I'm over 40: What to Avoid and How Do I Dress for My Age?

by Cyndi
(Florida)

Demi Moore Looking Fabulous at 47 (INF)

Demi Moore Looking Fabulous at 47 (INF)

Okay I'm 43 but all of my life I've been told I look younger than my actual age (drove me crazy as a teen but not so bad now). Most people think I look to be in my early to mid 30's (yeah for me).

I love clothes and fashion but I don't want to dress to young for my age but unfortunately while I look 32 to 35 I still know I'm 43 what should I avoid to keep myself from looking like someone dressing to young for their age.

Also, I work in management in a very politically correct corporation in the south. I'm southern, I'm a size 6 or 8 around 5'10 and 152lbs.

The thigh high boots are making my mouth water... Can I wear them? What else should I avoid?



Cyndi, I completely see what you're getting at. The good news is that since you look younger than your age, you can pull off some trends without looking like you're dressing inappropriately.

How to Wear Thigh High Boots

Yes, thigh high boots are amazing and you can wear them despite your age, but you have to keep a couple of things in mind before you try this shoe trend:
  • Wear them with tight jeans. Wearing them with short skirts is in my opinion a bit inappropriate for your age, however adding black opaque tights or sheer pantyhose can tone down the trendy and young look!
  • Stay away from super shiny or patent leather thigh high boots. Matte-looking leather such as suede is one of your best bets, and gives off a mature and alluring look
  • Choose simple styles without any complicated details

Here is an example of what style you should go for:


Dolce Vita Women's Eve Boot
You should check out more of Endless' Dolce Vita range which offers simple over the knee boots suitable for women over 40 (the link above takes you to their site).

Tips on How to Dress Age-Appropriate

This is based on my personal opinion and my observations - it's alright if you disagree with me. Confidence is the key!

If you want to dress appropriately for your age and still look like you have a great sense of style, then you need to focus on:

Dressing femininely without looking too cute. So set tiers and too-frilly details to the side, and go for alluring wrap necklines and dresses and other tailored pieces, with a focus on the wardrobe essentials

The clothes should be a fitted, not tight, so buying clothes with the right fit is crucial. Knowing your body measurements is important here.

The no-no's apply to the individual (level of confidence, body shape and figure, etc.) but there are some clothes women of your age should be careful with. For me, I admire older women who can dress stylishly without looking tacky or trying to look like a college kid. That's just my view of it.

Things to avoid (and that I wouldn't like seeing my own mother wear) are:

  • Skinny leg jeans - instead opt bootcut, flare and wide leg jeans. An exception would be if you are petite/skinny or have a great body. But in this case, it's very important to tone down on everything else. Cropped boyfriend jeans can also suit your age as long as they're simple and don't have too many shreds and rips

  • Mini skirts and shorts. Knee length and just above the knee are good. If you have great legs, take the hem a bit up but keep your top a bit more covered and classy

  • Fringes (as in Minnetonka boots)

  • Crop tops and sweaters (the ones that show off your belly). Ok to wear when exercising or out tanning. I don't care if a woman's abs are toned and sculpted, it looks inappropriate. Cut offs are fine but then your body has to be smacking great and confidence and personality have to match.

  • Wearing clothes that don't flatter your current body shape.

August 2011 Update: I removed some of the no no's because I found the list restrictive. BUT whatever you choose to wear, make sure you keep it balanced and toned down.

Stylish Dressed Celebs in their 40s

Here are examples of celebrities over 40 whose style you might want to research:



Brooke Shields (WENN)

Christy Turlington (Vogue UK)

Demi Moore (Celebutopia)

Along with:
Jennifer Aniston,
Elle Macpherson,
Courtney Cox,
Sharon Stone,
Halle Berry,
Sara Jessica Parker

I highly recommend this link : Fabulous After 40 for more tips on dressing your age. They focus on inspiring women over 40 to have fun with fashion as well as keeping it at an appropriate level.

Hope this helps!


