I like to feature all kinds of women at 40plusstyle.com from the conservative to the outrageous. You can find them in the What You Wore and Style Interview sections. Al the women in my style interviews have one thing in common though: they all have a unique, confident style that they have made their own.
I feature those women because I love how they express themselves through the art of clothing. I love how confident they feel about creating their own unique look. Obviously, not all of them reflect my own personal style, but I can appreciate their style since it’s true to their personality and the looks are put together in a fabulous way.
I also adore featuring women with a more outspoken look as they show you that you can do whatever you like. That you can express yourself through clothes the way you want to and that it’s ok to take risks. I think it can inspire many of you to be a bit more adventurous with your style, even if it’s as simple as adding a colorful scarf.
No matter what kind of style I feature though, invariably I will get negative comments about a person’s style, especially when that style is more outspoken. Not constructive comments but insulting remarks that you would never actually express face-to-face. This happens especially on Facebook and it always astonishes me.
Why do women feel the need to trash someone else’s style? Why don’t they rejoice in how confident someone expresses herself through style and the art of dressing? Why are they not in awe of someone’s unique look?
I posted a message about this issue on Facebook and received overwhelming support from many followers of the page who all expressed this disbelief and could not understand why anyone would feel the need to criticize someone’s else’s look in a negative way. Yet the following week I found myself moderating and deleting negative comments again.
Of course the critics tend to be the minority but I have seen it in my personal life too. Women are tough on other women and quick to criticize someone’s appearance. Far more so than men do.
In my style course I often encourage women to step a little bit outside of their comfort zone. Many do and find new ways to add an extra impulse to their style. It could be as easy as to add an extra print, try a bit more color, add a scarf or don’t always go matchy-matchy with the shoes and bag.
Often though I also see resistance and I feel that in large part it’s because women feel scared to be criticized by other women or their husbands. They are afraid of what others will think or get the ageist comment that they are too old to wear something.
It’s one reason why I always advocate to please yourself first and foremost as you will NEVER be able to please everyone else. Wear what pleases and suits you and what makes you happy.
Of course I will never expect of you that you like all the looks that I post. We all have different tastes and we all have our own unique style. That is the great thing about style! We can express our unique selves through it.
But I would hope that you can appreciate someone else’s style, no matter your own taste, and that you can take inspiration from it in some way. It can be the way someone puts their accessories together, or the way she combines colors. Or you can be in awe of their confidence or how they express themselves in such a bold way.
Let’s cheer eachother on and encourage every woman to be her own unique self. Neither I nor any of my readers is waiting for your criticism.
Celebrate Unique Style!
All the women featured on my site are special and at 40+Style we CELEBRATE STYLE. All kinds of style! Because we are all unique and style is such a beautiful way to express ourselves. From now on I will add that tag #celebrateuniquestyle to all of my photos!
And remember: style only gets better with age!
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Oh my gosh , it is quite sad to read such non constructive comments and insulting remarks
Here . And please note : most of them were posted yesterday on the NATIONAL WOMENs day ! I mean really ? Why women can not empower each other and just be happy for her even without knowing her . Why people actually have the time to stop what they are doing to just write an insult or negative remark ? Instead of writing a positive one or not commenting at all . We all have our addictions , passions and our own style . Let her celebrate hers . We all have a little bit of Carrie Bradshaw in us . Great article !
all this envy and fear makes me sad.
i worked 20 years as a designer and seamstress – and so much of my female clients did not allow themselfes pretty clothes they liked at first sight.
with reasons you already covered here.
why do women mock other women – in germany we call this “stutenbissigkeit” – a successful mocked woman is out of the run for “mr. big”. it´s an instinct. and husbands? pure fear – better your woman is not on the radar of other men. we don´t have burkas – but dull clothes and “practical” hair.
sadly some humans still live in a cave…..
Up to us to change some of that Beate and celebrate more women with unique style and inspire more women to own their style too!
i´m in, sylvia!!!
funny you should bring this up! i was just thinking about it today. a few years ago in a semi-formal situation a man was wearing a goofy bow-tie, and it really bothered me. like, REALLY bothered me. luckily i recognized that it was my problem and not his from the start, but what i finally realized was that i envied his lack of concern for what other people thought. i would NEVER have worn something like that, not because i didn’t like it but because i was always thinking about what other people thought. it offended and shamed me that he didn’t find that necessary.
so maybe the offense disparagers give is a sort of self-defense. not that it’s justified – they’re retrenching the values they were taught, even though those values are self-damaging (and other-damaging!). just some thoughts i’ve been having lately on the subject.
