Advanced search

Whether you’re a beauty novice or a confirmed fashionista, this topic is for consulting Mumsnetters on all things style-related. Plus, check out our Swears By page for the inside track on the next Mumsnet must-have.

Age 40 and not a clue about style

(15 Posts)
NotMondayAgain Tue 06-Feb-18 21:57:51

I used to wear nice clothes in my 20s. In the last 10 years since having kids I've not been too worried about what I wear but turning 40 recently has made me want to review my style.

All the 20 somethings in my office look great every day and I feel like the poor relation. I realised that I have owned the shabby, slightly baggy and faded cords I wore to work today, for over 10 years.

The trouble is I don't know how to balance too young with too grumpy.
Where do you ladies shop and what should I avoid?


Chocolateteabag Tue 06-Feb-18 22:19:47

Don't go shopping yet!
Find your style first

I'd recommend the how to be parisienne threads currently running on here as they have fab advice for getting a more styled look a la Ines De La Fressange

But if that's not your idea of style then take some time to think about who's style you like - get on Pinterest and amass some pictures

AnaViaSalamanca Tue 06-Feb-18 22:30:03

Why would you be grumpy? being older doesn't mean we have to stop smiling!!

Anyway, clothing wise, I would try a bit of capsule wardrobe videos on youtube and take stock of what they say. Invest in some classic items that fit your lifestyle (leather jacket, blazer, black jeans, silk shirt, ankle boots etc)

TipseyTorvey Wed 07-Feb-18 06:06:26

Might it be worth getting professional help? I had a style day at house of colour that was brilliant fun and so useful that shopping is now super quick as I know what suits me and what doesnt? Friends of mine have done the house of fraser or JL stylist thing or one even got a high end stylist who consulted with her before then took her shopping at westfield. Or do what i do and buy everything from mint velvet; ) (lazy but it all works together )

oncountdowntospring Wed 07-Feb-18 06:21:36

Pintrest can be good for inspiration, also Google celebs who's style you like.

When was the last time you had a bra fitting and bought some really good underware? IMO there is no point buying any clothes until you have that sorted, badly fitting underware can ruin a decent outfit.

My other rule is not to buy things because 'they will do' (I did this for a long time in the baby years, standing in a fitting room with a baby in a pram who was about to wake up and desperate with no clothes to wear!).

So now I do the Marie Kondo thing (call me crazy but it works) and I see if wearing the item will bring me some joy and pleasure, I think this also has helped me create my own style too because I'm wearing clothes that I'm drawn to rather than clothes that are in fashion at the time. I'm quite enjoying the fact that at 40 no one's necessarily expecting me to be in the latest fashion, so if it doesn't work on me I don't buy it.

Honeycake50 Wed 07-Feb-18 08:46:27

I would say go shopping and start off with a basic top and a new pair of trousers, a classic style that you can wear regularly. That alone will give you the confidence to explore further next time you shop and will spur you on to feel good. And a new coat does wonders (I have accumulated quite a few in the last few months) but try all give me the confidence to explore more and find me again.

If you had style before then you will find it again. I thought I had lost this forever, dressed great in my youth, had children then lost complete awareness. Just made do with a supermarket top and trousers from the last 10 yrs too!

By making one small start, just keep your eyes open as to what the shops are stocking for now but don’t buy it all. You can start slowly building around the pieces you are buying. You can still look trendy at 40 and since my rediscovered fashion (it’s taken me 8 months to get to this bit) think I look more put together than some of the younger ones at work.

Follow some blogs, massive help for ideas etc or just some of their top picks that you can just go to the shops and try on if you like the look of it.

It won’t happen overnight but I think small changes and you will start to get it back. I was trying to do everything and it was too overwhelming. Oh and a new skincare regime mostly from The Ordinary has massively boosted my confidence too.

mrslebon Wed 07-Feb-18 10:01:43

I'm 46 and dress well (according to the comments I get) but have only really figured out my style in the past five or six years. Following style blogs has helped me enormously and sticking with colours that suit me has helped me to avoid costly mistakes. I shop anywhere from Topshop to New Look to Jigsaw. I pay far more attention to fabrics these days so avoid polyester and acrylic as much as I can. I agree with the comments above that Pinterest can be really useful here as can Instagram. Let us know if you want suggestions of who to follow.

Completely agree with the comment above about a good coat being important. For the school run today, I'm wearing black skinnies, metallic Chelsea boots and a grey polo neck but my statement coat (snow leopard boyfriend coat from M&S last year) completely takes things to a different level and is a great fit.

Also agree about having a good skincare routine. I am shocked at how many women in their 40s don't remove their make up at night, or use face wipes/crap micellar water. My skin has never been better after introducing double cleansing (it's never too late!). If you'd like advice on a basic skincare routine, just shout!

ijustwannadance Wed 07-Feb-18 10:12:44

I know how you feel op. Same age but just had a baby. I used to have some style and a love of vintage clothes. My body doesn't look the same anymore and the shapes and styles that used to look great on me no longer do so I feel a bit lost.

Passthecake30 Thu 08-Feb-18 10:08:16

I'm with you too. No time to shop in between childcare and work, online shopping is frustrating as nothing fits and clothes don't look the same on me as the pics. Feel like a frump in old clothes but no idea what to buy.

Oohyoudevilyou Thu 08-Feb-18 10:23:47

This is me too. Totally lost my way style-wise. Today I'm wearing black bootcut jeans with some crappy crystal embellishments and an Edinburgh Woollen Mill jersey top. My 70 year old mum would baulk at being caught putting the bins out dressed like this! I'm also stout, not hugely fat, but a size 16 and only average height. I've tried to find style blogs for women like me but failed. They're either a real plus-size (and usually rocking a vintage bombshell look) or the usual slim size 10. My budget is also not huge - I can afford Next, Wallis and Debenhams if there's a sale (which is most of the time...) but the likes of Hush, Boden, Jigsaw etc are out of the question. Can anyone recommend any blogs or websites which may inspire me, please?

SheldonTheWonderShlong Thu 08-Feb-18 13:34:56

I started a thread recently about a similar thing. It's a fairly common problem, once stylish women suddenly wake up after years in the kid wilderness and find they are frumpy and clueless, or at least feel this way. ........'....'.........................
I'm struggling to find a way back too.

Not a blog but can I recommend Helenwearsasize18 on instagram for the sturdy size 16 PP. Most of her stuff is high street. She is funny as fuck and really cheery and always seems to rock what she's wearing. I think attitude has a lot to do with. Attitude and bright lipstick.

SheldonTheWonderShlong Thu 08-Feb-18 14:44:38

Ignore please, am asking HQ to look at my paragraph-less posts.

I started a new paragraph here, missing a line out.

And again.

fiorentina Thu 08-Feb-18 15:10:30

It depends what kind of job you do as to what you could wear, but I’m a similar age and use style blogs and Pinterest for inspiration. As a PP said I go for natural fabrics as much as possible, usually have plainish clothes and some statement jewellery for work and try and choose some pointed flats or coloured suede court shoes. I’m in no way super stylish but I’ve been complimented by younger colleagues on a few outfits which always feels good!

Do you have a good easy to style haircut and make up routine?

andalittlebitofpixiedust Thu 08-Feb-18 16:22:00

Yyy to House of Colour

Oohyoudevilyou Thu 08-Feb-18 19:18:56

Thanks so much for that link, Sheldon. Helenwearsasize18 looks amazing (she is spookily like me in build and colouring too!). Just shows how good a chunky lass can look with a bit of fuschia lippy, a big smile and tons of attitude. Now to get rid of the EWM granny top ...

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: