Fashion Tips, Professional development

Dress for success over 40



Dress for success over 40


I was inspired to write this post by the many conversations I  have had with mature women whom I met during various events. There is one quite sad, common trend that appears from time to time during these discussions – mature women feel rejected by the job market even if they have a job! They felt as if they were not taken seriously, not only by the younger generation, but also by their bosses. In other words, they feel as if they are kind of transparent.


I have never felt transparent thus far, but such a day may come, and I can imagine that this is a very unpleasant feeling.


I have worked for many years in different types of companies so I have had a lot of opportunities to observe the image projected by women of different ages as a result of their outfits. Today I would like to focus on how women over 40 should dress to the office.


My observations can be divided into 3 categories of “mistakes” that mature women make when dressing for the office:


  1. Outdated look

The group of women who remain stuck in a look that worked well for them 10-20 years ago. Things that looked good on you once, do not look good now! The same hairstyle and color, the same type of clothes and accessories (e.g. glasses!, too tight or too baggy clothes).


NOTICE: if you look outdated people consciously or subconsciously think that you and your ideas are probably  outdated



  1. Second youth – too sexy

The group of women who due to different reasons want desperately to look young (e.g. they feel younger colleagues breathing down their backs, they lost weight, they have a young partner, they squeeze themselves into their  younger size clothes;)).


This is characterized by lots of exposed legs, very low necklines, much too tight clothes from juniors’ high-street shops, etc. All this doesn’t support a professional image, and is at least one reason that women over 40 are sometimes not treated seriously and professionally.


NOTICE: Everything looks good on a young body, but when we get older we have to choose clothes and accessories wisely. My father has his own harsh but accurate saying when talking about such women when he says “They look like a high school from the back but like a museum from the front”.



  1. Comfort first

The group of women who embrace comfort too much.

Here we have lots of baggy clothes, elastic waists and synthetic fabrics.

NOTICE:  Such an outfit gives the impression of scruffiness.



In my opinion it takes little effort, and a few good tricks to look modern and professional at work.





  1. Learn your body type

Analyze your silhouette and buy clothes that emphasize your assets and minimize your limitations. If you have a problem with that, I recommend to use some guidebooks on style. If you can use some of your budget on an image consultant, don’t hesitate and make an appointment.



Wizerunek sukcesu po 40.



  1. Invest in some quality classic pieces

Good quality pieces kick up the whole look up. Lower quality clothes might look cheap on a mature body.


It’s worth investing in some classic pieces that have an amazing fit and classic colors (navy blue, grey, beige, white, black), for example:

–  a coat

– a jacket

– a white shirt

– a pencil skirt

– a dress

– a suit

– a cardigan.

Mix and match them with other items. They help to balance out clothes of lesser quality making the total picture look great.



Wizerunek sukcesu po 40.

source of photos: Ann Taylor


  1. Follow the trends but keep those pieces to the minimum

A mature woman is stylish and doesn’t follow the trends blindly. She knows what she likes and in what she feels good. Nevertheless, it’s good to know trends to avoid staying stuck in an outdated look. You may buy a small trendy piece that will kick up the classic look, e.g. a scarf, new glasses, etc.



  1. Don’t be afraid of color

Every woman looks good in colors you just have to learn what color works for you and is great for your skin tone and texture.

If you have problem with finding such colors, just try to remember how you were dressed when people say compliments to you like “You are glowing!” or “You look beautiful!”. Often this means it’s the perfect color for you. Appropriate color can make miracles – juices up, brightens, and makes you simply look fresh and youthful.


Wizerunek sukcesu po 40.

source of photos: Talbot


  1. Appreciate the power of accessories

– a bag

– shoes

– good watch

– an interesting scarf

– jewelry.

Accessories can move our outfit from boring to stylish business casual.


Last but not least, you always have to be groomed. Fresh hair, manicure and simply personal hygiene is a must. Even the best clothes will not look good on a sloppy person. And don’t forget to SMILE, being professional also means conveying a positive attitude.



And now I would like to present to you Beth Djalali whose blog Style at a Certain Age I have been reading for the last 2 years. Beth shows her daily outfits and she always looks great! Genius hairstyle and that beautiful natural grey hair.

When I was a little girl, I used to think “I will be the same” while seeing someone that I admired. Nothing has changed, I think exactly the same way when I look at Beth (Beth is only a little bit older than 40+ ;)).



Wizerunek sukcesu po 40.



I chose this picture on purpose, because Beth put the classic pieces on (the cut) plus she applied the 5 rules I described above:

– Pieces that fit her body type

– Quality classic pieces (white shirt, pencil skirt, cardigan)

– Trends kept to the minimum – metallic accessories

– Color – beautiful juicy green

–  Interesting accessories – bag, shoes and jewelry.


The whole look is kicked up by a skillful mix & match of patterns. I can only say I LOVE THIS LOOK!



I am curious what are your ways to dress for success? What do you think about my observations regarding the 3 dressing mistakes?


Tell me in the comments section here, or on my FB fanpage


Stay tuned!


P.S. Like this post? Read more of my BEAUTY ADVICE.



Hi! I'm Renata, welcome to my blog where I share my passion for style, beauty and joy of life. I want to show you how to look stylish and classy at 40 and beyond, and how to have some fun! Happy to have you here :)

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