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Turning 40 does not mean you shouldn’t feel confident, stylish and desirable. Follow these fashion tips to make the most of your assets and play down your flaws.

One of the best things about being 40-something is that we have a confidence and sophistication that did not exist in our 20s. Combine this with life experience and a better understanding of our bodies and we have a recipe that, with the right ingredients, will enable us to feel more attractive and stylish than ever before.

Forty-somethings Demi Moore and Sharon Stone may have had a bit of help with the scalpel but they ooze poise and sex appeal. Fifty-something British actresses like Helen Mirren and Emma Thompson look more gorgeous now than in the whole of their careers.

By the time we reach our 40s we have a much better idea of what suits us and what works for our figure. True, some of us make fashion mistakes in our quest for looking youthful, but the secret is in appearing stylish and chic rather than “mutton-dressed-as-lamb.”

1. Update your Closet
Update your closet by clearing out anything that hasn't been worn in the last year. If it wasn't worn in the last 12 months then what are the chances of it seeing the light of day again? Keep one or two pieces for sentimental reasons, outfits that hold special memories of a happy event.

Discard any item of clothing that doesn't make you feel good or is too 'snug'. If it is just hanging there for “when you lose weight“, let it go. No matter how fond of an outfit you may be, if it doesn't inspire confidence and boost your self-esteem, then make space for clothing that will.

Seek advice and moral support from a good friend. Enlist the help of someone close, who will give you an honest opinion and help decide which items to cull.

2. Choose this Season's Colors Carefully
As we get older we have a better idea of which tones work best for us. Avoid those which are too bright or harsh for your skin, which are usually stark primary colors. A good guide is to base clothing selection around individual eye color and decide which group of color categories suit best; warm or cool. This season’s berry colors in purple hues tend to flatter a more mature figure, and monochrome prints are always stylish.

Also on Suite101
10 Fashion Style Essentials
Smart denim jeans, a classic white shirt, trenchcoat and a little black dress have to be some of the most essential components of any stylish woman’s wardrobe.
Black is a best friend when it comes to playing down unsightly bulges, proving ultra-sophisticated with the right accessories; but it can also be draining and somber. Teaming black with colorful accessories, like belts and shoes gives an outfit that wow factor. Every woman also needs at least one versatile 'little black dress' which fits any occasion. Dress it up or down – accessorizing is the key to completely changing the look of an outfit.

3. Choose a Flattering Fit
No matter how fabulous it appears on the rail, if it doesn't look the same when it's worn, give it a miss. For curvy figures, avoid clothing which is too tight and too loose. Choose cuts that accentuate assets rather than draw attention to flaws. A drop-waisted dress will flatter a broad waist or a large stomach. Wrap-over dresses are versatile as they flatter any figure. Longer-length sleeves can hide a multitude of sins.

V-neck or deep square necklines work well for ample-busted women, rather than a round or high neck. Avoid horizontal stripes which will accentuate a large stomach, hips or large breasts even more. By contrast vertical stripes can be slimming and will give the appearance of extra height for those who are short.

A common fashion mistake is to think loose, baggy clothing will hide unwanted lumps and bumps. In truth, unless it is a well-cut piece it can have the opposite effect causing us to look larger than we actually are.

One secret staying attractive in our maturing years is by keeping outfits in proportion. For a chic look, shorter hemlines (high above the knee) should be balanced out by covering up on top. If showing off cleavage or shoulders then a longer hemline gives proportion. On-the-knee or just-above lengths are very flattering.

4. Fashion Accessories
Heels don't have to be uncomfortably high to be sexy as kitten heels provide a fashionable alternative. Peep-toed court shoes are stylishly on-trend and high-heeled patent pumps are chic at any age.

Handbags or purses should be a fashion statement. Stick with two or three simple outfits and then change their look just by alternating accessories. If big-busted then go for a longer strap and a big bag, which will draw eyes down. If pear-shaped, go for a bag with a shorter strap to shift focus away from the waist and hips.

When it comes to jewelry, pearls are elegant at any age but become even chicer as we get older.

Fashion at 40 and Beyond
Being stylish and sexy in our 40s and beyond does not have to be expensive. Instead, have several keynote pieces which can be mixed and matched, and a few flattering, well cut pants, skirts and dresses that look chic and expensive. The secret is in the cut and fabric, not necessarily the price.

Read more at Suite101: Fabulous Fashion at 40 & Beyond: Women’s Fashion Tips for the Over 40s [Link Removed]


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