Fashion & the 40+ woman

20 October 2014
Written by Trudi Bennett
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Setting straight the myth  that older women no longer care or are interested in looking stylish, Trudi Bennett gives advice on  how to rock it as a 40+ lady 


Time and time again in my business as a personal stylist I speak to women in their 40s, 50s and 60s who complain about feeling like there aren’t any clothing store ‘niches’ for them. They see shops catering to the young and those who do poke their noses into whats considered a shop suitable for ‘more mature’ women then sharply pull back as they feel the clothing on offer is too frumpy. The crazy thing is, this generation of women are the ones who have the money to spend on clothing! 

Most of these women want to wear modern clothing that suits them, but they worry about the ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ factor. Often this means they then swing completely the other way and dress down in three-quarter trousers and a fleece. Or they wear loads and loads of black. 

I recently had a lovely email from a fan of our Facebook page about this particular issue. She mentioned how she finds NZ women also like to save things for ‘best’ and as she very rightly says ‘TODAY is the best there is’. I completely agree. She also mentioned that when wearing a skirt, she sometimes gets told ‘there is no need to dress up’. 

So here is my advice to you if you are in this age bracket. Firstly, learn what colours and shapes suit you. That way it doesn’t matter what type of clothing shop you go into, you are able to select items that will suit your body and age bracket. For instance, Glassons has great merino each winter. Yes, it’s a shop that caters to the younger generation but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great staple pieces to be had by you. 

If you are uncomfortable with skirts, I urge you to give them another try. They are versatile and feminine for summer. If you are unsure of which style and length then select something that is just below the knee (above and you might feel it’s too young for you, below and at calf length will make you feel frumpy). Just below the knee is a modern length, draws the eye to the slimmest part of that section of the leg and is age appropriate for all. A gradual A-line skirt will also be a winning style. 

A great pair of jeans, a coloured T-shirt with the right neckline that fits well and is a good length with a string of beads or a scarf is a fantastic ‘any-age’ outfit. Use accessories to modernise what you have. Again draw inspiration from some of the younger shops to add some chucky jewellery, a pretty floral scarf or a coloured pair of sunglasses to your day-to-day ensemble.

And if you have some nice pieces of clothing, wear them. Plain and simple. Don’t use the fact you are not going out as an excuse not to put on a summer dress. You will feel fantastic all day, even if you don’t see anyone. If you do happen to see someone, they will probably tell you how nice you look. Pop a bolero cardigan over your arms if you feel they need extra coverage. There are usually always ways of problem-solving any fashion issues so that it works for any age. 

Shops that carry many labels can also be very handy as each label has a different style and cut. Mainstream mall stores that cater to multiple labels include Kimberleys, Vincents, Identity, Hartleys and Farmers. But I also take my 40+ client’s into Max, Country Road, Jacqui E, Glassons, Jeans West, Jean Jones and DeCjuba.

If you find the mainstream shops just don’t have what you are looking for, don’t have colours you like or you just don’t like having the same as everyone else, then head to the pre-loved shops. There you will find wonderful gems that will give your wardrobe whatever you need, be it modernisation, or a quirky, colourful, yet inexpensive lift.

Come-on ladies get your fashion groove one!



0 #1 Natalie 2014-11-02 13:34
Im surprised you didnt mention Ballantynes

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