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How To Create The Perfect Professional Style When You Are 40 Plus

Updated: Sep 1

As a woman reaches her 40s and beyond, she may find herself at a crossroads when it comes to her personal style, and feel unsure how to evolve her style. If she is also a female leader in her field, she needs to consider how her personal style intersects with her professional brand.

If this sounds like you, you're in the right place. Keep reading to learn how to create the perfect professional style when you are 40 plus.



DRESSING WELL CAN HELP COMBAT AGE BIAS

Dressing well, particularly as a female over 40, sends the message that you are competent, professional, and confident. It also shows that you take pride in your appearance and take your job seriously.

Ageism is a still a problem in the workplace, and it affects women more than men.


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.

This age bias can lead to older women being passed over for promotions, being paid less, and being treated with less respect.


However, there are a growing number of older women who are bucking this trend and continuing to pursue successful careers. As a result, more and more women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s are becoming leaders in their fields. These women are proving that age is just a number and it’s never too late to achieve your goals. What’s more, these woman are embracing their personal style and inspiring other women of all ages to dress with confidence and feel empowered in their own skin.


From top left: Christine Lagarde, Ronnie Khan and Rosalind Brewer



While each woman has a unique approach to fashion, there are some common threads that run through their personal and professional styles.

Let's have a look at the style principles of these successful females and how you can incorporate these into your own wardrobe.


If you'd like to talk with me about your current style situation and how I might be able to help, book in a call with me here.

1. CHOOSE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU - NOT OTHERS

What you wear must not only suit your shape, age and lifestyle, it must also suit your innate essence, or personality. When you choose outfits based on these elements, you'll project confidence and authenticity - two essential qualities for any leader.

If you haven't figured out how to reflect your personal traits through your clothing, or how to choose the right silhouettes, now is the time. (You can get started right away with my Style Archetype Quiz here. )

Rosalind, Christine and Ronnie all maintain a sense of professionalism through their clothing while also projecting a sense of who they are, and in some cases, their clothing choices have become synonymous with their public image.

Both Rosalind and Christine's style are grounded in classic, timeless elements with a good measure of personality thrown in through colour, prints, patterns, texture and accessories. Ronnie, on the other hand, mixes contemporary pieces with bold jewellery and glasses to express who she is.


2. BE COMFORTABLE AND STYLISH

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 personal style 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.


Check out the video below where I show you five fuss-free, comfortable items for your executive wardrobe.




3. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE YOU

In any workplace, there will always be female leaders who stand out because of their personal style. By dressing with confidence and showing that you are comfortable in your own skin, you can give others permission to do the same, and set the tone for those around you.

By embracing their own sense of style, Rosalind, Christine and Ronnie show that it is possible to be true to yourself and still be taken seriously as a leader. In a world where conformity is the norm, these women serve as a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Your personal style is an expression of who you are, and it can be a powerful tool in inspiring others to be their true selves as well.

Pay attention to the details – from your hair and makeup to your accessories to ensure you look polished and put together.



4. INVEST IN TIMELESS CLASSICS AND HIGH Quality basics

A good foundation of classic and basic pieces will allow you to mix and match items, as well as serving as the perfect base to add your own personal touch.


Take some inspiration from Ronnie, and pair a simple white tee with a stand out accessory.

Good quality classics never go out of style, so invest in some key pieces that you can wear for years to come, and mix them up with modern pieces to keep your look current.


Pieces I recommend for your professional wardrobe:

  • Polished, basic tees or under layer top

  • Smart blazer

  • Well fitting jeans (if appropriate for your work environment)

  • Smart pants

  • Quality sweater/knit

  • Quality coat


I recommend purchasing all these items in your key neutrals so they can easily be paired with other neutrals or your best accent colours.


If you'd like to talk with me about your current style situation and how I might be able to help, book in a call with me here.


5. BASIC MODESTY

When you are modest in your attire, it shows that you are confident and secure in who you are. It also sets the tone for how you want to be treated by others.


Modesty does not mean you have to sacrifice style or fashion, but it does mean that what you choose to wear is reflective of your professional brand and respectful of yourself and others.

To show basic modesty in the workplace, avoid very low cut tops, short skirts or anything that reveals too much skin.



There is a certain sense of calm and self assuredness that comes with age - while we may not have the skin or body of our youth, we know so much more about who we are.

So, what can you do to start dressing for success as a female over 40?

Following the style principles of these successful women can help you develop your own personal style that will make you look and feel confident.

If you need help getting started, book a call with me today. I'd love to explore and find out more about your individual needs.

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