Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Tips. What Not to Wear Over 40!!

When it comes to fashion, many women get lost along the way somewhere in their thirties, caught up in the pressures of family or work. Reaching your forties often causes a dilemma in terms of dressing – in trying not to appear too old, or as if you are trying too hard to look young.

While there are exceptions to every rule, here are some suggestions on what to styles to ditch when your over 40!
  •  Slogan T-shirts — one of the hottest hits of 2010 but unless you really have something to say, leave these to your daughters.  
  • Culottes –these can make you look short , old and dumpy. Only the young and thin can carry these off well.  
  • Too-tight Trousers — while teens and 20-somethings may be able to get away with it, avoid any trousers which give you an overspill or are too tight around the crotch. Ironically, buying a larger size actually serves to make you look thinner, rather than squeezing into pants that are too tight.  
  • Short Hemlines — unless you are wearing a dress with full coverage up-top (to balance out the proportions), mini skirt hemlines are best avoided as they can make you look like mutton-dressed-as-lamb. An on-the-knee or just- above length is far more flattering and less aging than a calf length. Mini dresses can be worn as tunic tops instead, over leggings of narrow-leg pants.  
  • Sleeveless Dresses/Tops — while not a complete no-no be aware that a short or 3/4 sleeve is more age-apropriate for daywear, and is also more slimming. If wearing a sleeveless dress then make sure your hemline reacher your knee or below, to balance out your silhouette and provide some style sophistication.  
  • Cropped Tops — unless you layer these over other outfits, (or you have 6-pack abs) avoid showing off your midriff.  
  •  Sarongs — while these are practical cover-ups, if you want to be a peach-on-the-beach, then these can be unflatteringly tent-like if you don’t have either the age or the figure. A caftan tunic is kinder, giving you more coverage and is much more stylish. 
  •  Bold Prints — these can spell danger as you get older. There are exceptions, depending on the nature of the print and the colors but, it’s safer and more flattering to go for subtle prints and block colors. Vertical stripes can be flattering, and so, according to can some horizontal stripes. 
  • Big Panties – give you visible panty lines, and thongs can look undignified if you neither have age nor figure in your favor. It pays to have a number of styles for comfort and fit, which you can interchange depending on your outfit. Boy-shorts can be very comfortable and flattering as they don’t leave a VPL nor cut into the tops of your legs. There’s no longer a stigma attached to   control top panties– even 20-somethings wear them now, simply because they work!  
  •  Baby Doll Pink — if you don't want to appear to girly, go for a strong fuchsia shade or feminine but stylish purple-hue. Leave pink candy stripes and baby-doll pink for those who are the right side of 22!


  1. I agree w/u on the slogan shirts... As far as the short dresses, I think it depends if u have the legs for them? I can still get away w/it, tho I agree right at the middle or top of the knee can be quite sexy w/a pair of nice stilettos...Culottes, I agree they do make one look short but if u pair it w/wedges or a short heel it seems to give height and lengthen the leg. Midriffs, I have given up..tho my mid section has never looked better... Age plays a part..Wish the 20somethings w/muffin tops would take a look in the mirror and sans the midriff tops! lol

  2. oops, what I did buy w/some apprehension are Gap's jean leggings... I got the ones that look like jeans and not the typical leggings... I must say they are great.. so comfortable...and they look better than the skinny jeans they were pushing last year.

  3. Thankfully I don't break all those tips...it took my a while though to get comfortable with being 41 though and finding clothes that look great...

    My question though is...I just discovered the love of wearing dresses again...and the ones I love and look great are indeed sleeveless...where in the heck is everone finding those great cardigans to wear with great dresses?

  4. Ah ha! OK. Confession time. I still wear sleeveless. Gave up the slogan t's a couple of years ago.
    Have just recently replaced my hipster jeans and combats with ones that 'hold me in' on the stomach. Comfort has to come first now and actually notice it is more flattering.
    I do shop in the trendy budget shops but have to be selective.

    Other fashion no-no s I have noticed recently are frilly shirts, nude shades in floaty fabric and small flower prints. All look great on the 20 somethings but at 40 something makes me look I am in my 60's! :)


  5. These are all good suggestions, and I have to say as an early 60-something, it does take some thought to continue to try to have some style while being somewhat age appropriate.

