Fashion Lesson #16 Forty And Fabulous


First, I would like to apologize for the delay in posting my usual Friday Fashion lesson.  Life is speeding up on my end of the world, therefor I will not be able to post as regularly as I did this past winter. 

That said, I received a request from Nothing Fancy, requesting advice for ladies in the forty-something category.  I have to start by telling you a story about my days working in the Insurance Industry.  About 10 years ago, my boss who was over forty advised me that all women no matter their age should dress like they are 35 years old.  In her case, she should dress “younger” and in mine, I should dress “older”.  I am still curious why she made 35 the magic number.  And now that I have attained that benchmark, what does it mean to dress like a 35 year old?

When thinking about women over forty and what is appropriate, I think as with any woman it varies.  If you have a well toned body, you can get away with wearing tighter clothes than you could otherwise.  However, it must be within reason.  So how do we navigate that invisible fine line?  Not even Julianne Moore dresses like she did on the cover of Vogue Paris in her daily life.

Here are some very general suggestion that I would give women who feel uncertain in what to choose while shopping.  For the purposes of this post, I will stick with casual clothes. 

Dofocus on fit first.  As we age, all those sexy parts seem to shift.  Boobs droop, butts sag, even our skin starts to loosen.  It’s of the utmost importance to find clothes that fit, even if it requires a trip to the tailor.  Also, be sure that you are wearing the correct size bra and undergarments.  Panty lines and saggy bums are not a good look.  Spanx has a minimizer with a little lift in the tush that can be your best kept secret.

As I discuss with each of my Fashion Lessons, focus on your assets.  If you have toned arms or legs, show them off.  If you have killer abs, rather than revealing them, you can wear a slim fitting shirt or dress. 

Don’t borrow your teenager’s clothes or shop in the Junior section.  The clothes in the Junior section run much smaller and are not proportionate to a woman’s figure.

Also, as I have mentioned before, if you want to participate in a current trend and you are old enough to remember it the first time around, Do choose wisely.  Pick one item from said trend.  If you like the new bright neon look, wear a bracelet or pair of earrings.  Never dress head to toe in trendy items. 

Don’t go too monochromatic.  There was a time back in the 80’s when matching everything ruled.  My advice is to break up your color scheme. If you are wearing a yellow vest, don’t carry a yellow purse, wear yellow shoes or yellow jewelry all together.  The yellow vest is enough.

Don’t wear white shoes.  This is just a personal opinion.  I think if you are over 30 and are wearing white shoes, it ages you.  Instead wear a pair of metallic sandals or heels.  (See below for examples)

Do stick to showing off one asset at a time.  If you are wearing a low cut shirt, wear a longer skirt (knee length or just above).  The same goes if you are wearing a shorter (not mini) skirt, pair it with a more conservative top.  You can be sexy without giving it all away.

Here are some suggestions for summer…

Click on images for shopping details

Running Errands


  98679_AK08_D1_NTV skirt

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Kids Sports Fan


Backyard  Party


Girls Night Out

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Couples Dinner

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All Purpose White Shirt And Jeans (notice the metallic bag)

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One last thing, if it has been awhile since you have had your make up done, please go in to a place like Sephora for an updated look.  You want to make sure that you are not still wearing lip liner or full on blue eye shadow.  An update in your hair style and make up can make a world of difference.  Oh, and just because you are 40, doesn’t mean that you have to cut your long hair.  😀 holly hunter

Nothing Fancy, I hope this addressed some of your questions.  Again my apologies for getting this out so late.  Please weigh in with your opinion, good or bad as to the selections or advice.  Do you know someone who doesn’t dress their age?  Tell us about them in the comment section.

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Filed under Aging, Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, retail, Shoes, Style, Trends

7 responses to “Fashion Lesson #16 Forty And Fabulous

  1. nothingfancy1

    Thank you so much, Sensei!!! I LOVE your suggestions and am so happy to see that some of your examples included Ann Taylor outfits (one of my fave stores). AND, I’ve GOT TO HAVE the super cute Kids Sports Fan look you linked above. Love it! Also love the metallic sandals. I’m buying that Sports Fan look TODAY!

    Anyway…I think you do have a point about the white shoes. I have 2 pair of white strappy sandals that may need to go by the wayside. Thanks for the tip. I also like your tip about breaking up the color scheme. I might be guilty of this on occasion. Great pointer. I see that I also need to check out Spanx. AND NOW!

    You’re so right about the makeup. I came to this realization last week when my Mary Kay consultant made some recommendations to me and I said “I don’t even know what to do with that!” Needless to say, we are getting together this weekend so she can help me update my look.

    Thanks again for the great article and advice. You’ve given me alot to think about and some incentive to go shopping. I’m linking to you so all my friends can check out your advice.

    Oh…one thing. I like your suggestion of focusing on my assets. But, I must say that some women don’t really know what this means. I used to work with a woman in her 50s. She had great legs, I’ll admit. Because she knew she had great legs, she wore very very mini skirts with spike heels to work every single day. Honestly? It’s pretty gross to see a 50+ woman in a mini skirt. She looked ridiculous!!!

    Thanks again, Sensei. Oh and I can keep you filled with Fashion Tip topics for a long time coming. My next request? The Little Black Dress. What kind of shoes do I wear? Do I wear hose? Accessories? Anyway, you may have done this already. I’ll check your archives. 🙂

  2. Pingback: 40 And Fabulous « Nothing Fancy

  3. Hey Nothing Fancy, I’m glad you liked the post. In your honor, I just posted a 30% off coupon for Ann Taylor & Loft. Go back to my Home page and click on Coupons. Then you can print out the coupon. 😀

    Funny you mentioned nylon stockings. I am planning on writing something about this topic in the next couple of days. I read an interesting article in the WSJ last week and wanted to get everyone’s opinion.

    Thanks also for the other Fashion Lesson ideas. I will write them down for future reference!

    I know what you mean with the woman over 50 who wears mini skirts. My husband has one of those where he works and he can’t stand it. The woman is single and thinks it’s sexy to dress like that at work. I told him to tell her I would give her a free makeover. 🙂

    Have a great day!

  4. nothingfancy1

    Thanks for the coupon. I can’t wait to go shopping!! Thankfully, I haven’t purchased that Sports Fan outfit online yet – now I can save 30%. Sweeeeeeet!!!!

  5. Thanks for the long hair nod. I couldn’t bear to cut it even though I have a hairdresser who would love to sheer me (I am looking for someone new).

  6. Pingback: Little Black Dress + Spanx = WOW! « Nothing Fancy

  7. poetess

    I agree with what you have written. I strongly believe older women should keep up with the fashions but not be a slave to them. Great advice.

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