shift dress
  • The twinset
  • Jeans
  • Ballet flats
  • The classic pump
  • A beret
  • Animal print shoes and accessories
  • Leather gloves
  • Diamond or pearl studs
  • Cartier Tank Francaise Watch
  • The hermes Kelly or Birkin Bag
  • The LL Bean Canvas tote

These are often the best bet when it comes to investing in high quality and long lasting pieces that you will wear again and again.

timeless style capsule: classic blazer | 40plusstyle.com

Examples of people with this style are: Jackie O, Marlene Dietrich, Lauren Bacall, Jodie Foster.

Bohemian Style

You can’t be a behemian in tight clothes. It just doesn’t work. you have to be able to move and dance and climb.”

Diane von Furstenberg

Bohemian - Understanding the different styles | 40plusstyle.com

Free People maxi dress – Chaus faux fur vest – Treasure and Bond peasant top – Halogen floppy hat

Bohemian accessories - Understanding the different styles | 40plusstyle.com

Ten9LA fringe crossbody – Stella Ruby tassel necklace – Nakamol bead cuff – Splendid brown slouchy boot

Women with bohemian style like movement, color and sparkle. It is an nonconforming style that tends to be associated with the hippie era.

Some examples of bohemian garments include:

  • A peasant blouse
  • The hippie skirt
  • A (fake) fur vest
  • A tunic
  • A caftan
  • Behommian handbags
  • Long necklaces
  • A poncho

Examples of people with this style include: Ali MacGraw, Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen, Diane von Furstenberg.

Minimal Style

Minimal style examples

Minimalism is not about abandoming pattern or print. I see minimalism to be a philosphy that involves an overall sense of balance, knowing when to to take away, subtract. It’s an indulgence in superbly executed cut, quiet plays of color tones and clean strong shapes.“.

Calvin Klein

Minimal style - Understanding the different styles | 40plusstyle.com

Vince white button down shirt – Mural white blazer – ECI jumpsuit – Daniel Wellington silver watch

Minimal style accessories - Understanding the different styles | 40plusstyle.com

Frame tuxedo pants  – Eliza J dress – Ganni wool coat – Coach 1941 colorblock bag

I consider myself a bit of a minimalist, so it’s no surprise that the quote above comes from one of my favorite designers: Calvin Klein. I like the philosophy about minimalism: it’s about having less and enjoying the things you have more. So it’s even more important to buy the right things; clothes that are of high quality and fit you extremely well.

Some examples of minimal garments include:

  • A simple tailored jacket
  • A winter coat
  • A designer little black dress
  • A minimal tuxedo
  • One single handbag
  • A minimal watch

minimalist clean modern style | 40plusstyle.com

Examples of people with this style include: Sofia Coppola, Angelina Jolie, Audrey Hepburn.

Minimalist style is all about exuding a less is more attitude.  Clothes are extremely well tailored and high quality, and the simplest pieces make the biggest impact. Calvin Klein, Sofia Coppola, Angelina Jolie, and Audrey Hepburn are designers and/or celebrities that fall into this style category.


The trendy and fashionable style is an embrace of seasonal trends. These fresh of the runway looks are about taking risks and gladly standing out. While the looks can be a lot of fun, they are often outdated pretty soon and are often not as timeless as classic or minimalist styles.

trendy runway fashion style | 40plusstyle.com

You tend to be fashionable and trendy if you embrace the new trends each year and incorporate them into your style. You are willing to take risks and are happy to stand out. This style can be a lot of fun and very arty, but will look outdated pretty soon.

Trendy - Understanding the different styles | 40plusstyle.com

BP plaid blazer – Topshop sweater – Kate Kasin leather pleated skirt

Trendy - Understanding the different styles | 40plusstyle.com

AFRM snakeprint pants – Mali and Lili round bag – Matisse white boots – Rebecca minkoff leather backpack – Cult Gaia hoop earrings

Clothes for this style are hard to define as the trends change every season. Fashionistas will need to follow the trends through magazines and the latest fashion shows to know what to look for in the shops.

Things that go in and out of fashion include:

  • Shoulder pads
  • Platform heels
  • Colors
  • Sequins
  • Outrageous hats
  • Skirt volume

Have a look at some of my favorite trends this season from fall 2018.

Examples of people with this style include: Isabella Blow, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Diana Ross.

Eclectic Style

This style is hard to describe, which is not surprising, as this style is really a mixture of all kinds of styles. The eclectic woman knows how to mix and match all the different styles and truly make it her own. To make this style really work, it is important to have a good eye for what you like, to know what suits you and to have the innate style instinct or (learned) knowledge to mix it all together. This is a very creative and fun way of dressing.

