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10 Wardrobe Basics You Need in Your 40s

We all know the adage “life begins at 40,” but what if the same holds true for style? Just one look at that stylish 40-year-old, and you know they have it together. It’s easy to get lost in endless trends in your 20s, but we’ve found that what makes women over 40 so chic and refined is that they know which wardrobe staples are worth investing in.

By the time you’re 40, you’ve already seen and experienced seeing fads come and go. You’ve developed and established your signature looks and gone through several (if not hundreds) sartorial ups and downs. Indeed, there’s a lot to learn from these women. Just take a look at Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, and Tracee Ellis Ross—women who’ve mastered the art of styling and owning 40-and-over fashion.

Ahead, we’re listing down 10 versatile yet stylish wardrobe basics that women in this age bracket love!

1. Midi Dresses

Shop the Kaftan V-Neckline Striped Dress, $48.95

When it’s too hot to slip into a pair of jeans or shorts, you’re bound to reach for one of them. Midi dresses come in various styles—fit-and-flare, A-line, bodycon, and pleated, to name a few. You can wear them to pretty much any occasion, dress them up with heels or keep it laid-back with flats or classic sneakers.

Styles you might love:

Shop the Dot Midi Length Dress – Plus, $75.95

Shop the Charlotte Dot Inset Waist Dress in Green, $60.95

Shop the Jacqueline Midi Sheath – Plus, $101.95

2. Classic White Shirts

Shop the White Textured Button Front Shirt – Misses, $32.95

A crisp, white shirt offers endless outfit options. You can wear it with jeans or tailored pants and some heels for a classic look, or as a tunic dress (if it’s oversized) paired with flats. We recommend buying a couple of shirts, from button-downs to popover blouses, so you have one ready when the others are still in the laundry.

Styles you might love:

Shop the Cooper & Ella Front Tie Riley Shirt, $39.95

Shop the Gina Cotton Gauze Top, $69.95 

Shop the White Embroidered Textured Button Front Shirt, $43.95

Shop the Gretta Cotton Gauze Shirt, $74.95

3. Linen Pieces

Shop the Lana Linen Pant, $24.95

There’s a reason why linen is the ultimate summer fabric. It’s lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking, and conducts heat away from the wearer. The structure of this fabric billows softly from your body and doesn’t cling when it gets hot, keeping you cool throughout the day.

Styles you might love:

Shop the Boho Peasant Midi Dress in Charcoal, $69.95

Shop the Erin Surplus Blouson Sleeve Striped A-Line Dress, $81.95

4. Comfortable Sandals

Shop the Sayde Cutout Flats, $46.95

Summer footwear means walkable sandals with cushioned footbeds and quality soles that hold up, especially during long walks. Find a pair that you can wear on multiple occasions, something that you can wear every day. Whether you gravitate more towards slides, espadrilles, ballet flats, or platforms, the most important thing is that your feet stay happy at the end of the day. 

Styles you might love:

Shop the Zerri Slide Footbed Sandal in Cognac Smooth, $51.95

Shop the Flat Lace Up Side Cut Espadrille Sandal, $57.95

Shop the Flat Slip On Leather Espadrille Sandal in Tie Dye, $57.95

5. Oversized Sunglasses

Shop the Banks Sunglasses, $64.95

Big, retro-inspired frames may have been overshadowed by their smaller counterparts (remember the micro sunglasses trend?), but now they’re back to being your go-to eyewear. They’re the epitome of function meets timeless style, and they go with a lot of outfits perfectly. We recommend going for classic colorways like black or tortoiseshell, with a few pops of colored frames for variety.

Styles you might love:

Shop the Pascha Sunglasses, $64.95

Shop the Dione Wide Fit Winged Sunglasses, $80.95

Shop the Asa Sunglasses, $64.95

6. Relaxed Trousers

Shop the Roz & Ali Secret Agent Tummy Control Pull On Pants – Average Length-Plus, $38.95

Whether you wear them to work or a black-tie dinner, you can never go wrong with a pair of classic trousers. They’re simply worthy additions to your wardrobe. Dress them up with chic stilettos, or go for a more casual look with mules.

Styles you might love:

Shop the Farrah Pearl Pant, $114.95

Shop the Waneeta Stripe Pant, $142.95

7. Dressy Blouses

Shop the Roz & Ali Petite Dot Bubble Hem Blouse, $36.95

Silk and silk-like sheen offer versatility and add instant luxury to your look. They can be pricey, but DressBarn has affordable options that are just as elegant and beautiful for any occasion. Get them in as many colors as you want so that you can dress according to your mood. Styling tip: Accessorize with gold or silver jewelry for a sophisticated vibe.

Styles you might love:

Shop the Demira Embroidered Tunic Top in Cobalt Blue, $108.95

Shop the Demira Embroidered Tunic Top in Peacock Blue, $108.95

8. White Pants

Shop the Westport Signature Plus 5 Pocket Straight Leg Jean – Plus, $51.95

Women over 40 are no longer intimidated by this high-maintenance hue. Some even favor white pants over regular denim because they’re more comfortable, especially during the summer. It’s a simple but effective way to switch up your look.

Styles you might love:

Shop the Stella Parker Clara 5 Pocket Capri, $38.95

Shop the Pull On Pant With Slimming Details, $36.95

Shop the Zac & Rachel Wide Leg Crop Pant, $32.95

9. Wrap Dresses

Shop the Madeline Cap Sleeve Wrap Midi Dress With Tie Waist Dress – Petite, $71.95

We talked about midi dresses early on this list, but we’re giving wrap dresses a section of their own because they offer the best versatility out of all styles. It’s a wardrobe staple that’s flattering for any body type, defining your waist and accentuating the right features.

Styles you might love:

Shop the Angela Floral Print Wrap Dress – Petite, $64.95

Shop the Short Sleeve Tie Wrap Dress, $54.95

Shop the Iris Wrap Dress – Plus in Apricot, $107.95

10. Gold Jewelry

Shop the Twisted Metal Open Hoop Earrings, $17.95

Gold is simply eternal. From dainty pieces to statement jewelry, gold can glam up any outfit. It’s also flattering for all skin tones and remains as timeless as ever, no matter the season. Here, we have more modern iterations that add a touch of class to a jeans-and-shirt ensemble or an evening dress.

Styles you might love:

Shop the Handcrafted 24K Gold Plated Capsule Collar Necklace, $184.95

Shop the Handcrafted 24K Gold Plated Imara Twist ‘On a Mission’ Cuff Bracelet, $103.95

Shop the 14K Gold Plated S Charm Necklace, $106.95

Shop the Handcrafted 24K Gold Plated Capsule Link Bracelet, $134.95

DISCOVER MORE WARDROBE BASICS HERE


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