Of course, you can dress any which way you like, but if you don’t want to look like you are sixteen, like you are trying too hard to stay young or appear older than you are, you may like some guidelines as to how to dress after 40. I tried my best finding and sharing the best tips and ideas for women over forty. Here are just some of the things women over 40 need to be aware of. Please note that these are just GENERAL guidelines. They certainly don’t apply to everyone.
Still, I also believe in dressing to your strengths and taking your body into account so if you like to have some guidelines on how to dress after 40, then you can find them below
There are some of the things you should avoid:
1. Don’t buy clothes that do not flatter you, even if it’s the trends this season. For this, it’s important to know your body type, which I will discuss in upcoming posts.
2. Try not to be too matchy-matchy or too polished. It’s nice to mix things up and be a bit more playful. A 2 piece suit will quickly look old. Better to mix that jacket with another skirt or pants and look effortlessly chic.
3. Avoid buying fabrics that are too cheap as they are usually not flattering or will not last. You can see some characteristics of fabrics here. Best to buy only the clothes that you love and that have a chance of lasting.
4. Don’t mix a tight skirt or pants with a tight top. Aim to have either a tight skirt with a loser top or vice versa. See also my tips on how to wear leggings over 40.
5. Clothes that you need to be more careful with:
- really short shorts
- mini dresses (but you can wear those over trousers)
- mom jeans
- severely ripped jeans
- baggy jeans (see also how to wear jeans over 40)
- unfitted blazers
- baggy sweats
- too long skirts (although when balanced well, these can still look good)
What are some of the things you should do more of?
1. Know your style! Nothing is more important than dressing in a way that pleases and represents you. If you know your style and understand your body you can break any of the rules or add items from the ‘don’t list’ as you please. My find your style challenge will help with that.
2. Determine the wardrobe essentials that are unique to your style.
3. Have more lasting high-quality items in your wardrobe. These vary for each style personality but some important classics are:
A white button down shirt.
A long coat (could be a trench coat).
A beautiful dress that fits you perfectly. Don’t automatically go for a little black dress. Many women over 40 will actually look better (and slimmer) in a colorful dress.
Well fitted long pants.
A well-fitted blazer.
A good pair of dark denim jeans that fit you well. Boot cut or straight leg is usually the most flattering. See some of my guidelines on jeans and recommendations here.
4. Mix and match designer items with non-designer ones.
5. Take a good critical look at yourself before you go out and see if you look too overdone. The aim is to look effortlessly chic so just evaluate and if necessary you may have to add on something a bit more casual.
6. keep current with the fashion trends and make sure you have a few current items in your wardrobe. Only pick those trends that work for you! If you want to know about the latest trends you can subscribe to my newsletter and receive a free style guide!
7. Wear skirts that are just above or on top of the knee which is the best skirt length for women over 40. Try not to go too far over the knee as this is not flattering for your calves and your overall look will be older. You will look the sexiest and chicest if the skirt is not too wide and not too long. Petite women may want to go a bit shorter with their skirt lengths. For more info see my article on the perfect skirt length for women over 40.
8. Play with accessories like belts, jewelry, and hats. They can make a real difference to your outfit.
9. If you want to hide some of the bulges, then shapewear definitely helps. If you don’t like shapewear, then learning how to skillfully hide with the right clothes will be preferable, like these tips in my article on how to hide your belly.
10. Make sure you wear a good bra and invisible undergarments. More info in my article on how to find the perfect bra.
11. Wear hip and current shoes. These add an instant young and hip vibe to your outfits. Make sure to choose shoes that you are able to walk in. Mid-high heels can look fabulous. If you need more support I have a great list of arch support shoes.
I want to emphasize again that these tips are not set in stone and it’s up to you to decide what works best for you. But if you want to look young and hip, then these ‘rules’ can certainly help. The more you understand your body and your style, the more you can break these rules as you please.
40 shouldn't be that scary, but this age tends to give a lot of women anxiety about how they dress, how they do their makeup, and how they're perceived by others. You don't want to look too old, but not too young, either. The balance isn't easy. If you are a woman over 40, you need to know that you can be just as sexy and vivacious as your younger counterparts.
All you need is to tak a critical look at your wardrobe and beauty habits and find best things what can work for you.
Address Those "Big Changes" Without Fear
One of the most challenging aspects for women over 40 when it comes to fashion, is how to dress for all the changes that are occurring. As your body is changing, so must your clothes. You have to learn how to flatter your body without doing a style overhaul. Clothes for women over 40 should fit you right, and even if you are in the best shape of your life, your body still physiologically changing no matter what, from thinning hair to softer, duller skin with less natural glow. The key to dealing with the changes and being your best is to refresh your look, trust me, the style for 40-year-old women is nothing hard at all! Shoes and bags are the quickest way to update your look, women over 40 need to learn how to adapt trends that will work for them. Most of all, you need learn to not hang onto what worked before. Learn how to dress for your new assets.
Don't dress too young. The worst thing you can do is to dress younger than you are, it will only make you look older.
Unless you've got gams like Gwyneth Paltrow, no miniskirts. Sorry!
Skip baggy clothes and in favor of pieces that give you shape like a-line skirts and dresses.
Try to avoid some of the colors you wore in your 20s (at least not against your face). Softer tones, black and white, navy, are all good options.
Don't pick colors from color charts; experiment by trying on different colors when you go shopping. "You'll know it when you see it instantly," she said.
Trendy is no longer attractive. Don't worry about the trend of the moment. Find a print or a bold piece of jewelry and develop a signature look.
Quick Fashion and Beauty Fixes
Gravity takes its toll on women of a certain age, but Gross said fashion tricks can camouflage most of these problems:
Wrinkled neck: Turtlenecks or turn-up collars are a great way to cover that area and bring focus to the face.
Straight figure short on curves: Add jackets and pieces that will give you shape.
Thinner hair: Get a fresh cut. Shorter hair gives more of a lift and the variety of new products can improve your hairstyle.
Focus on shoulders and legs: They are the slowest to age. That doesn't mean wearing miniskirts, but you can bring attention to legs with a knee-length skirt and high-heel pumps and sandals.
Change in coloring: Always wear a bit of white close to the face. Soft colors — pale pink, white, beige, ice blue — bring light to the face as well.
Get Started Looking Your Best Now:
-Look at mature television and movie actresses you admire and emulate their look.
Shop at stores that cater to stylish, mature women, like Chicos, Nordstrom, Giorgio Armani, St. John, and Escada.
-Don't be afraid to experiment. By the time you are 50 you have some sense of what your style is. You probably have the basics down and now it's time to add pizzazz like adding bold glasses or wearing a collar turned up.
-Recycle pieces from your closet, but keep in mind that some trends can come back and you can revisit them with a twist. The classics — trench coats, Pucci prints, animal prints — are the best pieces to keep pulling out because they have timeless appeal.
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