  6. wellllll....i think, i, too am guilty of a couple of these....slogan shirts....i still have a few of age appropriate ones. sleeveless dresses...i work hard to keep the guns in shape, so i really do like showing off my nice arms and shoulders! and baby doll pink....even tho i dont own a lot of it, i still like any shade of PINK! it's my fav color!!!!
    here are a few of my fashion faux paux that i think people should address:

    *wearing pajama pants to the store. unacceptable.
    *unmanicured feet and toes. people. it is not expensive to keep up with this. polish those piggies. make it a routine weekley. you dont have to pay to do this.
    *same lines of above: finger nail polish that is peeling, 1/2 worn off. this looks horrible.
    oh, and if you are going to paint your fingers, make sure your toes match!!!!!!
    *hair roots. (no need to even explain)

    ok, sorry if i offended anyone. you dont have to spend a lot of money to look nice. trust me...i am princess of thrift stores and bargains!

    have a great day blogland!

  7. Java,
    Drop by my blog to pick up an award I have for you.

  8. totally! I am all for older women dressing young, but not younger then a twenty year old. There are great fashionable clothes that make women look good and not like they are trying to be twenty again-I will add this one to my definition of a cougar lol

  9. good piece of advice! I confess to the too-tight trousers...but more due to the extra pounds I'm carrying than for a fashion statement. I am working on it!!! @queen of the rant: totally agree on the cougar look! even if somebody has the body for it, the face gives it away...to wise and experienced for a tight mini-dress ;)

  10. I know a few people who should read this! Why do some 40+ women think they still are 18 and can dress that way? Most of the time they just look ridiculous. Of course I don't tell them that! And luckily they don't have bionic hearing :)

  11. Looks like someone has been watching WHAT NOT TO WEAR on TLC. You are so much sweeter than Stacie and Clinton. I do like wearing a very light pink shirt. Just like I like wearing a very light yellow shirt. I think it's the candied color that you were saying to leave to the youngsters. I do think that if you have good definition in your arms (you work out), you can get away with sleeveless better. So, there are exceptions. All in all, excellent tips!!!!

  12. These are great tips. I confess to having ONE slogan shirt given to me by my children. It says, "Best Mom." I wear it around the house sometimes. It's sweet. I think if you have toned arms, you can probably get away with sleeveless if, like you say, it's balanced. I totally agree with the hem length. I've read, too, that the higher the skirt, the lower the heel. If you wish to wear higher heels, then balance them with a longer skirt length. Balance certainly has a lot to do with looking great. For example, you wouldn't want to wear a loose top with a full, flowy skirt; and you wouldn't want to wear a tight skirt and tight blouse together. If you are wearing a tight straight skirt, then pair it with a loose, full or flowy blouse and vice versa.

    I have found, too that I have to give a little more thought into what I wear these days if I wish to appear stylish but not look like I'm trying too hard.

    Culottes are definitely tricky. One has to be careful here to avoid the frumpy, dumpy look. I actually made myself some; but I am also tall and thin; so "I think" it worked. I'll let you be the judge. Here is the link:


  13. So ... a dress made of meat - not a good idea?

    Love me some Stacy & Clinton - but did that show go off the air? Great points all - age appropriate can still be cool. Dressing in younger styles is less flattering than - as I say - "knowing your limits."

    So enjoy the Tuesday fashion fun, ladies - thank you!

  14. Me again. Since you've made this post, it is making me look at what I wear a little more critically. As you stated, there are always exceptions. Different people can probably get away with wearing different things. I think you have a great sense of style and a good eye for what looks good and what doesn't. I was wondering if you could give me your honest opinion? Please feel free to email me if you need to be very honest and are afraid of embarrassing me, but I'm sure I can handle the truth. I try to be open for constructive criticism and am always trying to learn and improve. Would you be so kind as to take a look at the post of the skirt I've recently made? I wore two different tops with it for two different looks. The one I'm curious about is the sleeveless cowl neck top. Do you think that top looked fine on me, or do you think I am better off with some sleeve? It's so hard to look at oneself and judge rightly; so I would be so appreciative of your thoughts on this. Thanks so much.


  15. I'm in my young 20s but avoid too-tight anything (not good on ANYONE unless you're in costume or in the bedroom) and slogan t-shirts. Who wants to be a walking bilboard?

    It's hot down here in Florida, sleaveless and short-sleeve dresses are my uniform. Even though I don't have slim toned arms. Oh, far from it...

  16. Me again. Had another thought. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your fashion and beauty posts the most. I appreciate all of the great tips. It's nice to know that what we are all in this journey of trying to look our best together, that we are not trying to figure it out alone. Thanks for all you do.


  17. back from spring cleaning and having company. i love tee shirts with slogans. what a bummer. i may have to go into withdrawal. no mini skirt at kee or slightly above. i'm more than 40, but the info. is good. thanks rose

  18. @ Robin....I actually have never seen an episode of that show! I don't even know what channel it is on!!

