So now that we know what to avoid if over 40 what should we be doing?
I’m 39 and until quite recently I used to borrow clothes out of my teenage daughters wardrobe. I’ve always loved clothes but was ‘too fat’ to have them myself so bought for my baby instead. It never occured to me to try any of the stuff on until one day I needed a pair of jeans and found that hers fit like a glove. Much to her very vocal disgust I began borrowing her clothes. Then I read a wonderful book What Your Clothes Say About You by Trinny & Susannah and realized dressing like a teenager is … well, lets be kind and say lazy.
So what should someone of my age be doing? Well there are five simple things to keep in mind.
1. Act Your Age
Just because your teenage daughter’s clothes fit is not a good reason to wear them. Oooh, my bad. Teenagers are pushing boundaries, examining who they are and who they want to be, and that is never more apparent than in what they wear. Trends are inspired by, carried along and aimed at teenagers and those in their 20’s. A women over 40 is more in touch with who she is. She knows what she likes, what she doesn’t and experimentation is not so important as getting on and living her life. It shows in our faces, the way we carry ourselves and the things we do. We’re interesting! And again, this is reflected in our wardrobes. We may have a ‘uniform’ that we constantly wear, but it’s not really a uniform so much as our signature look. Define what that is for you and expand it.
2. Accept You’re Vital, Beautiful and Sexy
Being over 40 is not the end of your life; in fact it’s not even close. It’s only in our late 30’s that we come into our full beauty and into our 40’s we really hit our stride. It’s definitely not time to pack away the sexy underwear. So … step away from the sensible clothing, or at least combine them with totally impractical but very sexy cerise heels. Split up your sweater sets, reintroduce color and femininity back into your daily rotation and enjoy being a mature, sexy woman. Don’t dress old!
3. Get Out Your Checkbook
Darling, that’s not a knock off, that’s the real thing! Let’s face it ladies the real difference between us and our younger sisters is money. Generally speaking we have more money coming in and correspondingly more disposable income to spend on clothes. We’ve also had more time to accumulate some truly fabulous pieces which form the backbone of our wardrobe. This is the proverbial ‘we’ because if you’re anything like me this does not describe your situation at all, but don’t worry there are ways to fake it but that’s another post. The main idea is that when you’re over 40 spend a little more on those really special pieces and a lot less on trends.
4. Get Classical
The key wardrobe element for a women over 40 is classic pieces. Think Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis, Catherine and Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren – whomever best reflects your personal style. Elegance is the goal. That means simpler, more enduring cuts, less embellishment, and richer, more sumptuous fabrics. Don’t go overboard or you’ll look like an overstuffed chair but a beautifully cut velvet jacket over a silk camisole combined with a well fitting pair of jeans will look fabulous and would overwhelm someone younger. But, be aware, getting retro inspired is a double edged sword for someone over 40. Make sure you go back far enough.
5. Polish, polish, polish
The older you get the more polish is going to be important, but that doesn’t mean that you always need to be ‘done up’. Actually it’s better to go with a more natural look, it’s more well, natural, but also effortless and confirms the impression that you’ve totally confident and have it all together. Keep your hairstyle modern and well trimmed and colored, your makeup barely there (which actually takes longer to apply – go figure) and pay attention to the little background things like moisturizing and plucking eyebrows. Attention to detail is vital. Then make it look as if you’ve done nothing at all.
So there you have it, five must-do’s for the over 40’s. I would just like to add that clothes, style, at any age is about expressing ourselves. I met a woman the other day who looked fabulous. She was wearing brown, straight leg cords with a cream, lace-edged camisole under a fitted denim jacket with a gorgeous vintage marcasite necklace. She was 73 and looked every inch of her age and really sexy to boot. She was a former model and what she was wearing expressed how she felt about herself and clothes. If you’re a person who’s worn jeans every day of your life for 50 years then giving up jeans because you’re older is not something you want to do. Equally if you’re 50 and have never worn jeans, ever, then suddenly taking up wearing them is not you either. Your style should reflect who you are, but what I really want to get across is that being over 40 does not mean you need to sacrifice wearing clothes that you love or expressing how sexy and beautiful you are.