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by angela howell

Fashion Over 40

Are your pleated pants giving away your true age? What about your "stuck in a beauty moment" makeup or hair that hasn't been updated in years?

If you are a woman over 40, you need to know that you can be just as sexy and vital looking as your younger counterparts. It just takes looking at your wardrobe and beauty habits with a critical eye and finding what works for you.

Big Changes

One of the most challenging fashion aspects for women over 40 is how to dress for the changes that are occurring.


Our bodies are in transition. Our lifestyles are changing. We may be becoming empty nesters, divorcing, starting new jobs.  As your body is changing, so must your clothes.  You have to learn how to flatter your body without doing a style overhaul.  And even if you are in the best shape of your life -- your body is physiologically changing, from thinning hair to ruddier, duller skin.

The key to dealing with the changes and being your best is to refresh your look.  Shoes and bags are the quickest way to update your look.  Women over 40 need to learn how to adapt trends that will work for them.  Most of all you need to learn not hang onto what worked before; undergo a "style evolution" and learn to dress for your new assets.

Paulette Osborne

Fashion Sins for Over 40

Here are a few guidelines that will help you look your best:

  • Don't dress too young. The worst thing you can do is to dress younger than you are, “It makes you look older."
  • No miniskirts, regardless of how great your legs look (think about making pillows out of those minis).
  • Skip baggy clothes and look for pieces that give you shape.
  • Don't think you can wear the same colors you did in your 20s (at least not against your face). Please remember that black is a very harsh color near your face, so try other neutrals like navy and brown and a deep grey which will give you that dark color palette, but will be kinder to your face after 40.
  • Don't pick colors from color charts; experiment by trying on different colors when you go shopping. You'll know it when you see it instantly.
  • "Trendy is no longer attractive.”  Don't worry about the trend of the moment.  Instead, find a print or a bold piece of jewelry and develop a signature look.

Paulette Osborne

Fashion and Beauty Fixes

Gravity takes its toll on women of a certain age but here are some fashion tricks that can camouflage most of these problems:

  • Wrinkled neck - Stand-up or turn-up collars, are a great way to cover that area and bring focus to the face.
  • Thick in the middle - Add jackets and pieces that will give you shape.
  • Thinner hair - Your hair has to suit you. Get a fresh cut.   Shorter hair gives more of a lift and the variety of new products can improve your hairstyle.
  • Focus on shoulders and legs - They are the slowest to age.  That doesn't mean wearing miniskirts, but you can bring attention to legs with a knee-length skirt and sexy shoes.
  • Change in coloring - Women need to lighten up. One tip is to always wear a bit of white close to the face. Soft colors -- pale pink, white, beige, ice blue -- bring light to the face.

Get Started Looking Your Best

  • Look at mature television and movie actresses you admire and emulate their look.
  • Shop at stores that cater to stylish, mature women.  Some are: Chico’s, Liz Claiborne, Giorgo Armani, St. John and Escada as a few of the manufacturers and designers who offer great selections for women over 40, and plus sizes.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment. By the time you are 50 you have some sense of what your style is.  You probably have the basics down and now it's time to add pizzazz like adding bold glasses or wearing a collar turned up.
  • Recycle pieces from your closet (with caution). Some trends can come back and you can revisit them with a twist.  Chain belts are a good example. Some of the classics -- trench coats, Pucci prints, leopard prints -- are the best pieces to keep pulling out.


Model: Paulette Osborne
Wilhelmina 10/20 Models, NYC


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about angela howell

Angela resides in the “peach” state of Georgia and has been successfully competing in pageants for about four years. Her most recent titles include Ms. All American Woman Plus 2005 and the 2005 Mrs. Georgia Classic Beauty title. She not only competes, but is a judge and pageant director.

Angela is also a motivational speaker, owner of Beautiful You Consulting and is the founder of the Delta Nu Service Sorority which does community service projects for various charities throughout the US. In January 2005, Angela was honored with Georgia’s prestigious award, Volunteer of the Year. She also received several national awards from the White House including the President of the United States Achievement Award and the Life Time Achievement.

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