Style and Fashion After 40: How to Look Your Best

By Pauline A Delany

No matter what your body type was when you were in your 20s or 30s, it isn’t likely to be the same once you reach the 40s. Many women begin to gain weight in the abdominal area, increasing their waist measurement in comparison to the rest of their bodies. The changes that take place often do more than cause you to go up a size in clothing: They also mean that the same styles that fit your body best before may not be the best choices for you anymore.

Get to Know Who You Are

The first step towards finding your personal style for who you are today is to take a closer look at all the clothes in your wardrobe. Toss out anything that is outdated and limit the number of items that you have in basic black or grey to only a few. Try on all your outfits and evaluate how they look with a critical eye. Focus on styles and colors to see which ones are flattering and those that are not.

Clothing that looks youthful doesn’t necessarily mean that it will make you look youthful. If you have trendy clothes in your closet that look like you borrowed them from your teenage daughter, put those in the “Out” pile. The same is true for clothing that looks too matronly. Forty isn’t eighty and you don’t want to oversimplify your wardrobe to make you look older than you really are. Once you have eliminated any clothing that is not flattering from your closet, you will have a better idea of the types of clothing styles and colours you need to build a complimentary wardrobe.

Avoid the Fashion Trap

Many women feel that they should wear the latest trends, no matter how wrong they are for them. Don’t let the fashion industry dictate what you are going to wear! It isn’t about what is on the skinny 20-year-old models walking down the runways. It’s about you finding the best looks for who you are. If the latest trends happens to be right for you, great!

Some basic tips to ensure you always look your best include:

Keep skirts, shorts and pants in the middle where lengths are concerned. The ideal skirt length is just above the knee. Don’t wear them short-short or too long.

Avoid short jackets and tops, opting instead for those that come at least 2-inches below the waist. Otherwise, they will emphasise an expanding waist and make you look boxy, especially for shorter women.

Skip the hip-huggers and the elastic waist jeans and find the happy medium with fitted jeans that flatter your shape. If regular jeans are too tight in the waist, try a relaxed style that is made a little looser. Don’t go for baggy jeans or those that are over-bleached or shredded.

Buy shoes that have medium heels, not flats. These not only are more flattering, but they are actually healthier for your feet.

Add some classics to your wardrobe. A white button-down shirt, a good, fitted blazer and some dark coloured jeans will go a long way towards creating a versatile wardrobe that you can wear with a lot of colourful pieces and accessories.

Get an honest opinion from someone you trust. Others may not see you the same way that you see yourself.

Looking your best after 40 has a lot to do with balance and finding the middle ground between extremes. Once you develop your personal style, stay with it no matter what new trends appear!

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