Interesting story and feedback Anna.
Why not be allowed to express a different opinion? Criticism need not be mean or snarky. I don’t have to agree with everything women do, I hope.
You are right. It need not be and constructive feedback presented in a kind and considerate way is ok. And I certainly don’t mean for you to agree with the choices of other women, but it’s also not necessary to express a negative opinion publicly on the site or on Facebook. The emphasis on 40+Style is to celebrate style. Certainly when I feature other women, I don’t want them criticised in this space. I don’t think it benefits anyone.
Sylvia thanks for coming up with the idea in the first place. Every time I start criticizing someone its because I am hungry, grouchy or unhappy at the moment for whatever reason. 🙂 Sabina | Oceanblue Style
Four simple worlds…Be Kind To Others…this includes written comments about them. My grandmother used to say that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!! I just figure the negative comments I read are from sad, lonely women. Such a shame!
Well written, Sylvia. And I couldn’t agree more!
Sylvia , thank you for this thought provoking post. I have never understood the need to mock another just because they have a different take to you, why not just celebrate their creativity. I so enjoy your interviews with such inspiring, creative women.
That was a cry from the heart my dear. You are right of course, but hey, that is mankind for you. I don’t get many negative comments or they are wrapped in a blanket of carefulness. But I only feature myself. It is of course different with your site.
Love this article and keep up the good work! Agree with the other comments, you and the women you feature are inspiring and let’s hear it for fashion diversity!
Thank you for this thoughtful and heart-felt explanation, Sylvia. I appreciate that you want this space to be kind and encouraging to everyone. I would like to add that it should be kind to you, also. Therefore, would you, maybe, want to delete any comment as soon as you read a hurtful remark in it? That way, you could avoid even considering it for a moment longer than necessary. It seems so difficult, but during the day, there are many thoughts and words we need to prevent from taking in. This helps, I think, to keep a more peaceful mind!
Sylvia — this is a wonderful and thoughtful post. I tend to be a very conservative dresser because of my very conservative profession, but I do look (sometimes my eyes pop out) and take inspiration and get ideas from women you feature who push the envelope. People say things online that they would never say in person — cowards feel safe if they can be anonymous. I think it is good that you moderate and delete mean posts. They don’t add anything productive to the discussion; they are just destructive.
I loved this post. It is absolutely true how critical women can be of each other. When I look at all the photos on Instagram and Facebook of women who are putting themselves out there ,it makes me so happy. We are wonderful and expressive females. Sharing positive light for others feels great. I choose that feeling over the other.
Forget the negative, love your site, we over 50, 60, etc are stylish too, negative people go somewhere else!!! Every women is not 20 something, 100 lbs, and perfect In
every way! And neither are they!!! News flash! We women over 50 60 and older can teach the younger generation a thing or two, starting with kindness, generosity, love for our fellow sister, and support for each other! Now, off my soapbox!!! Love your website!
What a wonderful post, Sylvia. What I love about your website most are your photos and interviews with woman of all ages, shapes, colors, sizes and tastes. I often follow blogs that are so far removed from what I look and dress like but I learn so much from these fearless and creative women. Thank you for presenting us with so many choices and statements on how we can maximize our own style.
Great post – and so true, I don’t normally comment, but the trashing of other women – bewildering. Honestly – someones choice in skirt or top or glasses, if it really isn’t for me then how the heck does it harm me in any way? Very, very rarely is there NOTHING is someones outfit that I don’t find interesting – it may be colour, texture, pattern, combination… and often when it ISN’T my style is the moment when I find it all the more interesting and inspiring and curious – people that are different are what makes the world tick. Sadly too often, trashing an outfit is a lazy/cowardly way of trashing a person we don’t know and can’t be bothered to get to know – sad, stupid and just plain dumb
Hear, hear, Sylvia!
It’s time to rejoice with one another, and celebrate our unique talents and gifts. How boring if I went into a book store and could only select one genre. Sometimes I love a good mystery, other times a good romance. Then again, a good how-to book comes in handy. Shouldn’t the same be said about style? Thank you for bringing together such an eclectic mix of women. They say variety is the spice of life!