Products you may be interested in:

Personalized fashion advice, affordable stylist, how to wear clothes

Your 24/7
Private Stylist
Purchase affordable color analysis, discover your best color palette

Affordable
Color Analysis
Purchase professional and affordable color swatches with your best colors

Quality
Color Swatches
Ebook on how to find your seasonal color group

"Color Revival"
e-book


Comments for I'm over 40: What to Avoid and How Do I Dress for My Age?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 10, 2014
I'm 70 now what?? NEW
by: LOLA

At this stage of life you can either look like you're half dead or you can look like you are 100% alive. I opted for the latter.one need not follow the trends to be classic and elegant. Bikini days are over. Face facts. We are not matronly unless we choose to be however. I refuse to look like my grandmother. Yet I can still dress fashionably and with panache. One must be constantly observant and vigilant of what is happening in the fashion world and be aware of what makes you feel good and look good. One doesn't have to wear skinny jeans nor does one have to wear thigh high leather boots. Nor does one have to pretend to be something they are not. Be yourself and choose clothing that looks good on you. Don't be afraid to buy or spend extra money on something that is well-made and classic. The goal now is to have quality clothing and not the junk that we are finding in the stores today. Be critical of what you buy and what you wear. And walk with your head held high. I'm loving this stage of my life!

Sep 07, 2014
Wear what you want ! NEW
by: LDB

I say wear what you want as long as it's classy. Look at Carine Roitfeld & Vera Wang who are in their 60s and look damn good in their leather pants, thigh high boots, or stilettos. Then there's Christie Brinkley, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Sharon Stone and a whole host of other women over 40 who are changing the look of fashion for women over 40. And they're all still rocking bikinis mind you.

Aug 14, 2014
Good question! NEW
by: Sherri

I just turned 47.

I too often wonder, hmmm..what should I wear at this point in my life? Running shoes with jeans (when running errands, etc.) or should I dress it up a bit with pumps?

I don't want to be dowdy. But I don't think thigh-high boots are for me (unless it was only tasteful. Or only worn in the bedroom...lol).

I'm a SAHM but grow oh-so-tired of the casual look each day. I do miss dressing up a bit from the office jobs I had (especially business casual).

Oftentimes I'll look as to what European fashion is for the next season (not really into trends but they are ahead of us). I don't like blouses or anything to do with ironing. I would happily wear a comfy dress 3x/week with comfortable shoes. Ditto for jeans (NOT Skinny!) with classy flats or something with a wedge or short/thick heel. And accessorize! Need to stock up in that department a bit more.

I suppose what most have said is true - wear what makes you, well, you. However, it is a curious question because "you" can change styles as YOU see fit! :)

Aug 01, 2014
40s NEW
by: Anonymous

I love being 46 and dressing better than some 20 yo's...they look sloppy! Wear what you can get away with as long as you don't look "girly". Then it starts looking creepy....

Aug 01, 2014
From a Cancer Survivor NEW
by: Penny

I'm 41, a Breast Cancer Survivor as of 6/2014, I'm 5"5 and about 150lbs and a busy mom of 3 young boys in the south. I'm a vet tech and always in the field working. I try to look nice and not too flashy and my hair is act5ually gowing now - thank god! I want my life back and want to be pretty again but dress appropriately for my age as well. Usually at work I'll wear a pair of shorts and a nice shirt and a pair of tennis shoes. When I'm not out working, I was thinking of a nice pair of brown boots and a skirt,dress or oversized sweater for fall or even some jeans with some pumps. What do you think?

Thank YOU!!!
Scylla6987@aol.com

May 22, 2014
We should be unashamed NEW
by: Anonymous

We earned our stripes, we should look as we please.

Apr 29, 2014
What should i do? NEW
by: Mum Ang

I am just 36 but i look like 44.My daughter has check online but i couldn't find a formal dress to attend a wedding that fits me.Can you give me some tips on what to where?What colour is the best for a woman like me?

Nov 13, 2013
Do not agree NEW
by: Anonymous

Of course older women can wear skinny jeans and trousers. Tucked into knee high boots or with ankle boots or with high heels for a night out with a little jacket. Boot cuts are lovely but can make you look a little outdated at the moment and therefore older.
Most older women ie over 50 now look much much younger. I do. Often mistaken for late 30s so it can be difficult to know how to dress. I tend to look at what mid thirty years women are wearing and adapt it for me as most of the blogs I have seen with older women are dressing way to unsexy and matronly conservative.

Nov 10, 2013
Oh God, this is so archaic NEW
by: Anonymous

women should wear what they want, according to how good they look. Kudos to all the strong women who look hot and wear sexy, flattering clothes!

