As women progress into their 40s and beyond, they often find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to their personal style, and feel unsure about how to navigate its evolution. If you happen to be a female leader or professional in your field, you must also consider how your personal style aligns with your professional identity.
If this sounds like you, you're in the right place. Keep reading to learn how to revamp your image after 40 with an elevated work wardrobe.
HARNESSING THE POWER OF DRESSING WELL TO COMBAT AGE BIAS
Clothing holds enormous potential, especially for women over 40, as it communicates a powerful message of relevance, competence, and professionalism. It also shows that you take pride in your appearance and take your job seriously.
Unfortunately, ageism continues to persist in the workplace, disproportionately affecting women.
A study by the Harvard Business Review found that ageism starts at age 40 for women, while it doesn't start until age 47 for men. This is despite the fact that many older women are highly successful and accomplished professionals.
Such bias leads to the perception of older women as less valuable, less competent and ultimately irrelevant as they age - yet for many women, this stage of life often marks the peak of their professional achievements.
One of the best ways to ensure that you remain a valuable player in the game is to make sure you maintain a relevant and impactful image that enhances your professional value.
Let's delve into the strategies that will enable you to achieve precisely that.
1. LETTING GO: STREAMLINING YOUR WORK WARDROBE FOR A FRESH START
When it comes to elevating your work wardrobe after 40, one of the first steps is learning to let go. We often hold onto items in our closets for various reasons: they were expensive investments, they hold sentimental value, or they remind us of a particular phase in our lives.
However, clinging onto outdated pieces or items that no longer reflect who we are can keep us stuck in the past and hinder our style evolution. It's time to release the emotional attachments and make room for a fresh start.
By streamlining your work wardrobe and bidding farewell to those items that no longer serve your current professional image, you create space for new possibilities. Letting go is the empowering act of freeing yourself from the past and making way for a wardrobe that truly represents the remarkable woman you are today.
Say goodbye to clothes that are:
Ill-fitting (too big, baggy or too tight)
Not in good condition
Which can send the following messages:
Poor attention to detail
Stuck in the past
I don’t care
2. GETTING TO KNOW YOURSELF: DISCOVERING YOUR AUTHENTIC STYLE
To elevate your work wardrobe after 40 and truly stand out as a confident professional, it's time to embark on a journey of self-discovery.
Dive deep and get to know yourself intimately - from understanding what suits your physical characteristics such as your color palette and ideal silhouettes for your body shape to identifying the styles that harmonize with your inner self and your character traits.
Well-dressed women possess a remarkable air of self-awareness, and this radiates through their style choices.
Discovering your true style essence allows you to curate a wardrobe that not only looks fantastic on the outside but also resonates deeply with who you are on the inside.
Feeling lost in your style? Take our FREE 3-minute Style Archetype Assessment to discover the attire that resonates with your authentic self and the message you'd like to convey, plus the first 3 steps to take towards your style success.
3. EMBRACING YOUR UNIQUENESS: DRESSING WITH CONFIDENCE AND AUTHENTICITY
The years post 40 present a significant opportunity for self-reflection, personal growth, and embracing our unique selves as women.
Style, in particular, offers us a further avenue for development and expression.
Embracing who you are and your uniqueness through your work wardrobe is an empowering statement that communicates self-assurance and individuality. It allows you to step into each professional setting with grace and poise, knowing that your style aligns with your values and inner essence.
Don't be afraid to embrace and own who you are through your style.
Take inspiration from female leaders who have set an exemplary path, such as Christine Lagarde, a respected global business leader known for her impeccable fashion choices; Julie Bishop, a former influential politician and now media figure celebrated for her elegant and sophisticated wardrobe; and Arianna Huffington, a prominent media mogul who effortlessly combines professionalism with her own distinct style.
Ready to take your career wardrobe up notch? Explore what other women have to say after investing in personal styling services - read their stories here.
4. MASTERING THE ART OF COMFORT & STYLE
As we age, it can be easy to fall into the trap of dressing for comfort rather than style, but it is possible to maintain a professional wardrobe that is both comfortable and stylish - and remember that comfort does not have to equal frumpiness.
First and foremost, dress in clothes that fit you well, accentuate your positive features and downplay any challenging areas.
Comfort can also come from choosing clothing made from breathable fabrics such as linen or cotton, opting for a pair of well fitting jeans or pants, or going for soft, stretchy fabrics that will feel like a second skin.
Other fabrics that are incredibly comfortable to wear and still look professional include rayon, silk, wool and cashmere.
5. BUILDING A STRONG FOUNDATION: MUST-HAVE ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR WORK WARDROBE
Certain wardrobe staples transcend trends and remain relevant year after year and every professional woman needs a collection of these essential pieces.
These timeless and versatile items allow you to mix and match, as well as serving as the perfect base to add your own personal touch. I recommend purchasing all these items in your key neutrals so they can easily be paired with other neutrals or your best accent colours.
6 Must Have Essentials I recommend for your professional wardrobe.
Polished, basic tees or under layer top
Well-fitting jeans (if appropriate for your work environment)
If you put in the time and effort, you can improve your personal style yourself, but if you'd like to fast track that process and have an expert quickly help you update or refine your style and confidence, check out my Million Dollar Style program here.