The recent photo of Jennifer Lopez on her 46th birthday highlighted the fact that “just because you can – doesn’t mean you should!”. She is obviously gorgeous and has an incredible body for her age, but this dress is really pushing all the boundaries on aging with style.

 Style over 40 j low1

Once upon a time there were definite fashion rules about what you should and shouldn’t wear after you turn 40.  Thankfully those fashion rules do not apply as strictly today, mainly due to the fact that women have an increasing confidence in their bodies and are more empowered than we once were. However, I still believe that whether we like it or not, our bodies are changing and the priority should be to dress to flatter our body shape – and this rule holds whether you are 16 or 60.

So let’s revisit some of the “rules” and see if they are still relevant:

MINI SKIRTS

Elle McPherson, Jennifer Aniston and Kylie Minogue are all in their 40s and continue to wear mini-skirts to flaunt their fabulously toned legs but I think they are the exception to the rule. I know many ladies who have always loved their legs and have maintained a great set of pins well into the 40s and 50s. But no matter how great your legs are they will still be showing signs of wear and tear (as is the rest of our bodies!) so knee length is the most flattering and is still able to show most of your leg. Nothing worse than baggy knees! If you don’t want to let the mini go just yet make sure you’ve got the legs to do them justice.

    Style for 40s mini skirts

CLEAVAGE

I have seen ladies in their 50s showing ample – but quite attractive – cleavage, and of course I still believe in the old saying, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”. But nobody wants to see sagging skin, wrinkles, sun spots and freckles.

If you have taken care of your decolletage in your younger days and have avoided the crepey skin look, well go for it, but generally it’s wise for women with C cups and above to opt for a mid-reaching neckline, something that makes the collar bone (a totally underrated body part – one that’s unaltered by the ravages of time and is totally sexy and chic) the focus of the chest.

If “the girls” are bigger, make sure you’ve got them into a good fitting bra and you will have to be a little more careful on how much to show. When it comes to day time, less is best, and that goes for any age.

Style over 40 too much cleavage

MIDRIFF BEARING TOPS

This look is best left to the young incredibly toned and slim bodies out there. I’ve seen far too many tummy rolls and jelly bellies courtesy of this trend. But if this is a look you love try to just show a sliver of skin. In my opinion, the secret to wearing crop tops over 40 is in the sneak peek.

Style over 40 - midriff bearing tops

What we all want to look like!

GET THE FIT RIGHT

Because our bodies are changing we sometimes want to cover up and wear baggy clothes. Baggy clothes are not flattering.?Instead, wear tailored and classic pieces like a fitted blazer and nice trousers.

On the other hand, clothes that are too tight is another bad look and doesn’t work for any age. If you’re over 40, avoid any trousers or t-shirts which accentuate your bulgy areas.?No one likes to see muffin tops around the waist or bulgy areas on our backs.?Again wear trousers and shirts that work for your body type.

Style over 40 too tight

STRAPLESS DRESSES

They’re sexy, they’re bold—but strap-free dresses are tricky unless you’ve got a grip on the proper fit. Strapless are best suited for those women who have toned and sexy upper body structure.

When you are buying a strapless dress make sure that the dress fits your body perfectly. Fitting is a very important aspect of looking gorgeous in a strapless dress. Stand in front of a mirror. Stretch your arms upwards, bend down and just check out that the dress doesn’t expose the body parts you don’t want to.

I have seen many disasters in strapless dresses – and not just for women over 40, however the older we get the “looser” things get, so unfortunately the strapless dress does seem to highlight any problem areas such as back fat, loose skin on the chest, untoned upper arms – you get the picture. So once again tread cautiously with this look and if you absolutely love it make sure you have an honest friend with you when shopping to get a real opinion from all angles!

Style over 40 too much cleavage

Finally I would also recommend dressing for who you are, not who you wish you were. Women over 40 can sometimes feel like they are losing relevancy and are no longer sexy. This is when they make the mistake of trying to dress like their 20 year old selves (or daughters), hoping to recapture the feeling of being attractive and alluring.

If you dress for the body you have, not the one you used to have, or wish you still had, you can still feel attractive and sexy everyday. It’s about emphasizing your strengths and knowing how to hide your weaknesses by understanding your body shape. Believe me, being over 40 is not so bad – what we have lost in youthfulness we have gained in confidence and wisdom – and that is incredibly attractive and sexy!