Nov 10, 2013
Is this question for real? NEW
by: Anonymous

Yes, OHhhhhhhh, 40+ - the DEATH trap. Can't dress sexy anymore, can't feel lively and free in what I wear - I have to conform to "shoulds"...?!?

And I'm not referring to wearing a tight, hot pink mini skirt with boots, but in general, why does 40+ signify the beginning of dull, horrible choices with clothes, life, etc?

What a bunch of BS this question is. Yeah, just go to Ann Taylor and buy your conservative crap there. I'm 43 and don't feel the need to ask some random person on the internet what I "should" wear - I'm not an old woman, this silly woman should stop asking such dumb questions herself. Seriously.

Just dress how you see fit and feel good and comfortable in. But obv avoid looking like a tween or like you're at a rave. It really is that simple, dear.


Sep 20, 2013
what when average isn't you NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm 43, 5'10 very leggy 34" inside leg, but also a size 8 uk size and have a large bust.....32G! I cannot wear button shirts not dresses as they do not fit over my bust or are huge over my waist and hips. Trousers have always been an issue too and actually the one thing I have learnt over the past 20 years is designer or nothing. Even high street Long or Ex Long just don't fit properly especially jeans. When I was younger I could get away with high street stuff, except jeans, and was quite happy with that, but there isn't anything out there now for 40 something's that yes have a fab figure, but don't want to dress like tarts! I'd love some suggestions and help please :-)

Sep 12, 2013
what to wear NEW
by: Anonymous

Some people who make it their business to dictate to others what they can and cannot wear should be wearing a muzzle!

Aug 08, 2013
Over 40 and still feeling very youthful. NEW
by: Anonymous

I am so thrilled to know that there are lots of women who feel as I do. I think one has to dress in clothing that fits well and you are comfortable in. I happen to be a petite 5'2" 109 lbs. and look ridiculous in boxy type clothing suggested for petite women. I am also 48. And like a lot of you women who commented on here I keep getting told I look more like late 20's or 30's. lets face it, many of us are aging well today, and it will be more common to meet people who look years younger than their actual age. Thanks to many new things available to us all.
As we all know, different occasions require different kinds of attire. Going to the gym require workout clothing which may come in all kinds, so wear what makes you feel comfortable for working out. Just going to the grocery store does not require high heels unless you are on your way home from the office. What I would like to see is not how celebrities dress for these occasions, but how everyday American women can dress with clothing stores like Target, Ross dress for less. I do not relate to celebrities who have personal stylist and money to afford the right attire for their many appearances.

Aug 08, 2013
Over 40 and still feeling very youthful. NEW
by: Anonymous

I am so thrilled to know that there are lots of women who feel as I do. I think one has to dress in clothing that fits well and you are comfortable in. I happen to be a petite 5'2" 109 lbs. and look ridiculous in boxy type clothing suggested for petite women. I am also 48. And like a lot of you women who commented on here I keep getting told I look more like late 20's or 30's. lets face it, many of us are aging well today, and it will be more common to meet people who look years younger than their actual age. Thanks to many new things available to us all.
As we all know, different occasions require different kinds of attire. Going to the gym require workout clothing which may come in all kinds, so wear what makes you feel comfortable for working out. Just going to the grocery store does not require high heels unless you are on your way home from the office. What I would like to see is not how celebrities dress for these occasions, but how everyday American women can dress with clothing stores like Target, Ross dress for less. I do not relate to celebrities who have personal stylist and money to afford the right attire for their many appearances.

Jun 13, 2013
42 but look 25 NEW
by: 42 yo asian

I am 42 years old, petite at 5'3" and 115lb. I have 2 kids and workout everyday. My thing is I look way to young for my age (I am asian so I inherited the youthful genes from my parents). I was told by my colleagues that I pass for a mid 20 year old woman. I've been carded many times, even for buying a lottery ticket. I do dress my age at work and have heard people mentioning that I dressed matronly for my age, little do they know that I am in my 40s. Should I be dressing slightly younger due to the way I look. I definitely can pull off wearing skinny jeans and cutoff shorts with 3" inseam. This is a tough subject for me.

May 17, 2013
over 40s dress sence NEW
by: Anonymous

Im how do I dress my age for casual week days, its all well and good showing pics of how the celebs dress for there age I mean they have money and never wear the same outfit twice, now what about dressing on a budget and mixing and matching clothes.

