Fashion for Middle Aged Women

Naima T. Fleming
Colorful women`s shirts on hangers

Fashion for middle-aged women doesn't have to be frumpy. It doesn't have to scream "middle aged," either. Women of any age can look pulled together, sexy, and professional. It's all about incorporating select trends into a wardrobe that you've carefully created with items that fit you so well they seem to have been made with your body in mind.

Define and Establish Your Unique Style

Maintaining a wardrobe that is fresh and timeless starts by updating your wardrobe with clothing items that are modern. Often times getting to the core of what is needed within your closet to build a wardrobe you will love begins with purging. As you take steps to develop your wardrobe remain mindful of the following tips.

Stay Age Appropriate

One of the common concerns for middle aged women seems to be, "Will I look like I'm trying to be too young in this?" when they're tempted to buy something trendy. The answer is quite often a resounding "No." Women of all ages like to feel pretty and feminine, and there's no need to drastically limit your style because of your age. However, there are a few things you should be mindful not to do.

  • Most women beyond their 20s should probably skip the tiny miniskirts and cropped tops, but you don't have to wear unflattering skirt lengths or shapeless shirts simply because you think you're "too old" to wear certain styles.
  • You're not destined to spend the next several decades in dresses that could pass for muumuus. Staying age appropriate when it comes to fashion for middle aged women means wearing clothing that fits, flatters, and reflects your unique sense of style.
  • While you may want to avoid overly revealing clothing, there are plenty of exciting and interesting pieces you can incorporate into your wardrobe that is more tailored to complement your shape.
    Mid-Forties Woman

Accessorize with Flair

Less is more when it comes to fashion for women over 40. Choose pieces that have fewer embellishments and cleaner lines, you'll be able to get more wear out of them, pair them with more (trendy) things, and accessorize with your favorite jewelry pieces. They'll also make your look more polished than some of the busier pieces out there.

Accessories such as shawls, stoles or shrugs work double duty by providing a little extra warmth while concealing the arms.

Elegant Woman

Choose Timeless Classics

There's a way to incorporate trends into fashion for middle aged women, but it takes having some staple, well-tailored classic pieces in your wardrobe. Keeping your trendy picks grounded in a sea of simple styles will keep you from falling into the trap of looking as if you're trying to dress younger than you are.

Businesswoman in skirt

Flatter Your Figure

Become a master of disguise by learning how to camouflage those problems areas such as larger hips and thighs, or protruding abdomens. For instance, a two-piece suit that falls just below the hip line work wonders at concealing that area, and tops wore out instead of tucked in may be more flattering than those with fitted waists or belts. According to Health.com, one of the top 11 mistakes middle aged women make is not investing enough in quality clothes that will flatter their changing figures. Take some time and select items that truly fit you well.

Woman in dark black suit

Highlight Your Best Features

With age comes wisdom. By the time you hit 40, you should have a good idea of which colors bring your complexion to life. Experiment and play with colors to find what works best with your skin tone.

Woman Smiling

Fill Your Closet With the Right Items

Complement your best features in tops and bottoms that skim your curves in all the right places and camouflage the ones you don't like as much. That's important for women of all ages, but even more important in middle age when you're worried about looking as if you're trying too hard to look an age that you no longer are.

Selecting Tops

If you have the shoulders, biceps, and triceps to flaunt, there is no reason to follow traditional advice and cover them up. Middle age affects different body shapes in different ways.

  • Balance a dressy sleeveless top with a knee-length skirt or dress pants.
  • Buy a few classic, high-quality tops you can see yourself wearing for up to ten years (a tailored white button-up with 3/4 -length sleeves is a good place to start) rather than shopping for trendy shirts you'll wear once or twice and toss once the trend passes.
  • To conceal a tummy bulge, look for blouses with banded bottoms or draped fronts.
  • Turtlenecks or mock turtlenecks are just the tricks for covering up the neckline area.
  • If larger hips are your pet peeve, you will want to choose tunics or tops that fall below the hip line.
  • As an effort to give your bustline a boost, try empire waist styles will give that part of your body some additional lift.
    Mature woman

Styling Tips for Tops

Try pairing a white tunic with a black pencil skirt or slim fitting slacks or jeans in a dark color for an age appropriate look that can take you almost anywhere. If your waistline is still trim, add a waist-clinching belt to draw attention to that area but if not, opt for a low-slung belt that creates the look of a slim silhouette.

The key is to match long (the tunic) with lean (fitted bottom) to equal instant slimness. Banded tops look best with bottoms that have flat fronts and no pockets.

Stylish Bottoms

When it comes to pants, you have to play up your best features. Follow these tips to find bottoms that fit you perfectly in middle age:

  • If your hips are wider than you'd like, skip the low-rise pants since they'll draw the eye to the widest part of your lower body. A slightly higher rise will draw the eye up to a narrow waist and take the emphasis off of the hips.
  • Trendy items like skinny jeans can work for women of any age and be flattering. The key is to not wear trend pieces head-to-toe.
    • Tuck skinny jeans or leggings into a pair of slouchy below-the-knee boots and put a flowing top and cardigan cinched by a thin belt on top, instantly creating style without looking like you're trying too hard.
    • Skip the acid wash, the zippers at the ankles, and the beat-up Converse sneakers when you're wearing them.
  • The most flattering option for middle-aged women are plain or flat front slacks with either no pockets or slash pockets.
  • Pants with wide waistbands can also be flattering as the waistband holds the tummy in somewhat; however, slacks with front "tummy control" panels are the mature woman's best friend. These garments feature specially designed panels to flatten the tummy (think support hose).
jeans and sweater outfit

Bottoms for Your Body Type

A good go-to staple outfit for a pear or hourglass shaped middle-aged figure would be a pair of flat front or tummy control dress slacks in a dark color and an oxford blouse in a flattering color worn tucked in. This standard outfit could be dressed up with sweaters and blazers in complementary shades for special occasions and would be very age appropriate.

The round or rectangle body shape could achieve a similar look with the same style and color slacks but opt for a long top or oversized sweater. Just remember that these body styles need to create the illusion of a waist so add a belt or low-slung scarf or shawl around the lower half of the body.

If you're petite, keep your skirts an inch or two above the knee. If you're very tall, you can go to tea length or street length dresses and still look proportional.

Fashion Sense Transcends Age

You can makeover your wardrobe and style to accommodate fashions for middle aged women that are still fun, exciting, and sexy without looking too young or out of step with the current trends. It all boils down to finding simple, figure-flattering pieces that balance out the trendy styles you're dying to try.

Fashion for Middle Aged Women