Staying home this week – trying to remain busy, positive, calm and optimistic – decided to start working on my new Fashion blog. This is my 14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 Somethings – the first of a series titled Wallet-Friendly Fashions.
There are a lot of places that offer great affordable choices for fashionistas in their 20 and even 30s. But when it comes to timeless affordable fashion trends for the woman in her 40s, the landscape gets a tad bleaker.
If you’re a style-informed fashionista over 40 or 50, these are some must-haves to add to your closet as go-to items year-round (keeping fingers crossed that we will be stepping outside real soon).
How many of these must-haves do you already have in your closet? FYI, from time to time, I may receive a small commission for items purchased.
The Pencil Skirt
This one is a personal fave in my closet.
I wear my pencil skirts in multiple colors to work three to four times a week – as some of my design clients and friends will attest to 🙂 It is a timeless and stylish women’s fashion staple. Check out the skirt on SALE at Boden USA (they have a 90-day return policy – but not on sale items).
A pencil skirt is timeless, elegant and comfortable to work in – except when I’m on a Design project that needs me to climb up a ladder to measure floor-to-ceiling French Doors for custom window treatments.
The Not-So-Tank Top
I feel tank tops and 40 somethings don’t mix well. My version is a not-so-tank with a silk lining, which is still fashionable and fun to wear (and yet not quite as unforgiving as a fitted tank top with spaghetti straps) like the one below, in black silk embellished with a hint of lace, for evening wear…
….or for daytime, choose a well-cut tank with wide straps like the one from Anthropologie currently on SALE!!
The A-Line Midi Dress
A staple on my list of 14 fashion must-haves for 40 somethings for whatever one might find on the to-do list on any given day – whether it be running errands by yourself, brunch with friends or out on a first date. Shop Modcloth for this Midi dress on SALE now….!!
The Black Work (Or Play) Suit
This is a wardrobe essential that you can throw in the suitcase to take on out of town trips for business or pleasure – to be mixed and matched with separates. Shop Frank & Oak‘s Transit Packable blazer and Grant Tapered pull-on Pants that wear well with travel over multiple days and nights.
I bought my black pantsuit a long time ago at Talbots. It has stayed with me through one childbirth, a divorce and multiple moves and I dare say, has aged well!! I still swear by it. From time to time I have paired it with a black and white silk top for a classic look, worn the jacket with blue jeans and pink linen blouse for a casual weekend look and opted for a fun and flirty short skirt over a black top for a grown-up play date. Black pants make getting dressed for work a breeze as you only have to think about the top – be it a white pussy-bow blouse or abstract floral pattern peasant blouse or sleeveless geometric top.
The Leopard Print – In Small Doses
No list of 14 fashion must-haves for 40 somethings would be complete without this one. However, note to self – leopard print is only good in small doses (I learned that from trial and error over the years) like a leopard print bag or stiletto sandals….
…or a short animal print jacket (this one from Zaful is 56% off), that looks straight out of Mrs Maisel’s closet..!
The Trench Coat
A wardrobe staple of Parisian women inside and outside of the glossy pages of fashion magazines everywhere, this a must-have for anyone who speaks these three French words – “tout le monde”…! The Trench Coat is one fierce fashion choice that will instantly upgrade your closet to that of a 40-something global fashion icon before you can say “touché”…! Shop Banana Republic for a classic trench similar to the one below…
…or go to La Redoute (they now ship to the US and accept returns for $5) for this statement-making vintage-looking brick-red number from that you can sweep up for a 50% OFF SALE !
Mine is a cotton creation in a black and white houndstooth that is less fierce and more casual but still elegant at the same time. I left it with my niece, the 20 something fashionista. Oh well!
Another basic item that will nicely finish your wardrobe – in winter, fall or spring. Zappos has long been my go-to for affordable women’s shoes for booties that look like one pictured below.
As well as DSW – because it fulfills my three requirements for women’s shoes – affordable, comfortable and fashionable.
The houndstooth is my staple for women’s clothing options that are bold yet sophisticated and every-day at the same time – creating an interesting texture, it is a must-have for the fashion-forward 40-50 something woman.
Stretched Capris or cropped Pants combine the comfort of leggings with the looks of work attire. It transitions from work to lunch to back at home.
I feel like the moment when the humble stretched pants received the seal of approval to enter into the world of work attire, needs to be celebrated by hard-working women that want all-day comfort in an outfit that at the same time makes them look well put together.
The Big Little Black Dress.
Wear a different black dress every day. It was Designer Bobi Leonard who put that fun idea of a-black-for-every-day-of-the-week work dress code in my head. It works!
I have worn a not so little (calf-length midi) black dress – to work with a mossy green bomber jacket over it, then thrown a washed gold cashmere shawl on top, switching to gold H&M sandals for an evening out.
Accessorize with a multi-colored glam necklace – like the orange and brown bead necklace that I picked up on a trip to Goa, or the gun-metal choker my friend Meenu bought me in New Delhi. A chunky necklace is my go-to for accessorizing whether I’m getting dressed for work – or for a social event.
A must must-have, whether you plan to “dance away the blues” or plan on heading out to work in, paired with a white button-down shirt and basic black leggings and/or capri pants. If you’re looking for a sexy pair of shoes to wear with your white wide-leg pants at work or for date nights – this is it. I have three pairs of reds. One pair of knee-high boots, a pair of booties and the third, a sexy, strappy number for going out – when I don’t have to be on my feet for long – each one really affordable!!
I found the red boots at a store on Melrose Avenue that was going out of business – and had a 75% OFF sale. The booties I bought at Sheik Shoes and the strappy sandals that look like the one pictured above, came from a Nordstrom half-yearly sale!! Affordable fashion…yay!
This one above is good for going casual in, all through the spring and summer months.
The Not-So-Basic Black Bag
A decent-sized everyday bag in black goes a long way to round up your wardrobe.
I swear by my patent leather black bag, It is roomy enough for everything I need with me at work, like cellphone keys, etc., etc., as well as handy for when I’m out and about running errands.
….and I have a smaller cross-body style one with a long strap – once again in black patent leather – for partying.
The Wide-Leg Pants
Okay, enough with the black! It’s time to add some joy to your closet with a pair of semi-casual wide-leg pants either in blue denim for every day on the go or an eye-catching, brightly colored pair for the office or afternoon shopping or just for hanging out. I found these Mustard Yellow Banana Republic pants on SALE !!
I love my wide-leg pants – in beige and tan – and plan on getting a pair in white to step out in, come summer – hope and payers and fingers crossed !!
The White Button-Down Shirt
This one works really hard to make you look fabulous both at work – tucked into a pair of wide-leg black and white striped pants or worn with an amply cut pencil skirt in a rich port color or over plaid gray skinny pants – and at play – paired with a casual pink and white box-pleated skirt or beige satin pleated spring skirt ….
It also makes for a great date-night fashion option when worn over a pair of faux leather black leggings a pair of strappy red high heels and a chunky red necklace….!!
Hope you enjoy experimenting with sartorial suggestions for my 14 fashion must-haves for 40 somethings….!!