May 17, 2013
over 40s dress sence NEW
by: Anonymous

Im how do I dress my age for casual week days, its all well and good showing pics of how the celebs dress for there age I mean they have money and never wear the same outfit twice, now what about dressing on a budget and mixing and matching clothes.

May 06, 2013
Be grateful NEW
by: LucyX

So many who think they look young for their age. Mental note people ....sometimes people who say you don't look a day over 25, 35, 45 or whatever are just being nice. Be proud to to have achieved the age you are & thankful as many people don't make middle-age.

Apr 24, 2013
Age isn't the problem, trends are NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm 46, no kids 5'2" and 113lbs. I really don't care if I'm "too old" to wear what others deem as young clothes. I work out 5 days a week and proud of my shape and choose to wear what I want. My issue is more of this too long in time trend of oversized tops, tunics, billowy clothes that look HORRIBLE on smaller frames. I feel dwarfed in the these tops that hang to my knees or way past my bottom in the back. I'm praying the trend goes back to fitted, waist cinching tops that show off a women's curve versus making me look pregnant. It's hard enough as a petite person to have to spend tons of money on decent clothes only to spend even more to alter everything. I can't even find pencil pant yoga pants that aren't over 4" too long now I've struggled for years finding tops that don't look like tents on me! UUGGGHHHHH! Please designers out there, there are a ton of women under 5'7"!

Apr 07, 2013
Develop Blinkers! NEW
by: Suzy

I have read with extreme interest most of the wonderful 40 and 50 plus comments on this page, I will be 51 this year, OMG!And I am getting a little bit fed up of people half my age or even younger, telling me what to, or not, what to wear. This half century of mistakes, heartaches, fun, experience, should be celebrated and revered in my opinion, not continually eroded and discarded. It is very true that the young are exeptionally arrogant these days, but I also feel a great deal of pity for them, the high standards and peer pressure to look perfect is enormous, and I wouldnt change 50 for 20 for any amount of cash. So if we biddies are going to be slated and judged for trying to be "lamb" lets all do it with gusto, give these whippersnappers something to talk about! Wear what YOU want.

Jan 29, 2013
Loving Life at 50 NEW
by: Anonymous

love the comment on Aug 09 2012 - What a wonderful attitude - need more people like this including me - I am 52, have been told I look more like 35, have achieved a lot in my life but you know what I don't do "loving life" and that is the key - it's about attitude. I know what my new year resolution is this year - better late than never.

can't thank you enough for inspiring me

Jan 17, 2013
Enjoy Life! NEW
by: Anonymous

Im 52 years old, and for anyone turning 50 it can be really daunting if you let it get the best of you. This is just my experience, on getting older. I spend the first year,going through a stage where I was watching my body change and not understanding or excepting it. Lots of wasted hours reading peoples opinions that have no basis as far as Im concerned as to what I can or cannot wear. I have 3 grown children now, 3o, 27, and 20. If I want to wear a pair of skinny jeans that are mid rise and look appropriate because they make me feel good. Why not? Especially with our hormones fluctuating and making our moods go up and down. I finally get how this stage of life works, no we are not 20 anymore, but life is not over and we can still look and feel wonderful and feel attractive. Just be healthy and happy, and wear what make you feel good and look your best with just a little camofluaging our changing bodies with longer shirts or a little higher neckline. Enjoy life and be happy.

Oct 16, 2012
skinny jeans no!?!? NEW
by: Inma

I couldn't disagree more about the skinny jeans comment.
I think that if you are skinny but over 40 you can still wear skinny jeans, overall if they are dark. As long as you don't use a low cleavage, or a tight top.
Skinny jeans with boots or even court shoes with a loose top can be wore until you look 50 at least.

Sep 29, 2012
Too Bee or Not Too Bee NEW
by: Anonymous

Too young or to young? To be or not too be. Mmm..why can't anyone spell any more. Sad.
Blog is good but why isn't it edited.