  19. Fantastic post!!! I have actually print out the list ... HHL

  20. I love the original "What not to wear" girls of Trinny & Susan. Nothing like seeing them grab a woman's sagging breast to inform her that she has the wrong bra! (And according to them, most of us are guilty of the same sin!)
    I think I have already worked out most of your list, but do still struggle with some of the slogan T-shirts - some are so witty!! :-)

  21. Hold on a minute! There is a pink rule exclusion. That's when you have a sweet little 7 year old girl who says,"Our favorite color is pink...let's wear the same color." I can't say no for the sake of fashion.

    I'm with you on all the rest. Great post.

  22. I think the body type means more than age when it comes to fashion dos and don'ts. We are always judging people by the exterior...really it is the interior that matters. If we audited our closets and donated the clothing that didn't fit or suit us anymore...we would help ourselves and help other women along the way. Perhaps in this age of material excess and the reality that so many are hurting at this time...we get a reality check by letting go of what we don't need...and look at what really matters. Take a look at the homeless population...women and girls are being effected in this age as well. So be thankful for what you do have. You do have a wonderful blog...and glad you are focusing on the beautiful things we can accomplish at ANY age.

  23. I never wore half those things BEFORE I was 40. Culottes are so 70's, I can't believe they've brought those back! Waiting for the Gouchos to reappear as well. Or are they in also?

  24. I wear sleeveless... tanks... I am 51 and have great looking arms. I lift weights and have great definition. I also love sleeveless turtlenecks... sexy. Have you read What's Age Got to Do With It by Robin McGraw (Dr. Phil's Wife) She gives great advice and she is 55 in the book but I believe is now 57. She has a sleeveless turtleneck on the cover and looks fantastic. I do KNOW YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT YOURSELF BEFORE YOU GO OUT THE DOOR! Trying to look too young... is bad but you can look fantastic if you take care of your body!

  25. Midriffs a no-no, culottes...YUCK! Big undies, thongs,YUCKY too, No Slogan T Shirts! No Words written on your butt! NO short skirts UNLESS YOU HAVE GREAT LEGS! And then they should just be just above the knee. No over the knee BOOTS! I am a petite size 4 and I have several great pairs of jeans! They are not too tight but I am definitely not going to wear them super loose. I still can tuck so I am proud of that. NO OVERSPILL! I work out so... I am stylish but do not look like a teenager. Once again... we have to look in the mirror before we go out. Teenagers need to KNOW this also! I am also not wearing short hair!! My hair looks better over the shoulder shorter hair makes my face look plump...

  26. I still like to go sleeveless. I do find myself reaching for layers more often, though. And I love the 3/4 inch sleeve. Where did they all go this year?

  27. My nieces tease me about being on "Aunt Carol's What Not to Wear" show. ha ha. Or they call me the fashion police. Good post..everyone should copy.

    Love your blog...


  28. Ooooh, I just recently purchased a pair of denim culottes ... :-(. But, I think with the right accessories I may get away with it. In the back of my mind the 'frumpy dumpy, question has been plaguing me though. I'm with you on the too short hemlines and tight trousers (got two pairs that are a wee bit tight due to weight gain thanks to an under active thyroid) I have one slogan t-shirt that my honey bought and I have only worn it twice and that was just to get the reaction.

  29. Terrific pointers! I have a blog about fashion and style for women over 40 and I would love to have you do a guest post on this topic!!


  30. I am by far the lest trendy person around. But after reading your lists, the only thing I own is one bold print shirt. My family hates it but I love it. I suppose should just listen to them and hand it down. Oh I wear tank tops most of the summer and no I don't have great arms but I farm and daycare and I hate farmers tans.
    Thanks for the ideas though. When I lose the last 20 lbs I love for you to give me an idea or two what to really wear to look nice.
    Take care Java. Sleep well. God Bless!

  31. I love it--great advice! I'm not quite 40 but well on my way. :-) Popping in from the Friday hops & now following.


  32. I agree with all of the above with the exception of the slogan t-shirts...hey, sometimes I have grab what I got when I'm in a rush - which is most of the time. Okay, I gotta do better.

    Happy Friday!

  33. Happy to say that no one tells me what me what to wear and they never will! I'm happy in my own skin and my clothes which I chose without the uptight fashion police thank you and good day :)

  34. I agree with most of what you say but I love culottes with my boots. I'm 78 and live in Arizona and I don't care how hot it is, I haven't worn sleeveless for years. I now wear elbow length sleeves. I once had an Indian jewelry store and boutique so I dress in those kind of clothes and wear my Indian jewelry.

  35. Age 39 here. I've never had kids and don't intend to. No stretch marks and no flab so I'm keeping the bikini a few more years.

  36. Age 39 here. I've never had kids and don't intend to. No stretch marks and no flab so I'm keeping the bikini a few more years.


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