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6 Fashion Dos for Women Over 40

Never mind those lists of what not to wear. With this fashion insider’s tips and tricks, you’re sure to look great every season.

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When you reach a certain age, fashion advice seems to take an abrupt turn. Instead of advice on what to put in our closets, all of a sudden we’re inundated with lists of things to take out of our closets. I’m talking to you, “10 Things No Woman Over 40 Should Wear.” Whether those lists are just clickbait or are genuine advice to prevent us from making a serious fashion faux pas, I think we can all agree that we don’t need to be told what we can’t do.

After working as a clothing designer for over 15 years, I’ve had a lot of experience identifying and following trends. But my time in the fashion industry has taught me that ultimately what matters the most is what you want, what you like and what makes you feel comfortable in your own skin.

So, instead of focusing on what not to wear, let’s give ourselves permission to be our best, most confident selves, because confidence is timeless, ageless and always in style. Here are six fashion dos for women over 40.

Do chase style, not trends. Your clothes are an expression of you, so they should reflect your personality, lifestyle and image you want to project. Whether the look you’re going for is easygoing and relaxed, classic-chic, eclectic or a combination, own your unique personal style and be sure the items in your closet line up with it. It's more important to be true to who you are rather than following the of-the-moment trend. And knowing your style will help you discern what makes it into your closet and what doesn’t.

Do focus on quality over quantity. Over the years, you’ve likely developed a sense of what you like and what you don’t like — what works for you and what doesn’t. So, use that information to make sure the items in your closet are pieces you truly love, work with your other styles and are well-made. You don’t need 27 pairs of pants. But you do need pants that fit well and make you feel great.

Whether it’s editing your closet down to a capsule wardrobe or being ruthless with what you add, quality, not quantity, is the name of the game. Not everything in your closet needs to be designer or expensive. But your staple pieces should be durable. A well-made coat, good shoes and quality denim are all worthy investments.

Do dress for your body type. Nothing is flattering about tugging and pulling at ill-fitting clothes. For this reason, it’s essential to know what fits your body shape well. Are you a pear? An apple? Hourglass? If you don’t know your body type, grab a measuring tape and find out. Then identify the styles that flatter your shape and the ones that don't.

For example, if you’re a pear (narrow on the top and curvy at the bottom), try wearing tops and colors that bring attention to your shoulder and bust area. On the bottom, stick to silhouettes and colors that compliment your beautiful curves rather than ones that add bulk. Clothes that fit well and flatter will make you feel confident — no matter what you’re wearing. 

Do highlight your assets. We all have one (or more!) body parts that we love. So instead of focusing on the parts of your body that you don’t like, play up the ones you do. If you haven’t figured yours out yet, give yourself a long look in the mirror or ask your significant other or bestie.

Once you’ve identified your best parts, show them off, sister. If you’ve been going to the gym and have toned arms, embrace sleeveless tops. A sexy collarbone? Try that one-shoulder dress you think you can’t pull off. Legs that rival Tina Turner’s? You know what to do. 

Do try new things. While identifying your style is crucial, that doesn’t mean you need to limit yourself to one way of dressing. After all, you’re continually growing, changing and improving, right? Allow your style and preferences to evolve with you and be willing to step outside of your typical go-to’s. If you usually embrace a classic look, but a bohemian flowy dress in the of-the-season color catches your eye, by all means try it. You may be surprised to discover that a style you think won’t work looks fabulous on you.

Do break the rules. Fashion “rules” come and go, so it’s more than OK to bend and break them. If you want to wear white after Labor Day, pair black with navy or mix patterns, then you do you. Those are all examples of rules that have been and continue to be broken. So, ignore the rules. Instead, focus on what works for you, and most importantly, what you love, will be confident in and what makes you feel like the queen you are.