You do a brilliant job representing all kinds of women and styles, Sylvia! I am like you – I am able to appreciate individuality and the art of expressing ourselves (in clothing, in photography, in writing, in cooking… you name it!) – and I find that this ability is a very rare quality, and I cherish it even more because of that. Many people are not able to simply appreciate the art of anything if they are not “into” this particular art themselves.
I also think that people who ridicule other people do it because they feel vulnerable and insecure themselves. That inner pain is so strong, they are not able to keep it to themselves and, alas, make a much stronger statement about themselves than about others in their negative comments. What these people don’t know is… we ALL feel vulnerable and we all have insecurities, the secret is to make your vulnerability your strong suit – make art using your vulnerability, your sensitivity. Make your own art, or even make your life your art – vulnerability is actually a great tool, but again, not many people know it. Thank you for your wonderful work and this honest, encouraging article, Sylvia!
The reason I follow a blog like yours is to get ideas from all the individuals you show. I too have been subject to the easy, bullying online from a lot of women: perhaps it is long term suppression released by the ease of the internet’s personal expression. Nevertheless, respect for another and personal responsibility for one’s comments are important aspects of a wise woman.
What a brilliant blog post, Sylvia! I’m so glad you are opening this subject up for discussion. I see the same sort of negativity on my page, but I handle it slightly differently which you may find interesting. Instead of deleting the negative comments, I like to enter into a debate with the women about their perspective, validating it, but then discussing the importance of presenting opposing points of view in a way that opens up debate and discussion, but isn’t a personal attack against someone else. Differing opinions are great, they just need to be shared with kindness. It’s worked really well. I often think that women don’t realize they are being quite so critical until it’s pointed out and broken down for them. When I come back at those comments with compassion, they almost always thank me and reconsider their words. I often talk about the need for solidarity, because we are all in this together and are striving for the same thing. xx
I have done this and sometimes it worked and sometimes it does not. Frankly, it takes up too much time and (negative) energy. Also, I don’t feel it’s fair to the women I feature. I want this to be a safe place for them where they are free to express themselves without the fear of being criticized. Overall, the feedback is incredibly positive and the negative comments are very few. But I felt I had to share the message of uniqueness and to remind women and anyone really that there is really no benefit in criticizing others in a negative way. That we can rejoice in our uniqueness.
I really appreciate all the different stylish women you feature on this site!
And, yes, some women can be very harsh critics of other women, especially online. And that’s really sad.
I have started reading a wide variety of fashion blogs just recently, and I love all the different ways women dress. Many outfits would not be right for me, but that does not mean others should not wear them. Plus, if you really don’t like something, stop looking at the post!
Excellent piece, Sylvia!! And that opening photo, WOW, that’s a fantastically inspiring group of women, not just for their style but their attitudes on living. You really know how to pass along this positive energy.
Yeah, I don’t get that meanness either, especially about the red carpet. Sure there are things I don’t like, but, hey, THEY are on the red carpet. Where am I? Sprawled out on my floor eating junk food no doubt and watching with a gaping mouth wishing I were there even in a potato sack. I have to check your FB.
What a great piece of writing.
Criticism comes mainly from insecurity and jealousy.
Confident people don’t feel the need to put another woman down in order to feel better about themselves….. Critics should be pitied, not listened to (or worse, feared).
Being successful (as you are) inevitably attracts a small number of these sad individuals.
Pleasing others is a pointless endeavour, it can never work.
Pleasing yourself is the only way to go.
Thankfully most people are nice, and if they don’t like a look they do the decent thing and say NOTHING…moving on to something they DO like.
Being nasty is pathetic.
I have never understood gratuitous disparagement. Now, if the person is asking for ideas, you can offer an honest but civil opinion. If they are putting forward principles of style that you believe to be incorrect, I think you can disagree, again, with civility. But running around the Internet throwing shade I will never understand. Thanks for your kind voice, Sylvia.
It is so sad that people go out of their way to criticize others over something that is so intensely personal. It’s simple, if you don’t like how someone else chooses to dress…look away.
I love seeing how other people choose to dress themselves. Sometimes it gives me ideas to try and sometimes it just gives me the courage to be a little different.
I think that some “normal” women feel a bit slighted or forgotten lately because of the media’s love affair with the eccentric older women. It is a shame. They can teach us so much about creative play and self expression.
Thank you for wriring this. I’ve only recently been able to fully enbrace my own style for fear of not looking “right.” I think there is nothing more attractive than confidence.
Thank you for celebrating individuality. There will always be criticism. ..always. . We just have to learn to focus on the positive. ..