Sep 02, 2012
Born in 1960 NEW
by: mom of 3, 24, 21 and 6

What an interesting site to have stumbled upon. Amazingly, tho i will be turning 52 in a few weeks (virgo/libra cusp), i have been mistaken for years to be in my early 30's, late 20's, ( a female OB surgeon, recjently asking my date of birth, slapped down her pen, exclaiming "You have GOT to be kidding me! I figured you to be 25!". That was quite a surprise to me, hearing her say that, and you can imaginegoing on in my head, wondering if i need to dress more matronly, (i was wearing a little business suit, that day, mind you) or could i still get away with wearing my usual, eclectic mix of ralph lauren/clean casual?

Aug 09, 2012
50! never! NEW
by: Anonymous

I am 50 and look less than 40 (size 8 and 5ft nothing)- But I am 50! so what do I do ? Well I'll tell you - I have fun and I don't care what other people think but I do have a way of toning it down I never do mutton but i will never stop enjoying shopping - i love shoes and accessories and with a bit of common sense its not hard to have fun, we have the best high street in the world. You might say well if your petit its easy - well its not! I think it is harder I have no boundaries nothing stops me wearing what i want - but on one level I feel the need to conform but I just can't - a friend of mine says we are freaks and i suppose one one level maybe we are. i love food, I love exercise, I love life and there maybe is my balance - and the key "loving life" whatever it throws at you I have lost a 15 year old child, had breast cancer and going through a divorce- but I am here and I love being here and I never take anything for granted - I am strong and finding my independence is amazing - to all of you out there - find your space make it your own and look after yourself - I have no money will soon have no home but kind of looking forward to it ! Lets see where life takes us - only here once so going to enjoy it xx

Jun 22, 2012
Pettite people NEW
by: Eileen Lloyd

I am a petite person of 4ft 11ins and weigh 8 stone , I tend to wear size 10 clothes , in most shops , but my biggest draw back is the lack of range in designs . The patterns on the clothes are too big , I would like to wear a small paterned dress . and soft colours too.
The other draw back for me is , I am 63 years old , so I have to be careful that I'm not choosing something too young .
I still love the sixty style witch is in all the shops , and I get very down when trying to buy something feminin and fresh looking for the summer .
I also find it difficult to find low healed modern shoes , size 3 .
Now I've got that off my chest I feel a little better , so maybe someone out there can consider us little people .
Yours truly
Eileen .

Jun 20, 2012
Life does not stop at 40 NEW
by: Anonymous

I am so fed up with rules for what a woman should and shouldn't wear. Sorry but every woman is unique!! Why should a woman stop wearing what she likes just because she has reached a certain age. I see women in their 20s wearing short skirts and they look awful in them because they don't have the legs or the body shape when a woman in her 40s might actually look good in a short skirt and skinny jeans. I personaly say, forget age itself and concentrate on body type. If you are 40 and blessed with lovely legs and a good figure then wearing a short dress is fine. Wear what suits you and makes you look good and what is most flattering for your body. I really do get angry at these rules. Women can wear what they like. Full stop. It feels like we are living in the dark ages and I for one will never follow these rules. I will wear what suits my bodyshape and what I feel comfortable in and if anyone has a problem, then that's their problem.

Feb 20, 2011
How do I dress as over 50 and plus sized?
by: bamakathy

I've lost some weight but am still plus sized. I've been told I have an hourglass figure. I'm 5'5" tall, and wear a 18/20. My hair looks better with ash blonde colors, (it was light ash brown as a child) I have very fair skin with cool undertones and green eyes. What are the fasion rules I should follow to be cute but aga appropriate. Also should I vere away from colors. Also, how do you know when pair of jeans is too tight or fits properly.

Jun 21, 2010
What to Wear Over 40
by: Nancy

The fact is, there are no rules for dressing at any age. I'm 53 and I look great in skinny jeans, in fact with my small frame I look overwhelmed in boot cut jeans. In my blog, What to Wear Over 40, I search the web for clothes that you can purchase online and I put together tasteful outfits. Sometimes it's hard to find nice looking appropriate clothing, but it's out there. I love well made, classic designs, but I want to look up to date and as long as I still look good in a style, I'm going to wear it!

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Help with Fashion Basics - Your Personal Style.





More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish
Also check out the Style Makeover Shop!


Back to Top









More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish

| Return to top | Contact Me | | About Me | What's New? | Privacy Policy | Affiliate Disclosure | FAQ | Ask the Expert |

Copyscape banner

Copyright 2008-2013 The Chic Fashionista