Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What I Would Wear at 40

So Gala from iCiNG had the following question from a reader:

“I confess, when I shop with my 19 year-old daughter, I am so envious of the style choices she has. PLEASE do women like me a favor! How can a forty-something mom build a style without large expense (we are paying for college you know) which will look new and fresh but appropriate for our age. Remember, we don’t have the great bodies we did at your age. Classic but unexpected. Flattering. Age-appropriate but FUN! What do you see yourself wearing at 40?“

And then she invited other readers to say what they envisioned wearing at age 40. When I think of older women I always think about women who have the fun of 20 year olds but with a sophistication they lack. I think a lot of the trends we have today could be applied to the older woman as long as you add some class to it. No ratty shirts or ripped jeans or clothes that show too much cleavage. But that doesn't mean you can't have girly touches.

I see this one as a sort of going out for brunch on a Sunday and then shopping. Or even out for a few drinks with some friends. Or for a nice movie date. That's something I love about clothes older women wear. They transition so well from day to night. I was and am a bit on the fence about the shirt but I know that my mother wears bows and she always looks classy and age appropriate. Oh and the chopsticks are for hair. I also chose the brown and the gold instead of the more traditional black simply because it looks better on my skin. And besides who says brown doesn't work with black? I definitely looked good in a black dress.

At work/business meeting it's very subtle with just a pop of color. It's still very fashionable with the chunky boots and the touch of girliness in the earrings but still a bit restrained. Pencil skirts look especially good on the older frame. For some reason young women just don't pull it off for me. And then you have a bit of leather to rough it up some.

And of course those times you're running to the store for one item or another and you've been in your pjs and now you have to find clothes again. Also known as the project-that's-due-tomorrow-and-your-kid-just-remembered-at-9pm outfit. And I'm being pretty realistic here too. I'd just grab some jeans, a longsleeved shirt, the jacket I used for work. I'd toss my hair into a sloppy bun and jam a hat on my head. And then I'd root around for something comfortable for my feet. And if it was cold I'd grab that paisley scarf and the gloves.

This is what I think I'd wear on an evening out. Maybe if I were to go to a ballet or an opera. Just very classy and refined.

As you can tell I reused a few things because all you need in your wardrobe are a few really awesome pieces and you can totally move them around to suit their function. I recently gave away a lot of my old clothes and I find it easier to find things and come up with outfits. As for style at 40, when it comes down to it, this is the ultimate formula: texture + shine + sophisticated + fun. So you can have that bow or those pink patent leather shoes so long as you pair them with something sophisticated.


  1. Very nice, I love all the looks, especially the one with the tennis shoes and I don't even wear tennis shoes.

  2. Thanks! I know sneakers can be odd to incorporate into fashion sometimes because flats are still all the rage. But I think I want to incorporate more sneakers into my outfits.

  3. As a 40-year-old, I'm kind of amused by all this. Hope I'm playing by the rules!

  4. I imagine that by the time I'm 40 I'll be pretty amused by this too.

  5. Excellent choices! I'm 44, and a lot of that stuff looks like what I wear already, except for those Nikes. I think a pair of cowboy boots instead. I love my cowboy boots for a casual look and they're very comfy.

    Anyway, today I'm wearing kenneth cole boots, boot cut dark wash jeans, a deep red cowl neck sweater, and big filigree gold earrings. My basic style is dramatic, and I love bold accessories, color, color, color, live in jeans, boots and blazers. Always age-appropriate and modern.


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