Examples include: Kate Moss, Laura Bailey, Gwynyth Paltrow.

eclectic creative and artsy style | 40plusstyle.com


NYDJ sequin top –  Lucky Brand floral top — Diane Von Furstenberg skirt – Scotch and Soda print jogger pants

Sequin Casbah bangle – Floral earrings – BP catseye glasses – Black Suede floral mules

Street / Urban

This is the constantly evolving style that develops on the streets of the big cities. It is constantly changing and quite undefinable, but it tends to be a mix of casual and hip and what’s happening in the world at any particular time. This style is more prominent amongst youngsters as opposed to 40 plussers, although, of course, there are always the exceptions to this rule. Some previous street style trends include: new wave, punk, goth, grunge, mod and hip hop.

Examples of people with this style include: young Madonna, Debbie Harry.

Creating your own style profile

Now, if you are like most women, you will have elements of a few of these styles in your own personal style. I tend to like classical garments and go for a minimal look.

But I also love fashion, new trends and new colors each season. I’m not that attracted to the bohemian style; it just doesn’t feel like me. Garments in that style tend to be worn only a few times, so it would be best for me to avoid buying those kinds of clothes altogether.

You can get closer to your own personal style by joining my free Find Your Style challenge which will be starting soon. Will you join me?

How about you? Do you know what style you have? In what broad group would you put yourself?


P.S. Want to discover your style personality? Do the style personality test!

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Understanding the different styles | 40plusstyle.com

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tracey

I am definitely eclectic. I like minimal pieces, but like to mix them up with vintage, trendy and unexpected pieces. Like you I am not a boho girl.


2 Sylvia

Thanks Tracy. Look forward to seeing more of your style!


3 elefart in the jungle

hi guuuys what does ecletic mean? is that a kind of drug or something? it sounds like its related with LSD, doesn´t it?


4 Sylvia

Eclecltic is a mix up of several styles. Here is the wiki description: ‘deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources’


5 Kelly

Eclectic but without the flare and lean g towards minimal/boring.


6 Eva

Really enjoyed this article. It was very informative & written in an a fun & entertaining style. I just found out I’m a minimalist eclectic who knew? Haha


7 Sylvia

Welcome Eva and thanks for the kind feedback. Your style sounds a bit like mine…


8 carol luffman

creative dreamer and the style i like to portray is somewhere between california casual and euro chic.


9 Jonna

Oh, I have to be in the Eclectic category, if I must choose one. My style itself if primarily Classic, with trendy, vintage and urban accents.


10 rae

i would describe my style as eclectic street/urban. i mix grunge, aesthetic, and soft punk. i sometimes just go out of my “style range” if i really like something lol. i usually wear accessories such as fishnet tights and chokers.


11 Karin

This was very informative! I like the bohemian style. Thanks for the great tips.


12 Barbara Farr

I am a sporty casual person. I love the comfort of over sized sweatshirts, t-shirts, jersey knits, fleece, cotton, flip flops, Emu boots, etc. I have a hard time dressing up! I am all about comfort.


13 ld

Thank you so much
This really helped me for a school project


14 Ann

Classic/minimalist, with a little bohemianism thrown in for fun


15 Colleen

Seems I have a really mixed sense of style… think more classic with bohemian thrown in. Would really love to stick to bohemian but does tend to make me look shorter and frumpier…am 5 foot 1!


16 Elaine

I am definitely bohemian with a touch if eclectic. Like textures, natural fabrics, colours, scarves, jewellery. Describe my style as boho feminine chic.


17 Scotti

“Boho Feminine Chic” — I LOVE that!


18 Laura

Thank you!
I like classic, but also comfortable and effortless-looking, and warm colors suit me, so the outcome is not super classic. And living in Finland, my getting dressed is more about changing weather conditions and practicality than stiletto heels.


19 Michele Ludwig

I’m totally a minimalist with classic pieces thrown in. Question: I’ve been looking for a woman’s tuxedo shirt (an upright collar with folded down corners) that doesn’t look waiter-ish. Any suggestions on where to buy one?


20 Pamela

I’m definitely a mixture of classic & minimal style. I tend to be under rather than overstated!


21 No Fear of Fashion

Based on this article I would say I am in between fashionable and eclectic. I don’t follow all trends and certainly not right away which probably means I am often in outdated clothes. And eclectic because I like to mix and match and don’t mind standing out. I don’t think I have “the eye” so I am often a bit wrong haha. But you live and learn. Practice makes perfect.


22 Look Good After Forty

What a great post Sylvia, you’ve articulated the various styles very nicely.
I am a classic at heart although a wannabe minimalist !


23 Jackie

I think I’m a combination of Classic / minimalist I love orange and earth tones add a few trendy pieces to a little spice. In the summer months I do have a bit bohemian, as i love scarves and hats all year. I like more classic jewelry and shoes will play with trendy sandals and boots.


24 Scotti

Bohemian and eclectic styles feel the most like me. I dressed in a more classic style for a long time while working in offices, and was thrilled when dress codes began to relax so that by the time I retired, I was wearing more of a boho or “folk” style to work.


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